These are the Best Cruise Lines to Work For

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Picking the right cruise line to work for is all about matching what you want and what you bring to the table – your skills, education, and experience matter a lot.

If you like the idea of more job openings, bigger cruise ships could be the way to go since they have larger crews. On the flip side, working on a smaller ship means getting to know your guests, which often translates into better tips!

Cruise ships offer a wide range of job opportunities, from behind-the-scenes work to being the face of the ship. There’s something for everyone.

A waiter in a crisp white jacket meticulously sets a table in the Queens Grill restaurant on Cunard's Queen Victoria, exemplifying the White Star Service standard. The elegant dining room features large windows, polished wood accents, and fine glassware, ready for a luxurious dining experience at sea.

If you’re unsure whether this path is for you, check out my other posts about how much you can earn on a cruise ship and tips for landing a cruise ship job.

To find the best cruise lines to work for, I dug deep into online forums to gather insights from the crew who’ve worked on these ships. I also looked at what the cruise lines say on their career pages.

Here are the top five cruise lines to work for, based on feedback from people who’ve been there and done that:

1. MSC Cruises

If you’re excited about joining one of the biggest names in the cruising world, MSC Cruises might be just what you’re looking for. It’s the biggest privately owned cruise company, and it employs over 23,000 people worldwide.

They have 19 ships sailing right now and plan to add more, making it a perfect place for someone looking to join a growing, leading business.

The MSC Euribia cruise ship serenely floats on calm waters, its sides adorned with the #savethesea message, under a clear blue sky, with a distant city skyline softly hazing on the horizon.

With crew members from 114 countries and more than half of the people working on land being women, MSC Cruises values diversity.

According to their careers site, MSC Cruises believes that having a diverse team is a big part of their success. This team brings valuable different perspectives to both the guests and their teams.

Working with MSC Cruises comes with many perks, like where you’ll stay, access to the crew gym, bar, pool, medical support, laundry service, special outings, and parties just for the crew.

A work contract usually lasts five to seven months, with a two-month break after that. MSC Cruises even has a quiz on its careers page to help you determine whether it is a good fit for you.

A welcoming group of waitstaff aboard an MSC cruise ship, dressed in crisp white uniforms with bow ties and smiling as they prepare to provide guests with exceptional dining service.

Job openings vary depending on whether you’re interested in working in hotel operations, on the deck, or in the engine department. MSC Cruises’ website has all the current openings.

2. Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean, one of the giants of the cruise world, is known for offering an attractive package for those looking to join its crew.

This cruise line, with a fleet of 27 ships (and more on the way), sails to every corner of the globe, from the icy shores of Antarctica to the warm beaches of the Caribbean. It’s part of the larger Royal Caribbean Group, which also owns several other cruise lines.

Aerial view of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship docked at a vibrant Caribbean island, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and a bustling pier, illustrating a tropical paradise.

Royal Caribbean goes all out for its staff. Crew members enjoy perks like discounted cruises for themselves and their families, reduced prices on shore excursions, and free accommodation while on duty.

To keep spirits high at sea, the company organises various crew activities, from parties to sports competitions, promoting a vibrant and enjoyable work atmosphere.

Contract lengths at Royal Caribbean can vary, with senior management typically looking at 4-month stints and other roles ranging between 6 to 8 months. Given the 24/7 operation on board, staff may not always get a full day off every week but get breaks to relax, explore ports, and join in on fun activities.

The range of job opportunities is broad, covering departments like hotel operations, which includes roles in the casino, kitchen, entertainment, and guest services. There are also marine positions focused on electrical, engine, security, and environmental aspects. There’s also the chance to work at Royal Caribbean’s exclusive private destinations.

A Royal Genie, or personal concierge, smiling while carrying luggage down the stairs in the spacious and luxurious Royal Loft Suite on Royal Caribbean's cruise ship.

To see the latest job openings and possibly start your adventure with Royal Caribbean, check out their careers page for all the current listings.

3. Disney Cruise Line

If you love Disney and have always dreamed of travelling, working for Disney Cruise Line could be the perfect match. Imagine spending your days on a Disney-themed cruise ship, bringing smiles to families and creating magical experiences for guests, all while exploring different parts of the world.

Disney Cruise Line has five ships, with two more on the way. These ships sail to places like Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe. They’re looking for people who have the skills needed for the job and share a passion for delivering top-notch service in a family-friendly setting.

The Disney Wish cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, with a bustling beachfront, turquoise waters, and lush greenery under a blue sky.

