The Cruise Ship Industry

An overview of the essentials

Working within the cruise ship industry can be extremely rewarding – particularly if you like the idea of being paid for travel and adventure!  The opportunities to work in this exciting and varied industry include roles across Marine Operations and Hotel & Guest Services Operation Divisions.

So whether you’re an aspiring captain, or work in entertainment, casinos, theatres or housekeeping, there’s an inspired role for you in this exciting industry.

Cruise Lines & Entertainment

The cruise line industry offers all sorts of careers in a whole variety of roles. A career in this sector has the potential to open up a wealth of experiences, travels and progression opportunities.

Your role will likely be based on a large vessel specifically designed for passenger carriage or luxury passenger holidays or journeys. It is a role full of challenges and can be quite intense, with lots of people to look after and engage with, and doubtless lots of jobs to do and questions to answer as a result!

Cruise lines require a whole host of different roles to be filled, some of which could be:

  1. Steward/Stewardess
  2. Chef or catering staff
  3. Engineers
  4. Deckhands
  5. Vehicle or Passenger boarding operatives
  6. Shop staff and customer service
  7. Cleaners
  8. Entertainers
  9. Vessel operation crew

All of these roles require different skills, be they personal or professional, but all require the same initial basic essentials, and these are:

  1. STCW Basic Safety Training – often referred to as STCW Training, STCW95 or STCW2010, this is the essential training that equips you with the knowledge and skills to tackle life on board a vessel, be they ‘normal’ times or emergencies. Don’t be confused by the differing terminology; all these courses are one and the same thing.
  2. Additional Training – many cruise liners and other passenger vessels require or prefer you to have your Crowd Management and/or Crisis Management & Human Behaviour training and certification prior to joining the vessel.
  • ENG1 Medical – an MCA approved medical that shows your employer you are fit and healthy to conduct your role whilst at sea.

You have your training. You have your medical. You have your enthusiasm, aspiration and are full of excitement (hopefully!). But, where do you go next?

Finding a role in the cruse ship industry can be done through a variety of ways, some of which are:

Specialist Recruitment Agencies. These vary widely dependant on their relationship with specific cruise companies and/or their specialism. For example, many cruise operators have relationships with a select few recruitment companies who recruit only for them and on their behalf. If you are an entertainer (for example) there are a number of specific agencies who recruit for this specific role, and it is well worth getting in touch with them for access to all sorts of exciting opportunities.

SWMA have relationships developed over time with some superb agencies, covering all sorts of specialist cruise roles. You can find some details through the below links:

Ocean Images



Gary Parkes

Harding Retail 


Social Media. There are many options on social media, from Facebook Jobs (on which jobs are advertised) to LinkedIn company pages and recruitment drives using posts on Twitter. It’s well worth taking advantage of some of these free and easy to access opportunities to help open up opportunities to begin your new career.

Go Direct! Many companies have their own specialist recruitment departments, specialist external recruitment agencies or recruitment department CV email addresses and associated phone numbers. If you know what sort of a role you want and the company/industry you want to work with it never hurts to go direct and see if you can apply for an open role.

Recruitment fairs. There are all sorts of specific and non-specific careers fairs at which cruise lines exhibit in the search for new talent. Take a look at local notices, job centres, Facebook pages and industry events and find out who is exhibiting and when!


Need more advice or have any questions?

Just get in touch with our team who are always happy to help. You can either call them on 01454 260130 or email them at