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What Is the Average Salary of a Cruise Director?

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A cruise director handles all of a ship’s activities, entertainment and social events. They need great social, managerial and multitasking skills in order to make sure everything goes as planned. Depending on the company and ship they might be working with hundreds of employees under them and will need to coordinate with multiple other departments. Their salaries are greatly influenced by the company they work for, the size and type of the cruise, the responsibilities involved and the amount of people they need to manage. Experience is also a big factor in deciding the salary of a cruise director.

Salary Range

The salary range for a cruise director can vary tremendously. Depending on the company, a cruise director can make anywhere from $45,600 a year to $90,000 or more. The very top cruise line directors can make annual salaries in excess of $150,000, but these jobs are typically a very low percentage of the job market and require many years of experience on top of excellent managerial skills and credentials.

Skills Involved

Secondary to your experience, the skills of a cruise director can greatly affect your annual salary. Typically, a cruise director has a background in working on the ship as a member of the entertainment or hospitality staff. It is essential that you build strong organizational abilities along with being able to delegate responsibilities effectively. You will also be required to be fluent in English, with some positions requiring that you be fluent in up to two or three additional foreign languages. A cruise director represents the image of the company, so being well-groomed and articulate is key to securing a bigger paycheck.

Entry-Level Salary

A newly appointed cruise director with little or no experience can expect to start at a salary of around $45,000 annually. You will still be required to have a few years of experience working on the ship as a regular staff member. These beginning years are much more about building experience than the actual pay. Experience assures you will gain a larger salary down the road.

High Salary Positions

The highest salaries for a cruise director rests with the larger cruise lines. As a cruise director on these mammoth ships, you will be in charge of keeping thousands of people entertained and managing hundreds of employees. You will be expected to be an excellent public speaker with impeccable language skills. Due to the nature of the job you will typically have longer hours and can expect to work under stressful conditions. The salaries for these high-profile positions are in excess of $100,000 a year. Typically, a cruise director in this position has already accrued several years of experience working on smaller cruise liners.


Khary Reynolds has been writing professionally since 2010. He has an extensive background in sales, marketing, business and real estate. Reynolds holds a master's degree in real estate from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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