Carnival Cruise ship jobs salary

earl on the jobBefore I went on my cruise, a lot of people said they wouldn’t cruise because of their poor labor practices. Cruises exploit workers, they said. I’ve heard about the long hours and low pay that most cruise workers endure, but rather than assume, I turned to my friend Wandering Earl, who for a number of years worked on cruise ships as a tour director. Earl and I spoke about what it’s really like to be a member of the “crew” on a cruise ship.

Nomadic Matt: How did you end up working on a cruise ship?
Wandering Earl: Back in 2000, I met a fellow traveler who told me about his experiences working on board cruise ships. I was intrigued by his stories of waking up one morning in Jamaica, the next morning in Barbados, and the next in Costa Rica. I also liked the idea of more travel and vacation time.

He spoke of working with hundreds of crew members from around the world, of crew parties, of free activities in every port, and of a working/living/social environment that seemed like something I wanted to experience.

Tell us about your job(s) over the years. What do you do exactly?
I began as an assistant tour manager, but during my first contract I was promoted to tour manager, a position I held for the remaining 4.5 years I worked on ships. As a tour manager I was in charge of the tour office, which is the department that organizes land excursions for passengers in all the ports of call.

For me, my schedule involved being the first person off the ship in the morning, dispatching the tours for a few hours, enjoying some free time in port, then returning to the office in the evening, where I would continue organizing the excursions for the following ports and complete the necessary daily reports to be sent to the head office.

On days when the ship wasn’t in port, I would be in my office still communicating with the tour operators, organizing the tours for future voyages, and dealing with any number of unexpected situations that would arise.

During sea days, I would also give presentations in the main theater, where I would talk about the ports the ship was scheduled to visit and which excursions we offered. [Editor’s note: I don’t remember any of these on my cruise!]

A lot of people criticize cruise liners for their poor working conditions. Have you ever felt mistreated?
Not at all. While crew members do work long hours, the staff are treated quite well. Most ships these days offer very high-quality crew accommodation, along with several dining halls, crew bars, crew shops, Internet cafés, coffee bars, crew gyms, and party areas, all specifically for crew. There are language courses you can take, and even business courses and other certifications available to all crew members. There are frequent movie nights, theme parties (cruise lines organize parties for the major holidays of every nationality working on board the ship), and plenty of other crew activities.

Out of the thousands of crew members I’ve interacted with, I’ve never heard of any major incident of a crew member being mistreated.

Have working conditions improved over the years?
Absolutely. There is simply no way in this day and age that cruise lines would be able to survive if the working conditions were poor. And with every new ship that is built, the crew areas are always improved in order to ensure that the quality of life is as high as possible, something that is important when you are working in such an enclosed environment.

There are always very specific rules in place as to how many hours every crew member can work, how much free time they must receive each week, and what their specific duties entail. And the safety of every crew member really is a priority, at least with the three cruise lines I worked for. In my experience, the officers in command of every ship do whatever it takes to ensure that the crew members are as happy as possible.

Many people say most cruise liners hire people from developing nations because they are less likely to speak out, especially for lower-level positions. Thoughts?
In my opinion, the reason why many of the “lower” jobs are filled with people from developing nations is because the cruise lines can get away with paying them lower wages. Most of the “lower” jobs receive very little money from the cruise lines (maybe $200–500 USD per month), with gratuities making up the rest of their salary. It would be a lot harder to convince people from the Western world to take a job for such a small base pay, but for those from developing countries, this amount is often much more than they would earn back at home.

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How To Get Jobs on a Carnival Cruise Ship

A lot of people dream of having jobs that are fun, but only some people have this opportunity. One of the most fascinating and fun jobs that one can have is working on a Carnival Cruise ship. Employees of Carnival Cruise ships earn money but at the same time can have the experience of having a paid vacation. The vacation destinations that Carnival Cruise ships visit are the most exotic and relaxing places in the world. This also gives the employees a chance to travel the world while earning. There are a lot of jobs that you can apply for on a Carnival Cruise ship.

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