How Much Do Cruise Ship Employees Make?

By Alice Nichols

Cruise ship employees make a living by providing services on board the vessel, from entertainment and hospitality to security and maintenance. Cruise ship employees have the opportunity to travel the world for free or for a discounted rate, and may even have the chance to explore some of the ports visited by the ship. It is possible to earn quite a bit of money as a cruise ship employee, but it is important to consider that living on board can be quite expensive.

Cruise lines pay their employees differently depending on their position, experience, and certification. Generally speaking, entry-level positions such as waiters, stewards, housekeepers, and bellboys start out at around $800-$1200 per month.

Bartenders can expect to make between $1000-$1800 per month while chefs may receive up to $3000 per month. Entertainment staff – singers, dancers, actors – usually make between $2000-$3000 per month.

Higher-up positions such as department heads or assistant managers tend to pay much more than other positions. These jobs can range from $3000-$5000 per month or even more depending on experience and qualifications. Engineers may be paid up to $6000-$8000 per month depending on their level of expertise.

It is important to remember that many cruise lines also offer their employees bonuses such as tips from passengers or commission from sales in addition to their base salary. Employees are also provided with food and lodging while they are working aboard the vessel which helps offset some of the cost associated with living on board.

Overall, cruise ship employees can make a decent living if they are willing to work hard and put in long hours. With the right qualifications and experience, it is possible for an employee aboard a cruise ship to make a comfortable living while traveling around the world.


Cruise ship employees have an opportunity to make an interesting income while travelling around the world for free or at discounted rates. While entry-level jobs typically offer wages ranging from $800-$1200 per month; higher-level positions such as department heads or assistant managers have potential salaries of $3000-$5000 or more each month. Bonuses from tips or sales commissions in addition to food and lodging provided by employers amplify these wages further making it possible for cruise ship employees to make a decent living.