A cruise ship bartender serves beverages in lounges and on the deck of the ship. According to Cruise Line International, a cruise line employment service, the salary of a bartender on a cruise ship typically ranges from $1,800 to $2,800 a month. Cruise Line Jobs reports earnings of $2,200 to $3,600 a month, depending on the cruise line, size of ship and gratuities, with a head bartender potentially earning $3,200 to $4,100 a month.
Cruise ship bartenders earn more than the median salary (including tips) reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for bartenders as of May 2010: $18,680 a year (about $1,556 a month). In fact, most cruise ship bartenders earn more than the 75th percentile salary of about $1,922 a month reported by the bureau. This may reflect the upscale nature of cruise ships and the fact that most cruise ship jobs require previous bartending experience.
In addition to salary, cruise ship bartenders receive a free room and board on the ship. During their time off, bartenders can take part in cruise ship activities. Travel is also an attractive benefit for many bartenders on cruise ships.
Although exact job requirements vary depending on the cruise line, becoming a bartender on a cruise ship typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent and at least two to three years of beverage serving experience in a hotel, bar or resort. Bartenders also need excellent English-language communication skills. Because cruise ship employees work in a multicultural environment, knowledge of additional languages is a plus. Bartenders also need the mathematical skill to calculate discounts, commissions, tips, proportions and percentages.
Other Cruise Ship Bar Salaries
Cruise Line International also reports salaries for other cruise ship bar employees: bar manager, $3,000 to $3,800 a month; assistant bar manager, $2,600 to $3,000 a month; bar supervisor, $2,400 to $2,800 a month; and bar waiter or waitress, $1,800 to $3,000 a month.