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10 Jobs that Skilled Creative Passengers Can Do While Cruising

  • You don’t have to work in the engine room to earn money while cruising.
  • Performers are usually hired by the cruise line to perform, through agents.
  • Entrepreneurs and computer-based workers can hop on board with a laptop to get their jobs done. 
  • Internet access has allowed skilled creative passengers to stay on board longer and enjoy the cruise life.

Cruise companies hire people of all walks of life, and at most every level of career, but the jobs they’re filling are usually in maintenance or dining, or housekeeping. These jobs are immensely important to the functioning of the ship, and they require a lot of hard work and long hours. Besides the all-American cruise offered by Norwegian Cruise Line that travels around Hawaii, most of these jobs aren’t even offered to American citizens. Crew is often recruited domestically in other countries and job postings are written in non-English languages.

Thankfully, there are ways you can earn money on a cruise ship without being a traditional crew member, and you get to enjoy the perks of being a passenger. Here’s a list of 10 jobs that will allow you to work and earn while cruising.

1. Musician, Entertainers

Cruise lines hire entertainers, and the line-up is always changing. Performers like musicians, dancers, magicians and even jugglers are brought on board, and contracts can last months, weeks, or just days. An entertainer might hop on the ship in Barcelona and then off in Milan, to board another ship there. Circus performers, hula-hoopers, stuntman on motorcycles, and daring rollerskating performers also being hired to entertain on cruise ships. 

There’s one thing I want to stress to performers, especially the charming and good looking ones: When you’re not on stage, you’re out and about and fan girls and boys might stalk you into the gym and watch what you put on your plate in the buffet… just something to think about. 


2. Educator and Public SPeaker

Just like cruise lines hire performers, they also bring on specialists to talk about topics their passengers might find interesting. Holland America is known for having computer talks back in the early 2000s, where computer people informed audiences about how to use Word and Excel and how to hook up their printer. It sounds laughable now, right? Today, speakers are brought on to talk about everything and anything. 

Some of these jobs are done by crew, like the art history talks done by (third-party vendor) Park West Gallery art sellers. Most of the time, though, speakers are arranged by promotors for specialized theme cruises. Speakers who aren’t crew will have a better time getting their foot in the cruise door with the help of an agent who already handles cruise entertainers.

3. Artist

Back in 2022 while aboard the Regal Princess, I attended a Q&A session with the ship’s directors. Someone from the audience asked how bands get hired, and one director talked more about artists than musicians. He said that cruise lines used to bring in artists like painters to lead workshops and demonstrations, and that they’re starting to line up those kinds of performers and specialists. 

Cruise lines hire performers directly (through agents), but sometimes cruise lines work with brands or organizations to bring entertainment aboard. In 2024, NY-based artist Emily White (IG / FB) posted photos and video of her painting murals on Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady. Her vibe is very “Virgin,” and her work fits the ship’s aesthetic. Her work was arranged by Heineken, for its Live Artist Series. (Her work also wasn’t performance; from the videos it looks like she worked in an area blocked off from passengers. But her work is now visible to anyone on the Scarlet Lady.) 

4. COmputer Tech, Coder, Video Editor

Coding is another job that is done at sea, without need of much else than a laptop. Most coders I know have elaborate workstations made up of multiple monitors and heavy-duty desktops, but the work could be done from a powerful laptop. Same goes for video editors.

5. Stock Trader

Ok, fine. Stock traders aren’t exactly “skilled creatives” but their work can be done anywhere from a mobile device with a decent wifi connection. I’ve seen traders in the morning enjoying their buffet breakfast while analyzing charts on a laptop and punching away at a smartphone. (I saw him too at the pool, chatting with others about trades made that morning, so he obviously wasn’t the only one cruising off dividends.) 

This job is easily doable on port days when most passengers are off on excursions, and harder on sea days when internet speeds have been known to slow down. Even though cruise lines hire a good many IT pros to keep the system going, there’s always the possibility that weather will interfere with the internet, or internet access will just stop without notice.

