Cruise Line Chef: Life on board


Cruise ship galley

Life of a chef on board a cruise liner

Among cruise ship jobs, working in the culinary section is one of the most satisfying, involving the creation and service of quality meals to suit all types of palates. But what is life like for someone who dedicates much of his/her work life in a floating kitchen for the gustatory enjoyment of others?

The life of a Cruise Line Chef involves touching breath-taking ports, sampling delicious food, meeting new people and experiencing a multi-cultural work environment. But it’s also a hard life and cruise ship employees need to have stamina to work long hours, determination to be away from home for months at a time and the commitment to ensure impeccable service day after day.

Some cruise lines have around 4,000-5,000 guests on board each ship, and cruise ship chefs could oversee the making of up to 20,000 meals a day! Wait staff in restaurants often have to serve up to 2,000 diners at each of the two evening sittings for dinner, not counting breakfast, lunch and resetting of tables.

This means there are no days off for those with cruise ship jobs, but only when at sea for about 4-6 months. Yet, cooking and serving dozens upon dozens of meals a day means that the staff learns new culinary arts quicker than their land-based counterparts.

There are no bills to pay when working cruise ship jobs, but cooks or chefs often work fairly long hours to keep up with demand.It is not uncommon for chefs and service staff to work 10-hour shifts every day, with workers in the preparation kitchen involved in washing, trimming, peeling and slicing vegetables all day. The pay, however, compensates.

After all, this is a job. But it stands out as a wealth of experience and enjoyment. During time off, cruise ship crew know where the best Wi-Fi spots are, enjoy the best local fare on land, and head to beaches and activities little known to passengers. And best of all, they enjoy free or very cheap drinks and meals at parties in the crew bar!

As a cruise ship chef, you might have to serve up exquisite meals to passengers, but you can cook up a wild storm during your time off.

Seven Seas Port

Touching breath-taking ports