How Much Do Cruise Ship Workers Make?

By Robert Palmer

Cruise ship workers, like many other hospitality professionals, often receive a combination of wages and tips. The exact wage and benefits package for cruise ship workers can vary depending on the company, the job position and the employee’s level of experience.


The base wage for most cruise ship workers is usually minimum wage or slightly higher. This varies from country to country and from cruise line to cruise line.

Employees may also receive bonuses or other incentives based on service performance or length of employment. For instance, many cruise companies offer a signing bonus to new employees, as well as additional bonuses for staying with the company for more than a year.


In addition to their wages, many cruise ship employees also receive tips from passengers. Tips are generally pooled among crew members and then divided out among them.

Some cruise lines have set tipping policies that passengers must adhere to while others set no guidelines at all. However, regardless of the tipping policy, passengers are encouraged to tip their cabin stewards, waiters and other service personnel who provided them with excellent service during their vacation.


Many cruise lines offer a variety of benefits in addition to wages and tips for their employees including meals, free passage on cruises for family members, vacation time and discounts on shore excursions and onboard purchases. Cruise ship employees may also be eligible for health insurance coverage if they meet certain criteria such as working a certain number of hours per month or completing a certain length of contract with the company.


Cruise ship workers can make anywhere from minimum wage up to several thousand dollars per month depending on the job position they hold and their level of experience. Although wages may not be high compared to some jobs ashore, they are supplemented by generous tips from passengers as well as various benefits such as meals and vacation time that help make life at sea more enjoyable.