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How Much do Cruise Ship Workers Make?

A recent Business Insider article compiled data it gathered from interviewing 35 past and current cruise ship workers specifically regarding their wages.

What the data showed was interesting. The wages of those interviewed ranged from $500 per month to $10,000 per month. The average for the group was $3,233 per month and the median wage was around $2600 per month. A Carnival galley line worker was at low end of the range, while a First Officer from Royal Caribbean International represented the top end.

Reporting released by Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in 2018 shows that the median wage in the Business Insider survey was higher than those reported by the cruise lines.

Additionally data released by the U.S. government shows the median income for Americans to be even higher still.

Here is a break down of the numbers:

Median Monthly Wages per Month

  • $2600 – Business Insider Sample
  • $1385 – Carnival Corporation
  • $1616 – Royal Caribbean International
  • $1675 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
  • $2592 – U.S.

The data shows that crew members make significantly less money working on a cruise than U.S. workers do working in the United Sates, however, a majority of crew member reveal that the wages and benefits provided by the cruise lines far out pace the wages and benefits they would make working in their home country.

A quote from a CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) representative supports this idea that there is crew satisfaction saying, “crew members are very satisfied with their jobs and opportunities for career advancement, which explains why employee retention rates in the cruise industry are upwards of 80%”.

You can read the full Business Insider article here.

Check out our video coverage of this story below:


  1. Todd Carr Todd Carr

    Crew members also get food, boarding, and work clothes
    I am not saying their pay is enough at all. They have a personal ethic to do their job to perfection and give guests the perfect vacation. A large part of them send the money home to feed their families. Always remember they left family in order to provide for them. Prepay your gratuities and give a little extra!! Remember we are guests in their home and they have to put up with us and pick up after us. They deserve respect and a little extra.

  2. Judy pratt Judy pratt

    Our first cruise in November on Carnival Fantasy with part of my family (5 grandkids). Grandkids are telling us how much fun it will be. We have had a few family situations. No phone or computers

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