Cruise Ship Positions With Extra Time Off

Jun 14, 2023

Working on a cruise ship offers a unique and exciting experience, but it also comes with challenges. One such challenge is the availability of time off for different positions onboard. In this article, we delve into various jobs on cruise ships and explore the likelihood of getting time off for each role.

While working as a bartender, I couldn't complain about the time off I was given on the cruise ship. Whenever the ship was docked in port, I had a chance to sneak outside, at least for a bit, to inhale some fresh air and restore my mindset from the hectic and stressful hours at work. Every bartender or bar waiter in the bar department will get at least one time off during a seven-day journey if there are four ports of call. Of course, when I say a time off, it means that it will not be a full 24 hours off, but instead, you will start somewhere around 17h or 18h on that day. Overall, the bar department can't really complain about the time off when they can go ashore. It is probably one of the best jobs in terms of having time off on a cruise ship (besides the casino department).

Here are some positions that will get some extra time off:

Musicians & Entertainers

There are various types of musicians and entertainers who work onboard cruise ships, ranging from guest entertainers who do one or two shows to in-house performers, including magicians, acrobats, figure skaters, high divers, and more. The contracts for these performers can vary greatly, just like the variety in their acts.

Many onboard musicians are granted one day off a week, while others may not have a designated "day off" but instead have days off in between their performances and rehearsals. Positions without a contracted day off may be expected to work out in the gym or practice their instruments independently. Strict maritime regulations on work/rest hours require accounting for all hours worked by crew members.

Casino & Shops

Local regulations prohibit the shops and casinos from being open while the ship is in port, and in some areas, even when the ship is close to port. Therefore, employees working in shops and casinos have schedule-driven routines. Sea days are typically busy and long, while port days are often quieter.

However, they do have some port days off. Most jobs onboard involve both the part visible to passengers and the behind-the-scenes work, such as inventory management, organization, maintenance of gaming machines, and training.

Art Auctioneer, Port Shopping Ambassador

Every job on the ship has specific rules regarding the position, department operations, and revenue targets. Some roles may have requirements for desk hours, the number of art auctions, and guidelines on what information can be sent to guests' cabins. However, certain positions may not have explicit rules about desk hours.

Even if there isn't a "desk hours" requirement from the cruise line, there may be expectations from the partner company. In cases where there are no specific rules, these positions might have a "day off." However, individuals working on a commission-based structure know that their earnings depend on their effort and hard work. While they might be able to take a day off, it may not be in their best interest.


It may come as a surprise, but people working in the spa sometimes get days off. These days off are usually scheduled over a two-week or ten-day rotation, providing one day off within that time. However, the remaining working days can be long, often averaging 10+ hours. The spa is allowed to remain open while the ship is in port, but since most guests choose to go ashore, it is less busy. Those working in the spa may have fewer hours to work on some port days.

For Cruise Ship Crew Who Don't Get Days Off – Can They Still Have Fun?

Just because you don't get a day off while onboard doesn't mean you can't have fun! It also means you can take advantage of big adventures ashore. It will likely take more planning and coordination with your team to make those special days happen.

Only some jobs will have the flexibility, and only some managers will work with you to have the flexibility to do incredible things every once in a while. Whether that is working a little extra one day (although still not breaking work/rest hour rules) so that you can perform a bit less another day to go climb the Great Wall of China or if it's asking someone to switch watch with you so you can go snorkeling in Bora Bora, a lot of the time it is possible to get to do these things with some planning, coordination, and yes, having a good supervisor.

Working on a Ship with No Days Off – Is It Worth It?

Working onboard a cruise ship is hard work. Suppose you are in a job that works every day or in one that gets a day off every once in a while. Any way you slice it, if you work onboard a ship, it is hard – time away from families, often long hours. Whether or not it is worth it is up to you, who you are, and your personality. But, if you go to work at sea, unless it's written out in your contract for a day off, you should plan to work every single day of your agreement. It's ok. I am sure you can do it, just change your mindset and click in the beast mode. You are capable of anything, just work hard and remember that life is a beautiful thing. Have a great contract, everyone.