How Much Do Entertainers Make On Cruise Ships?

In the world of entertainment, the allure of performing on cruise ships is undeniable. However, while the glitz and glamour may be captivating, it’s crucial to consider the financial aspect. How much do entertainers truly make on these floating stages? Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of cruise ship entertainment, where the juxtaposition of artistic fulfillment and financial stability forms an intriguing landscape. Discover the average starting salaries, types of music jobs, and the intricacies of onboard expenses that shape the financial reality for these talented performers.

Key Takeaways

  • Salary for entertainers on cruise ships varies based on experience, cruise line, and ship size, with average earnings ranging from $2,000 to $4,500 per month.
  • Common job positions for entertainers on cruise ships include singers, dancers, musicians, magicians, and comedians, each with specific responsibilities and requirements.
  • Contracts for entertainers on cruise ships can range from a few weeks to several months, with longer contracts offering stability and rapport building opportunities.
  • Entertainers on cruise ships often receive benefits such as free accommodation, meals, and access to onboard facilities, but are responsible for their own travel expenses and certain costs like work visas and medical examinations.

Cruise Ship Musician Salary

Cruise ship musicians can earn a competitive salary while performing onboard. These talented individuals have the opportunity to showcase their musical skills to audiences from around the world, all while enjoying the perks of a luxurious cruise ship lifestyle. The salary for cruise ship musicians varies depending on factors such as experience, the type of Cruise Ships line, and the size of the ship. On average, musicians can expect to earn anywhere from $2,000 to $4,500 per month, with some top performers earning even more. In addition to their salary, musicians also receive free accommodation, meals, and access to onboard amenities. This allows them to save a significant portion of their earnings and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while traveling the world and doing what they love.

Average Starting Salary of a Cruise Ship Musician


How much can a musician expect to earn as their starting salary on a cruise ship? The average starting salary of a cruise ship musician can vary depending on factors such as experience, skill level, and the Cruise Ships  line they are employed by. However, below are some general figures to give you an idea:

  • Entry-level musicians can expect to earn around $1,500 to $2,500 per month.
  • More experienced musicians might earn between $2,500 and $4,000 per month.
  • Some cruise lines offer additional benefits such as free accommodation and meals, which can help offset living expenses.
  • Musicians may also have the opportunity to earn additional income through tips and commission on merchandise sales.
  • As musicians gain more experience and move up the ranks, their salaries can increase significantly.

Keep in mind that these figures are just averages and can vary depending on individual circumstances and cruise line policies.

Types of Music Jobs Onboard

During their time onboard, musicians can find a variety of music jobs that cater to different genres and styles. Cruise ships offer a diverse range of entertainment options, and music is a vital component of the onboard experience. Musicians can be part of the ship’s orchestra, performing classical music and accompanying Broadway-style productions. They can also join the onboard bands, playing popular music in various venues like lounges, bars, and nightclubs. For those who prefer a more intimate setting, solo musicians can perform in smaller venues, entertaining guests with their acoustic guitar or piano skills. Additionally, there are opportunities for DJs to spin tracks and create an energetic atmosphere in the ship’s dance clubs. The variety of music jobs available ensures that musicians can find a role that suits their style and preferences, allowing them to showcase their talent and connect with the passengers. Now, let’s move on to discuss the expenses that musicians may encounter during their time onboard.

Onboard Expenses

Entertainers on cruise ships encounter various onboard expenses, such as accommodation and meals, which can impact their overall earnings. These expenses can vary depending on the cruise line, the length of the contract, and the specific role of the entertainer. Here are some common onboard expenses that entertainers may face:

  • Accommodation: Entertainers are typically provided with a cabin on the ship, but some cruise lines may charge a fee for upgraded accommodations.
  • Meals: Most cruise lines offer complimentary meals in the crew mess, but some entertainers may choose to dine at specialty restaurants for an additional cost.
  • Uniforms: Some cruise lines require entertainers to wear specific uniforms, which may need to be purchased or rented.
  • Internet Access: Staying connected with friends and family back home may come at an extra cost, as onboard internet services are often charged.
  • Laundry Services: Entertainers may need to pay for onboard laundry services to keep their costumes and performance attire clean and presentable.

Navigating these expenses is essential for entertainers to effectively manage their earnings and ensure a comfortable experience onboard.