6. Social Media Star

Now let’s get into the more contemporary, fun jobs. Like social media rockstar. It takes work to make it in social media – I’m still trying. Haha. But search for cruise vlog on YouTube and you’ll scroll through many, MANY videos by people who want to make cruising their career. Me included. Hey – now’s a good time to hit that subscribe button and tell YouTube that you want to see more of my videos about cruising, on my Jenny Claire Cruises channel. Now. Please?

7. Downloadable Content Creator

What’s the latest craze – selling blank books on Amazon? I mean, people buy them, so why not make them! I sell a documents on Etsy, like a packet that helps horse owners organize horse-related chores and expenses. I created the documents using ones I made for myself, and now that they’re online, anyone can buy them and instantly download the files. Artists and graphic designers have downloadable art and prints and patterns on Etsy, too. 

In this job, you make finished digital projects and post them on a digital marketplace like Etsy. Buyers go to the websites and search for the item they’re looking for. If they like yours, then they buy them and get a link or email to instantly download and use the file. There’s nothing to mail or keep inventory of, but you’ll be expected to manage your online store and respond to emails from customers.

Etsy isn’t the only online marketplace for digital downloads. Teachers can put worksheets and information on websites like Teachers-Pay-Teachers. (Yup, I’m selling on TPT, too!) Coders and website creators sell website templates on There are too many platforms to list, really.

The best part of these online marketplaces is that they’re always online, and almost anyone from almost anywhere in the world can find them.

8. Crafter, Textile Artist

As long as your crafts aren’t messy or require large tools — or heated tools — you likely can keep up the gig while aboard a cruise ship. Crafts like weaving, knitting, tatting, lace-making, and embroidery can be done tabletop, and can be brought around the ship as you please. Machine sewing is not a likely onboard career option, unless you have a small machine that will fit in your luggage and isn’t noisy. 

Even if you can’t do your project on board, you could certainly do the background and planning work. I find being at sea to be highly inspirational, and I often get my best ideas between the buffet and the bar. 

Crafters will need to look into security regulations, especially for the size of scissors and whether their tools look or operate as knives — which aren’t allowed.

9. Journalist, Writer, Editor, Translator

Wordsmiths are also able to work on assignments from anywhere their laptop can plug in and get online. 

Years ago I left an in-house editing job and asked my manager if I could take on assignments from my new home abroad. He said no, because the cost of shipping manuscripts would be outrageous, and the transit times were too long. Edits were always done on paper and then transferred by hand into the computer, and we couriered inches-thick printouts via FedEx, couriers, and local bike messengers. Big files were sent on disk, in envelopes just like the printouts. In just a few decades, this kind of work is done almost exclusively online with barely any contact between writer and editor. Over even just the last few years, wi-fi now a staple on most ships, and often packaged together with drinks on many lines, making it so writers can submit their work from anywhere in the world.

Don’t think that writing from sea means you have to write about sea. While cruise-related content is always in demand, your options are endless with a solid internet connection. Imagine interviewing a Nobel laureate over Zoom, or reporting live about glaciers from Alaska, or fixing the translation of a Japanese-language book from the port of San Juan. 

10. Entrepreneur

I’ve mentioned before how easy it is to access the internet, and over the past few years (post-Covid), I’ve seen more and more passengers working while cruising. On a 2023 Virgin Voyages cruise around Eastern Caribbean, I crossed paths almost daily with a couple who worked from the The Grounds Club, the ship’s coffee bar area. We, along with a few other self-employed folks, plugged into the outlets at the table and accessed the wifi like we were back at home. The couple operated some kind of project management firm, helping small businesses with administrative tasks, and they even took and made calls right next to me. I was impressed. 

Looking at us, you might have thought we were at a Starbucks in a city, not on a cruise ship in the Atlantic.

So, grab your passport and bathing suit, and set sail for a career that blends work and play in the most extraordinary way. Just be prepared to adjust relentlessly to the changing times, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out my latest video on YouTube