How Much Does a Chef Earn on a Cruise Ship?

By Michael Ferguson

Working as a chef on a cruise ship can be an exciting and rewarding career, especially with the potential to earn a good salary. Cruise ships employ chefs of various levels and experience, from sous chefs to the executive chef. The salary of a cruise ship chef will depend largely on their experience and the type of vessel they are working on.

Cooks on a cruise ship typically start out with basic kitchen duties such as cleaning, prepping, and assisting other chefs.

As they gain experience and skills, they can move up in the ranks to become a sous or executive chef. Sous chefs are in charge of managing other kitchen staff and preparing meals for passengers. Executive chefs oversee all culinary operations on board the vessel and have ultimate responsibility for menu planning and food quality.

Cruise lines offer competitive wages to attract experienced professionals with culinary training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for chefs in 2019 was $48,460 per year (or $23.29 per hour). However, cruise ship chefs may earn much more than this depending upon their experience level and the size of the vessel.

For example, an executive chef in charge of all culinary operations on a large cruise line may earn upwards of $80,000 per year or more while those working on smaller vessels may make closer to $60,000 annually. Sous chefs usually make between $45,000-$65,000 per year depending upon their level of experience.

In addition, many cruise ships offer additional perks such as free room & board while working on board so that you can save money while travelling around the world. Some ships also offer bonuses based upon performance or customer satisfaction ratings.

Overall, working as a chef on a cruise ship can be an enriching career with excellent earning potential. With hard work and dedication it is possible to achieve higher salaries than what is offered by land-based restaurants or hotels.

In conclusion, how much does a chef earn on a cruise ship? It depends largely upon their level of experience and the size of vessel they are working on – however salaries range from around $45-$80K annually with additional perks such as free room & board.