how much do cruise ship workers make

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A cruise ship crew member for Carnival

Carnival is one of ten cruise lines owned by the world’s largest cruise ship operator, the American-British Carnival Corporation & plc. In 2021, Carnival Cruise Line was estimated to hold a 7.6% share of cruise industry revenue and 18.2% of passengers. It has 24 vessels and is the largest fleet in the Carnival group. › wiki › Carnival…

, Royal Caribbean, or Norwegian Cruise Line can earn an annual average between $16,000 to $20,000. For leadership staff onboard cruise ships, the annual salary can be much higher from $30,000 to $100,000.


The former galley worker for Carnival Cruise Line made the least money each month, while the former first officer for Royal Caribbean International made the most. The workers tenures range from 2004 to this year.

An ex-casino manager and dealer for Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line said, “It was a lot of work, and by American standards it’s not a good venture because when you break it down you’re looking at only getting $5 to $10 an hour sometimes.” “I stopped doing it because it wasn’t a good business prospect financially.” “.

35 current and former cruise ship employees who spoke with Business Insider revealed that their monthly salaries ranged from $500 to $10,000. About 40% reported having monthly incomes of $2,000 or less.

According to a representative for the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group for the cruise industry, “Crew members typically receive free medical care, room and board, meals, and many other benefits that are frequently unavailable in their home countries,” in addition to their pay. “Employee retention rates in the cruise industry are up to 80% because crew members are very satisfied with their jobs and the chances for career advancement. “.

The average monthly salary of the 35 current and former cruise ship employees who spoke with Business Insider was approximately $3,233, while the median monthly salary was approximately $2,600. The following median annual earnings for 2018 were provided by the three biggest cruise lines, Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, in regulatory filings:

How Much do Cruise Ship Workers Make?

Cruise ship employees make between $16,000 and $20,000 per year on average. Higher-level positions can earn significantly more money, with salaries ranging from $30,000 to over $100,000 annually.

From the three largest cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Group, and Carnival Corporation & plc’s 2018 annual regulatory filings, we calculated the average earnings.

Despite the fact that cruise lines’ average salaries vary, these three businesses offer important information about the pay of cruise ship employees.

  • Carnival Corporation & plc: $16,622
  • Royal Caribbean Group: $19,396
  • Norwegian Cruise Line : $20,101
  • Workers on cruise ships earn significantly less than the US median annual income of $31,561 (in 2017). There are many advantages to working on a cruise ship, which are covered in more detail later in the article, despite the fact that cruise ship employees’ median annual earnings are low compared to those in the US.

    It’s crucial to keep in mind that the majority of cruise ship employees earn between $10,000 and $15,000 before tips. Depending on the size of the ship and years of experience, the cruise ship captain can earn over $177,000 annually.

    Working on a cruise ship is a great profession. You can go on adventures, visit far-off places, and meet fascinating people.

    Keep in mind that the annual salary figures do not take into account the number of hours worked. It is common for cruise ship employees to put in up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Other employees, like the entertainers on board, might only put in a few hours a day.

    Contracts for cruise ship employees range in length from two to eleven months, with an average of four to eight months.

    The employees who work on cruise ships frequently spend a lot of time away from their families. Many cruise ship crew members spend a few months at home in between contracts.

    Cruise Ship Worker Salary by Position

    how much do cruise ship workers make

    Like every organization, the salary of cruise ship employees varies by position, experience, and skills. Below, we’ve listed the most common staff positions with salary data provided by PayScale.

    How much do cruise ship workers make?

    The median average cruise ship salary is higher than the median salary in many other countries, but it is lower than the average American salary.

    In 2018, the three biggest cruise lines disclosed the median yearly salaries of their staff. They were:

  • Carnival: $16,622
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings: $20,101
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises: $19,396
  • Figures are in US dollars (Source)

    These can be contrasted with the median annual incomes of the populations of different nations:

  • USA: $35,600
  • Australia: $31,590
  • UK: $23,717
  • Spain: $21,788
  • Russia: $16,810
  • Lithuania: £12,695
  • Chile: $10,102
  • India: $2,502
  • Figures are in US dollars and at current purchasing power parity (Source)

    Despite earning less than the average American, cruise ship employees typically earn more than those in many Asian, South American, and Eastern European nations.

    One American cruise ship worker recalled how crew members from developing countries would show him photos of their new three-bedroom houses with swimming pools and ocean views which they bought with their cruise ship salaries.

    Of course, average salary information disregards the quantity of hours worked. Some crew members on cruise ships put in up to sixteen hours per day, seven days a week. Others, like entertainers, might only work a few hours per day.

    Cruise ship agreements can be for two to eleven months, with the majority being for four to eight months. Employees on cruise ships typically get to spend a few months at home in between contracts.


    Is working on a cruise ship worth it?

    Life as a crew member on a cruise ship can be demanding with long hours, no days off for months, many rules, picky passengers, cramped living spaces, and little to no privacy. But working on ships also enables you to visit locations some people can only imagine while developing some incredible relationships with other seafarers from around the world.

    What is the highest-paying job on a cruise ship?

    Executive chefs, cruise directors, chief pursers, hotel directors, and human resources managers are some of the highest-paying cruise ship positions available to those with a degree in hospitality. Although the jobs of captain and safety officer are more lucrative, they also require completion of a recognized maritime training program.

    How much do cruise ship waiters make?

    The average monthly pay for Carnival Cruise Line servers in the United States is roughly $2,200, which is 23% less than the national average. Salary data is derived from two sources: employees, users, and past and present job postings on Indeed within the last 36 months.

    How much does cruise ship workers make an hour?

    As of Nov. 23, 2022, the average hourly wage for a Hourly Cruise Ship Worker in the United States was $23. 10 an hour.

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