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How Much Does A Cruise Director Make & Related Facts You’ll Want To Know

Being a cruise director is one of the most visible jobs on a ship. As you can imagine, it comes with a lot of responsibilities and advantages, as well as some disadvantages. 

They make sure all passengers are having a great time and that everything runs smoothly. They also work behind the scenes, coordinating with other departments to make sure each cruise is perfect.

If you’re someone who loves cruising, you’re probably wondering how much does a cruise director make? Or, perhaps you’re considering your career options. Keep reading to find out everything you would want to know about the role of a cruise director.

How Much Does A Cruise Director Make | photo of members of Entertainment Department on stage at cruise opening
Cruise Director and Entertainment Staff welcoming passengers

What Is A Cruise Director?

You first need to know what a cruise director is. Cruise directors are mainly responsible for a cruise ship’s entertainment and social events. Cruise directors plan, manage, and execute the social events passengers can attend on a cruise.

In addition to hosting and planning social events, cruise directors also often partake in the events. They are also responsible for communicating with guests about the entertainment available on the ship. Therefore, you’ll often see the cruise director attending the events hosted on a cruise ship.

You’ll also hear them communicating over the intercom, where they share the entertainment available for that day. Furthermore, cruise directors are responsible for communicating with staff and crew members and liaising between passengers and crew members. 

Simply put, the cruise director is probably one of the people you’ll see or hear most often while on a cruise ship. They’re also the people you will contact if you have comments, complaints, or concerns during your cruise. 

What Does A Cruise Director Do?

Cruise directors are mainly responsible for organizing social events on a cruise ship. However, their responsibilities stretch far beyond what passengers see when they board a ship. 

But what should one expect when applying for a job as a cruise director? What are their primary job descriptions, and how does a day in the life of a cruise director look?

A Cruise Director supervises/organizes activities throughout the ship including by the pool.

Basic Job Description

The primary job of a cruise director is to plan, manage, and execute social events on the cruise ship. Cruise directors are responsible for all the entertainment events happening on a cruise ship. They are charged with creating and managing the social events calendar for a cruise. 

Therefore, a cruise director will oversee all entertainment events happening on the ship. They oversee the stage performers, light and sound crew, actors, musicians, and anyone involved with the performance on a ship. 

Cruise directors work with other division heads and hotel directors to ensure the guests are happy and satisfied. A cruise director ensures fun and positive energy on the ship. They are therefore expected to be energetic and smiling at all times. 

Cruise directors are also responsible for managing guest expectations. Therefore, they are charged with dealing with and solving any guest problems while on their cruise. Cruise directors also play an integral role in ensuring the safety of all passengers. They communicate directly with other crew members and relay any messages from the crew to the guests. 

As a cruise director, you will be expected to ensure that all the guests are entertained, satisfied, and safe during their cruise. 

Major Cruise Line: Recent Job Postings

One recent advertisement for Cruise Director positions at a major cruise line included the following instructions:

  • Applicants were required to submit a video statement showcasing their talents
  • Sum up your life in 60 seconds. No more, no less.
  • Recount a moment in your life when you laughed so hard it hurt.
  • Without reading from a script, perform a short welcome speech to an imaginary crowd of guests. Make your audience feel excited about the entertainment offered on the cruise.

The advertisement for related positions also included the following requirements:

  • Candidates must be confident in speaking to large groups of people with very little pausing, repetition, or deviation.
  • Your stage style must be confident, charming, and charismatic.
  • You must feel at home on stage, capable of controlling your environment with strong microphone skills, an engaging personality, and a memorable sense of humor.

Furthermore, cruise directors have admin tasks, such as logging any injuries or complaints, keeping a travel log, and ensuring that the cruise is on schedule. They also oversee the staff, ensure that their schedule is up to date, and manage the budget for social events.

As you can imagine, a cruise director has a lot of responsibilities and will therefore work long hours. So how does a typical day in the life of a cruise director look? 

What Does A Cruise Director Do On A Daily Basis?

A cruise director has many responsibilities on a daily basis. Their days often start as early as 7 am when they ensure that all the events are ready for the day. Cruise directors will help set the stage and ensure the lighting and sound of each performance works perfectly. 