Length of Cruise Musician Contracts


Despite the varying lengths of cruise musician contracts, entertainers must carefully consider the duration of their commitment before embarking on a cruise ship gig. Cruise musician contracts can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the cruise line and the specific job role. Longer contracts may offer more stability and the opportunity to develop a strong rapport with fellow musicians and onboard staff. However, they also require a greater level of commitment and can be mentally and physically demanding. Shorter contracts, on the other hand, may provide more flexibility and allow musicians to explore different cruise lines and destinations. Ultimately, the decision on contract length depends on the individual’s preferences and career goals. It is important for entertainers to carefully evaluate the length of the contract and its implications before making a decision.

Payment Methods and Frequency

Entertainers on cruise ships are typically paid through various methods and receive their payments at regular intervals. The payment methods and frequency may vary depending on the cruise line and the type of entertainment provided. Here are five common payment methods and frequency for entertainers on cruise ships:

  • Direct deposit: Many cruise lines offer direct deposit as a convenient way for entertainers to receive their payments. This ensures that the money is deposited directly into their bank accounts.
  • Cash: Some entertainers may prefer to receive their payments in cash, especially if they are performing on smaller cruise ships or in certain international locations where cash is more commonly used.
  • Weekly: For longer contracts, entertainers may receive their payments on a weekly basis. This allows them to have a steady income throughout their time on the cruise ship.
  • Bi-weekly: Some cruise lines may pay their entertainers every two weeks. This payment frequency provides a regular income while also allowing for longer periods of time between payments.
  • Monthly: In certain cases, entertainers may receive their payments on a monthly basis. This is often the case for shorter contracts or for entertainers who are hired for specific events or performances.

Taxation and Agency Fees

Although cruise ship entertainers are able to earn a substantial income, they must also consider the impact of taxation and agency fees on their overall earnings. Taxation is an important factor to consider for entertainers working on cruise ships. Depending on their nationality and the countries they visit during their contract, entertainers may be subject to income tax or other taxes in multiple jurisdictions. This can significantly reduce their take-home pay. Additionally, entertainers often work with agencies that help them secure contracts on cruise ships. These agencies usually charge a fee for their services, typically a percentage of the entertainer’s earnings. While agencies can be beneficial in securing high-paying contracts, entertainers must carefully consider the cost of agency fees and ensure that they are getting fair value for the services provided. Being aware of the taxation and agency fees can help cruise ship entertainers effectively manage and maximize their earnings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Additional Benefits or Perks That Cruise Ship Musicians Receive Besides Their Salary?

Cruise ship musicians often receive additional benefits and perks besides their salary. These can include free accommodation and meals, access to onboard amenities, discounted or free travel for themselves and their families, and opportunities for career growth and networking.

How Does One Go About Finding and Applying for Music Jobs on Cruise Ships?

Finding and applying for music jobs on cruise ships can be a rewarding experience for musicians seeking new opportunities. Researching cruise lines, networking with industry professionals, and submitting applications are key steps in securing these coveted positions.

What Qualifications or Experience Do Cruise Ship Musicians Typically Need to Have?

Cruise ship musicians typically need to have a strong musical background, proficiency in multiple instruments, and experience performing in various genres. They often require a degree in music or a related field and must be able to adapt to different audiences and venues.

Is There a Limit to the Number of Hours or Performances a Cruise Ship Musician Is Expected to Work?

There is typically no set limit to the number of hours or performances a cruise ship musician is expected to work, as it can vary depending on the specific cruise line and itinerary. However, musicians can expect to have a demanding schedule.

How Do Cruise Ship Musicians Handle Their Personal Expenses, Such as Meals and Accommodation, While Onboard?

Cruise ship musicians typically have their personal expenses, such as meals and accommodation, covered by the cruise line. This allows them to focus on their performances and provides a sense of security and belonging while onboard.


In conclusion, the salary of entertainers on cruise ships varies depending on their position and experience. The average starting salary for musicians is around $2,000 to $3,000 per month. However, they also need to consider onboard expenses, length of contracts, payment methods, taxation, and agency fees. Despite these considerations, working as an entertainer on a cruise ship offers a unique opportunity to perform in a picturesque setting while earning a living.

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