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How Do I Become a Cruise Ship Musician?

Nick Mann
Updated May 23, 2024
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Many musicians find working on a cruise ship to be an appealing career choice, and a good way to travel while getting paid. In order to become a cruise ship musician, there are a few steps that need to be taken. These include creating a résumé, getting references, making a video and auditioning for a talent agency or directly for a cruise line. In addition, each individual cruise line will require certain steps to be taken before actual employment begins.

The first step to become a cruise ship musician is to create a résumé with one's previous musical experience. It's a good idea to include the time and place of all paying musical gigs in the past. Also it's important to add some credible references from club or bar owners that can testify to the individual's musical capabilities. This will be the initial step to "get the musician's foot in the door."

Another important step when one wants to become a cruise ship musician is to make a video. It's recommended that the video contain either a live performance or a taped studio performance of two or three songs. This will serve as an effective way to showcase the musician's skills and abilities. Although this isn't always required, it's a good idea to have one available and it makes the musician seem more professional.

From here, there are basically two ways to apply to become a cruise ship musician. One way is to contact a talent agency that deals with providing entertainment for cruises. Depending on location, the talent agency will either have the musician audition live or review a video. Applying to a talent agency is often a good idea for individuals with no previous experience working on a cruise ship because the agency will take care of most details. The downside is that it costs some money, and typically the agency deducts a percentage from the musician's paycheck.

The other option is to simply audition directly for the cruise line. This can be done by contacting the cruise line headquarters and inquiring about a position. Most lines will want to interview the musician and have him audition in person or send in a video. From there, they will give instructions on the rest of the process. This is sometimes more difficult and takes longer than it would with an agency, but there will no additional costs.

Along with these steps, each cruise line has different requirements a musician must meet before beginning work. For example, a passport or visa will be mandatory if traveling outside of one's home country. Also, health-related requirements might include a physical and certain vaccinations.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nick Mann
By Nick Mann
Nicholas Mann, a professional freelance writer with over a decade of experience, helps clients achieve their goals by creating compelling content that builds authority, boosts exposure, and drives leads and sales. With a relevant degree, he crafts engaging content across a wide range of topics. His ability to understand and communicate complex ideas effectively makes him a valuable contributor to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Aug 08, 2014

Pay for the average cruise ship musician is not great, so if you are dreaming of getting rich while sailing to great locations you will be disappointed. However, working as a cruise ship musician sounds like a good way to spend a couple years, earn some money and maybe get spotted by someone big in the music industry.

By Sporkasia — On Aug 07, 2014

@Laotionne - I wish I could tell you exactly what items and types of experiences cruise ships are looking for in their musicians, but I imagine it varies a little depending on the individual conducting the interviews and the number of good applicants available.

I knew a musician, a guitar player and singer, when I worked for a resort. He played in the dining room and in the bar at the resort. He was very young and didn't have much work experience. We used to joke that he only knew three songs because those were the ones he always played.

I was surprised to hear that he later landed a job on a cruise ship. I guess the cruise director really liked his three songs. Seriously, working at the resort was good experience for him because the job is similar in some ways to working on a ship. In both places, he was playing for people who were on vacation and relaxing.

By Laotionne — On Aug 06, 2014

How do you get the experience you need to be considered for a position playing music or singing on a cruise ship? Where are good places for a young musician to look for jobs that would impress someone in charge of hiring for a cruise ship musician?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann
Nicholas Mann, a professional freelance writer with over a decade of experience, helps clients achieve their goals by...
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