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Large or small cruise ship – which one is better to work on?

Many people who think about working onboard a cruise ship ask, to which ship they should send their application to. Some others have been on a cruise and think about working right there, on that very same ship.

While first impressions count, one needs to keep in mind, that when applying for a job onboard a cruise ship, this is company specific – never cruise ship specific.

Also the area where in the world one wants to work is solely up to the employer.

Transfers from one ship to another within the fleet are common and can happen within a blink of an eye.

Large or small cruise ship – which one is better to work on?

So, how to best find a suitable company?

Ships change location, management onboard changes rather quickly – but what you can learn onboard and how stressful/relaxing, how friendly, how easy or difficult your time onboard can be, depends often on the size of the ship.

On a ship with 3000 Guests and 1500 Crew - imagine, how individual your training will be, how personal your contacts.

An employee in most cases will know his/her cabin, the crew bar, the way to the work place and to the gangway. He/she will be surrounded the most of time with his/her co-workers and also hang out with them during leisure times.

On a ship with lesser people onboard - the chance to meet people from other departments is by far greater. The separation between crew, staff and officers is often not as strict - and one can see and learn more about the overall picture and how a cruise ship “works”.

Having worked on cruise ships with 100, 800 and 2000 guests - my preference is definitely the medium sized ones with 800 guests.

However, the most I have learned about ships and how the departments best work together was on the smallest ship - the ones with 100 guests and 75 crewmembers.

Passenger/Crew Ratio

Not only does the size of the ship matter – but greatly the Passenger/Crew Ratio.

When looking for a cruise line where to apply to, my preferences are those with a 2:1 passenger to crew Ratio. Everything better than that is great. It certainly makes a difference if one has to take care of 1.5 or 2 or 3 passengers.

While the crew count on a smaller ship is very tight - and if one position is not occupied for a day, the rest of the crew will feel that - nothing beats the community and the forming of a team onboard a smaller ship.

Where to start?

If you are looking for making a career onboard a cruise ship, your choice should be for a smaller ship in the beginning. This will give you the chance to learn and understand how it all comes together.

If you are suitable for a promotion, it will happen faster onboard a small ship, than on a bigger one.

It all depends, what you would like to achieve from working onboard a cruise ship – yet in can never hurt to look at the size of the ships and the Passenger to Crew ratio.