How Long Are Cruise Ship Employee Contracts?

By Anna Duncan

Cruise ship employee contracts can vary greatly in length. Depending on the type of contract, cruise ship workers can be hired for a few weeks or months at a time, or for several years.

Temporary Contracts

Short-term contracts are the most common type of contracts offered to cruise ship employees. These types of contracts require workers to commit to a specific period of time, usually lasting anywhere from one month to six months.

Cruise lines often hire temporary staff during peak season, when they need more hands on deck. These positions usually require little experience and come with basic pay and benefits like free meals and lodging while onboard the ship.

Seasonal Contracts

Seasonal contracts are similar to temporary contracts, but they offer longer commitments ranging from six months to a year. Cruise lines typically recruit these types of employees during their off-season when they need additional staff for their upcoming season. Seasonal workers may receive more benefits than temporary ones, such as higher pay and additional perks like discounts on shore excursions or onboard purchases.

Permanent Contracts

Permanent contracts are the most long-term commitment that cruise lines offer their employees. These contracts last for multiple years and often require higher levels of experience or qualifications than temporary or seasonal positions do. Permanent contract holders typically receive higher pay and more extensive benefits packages than other types of employees do.


The length of cruise ship employee contracts depends on the type of contract being offered by the cruise line. Temporary contracts are typically the shortest at 1 month up to 6 months while seasonal contracts range from 6 months up to 1 year in length and permanent contracts can last multiple years depending on the position being filled.