Onboard and Onshore Cruise Ship Job Descriptions

There are many positions available onboard a cruise shop and the following is a brief description of many of those positions in order to give you an idea of what is available.

Deck and Engineering Department

This is the department that is responsible for maintaining and running the vessel. This department usually does not have entry level positions. People working in this department are merchant marines and include deckhands, maintenance workers, engineers, and officers. The Officers are in charge of the running of the ship and for passenger safety.

Job Titles for Deck and Engineering Department

  • Able Seaman, Bosun, Captain, Carpenter, Chief Officer, First Officer, Quarter Master, Safety Officer, Security Officer, Staff Captain are all considered Deck personnel.

  • Assistant Engineer, Chief Engineer, Chief Electrician, Chief Radio Officer, First Assistant Engineer, Motorman, Oiler, Plumber are all employee’s in the Engineering Department.

The Service/Hospitality Department

These positions all fall under the Hotel Management department. These staff members usually take charge of the restaurants, bars and passenger cabins. Shipboard concessions are handled by this department as well. The food servers and alcohol servers usually make a good bit of tip money. You can be trained to work in many of these areas and start out in an entry level position. The Purser which is the ship’s treasurer is included in this department.

Food and Beverage Department

  • Baker, Bar Back, Bar Manager, Bartender, Buffet Server, Butcher, Busboys, Chef de Partie, Cocktail Server, Dining Room Head Waiter, Dining Room Manager, Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Servers, Manager, General Cook, Maitre d’ Hotel, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, Wine Steward,


  • Chief Purser

  • Purser Staff

Personal Care Department

The Personal Care Department includes fitness, beauty, spa and medical services. This is a very important department for many of the passengers who signed up for the cruise to let them pamper themselves, This department is becoming more and more important since many people go on cruises just to be pampered silly in order to make themselves feel much better while on shipboard.

Salon/Spa/Fitness Departments

  • Beauty Therapist, Fitness Instructor, Hair Stylist, Manicurist, Massage, Therapists, Spa Attendant

Medical Department is for both passengers and crew.

  • Physician

  • Nurses

Activity/Entertainment Department

This is a position that is directed toward the comfort of the passengers. The department includes Hosts and Hostesses, cruise directors and staff. The department also includes performers, swimming instructors, and shore excursion staff. These positions are considered to be the most glamorous on the ship, and are the most sought after positions in the cruise industry.

Activity Personnel

  • Art Auctioneer, Assistant Cruise Director, Assistant Shore Excursions Manager, Casino staff, Cruise Consultant, Cruise Director, Dance Instructor, Disc Jockey, Dive Instructor, Gentlemen Host, Lecturer/ Special Guest Speaker, Naturalist, Photographer, Port Lecturer

  • Shore Excursions, Manager of Social Events, Host, Hostess, Youth Counselors

Entertainment Personnel

  • Audio Visual Coordinator, Disc Jockey, Entertainers, Production Manager, Sound and Light Technicians

  • Special Entertainer when applicable

Office Positions

The people who handle the office positions usually work onshore in the main office. Many of the duties required are done onshore and they normally do not have to travel like the people who work on cruise ships. The positions categories are:


  • Accounts Payable staff

  • Bookkeeper

  • Operations Analyst

  • Senior Business Analyst

  • Senior Staff Accountant

  • Tour Accountant


  • Administrative Assistant

  • Administrative Manager

  • Customer Service

  • Human Resources

  • IT Lead Developer

  • Manager Deployment Itinerary Planning

  • Operations Administration

  • Part-time data entry

  • Payroll Clerk

  • Software Engineer

Air Operations

  • Airline Reporting Corporations (ARC) Coordinator

  • Pier/Airport Expediter

  • Seasonal operations Agent/ Seasonal Corporate Air Ticket Agent

Marketing/Public relations

  • Account Executive, Brand Manager, Field Representative, Marketing Research Analyst

  • Media Relations, Purchasing Agent

  • Vice President of Marketing


  • Inside Sales Representative

  • Outside Sales Representatives

  • Reservations Sales & Service

Conclusion Remarks

In conclusion these are all the possible positions that are available for anyone who wishes to work with a cruise line. The positions are many and varied some require licenses and experience while other positions are taught to you while on board ship. You must be willing to travel and be away from home an extended period of time in order to work these positions but they do pay well and you do have the advantage of being able to travel.

Degrees and Training to Become an Onboard and Onshore Cruise Ship Worker

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