Working on a Disney ship comes with some pretty great perks, like discounts on Disney merchandise and experiences, free theme park tickets for you and your family, good pay, and many chances to grow in your career. There are also awards for great work, health coverage, and much more.

The length of a contract can range from three to eight months, depending on the job. Disney Cruise Line supports its crew’s growth by offering thorough training at the start and opportunities to move up in the company, which can lead to even more benefits over time.

Patrons enjoy beverages and warm conversation at the Periscope Pub aboard Disney Cruise Line's Disney Treasure. The ambiance is modern yet cozy, featuring an underwater theme with a large metallic periscope and brass fittings, complemented by the soft glow of overhead lighting.

To see what jobs are currently open with Disney Cruise Line, you can check their website.

4. Cunard

If you’re thinking about working on a cruise ship, getting to know the company’s history is part of the fun. And there’s no better place to do that than with Cunard Line, which has been around for 185 years.

Cunard started back in 1839 and is now a big name in British cruising, run by the world’s biggest cruise company, Carnival Corporation. They’ve got four ships sailing to places worldwide, like Asia, Alaska, Europe, and Africa, and they’re famous for their trips across the Atlantic to North America.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth cruise ship is captured mid-journey amidst a serene sea of floating ice, with the majestic backdrop of a sprawling glacier and snow-capped mountains under a clear blue sky.

Working at Cunard comes with lots of perks. Crew members get to use the gym, have their own areas on deck, save money on things to do on land, and get discounts on stuff they buy on the ship. They also get training to help them move up in their careers, free flights to the ship from home, and don’t have to worry about food or a place to stay while travelling the world. There are loads of other benefits, too.

The people at Cunard are like a big family from all over the globe, all working together to give passengers the best service.

The length of time you’ll work in a contract depends on what job you do. Some jobs, like working with kids, are busier in the summer, so the contracts are different to match the busy times. You might work for four to six months and then get two months off.

Cunard is looking for people to work in all kinds of jobs, from medical and finance to marketing, and these jobs can be on the ship or back on land. They offer different types of contracts, including permanent and temporary.

Each ship has a crew of between 977 and 1,246 people who do various jobs to ensure the guests have a great time.

A bellboy in a red uniform is attentively positioning a red dress on a hanger on a portable clothes rack in the ornately decorated hallway of a Cunard cruise ship. The carpet is red with a patterned design, matching the aesthetic of the elaborate relief sculpture of animals on the wall.

You can check their website to learn more about working with Cunard and see what jobs are available.

5. AIDA Cruises

AIDA Cruises is often celebrated as one of the top places to work in Germany. It is known for its focus on training and development, great pay and benefits, and a positive company culture. It’s part of the Carnival Corporation, making it a solid pick for anyone looking for a reputable and award-winning employer.

The cruise line operates 14 ships designed for active, younger holidaymakers and offers journeys around the globe.

One of the standout features of working for AIDA Cruises is that it provides EU citizens with employment contracts that follow EU guidelines. This means workers get comprehensive social insurance, among other benefits.

Other perks of joining the AIDA crew include access to leisure facilities like a crew sauna, sundeck, and fitness studio, free Wi-Fi, and opportunities to join shore excursions. They also have a unique online learning platform, AIDA Train Me Up, which helps employees advance their careers and is accessible anytime.

Job contracts at AIDA Cruises can last between four and six months, depending on the role. There are various departments to work in, including guest services, nautics and technics, and entertainment. Positions include chef de partie, housekeeper, electrician, engineer, and camera operator.

You can visit their website to see what jobs are open at AIDA Cruises right now.

Wrapping It Up

Finding the perfect cruise line to work for isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. It comes down to what you’re looking for in a job and how well you gel with the company’s culture.

Applying to various roles is a good idea since getting a job in this field is competitive. Big names like Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Group cover several cruise lines, allowing you to try different experiences if you get in.

On the other hand, smaller cruise companies tend to stand on their own and might offer a cosier, more family-like vibe.

Even though you might be curious about which specific ship you would be best suited to work on, it’s important to remember that you don’t usually get to pick your ship. You apply to a cruise line, and they place you where they think you fit best.

As you gain more experience, you can potentially work with luxury or niche cruise lines, such as those focusing on adventure or yacht cruising. These spots often come with higher pay, better perks, and the chance to see more unique places.

Ultimately, there’s no single “best” company to work for in the cruise industry. Whichever path you choose, the opportunity to travel the world while earning a paycheck is a fantastic benefit that draws millions to these jobs.

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I'm Hannah and I've been cruising for as long as I can remember.

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