Essential skills you will need to work on a Cruise Ship

When considering whether a career onboard a cruise ship is the right choice for you, here are a few of the Essential Skills that you will need as part of the crew: 

  • Good Customer Service 

A cruise ship is essentially a floating hotel, transporting guests to various amazing destinations. Whilst guests are on their holiday, they should be warmly welcomed by the crew and be well catered for during their stay. There are a variety of onboard roles ( please see for a list of current positions on offer). Some of these will be ‘front of house’ such as guest services, housekeeping etc. and therefore daily interaction with guests is the norm. However ,even if you are technically in a ‘back of house’ role such as Deck or Engineer Officer / Ratings, Galley Staff etc. , good customer service skills are still vitally important as you will come across guests during your daily work routine. It is important to remember that you are always representing the company, even a smile and a ‘good morning’ can go a long way! 

  • Be Safety Conscious 

When working onboard a cruise line, all crew have a core responsibility to be safety conscious.  Working shoreside, if needed, the emergency services can be called upon to deal with any emergency that may present itself however, whilst onboard a cruise ship, the crew are the immediate ‘emergency services’ and must be ready to manage any emergency until shoreside assistance arrives. Quite often a cruise line will have a medical team onboard however they are limited in numbers and therefore all crew should keep well aware and report anything that may be unsafe for the crew, guests and for the ship itself. 

  • Excellent Communication Skills  

Whilst onboard a cruise ship, you will be working alongside crew from various backgrounds and nationalities. Generally, the official international language spoken onboard is English. However, this will be spoken in various dialects and it is important to remember that there will be a range of crew with a variety of English language ability. Speaking clearly and slowly is sometimes necessary.  
From a safety aspect, being able to communicate clearly is essential to ensure that all instructions are followed correctly, it is always better to ask twice if unsure – and utilise closed loop communication if needed.  

  • Great Time management  

Onboard a cruise ship the itinerary is often busy and some vessels are in and out of ports every day, starting a new cruise as often as once every 4 days. Time management does therefore become a large factor daily.  Crew should be able to complete their duties as needed – which can sometimes be within a tight time frame. As crew are working and living onboard for the duration of the contract , it can sometimes become difficult to separate work life from personal life however it is vital to ensure that time is taken to socialise , speak with family , sleep and even go ashore if possible. Having a good work / life balance will ensure crew are well rested, motivated, and ready to start each new day onboard! 

  • Qualifications 

Onboard there are a variety of job roles, all of which will require basic seafarer training: STCW Basic Safety Training and the ability to pass a Seafarers medical examination. There are, however, some roles onboard which have more particular requirements and will require additional courses / training to be undertaken prior to joining the ship – e.g. Deck /Engine Officer will need to complete a Cadetship and a Chef may need Ship’s Cook certification.