Cruiseship FAQ: Where to Begin Working on a Cruise Ship

I figured the easiest way to stop answering the same questions over and over was to answer them in one singular location.

Many friends, family, and other travel bloggers have reached out to my regarding working on a cruise ship. And while it will no doubt have its ups and downs, overall my goal is for working on a cruise ship to enable me to meet a TON of people, see new places, and learn a lot along the way.

I must give a shout-out and credit for this idea to my good friend Rachel Gulden. She just left to teach English abroad in Japan for a year and is blogging about her experience there, so feel free to check out her blog.

Frequently Asked Questions About Working on a Cruise Ship

Now onto the most common questions I keep getting about my decision to begin working on a cruise ship.

Who are you working for?
I am employed by Princess Australia (based out of Brisbane Australia), which is a sister company of Princess Cruise line (based out of Los Angeles).

Are you crazy? Have you not heard about all the problems cruise ships have been having?
I have heard all about the problems that cruise ships (mostly Carnival) have been having lately.  But I think that wherever there is a chance for a life-changing experience, there should be and will be risk. Also, cars collide, plans crash, and we continue to drive and fly.

Why did you decide to work on a cruise ship for at least 6 months of your life?
I was sitting at work a few months ago and realized how miserable I was. It was a shame because the people I worked with were great, but the daily tasks of the job just weren’t for me. I started thinking ‘Todd, what do you really want to do?’ And I realized I wanted to travel and work with people. I started researching travel jobs and “cruise ship worker” kept coming up, so I started to look into it and it piqued my interest.

What are you most excited about?
As corny as it sounds, I think I”m most excited for a new and completely different experience. I can’t wait to meet new people from all over, be exposed to different views, beliefs, and experiences. And I can’t leave out the scenery. After all, spending New Years in Fiji doesn’t sound like a bad option. Also, it’s a great chance to save up some money. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking to realize that in less than a month, my life will be COMPLETELY different than it is now. And depending who you ask, you’ll get a different response to that feeling.

How did you get a job on a cruise ship?
While I was at Creighton (and even since) I have done a lot of volunteer work with kids. My experience ranges from working with abused and neglected kids, Cornhusker Boys State, tutoring kids at Kellom elementary, and coaching YMCA flag football and basketball teams. I was able to compile a full resume and proceeded to apply at each major cruise line. I even e-mailed a bunch of HR people directly. Out of nowhere. I had 2 Skype interviews with Disney and with Princess. I decided that Princess seemed like a better fit, so I went for it.

Are there any perks to working on a cruise line?
Well apart from the obvious (traveling), there are some other cool things about working on a cruise ship. I have free room and board (free meals and a place to sleep), they pay for my flight there and back (from Omaha about a $2500 value), I get discounts in the store and on the shore excursions, and I have free company health coverage.

When do you leave/start on the ship?
I fly out of Omaha on August 28th and start on the ship September 1st.

How long is the flight?
Though I haven’t seen my flight schedule yet, its about 3 hours from Omaha to LA and another 11 or so from LA to Brisbane.

When do you get back to the States?
My last day on the cruise ship is February 15th, 2014 (tentatively).

Which ship will you be on?
I will be on the Pacific Dawn cruise ship based out of Brisbane, Australia.

Who is the average Pacific Dawn passenger?
A large majority of the passengers on the ship are Australian, New Zealand, or British.

How many passengers are on the cruise ship?
The average cruise has 2000 people and 700 employees.

Do you get sea sick?
Nope, I never have.

What is the ship like?
Thanks to YouTube, I can show you!

Where will the cruise ship go?
I hope to post an itinerary sooner rather than later, but for the most part, the ship sails around Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu. If you have some free time, I recommend researching New Caledonia and Vanuatu (spoiler alert, they’re beautiful).

What will you be doing while working on the cruise ship?
I was hired as a Youth Staffer in the ‘Teen Division.’ I will be responsible for the teenagers on the ship once their parents drop them off in the youth center, along with 3 or 4 other people. I get to help oversee the activities they participate in, such as sports competitions, late night movies, pizza and mocktail parties, karaoke and lip-sync shows, Vegas night, talent shows, dance class/parties, and theme night.

What are the hours like working on a cruise ship?
Sea Days:
10 am- 12 pm
2 pm- 6 pm
7 pm- 1 am

Port days:
2 pm- 6 pm
7 pm- 1am

Will you ever be allowed off of the cruise ship?
In short, yes. Though there are regulations stating that a certain amount of crew members must be on the ship at all times, it goes on a rotational basis. Also, we go to most of the ports more than once, ensuring that I will be able to see each port at least once.

Are you going to be stuck working the entire time you’re on the ship?
No. The ship is equipped with things such as a crew lounge, crew gym, and crew bar. We are even allowed to take in the shows and entertainment if they are not sold out.

What is the time difference?
Brisbane is 15 hours ahead of central standard time.

How can you be contacted while working on a cruise ship?
The easiest way to contact me (at least at first) will be via e-mail. My e-mail is Skype is also an option—search Todd Smidt or Smidty4423. Any smartphone user with the app Viber can call or text me when I’m connected to wi-fi and through that app I will be able to respond. I am also looking into Google Voice, which would allow me to use my phone exactly how I do here in the States.  Also, I plan on checking Facebook (Todd Smidt), Twitter (Real_Aristotle), Instagram (toddsmidt) and Snapchat (trsmidt) throughout my time working on the cruise ship.

If you have any questions I didn’t address, feel free to leave them in the comment section and I will respond ASAP!

Stay Gold,


3 responses to “Cruiseship FAQ: Where to Begin Working on a Cruise Ship

  1. Hello Todd. You have really helped me and i know this is long after this particular article but in case you see it – how costly is it to buy mobile data for all the online work on the cruise?

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