How to Be A Cruise Ship Nurse

how to be a cruise ship nurse

If you are looking for a change of pace at work or you’re searching for a really exciting nursing specialty to engage in after graduating, working as a cruise nurse is something you should consider.

Although it’s not that different from working in a hospital or clinical setting, providing healthcare in the middle of the ocean can be an exciting experience. However, as with any nursing specialty, it’s best to do your research first to find out if it’s the right career for you.

To help you with that, we are sharing with you everything you need to know about becoming a cruise nurse.


The qualifications and requirements for working as a nurse in a cruise ship are technically the same as with other nursing specialties.

  • You need to have your nursing license.
  • You need to be a practicing nurse with a certification in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support or ACLS.
  • For most cruise lines, they are more likely to hire nurses who possess at least 2 years of experience in working in critical or emergent care. Some require 3 years of experience.
  • It’s also good if you can undergo training in cross-cultural nursing before you apply as a cruise nurse. This training will help you be more efficient and comfortable interacting with people from different cultures and national backgrounds.

Additionally, it can also help you work well with the other members of the team who may be from various countries. Considering that you’ll have international colleagues, you must have an idea of the medical lingo and terminologies your international colleagues are using.

With that, you need to be patient and you need to be able to learn quickly.

Working As A Cruise Nurse

cruise ship nurse

As previously mentioned, working as a cruise nurse is almost similar to working on a land-based setting.

To begin with, you’ll be responsible for providing patient care. Whether it’s sea-sickness, sunburns, critical care or providing first aid to injuries, you need to attend to your patients’ health needs and make sure that they are stable, particularly if they need to be transferred to the nearest healthcare facility on land.

Apart from that, you may also need to provide routine medical care for the crew of the ship.

Being on a cruise ship, you’ll be working with a smaller medical team which is typically made up of nurses and physicians. Despite the size of your team, however, you can expect to have a well-equipped medical facility. Most cruise ships have a pharmacy, labs, and x-ray equipment on board.

Cruise ship nurses often have to work for 12 hours and have days off. If you are lucky and your ship is in port during your day off, you can do some sightseeing. Take note that since your medical team is small, nurses may have to take turns being on call.

The Salary of Cruise Ship Nurses

cruise ship nurse salary

A cruise ship nurse can earn $4,200 to $4,900 each month. The rate will depend on your chosen cruise line and your experience.

Most cruise lines offer free meals, a private cabin, and the opportunity to travel. Some companies cover their nurses’ travel expenses as well.

Typically, cruise nurses are hired for a 6-month contract. After that, they are given a few weeks off before they are offered a new one.

The Challenges of Finding Work

Contrary to what you might be thinking, the number of cruise nursing jobs available is limited. If you are really thinking of pursuing the specialty, you need to be prepared as the job market can get competitive.

If you want to stand out from the rest, consider learning a new language or earning a working experience in a multicultural setting. As for job opportunities, one of the best ways to find them is to directly contact cruise line companies and see if they are currently hiring nurses.

Or you can check out the following sites:

See Also: Travel Nurse Jobs – Everything You Want To Know