One question we get asked a lot is how much money do cruise ship crew members make. This varies widely depending on what the position is onboard as well as where they are from.
For example, I worked as the Broadcast Technician and being from American started at $1850 per month. A person from the Philippines would actually start significantly lower than that. This is just the nature of the business that people from poorer countries make less.
In another example a Junior hostess from St. Lucia with lots of experience could start at $850 per month, while a hostess from Jamaica with no experience started at $1300 per month.
These are just examples to show the difference in nationality does change the salary. So when you start working onboard you should definitely fight for a higher salary and see what you can get.
Well, to answer the question, here are salary ranges for various positions onboard. They do vary depending on what cruise line you work for and the high end of these amounts is not the cap by any means. You can make more if you have experience and if you move around to various lines. Do you know how easy it is to get a job onboard cruise ships or what it's like to work onboard? Find out below.
All of the following are monthly salary ranges.
Do you want to work onboard cruise ships?
Gift Shop Manager: $2500 - $5000
Gift Shop Staff: $1000 - $3000
Art Sales Associate: $2500 - $10000
Captain: $6000 - $10000
Higher striped officers: $4000 - 7000
Deck Officer: $1500 - $3000
Engineer: $1500 - $4000
Dancer: $1900 - $3000
Musician: $1600 - $3000
Lead Technician: $2500 - $4000
Broadcast & AV Technician: $1300 - $3000
Guest Entertainer: $4000 - $10000
Bar & Wait Staff: $500 - $2000
Do any of these cruise ship jobs interest you? Find out how easy it is to get a job onboard cruise ships, what it's like to work onboard and how to get fired from cruise ships. In general higher end cruise lines pay more as they also demand a higher standard of employee for a higher class clientele, while Carnival, would have more jobs available, but at a lower wage.
Now keep in mind too, that cruise lines do pay their crew in cash. That's right a stack of $100's every month paid out to each crew member. Many of the crew don't have to claim taxes while US citizens however, do have to report this as you will get a W-2 at the end of the year.
The Truth shall set you free
And I must bring up another point that is not often addressed and that would be how much crew from 3rd world countries make. You see, passengers often feel sorry for these crew who are away form their families for 10 months at a time, only to make a couple hundo a month that they send home to their families. Heart braking... I know.
Here's the deal
Yes we have all heard the claim that "with exchange rates they are making decent money to live off of". Yes that is true, but even without the exchange rate, they still make good money. The top guys and gals from India, Philippines and Indonesia can make upwards of $2000 per month waiting tables, cleaning rooms and doing some the "lesser jobs" that you probably couldn't be asked to do..
Then these crew show you a photo of their kids. I have personally known a couple guys who had pictures of their friends or families kids to help them solicit tips from passengers. And the passengers fall for it every time. We have seen these same guys going into the gift shops buying a $700 Tissot watch. I guess his family didn't need the money that bad after all.
So next time you go on a cruise, be sure to take a look at your room cleaners watch and see if he really is as hard up as he wants you to think. There is so much more you should know about what it's really like working onboard cruise ships.
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