Free information about entertainment jobs on cruise ships: casino staff, musicians, magicians, vocalists, singers, music bands, gentleman hosts, youth councellors, disc jockeys, etc.
When I started working on cruise ships comedy clubs were very popular. Numerous bars offered stand-up comic acts and I used to play in four or five towns every week. I'd get paid $100 to $150 a night. After taking care of expenses (gas, material, equipment rental and food), there wasn't much left!
I quickly understood that I had to find a place that would be more lucrative to perform if I wanted reasonable pay. I did have a few golf tournaments during the summer and some conventions throughout the year but those were not always assured and conditions left much to be desired.
So I decided to look into cruise ships. I had a promotional video made and my agent contacted American booking agents specialized in cruise liners.
When I'd come back to Quebec, I would still perform in comedy clubs. Comedians I spent time with often asked me where else I was working and I would answer that I also worked on cruise ships.
I would get all kinds of reactions, but most often people said: "It's easy to perform in front of a captive audience, they have nowhere to go." I didn't argue with them but, to tell the truth, I always found performing on a cruise ship very unsettling.
Let me explain. The public on a cruise ship takes for granted that we owe them something. That public can stand up and leave the room at any moment. Since they didn't have to "pay", strictly speaking, they have much less patience. It's in your interest to be very good in the first five minutes and your act should not have any slow moments. Those people are used to watching action movies on television and they zap easily. But now, they don't have a remote control...
In general that kind of public does not show its appreciation much. After hundreds of shows, I would say that about one person out of eight (1/8) applauds after a number (the others must still think they're in front of their TV). How many times have I seen, just in front of me in the first rows, people slumped into their seats, arms crossed, their whole attitude saying "Come on, funny boy, make me laugh..."
Working in front of such a captive audience on a cruise ship is very hard. That kind of public can easily turn against you. You have to be politically correct at all times. Americans being rather prudish, you have to be very cautious when you hint at sex. Above all, never ever venture on the delicate topic of religion.
I talk mostly about Americans because they constitute the bulk of the clientele traveling on cruise ships.
That public is also very moody. If the weather is bad, if the boat rocks a lot, you can expect a tough night. The hardest evening is without a doubt the first—the Welcome Aboard evening. People have been traveling all day, they've waited in line for hours, they're tired and cranky.
The public is generally made up of seniors (except for a few weeks every year). Some companies have a younger clientele (Carnival), whereas others like Holland of America attract older people (on average 65 and over). I've noticed that the average customer age varies with the destination. For example, you are sure to entertain a senior public if you're going to the Panama Canal or any other destination with many days at sea.
A working evening generally includes 2 shows of 45 minutes each with 2 different publics. You can thus repeat the same act.
I was saying earlier that it is very unsettling to work for this kind of public. For reasons that are unclear to me, you can have an excellent first act and one that is so-so an hour later or vice versa, no matter how much energy you put into it. The same tricks, the same jokes, etc., and the publics react differently even if they are on the same boat, go to the same places, eat the same food, etc.
No, it isn't easy to work in front of a "captive" audience on a cruise ship. It is one of the hardest publics to please, after a group made up of 98% males after a golf tournament, but that is another story.
Cruise ship jobs divided by departments:
Please visit the Cruise Ship Jobs website for more information about cruise ship employment.
Another website, All Cruise Jobs, lists many actual job openings on cruise ships.