Catering, Hospitality and Onboard Services

Like the idea of working in a prestigious hotel, but one that floats on water? Modern cruise ships and passenger ferries could be just the ticket. They require a whole range of Catering, Hospitality and Onboard Services. Specific roles vary, but having relevant qualifications and experience, a bright personality, efficient manner and commitment to providing top quality customer service will be what you need.

Below are the main tasks you could be performing on a daily basis:

  • Administration (often called 'pursers'): receptionist, book keeper, PA and office-based
  • Restaurant: maitre d'hôtel, waiter/waitress, wine steward
  • Kitchen: chef, catering assistant (most cargo-carrying vessels will have a cook or cook-steward on board)
  • Bar: bar manager, bar staff, cocktail waiter
  • Housekeeping: housekeeper, steward, cleaner, porter, laundry personnel, carpenter and joiner, concierge
  • Hospitality: cruise director, casino staff, DJ, dancer, entertainer, excursion manager, hairdresser, beautician, massage therapist, sport and fitness instructor
  • Onboard Services: childcare assistant, doctor, nurse, lifeguard, retail manager, retail assistant, photographer, florist, computer system/IT manager and computer technician.

Many of the Catering, Hospitality and Onboard Services roles are filled by people with experience and qualifications in the roles involved. Qualified individuals are usually recruited by specialist shore-based and franchise organisations. To find out more about them you will need to carry out your own research online or at a library. Search for specialist publications covering cruise or passenger ship careers, or by visiting specific cruise or passenger ferry websites.


So much more than just a job – it’s your first-class way to see the world.