Next, a cruise director will announce the activities planned for the day, so guests know which activities they can attend and when and where these activities will take place. A cruise director will also attend the activities and often participate in them. 

Therefore, a cruise director will change into different outfits during the day, depending on the type of show. At these social events, cruise directors often take the role of master of ceremonies or host. Cruise directors actively participate in most events and are expected to be cheerful and energetic throughout the day. 

A cruise director will communicate with other department heads during the day to ensure the schedule runs on time and that all the guests have a pleasant experience. Furthermore, a cruise director will communicate news from the crew members to the guests. For example, the cruise director will inform the guests if bad weather is expected. 

A cruise director must also ensure that the overall entertainment program is moving on schedule and that all the activities are taking place on schedule. In addition, the cruise director manages any staffing issues or timetable changes. Essentially, a cruise director is the ship’s host and is responsible for ensuring all the guests are cared for and that everything runs smoothly. 

A cruise director often has assistants and junior directors working with them to ensure that everything runs on time. The cruise director will often stay until the final event of the evening, meaning that they only get to bed in the early morning hours. The following day, a cruise director will start by ensuring that the activities for that day are ready. 

While many of a cruise director’s daily tasks are similar, a cruise director has plenty of diversity in their day. Therefore, cruise directors need to be adaptable, friendly, and organized. 

Symphony of the Seas, the main theatre

How Much Does A Cruise Director Make?

Considering all the responsibilities a cruise director has, you may be curious to know how much money they make. The reported salary ranges for a Cruise Director position vary widely. Some reports note that cruise directors at a major cruise line average about $60,000 per year. Yet others have reported much higher ranges such as $100,000 for USA cruise directors.

Regardless of the reported wages, cruise directors don’t pay for lodging or meals while they work, resulting in a lower cost of living.

And, generally, staff on the largest ships and with the most experience can expect to earn substantially more than the average income. 

How To Become A Cruise Director?

If the life of a cruise director seems appealing to you, you might wonder how you can become one. Well, there are two main ways to become a cruise director. First, you can transition into one if you have a background in entertainment management, such as hotel management. Or you can start working in another section on a cruise ship and work your way up from there. 

Most cruise ship members agree that the best way to become a cruise director is to have ample experience in the entertainment and hospitality industry. For example, suppose you have previous experience as a hotel or restaurant manager. In that case, you will likely be hired as an assistant cruise director for several years before becoming the head cruise director. 

If you want to become a cruise director and don’t wish to start working as a waiter or coordinator on a cruise ship first, you can study in the hospitality field. For example, a degree or diploma in management, hospitality, or maritime activities may help you get promoted to assistant cruise director faster. 

However, besides having the right qualifications and experience, you must also have the right personality. Cruise directors must be friendly, energetic, and organized. You must be able to work out a schedule and stick to it. You must also be able to manage dissatisfied guests and help solve any problems they may have. 

Furthermore, as a cruise director, you must have excellent language and communication skills, as you often communicate with passengers and other crew members. You must be adaptable and organized, or you will not make a good cruise director. 

What Are The Benefits Of A Cruise Director Position?

Being a cruise director is hard work and involves being away from home for long periods. So, what are the advantages of this job, you may ask? There are several advantages to being a cruise director. The first is that you get immense job satisfaction from this position if you enjoy working with people and helping them have a good time. 

Other advantages of being a cruise director include:

  • Seeing the world while working.
  • Meeting new people and getting excellent experience working in the hospitality, management, and coordinating sectors.
  • Earning a good salary and having the opportunity to get performance-based bonuses. 
  • Medical insurance.
  • Getting future contracts if you do a good job.

These are some convincing advantages that may make anyone consider a job as a cruise director. However, disadvantages also exist.

Challenges And Obstacles Faced By A Cruise Director

Being a Cruise Director is a customer service oriented position. In addition to working long hours, being away from home for months at a time, and dealing with upset or rude guests from time to time, cruise directors also face other challenges and obstacles. 

As the head problem solver on the cruise ship, everyone will come to you for advice and expect you to know the answers to all their questions. In addition, you will have very few vacation days on top of the very long hours. 

As you can see, the life of a cruise director is challenging but exciting. People who decide on this career will have many hours of work ahead of them and have to be energetic and self-motivated if they wish to prosper as cruise directors.

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