Cruise ship cabin stewards are paid to travel across the world--their workplace is wherever the ship takes them. A career as a cabin steward gives you access to vacation and sightseeing destinations. This position may be entry level or the midpoint between assistant and head steward positions.
The Travel Industry Dictionary defines a cabin steward as "a ship's employee responsible for cleaning staterooms." These staterooms, also called guest cabins, may require cleaning throughout the day.
Cabin stewards are responsible for maintaining passengers' comfort. Their primary responsibility is to clean passengers' cabins. Additional responsibilities may be added depending on the type and size of the cruise line. For example, cabin stewards employed by The Cruise & Ferry Services Group are expected to greet passengers and assist with luggage, all while following the ship's safety and security guidelines.
Cabin stewards must be approachable since they will constantly be around passengers. A successful cabin steward should be reliable, able to work alone, honest, professional and respectful. Cabin stewards may also be required to know a foreign language if the ship regularly takes on passengers from different countries.
Since cabin stewards are workers on the cruise ship, they may not be able to participate in the ship's recreational offerings. In fact, they may be restricted to the bowels of the ship. Depending on the layout of the ship, a cabin steward may be exposed to inclement weather when going from room to room. However, weather conditions will reflect the areas the cruise ship frequents. The work environment is also the home environment, which may be problematic if work-related stress arises. Consequently, there may not be an opportunity for a stable home life off of the ship since cabin stewards' contracts may require them to remain on the ship for several months at a time. As minor compensation, workers may be allowed to have personal time off the ship at ports.
Cabin stewards earn $1,800 to $2,200 per month, according to Work4U.com, and are not required to have previous housekeeping experience, though it may be preferred. Similar to housekeepers who work at hotels on land, cabin stewards' incomes may largely increase depending on the tips they receive. Additionally, the average salary of a cabin steward differs depending on the cruise line.
When applying for a cabin steward position, ask about the terms of your employment. If there is a contract, review all of its terms before signing. Things to consider before signing include the length of the contract, the protocol for disciplinary action, ramifications for quitting and conditions that make the contract null and void.
- Photo Credit cruise ship image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com
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