If you love people, organizing activities and running the show, then a cruise coordinator position might be a good fit. Also called a cruise director, the salary range for the position -- essentially the person in charge of the passenger side of the cruise -- the salary range is $2,450 to $7,965 per month. The size of the ship and scope of the job determines how to reach the upper scale of this position. Room and board on ship are provided, adding to your bottom line.
The Larger the Ship, the Bigger the Job
A cruise coordinator is responsible for making sure the daily activities, programs, and excursions run smoothly. This includes keeping guests informed about the daily and upcoming schedule through print material and signage, and being the point of contact before and during the activities. The cruise coordinator, for instance, will have maps, directions, and notes of interest for each port of call. He will also emcee the onboard entertainment and supervise the entertainment department. A cruise coordinator is on the job 24/7. The larger the ship, the greater number of departments that fall under the cruise coordinator's scope. On a small vessel the cruise coordinator may essentially be a one-man show, but on a megaship he will be responsible for managing a number of positions -- the hotel manager, shore excursion coordinator, entertainment director, for example, to ensure a positive experience for all passengers.
Because the cruise coordinator is so key in guest relations, most vessels require a minimum of two years' experience at sea and at least two years in a guest services position. Computer competence and public speaking experience are necessary for this job. Tourism schooling or experience is highly valued as well and required for some cruise companies. This includes working in hotels, at resorts or in other tourism related activities, but having on-board experience is essential for this pivotal position. Being able to work with both the staff and guests in a positive and engaging manner is key to job growth as well. As one Royal Caribean Cruise Lines employee stated, "Guest feedback on programs is highly valued by upper management. Every guest gets a survey form to fill out at the end of their cruise and their answers are taken seriously." Some cruise companies require a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, hotel restaurant management or travel and tourism. Most, if not all cruise companies require a background check, drug test, references and a formal application. A valid passport is also required.
Contributing Factors for a Higher Salary
Speaking multiple languages is highly sought after by cruise lines and can give a job seeker a wider range of cruise companies to contact. While it may not be a requirement for a Disney cruise to speak German, it is for a luxury cruise to Greece departing from Monaco. German, French, Spanish and Japanese are the most common languages spoken on tours after English. Depending on the size of the ship, the breadth of the cruise coordinator position is what makes the difference in salary. Having solid experience as a guest relations manager, shore tour manager or any of the other guest-focused activities can make a difference in a hire's starting pay.
According to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, the cruise industry has shown an average annual growth of 7.2 percent since the 1980s. Room, board, tips and travel perks are significant contributors to any cruise worker's salary. The absence of expenses can essentially double the overall "pay" for a cruise director.
- Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images