On-board photographers take pictures of the passengers while they are boarding and leaving the ship. Photographers also take "candid" shots of the passengers during the cruise and at the various ports of call. Photographers must, of course, know how to use a camera, and they must also have some knowledge of automated or manual developing techniques. A good photographer must also be outgoing and enjoy chatting with passengers. An excellent position onboard any ship for outgoing individuals. Pay is based on an hourly rate plus commission.
This employee is responsible for all the technical details of musical and theatrical performances on board the ship. Duties include the operation lights and audio mixing boards, as well as trouble-shooting technical problems. Pay is salary based.
Purser and Assistant Purser
Thinking back to those Love Boat episodes, Gopher was the chief purser. The purser department is similar to the cruise staff in that there is a great deal of contact with individual passengers, but the purser's department has a wider range of responsibilities, including handling passenger requests and complaints, implementing the cruise line's policies, and dealing with general accounting for the ship's food and beverage operation. Shipboard secretaries are also considered assistant pursers. On the other hand, the purser is a senior officer whose responsibilities include shipboard accounting and budgeting. They basically make sure the ship's operations are profitable. Years of experience are required for promotion to this position.
The ideal assistant purser candidate will have either accounting or secretarial experience, customer relation skills, and general computer knowledge, but no specific work background is required. Pay is salary-based with contracts typically running a year at the time.
As you would guess, cruise ships have lots of openings for all positions that are normally needed in a restaurant. Waiters and waitresses, cook's helpers, bartenders, and many other restaurant-related jobs are available. While many cruise lines hire their own restaurant staff, others rely on the use of concessionaires. Pay is based on salary and a percentage of tips.
Shore Excursion Manager
One of the most difficult jobs onboard, the shore excursion manager (a.k.a. the "shorex") is responsible for organizing all of the on-shore activities of the passengers. This means working with tour operators, bus services, lecture tours, and hotels. Excellent organizational skills are a must, as is an ability to deal with the general public. Lines look for candidates with extensive tourism experience, or they hire from their shore excursion staff members. Pay is salary-based and contracts are annual.
Shore Excursion Staff
These workers carry out the shore excursion manager's orders, and generally assist the manager with organizing the tours and activities. These tend to be good entry-level jobs since a lot of time is spent on land when the boat is docked. Excellent people skills are a must, but no specific experience is required. These positions are often classified as part of the purser's office (Junior Assistant Purser, Shore Excursions). Pay is salary-based.
Check out the section on land tours for information on how to work for some of the companies on land that cater to cruise ship passengers.
These crewmembers are responsible for entertaining the children and teenagers that sail with their parents. Activities include arts and craft classes, beach parties, tours of the ship's bridge, games and contests, ice cream parties, and sporting events including volleyball, basketball, and snorkeling. Working as a youth counselor offers an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in working with kids aged 2 to 17.
The ideal youth counselor will have child care experience, along with college courses in education, leisure studies, or physical education. A love of kids, an outgoing personality, and a good sense of humor are required. Many cruise lines hire extra youth counselors every summer and Christmas from college campuses. See the cruise directory for individual programs.
Water Sports Staff
These crewmembers act as lifeguards, conduct diving and snorkeling programs, and maintain the diving boats and equipment. If you have instructor-level experience, these are excellent jobs. Proper certification and CPR/First Aid training is required. Pay is salary-based.
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