Salary of a Nurse on a Cruise Ship


While the duties of a nurse aboard a cruise ship may be similar to her peers, her lifestyle certainly isn't. Cruise ship nurses contract with a cruise line for several months at a time and enjoy several weeks of vacation afterward. You can expect to work seven days a week for 10 hours a day or even more, according to Norwegian Cruise Line. But during your off hours, you're allowed to explore exotic ports of call and enjoy crew member facilities.

Salary Averages

  • Cruise ship employees are generally paid on a monthly basis, as they work per assignment. As of 2012, registered nurses averaged $4,200 to $4,900 a month on a cruise ship, according to Cruise Ship Job. Chief nurses on cruise ships averaged $4,800 to $5,800 a month. On the job, you get to travel to destinations around the world while you and your medical team care for the well-being of 2,500 to 3,000 vacationers and crew members at any given time.

Nurses on Land

  • For the sake of comparison, registered nurses who work in more typical settings, such as hospitals and doctors' offices, averaged $65,470 a year in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That works out to $5,455 a month before taxes, higher than the salary of a cruise ship nurse. However, nurses aboard cruise ships are given free lodging and as many as four free meals a day, allowing them to pocket a great deal more of their earnings.

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