Bar waiter, bartender, and mixologist – A typical career you can reach on board
On the cruise ships, the bar waiters and bartenders are different crew members, separated by the experience of them  – and this will give you a great career opportunity. Without experience, you can start as a bar waiter, and then you can be trained to be a bartender and professional Mixologist.



  • As a bar waiter you have to focus on the guests, take their orders, and communicate with your bartender who will make the desired cocktail or drink. As the next step you need to serve the ordered drinks on a professional way and complete the payment of the guest – nice and easy.

    Of course don’t forget the side duties as well, to take care about the bar area, tidiness and the general service levels.


  • As a bartender you will spend most of your time behind the bar, with the making of the desired drinks. Most of these orders are basic drinks, but all the cruise lines have their own cocktails which you need to make properly. As a bartender you are also in charge for the whole bar, means the stocks, tidiness inside the bar and for example you have to ensure that the guest is allowed to consume alcohol.




Just as many restaurants on board, you will find different bars as well, which are usually opened at the afternoon, and have their peak time during the late night. The bars are designed according to a topic just as the buffets, so for example rum, whiskey, tequila, cocktail and coffee bars. These are all similar for the bartenders, so we will check out the differences from the bar waiter’s point of view.


Day Bars

According their name these bars are opened all day, and they are mainly placed at the main points of the vessel, such as the lobby area. Based on their location, you have to expect a balanced order flow during the day and a little bit higher load at the night – it is a perfect location for the freshly hired crew..


Coffee shops

Just as the day bars, they are opened during the most of the day. I practice you can imagine these places just a s a regular coffee shop on land, with chairs, music and most of the time with the same brands (Coffeeshop Co, Starbucks …). It is a common thing that there are only bartenders at these places, who completed the barista courses of the company on board.


Open Deck Bars

There are many events on the open decks so it is reasonable to open a bar also – these places are designed to serve basic drinks/shots and cocktails. You can work in these bars after you gained the proper experience, because based on the high number of the guest is this area, the workload is higher.



No-one sits at the poker table without a drink in his/hers hand, and this is the reason why the casino bar is one of the biggest bars on board. Here you can find multiple bartenders, who are working in a team with the bar waiters of the casino and the promenade.



The biggest bar on board, where only the experienced bartenders and bar waiters can work. They have to take care about the high number of guests until the morning, just as in a land nightclub. Of course their salary is in equal with this, because the disco is the location where most of the income made. To work here you must show your professionalism in other bars of the vessel.


Theatre and clubs

Over the main bars mentioned above, there are different topic bars, just as the piano bar, comedy clubs, small and big theatre and for example Latin bars. At these places your duties are the same, only the kind of drinks/cocktails are different.




According to the waiters, you will work 9-11 hours a day, which will be divided by break times. The main difference, that the bars got their own opening times, so there are no sittings.


For example you can work between 3-5PM, than a break time, and complete the next hours between 10PM-3AM. Or a second schedule can be the lobby between 10AM-2PM, and then between 6-10PM.


Based on the fact that these cruise ships never stops, you have to work seven days every week. For the first time it sounds a lot, but actually there is no sense to have a full days off (nothing to do on board during nighttime, when all the others are working).


To compensate the 7 days, you will have half day-offs, which is usually match with the port times of the ship. You can use these hours to visit the places you are docked at, explore the beaches, and the local places of interest.




The experience requirements are different in case of every cruise lines, so you will find a place where you can start your career.


Without experience you can start at 3-4 star cruise lines, and with the trainings and time on board, you can be promoted to a bartender from your next contract.




These vessels are like clockworks where all the parts need to cooperate. Most of the time you will start your contract with a training period hosted on a desired ship. Here you will learn all the key knowledge, such as the serving methods, rules/regulations, cocktails need to know, and similar basics.


During the 2-4 weeks of training you learn to be confident with the guests, so there is no worry about – and of course your salary will be guaranteed for this period also.




The exact language requirements are depend of each vessel and cruise lines, and based on the typical nationality of the guests. Luckily most of the curies lines are designed to serve American guests, so the proper English knowledge will be essential. You must speak English at least on a conversational (B) level, and able to understand complex sentences/orders, and answer. Your language skills will be assessed during the application process, to make sure that you won’t face with difficulties on board, plus you have to complete an independent test (Marlins) according to the maritime law.


These requirements are the similar for each position, so there is no chance to step on board with Basic English. The main reason, that you might be able to complete your duties without communication, but you will have secondary/ and safety duties, where the proper communication is mandatory.




On board of a cruise ship you can earn 1300-1800USD each month, without accommodation, food and similar costs - which is a big advantage if we compare with the land positions, where you can lose the 70% of your income because of the accommodation, food, transportation and utility. It is not a surprise that these on board positions are so popular.




Based on the fact that you will work behind the bar, your tipping will be lower, but you will have your own cut from the bar’s overall income. It means you can earn 1700-2500USD each month, which can be a great motivation to push for a career.



Just as in the F&B department, you can build a fast career in the bar department as well. The difference, that here you won’t change duties just as the assist. waiter/team waiter and others. In the bar department the difference is based on the different bars you work in, and the duties you complete - For example you can start at the lobby bar, than get promoted to the Casino or Disco.


Also there are managerial steps which are the following:


  1. Barwaiter

  2. Bartender

  3. Assistant Barmanager

  4. Barmanager Trainee

  5. Barmanager


For these positions you just need to show your professional skills, positive attitude, and teamwork skills and complete the company’s trainings to get promoted from your next contract.

© 2016-2017 Port Orient Ltd

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