Perks of Working as a Cruise Ship Officer

Mar 27, 2023

The officer position on a cruise ship is one of the best jobs in the world. Of course, as any other iceberg, we can only see the beautiful side of it. Underneath that iceberg is huge sacrifice, commitment, years of challenging tests in nautical school, and many other things. But when everything gets perfectly in balance, and when hard work pays off, the reward is fabulous. After spending a decade on cruise ships around the world, I can firmly claim that officer job is one of the best jobs in the world. Here are  few very specific reasons to support that statement. 

1. Competitive salary

Depending on the cruise company, the junior cadet officer is the starting position for officers. That is around 4000 euro per month ( most of the officers are getting their sallary in Euros). Compared to the other jobs on the cruise ships, that is very high starting salary. For example, the beverage operations manager or housekeeping managers are some of the highest positions on the ship and usually you need at least 10 years of experience before you get one of those jobs. Beverage operations manager or housekeeping manager make between $3000-$4000 per month, running the show for the largest departments on board the ship. Just to compare, junior cadet officer has a higer starting salary then some expert in bar or housekeeping industry who spent decades before getting this role. Every officer on the ship gets a significant salary increase every single time when he/she gets promoted, and for example 3rd officer makes around 6000 euro per month, depending of the cruise line. The 2nd and 1st officers are making between 7000-9000 euro montly, the safety officer has around 12000 euros, staff captain makes around 20.000 monthly and ship Capitan makes between 20000-25000 euro per month. This is only starting part of the advantages that officers have while working on board the cruise ship

2. Single cabin with a window

If you have ever worked on a cruise ship, you know the importance of sharing cabin with someone else, especially for the crew position who gets to share the shoe box cabin with a roommate from a random nationality and position. When it comes to officers, they usually have the nice, specious, beautiful single room, on deck 10. Those officers cabins are large, usually with window of spectacular views. If you are officer, this living environment gives you a perfect opportunity to rest, refresh and always remain in an optimum working mindset. I remember first time when I went to visit my friend cabin, he was 2nd officer on the ship. When he opened the door of his room, I was lauging and could not believe the size of the room and the view from his window. Especially coming from the crew cabin, the smallest cabin in the world, when saw my friend's room, i told him" This is more like a crusing, your room is better than any other guest on board the ship who pays to be on board" 

It was stunning to see that.

3. Short contracts

Most of the officers have 4 month contracts on board the ship, and two months off at home. This makes such a tremendous difference because 4 months is just quick when you think about it. That is what I called for my crew position time for the "half-time disease". After 4 months, you start to feel tired and our body needs to be refreshed. The crew and staff members are usually doing 7-9 month contracts depending if is a tipping or non-tipping position. But for the officers, 4 months makes it perfect, the optimun time frame to complete your contract.

4. Short working hours

This one is tricky, and it largely differs from company to the company. Often, officers are working 4 hour shifts, and then they have 8 hours off. That mainly comes down to the type of job, level of responsibility. The engine department holds enormous responsibility and pressure, so short working hours are reasonable. Compared to other jobs on the cruise ships, officers are working less hours than other department. Understandably, the responsibility is high, but the working hours are still nicely arranged so officers have more than enough time to rest.

5. Separate Officer mess

This one makes such a huge positive difference. I am not trying to idealize or exaggerate things, but the officer mess is a much better place to eat than crew or staff mess. The officers are getting top-quality food prepared by a personal chef who is in charge only to satisfy the officer's food standards. In the officer mess, there are also assigned waiters who serve the food and re-setting the food line. The food is always the top quality, unlike in the crew or staff mess where sometimes its the same choices without many options. This part makes such a great difference in the officer's quality of life on board the ship.

6. The status.

This is something that is unspoken and indirectly used on the cruise ship. There are many laws and procedures on cruise ships that are not applied accordingly in a fair and sustainable way. When someone does something wrong and breaks the policy, its not really important what was done, but who did it. Sadly, this is the reality of the cruise ship, and you have to accept it as it is, or leave it, there is no third option. If you are officer on board the ship, fraternizing with guest in the nightclub is the most normal thing, and your white uniform and status on board will exclude you from protocols and company procedures. While working in the nightclub, I have witnessed the engine 2nd officer kissing a passenger, and the assistant chief security was observing everything with a smile on his face. On the other hand, I witnessed the staff members getting warnings for just dancing on the nightclub dance floor, or crew members even getting fired for silly little things. This is just how it works, the reality of the ship life.

However, taking into consideration all of the perks that the officer position does have on the cruise ship, I can firmly say that this is one of the best jobs in the world.