How much do you get paid?
From a North American or Western European perspective, the salary for many jobs on cruise ships at first glance may seem low relative to similar shore-based positions. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all of your major living expenses such as rent, food, utilities and related bills are all taken care of by the cruise line while you are working at sea.
Also, as is normal for most marine professions and companies that operate globally, a unique aspect of working at sea is that cruise ship job salary rates are typically based on the standard of living in the employee’s home country. For example, a US$600 per month salary for a laundry attendant may seem extremely low for an American worker, but for an minimally-skilled Indian or Filipino person, a US$600 monthly salary is a modest income for a typical household in a country where the average monthly wage may be under US$300. In fact, jobs on cruise ships are coveted positions in some countries where the work is seen as a steady source of employment that provides a dependable monthly salary for an extended family.
For the technical and higher-skilled cruise ship jobs and positions where there is an increased level of responsibility, the monthly salary increases and is commensurate with similar marine positions around the world.
If you are looking for a higher rate of pay, you might consider yacht crew jobs where the monthly rates of pay can be exceptional, especially for the mid-level and upper level positions such as chief steward, engineer, chef and captain positions.
Although it rates highly, money is only one consideration of many in terms of your overall job satisfaction. If you are smart and keep your expenses low–especially if you don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes–you can bank anywhere from a few thousand to US$30,000 each 6 to 10 month contract, depending on your base salary.