Superyacht vs Cruise Ship? Which Job is Better?

career Sep 14, 2021

The COVID cruise ship shutdown is finally coming to an end and cruise ships are starting to operate again.


At this time, most ships are requiring crew and guests to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, making it possible to enter every country where the cruise ships stop. 


If you've been thinking about traveling and working at sea, but you're wondering about the difference between cruise ship vs superyacht life, this post is for you. 


Here’s a quick breakdown of the key differences between working on a superyacht and working on a cruise ship.


The Owners and Guests


First off, cruise ships are owned by large corporations and filled with thousands of guests. This means that the guests represent an entire range of ages, backgrounds, and interests. A cruise ship is a floating resort with multiple bars, restaurants, and endless entertainment options. Just think of the college spring break week and low-cost cruise ships making the circuit of Caribbean towns. 


By contrast, superyachts are usually either owned by a single person or family, or chartered to small groups - families, business partners, or close friends. Usually, most of the guests will know each other. 


And while most anyone can afford to take a cruise if they save their pennies, superyacht travel is typically only an option for the very wealthy.


The Experience

The difference between a trip on a cruise ship and a superyacht is like the difference between flying economy and flying on a private jet!

On cruise ships the crew make sure guests are safe, fed, and entertained. However, with the many activities, strictly planned itinerary, and simply the huge number of people on board, in many cases the crew are rushing just to keep things going smoothly.


Contrast this to a superyacht, where the high touch experience is one of the key draws. Guests are expecting customized service, from unique menus that cultivate a theme and provide entertainment, to special touches like knowing their favorite drinks and anticipating anything that would make the experience more luxurious. The yacht is run to an expectation of seven-star service, or the highest possible quality.



The Salary


The truth is, superyacht crew are better paid, earlier in their career, and have greater potential for salary increases. Yacht crew also often receive weekends off and vacation pay! Finally, yacht crew working on charter yachts have a secret weapon -- tips! 


Tips for great service, from a population that’s likely to have more money to spend and be willing to recognize exceptional service with a reward. Private yachts don’t typically provide tips, but the salary is enough that it’s not needed.


Tipping is suggested and encouraged on cruise ships just as it is at many resorts worldwide. However, it’s not required, and many tourists may have already spent their travel budget just getting to the ship and paying for the voyage itself.  Those that do tip may not tip as generously, and depending on a crew member’s position and the people he or she supports, tipping can vary widely.



The Destinations


All of the above are great reasons to work on a superyacht rather than a cruise ship, but we think this last reason is the best.


Cruise ships follow an established route, making the same circuit again and again (and again) throughout the seasons and years. As exciting as this is for guests, for a crew, it can become downright boring. Not to mention, cruise ship crew typically work 6 days a week, and long hours each day. Often crew won’t have enough time off to truly enjoy destinations as the ship is focused on moving on to the next port and then starting the cruise route over again with the next batch of guests.


In contrast, yachts are much more flexible. Depending on the yacht, the guests and the season, the yacht may travel to all new destinations.


Yachts being much smaller than cruise ships also have access to harbors that a cruise ship simply can't visit.



Yacht crew can also take advantage of time off when the yacht is in the shipyard or at the dock.


As a result, on a yacht, you’ve got loads of opportunities to see some amazing hidden destinations and to travel to new and exciting destinations. You’ll likely see places you’d never otherwise have the chance to visit.


Overall, we think a yachting career is a far better choice than a career on cruise ships.

What do you think? Are you ready to start a superyacht career in 2021?

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