Food and Beverage Department - Working as a Cruise Ship Waiter (2023)

Food and Beverage Department – All You Need to Know About the Restaurant Department

Special thanks to Rishi Patil, Waiter onboard Royal Caribbean International

Rishi’s Story – How It All Began

Hello everyone! My name is Rishi. I am coming from Mumbai, the business capital of India, often known as “Bombay” in the Western countries.

I have been working in the cruise industry for almost five years now and it has been my best work experience so far! After I graduated from the Hospitality Institute, I had a couple of land jobs but soon after that, I started exploring opportunities available all over the globe.

A few of my colleagues mentioned working on cruise ships, and after some thinking, I thought: “Why not give it a shot – if it doesn’t work out, I can always come back home…”. And now look at me, after 5 years I still can’t get enough of the sea!

Within five years of my career, I have worked for two companies. First, I worked for Costa Cruises. Applying there was quite easy. I just went to their registered office in Mumbai and dropped my CV. On the same day, I had an interview with HR for the job position of Assistant Waiter.

Even though they asked me some technical questions that I honestly wasn’t prepared for, the interview went quite smoothly. The next day I received my contract. I can’t put into words how lucky I felt on that day because I knew that the onboarding process could be very long.

After that, the agency representatives guided me through the entire process from getting my STCW certification, Seaman’s Discharge Certificate, Visa, Medical Certificate, and other paperwork, as my joining date was within a month.

Food and Beverage Department - Working as a Cruise Ship Waiter (1)

(Video) Food and Beverage Jobs on cruise ship. Waiter Jobs in cruiseline.

Read about the detailed paperwork you need for joining a cruise ship as a crew member in the article Working on a Cruise Ship: How to Apply for a Cruise Ship Job.

However, please be informed that due to the Covid-19 pandemic there might be additional paperwork and requirements for joining a cruise ship.

Once you join the ship as a new hire in Food and Beverage department, there are plenty of trainings that you have to complete including PDST (pre-departure safety training), PSF (passenger ship familiarization), and many others. The ship is like a maze and once you start to know it, you will feel as if you were at home. It took me a week to remember just where my cabin (room) was! But everyone around me was so helpful until I got familiar with the ship.

I worked one year for Costa Cruises, after which I got an opportunity to work for Royal Caribbean International (RCCL) The interview process was almost the same, except that I had one more interview with the company’s representative. After finishing one contract here in RCCL, I had an interview on board to get promoted to waiter.

Food and Beverage Department: How to Apply for a Waiter?

If you want to apply for any of the cruise ship job positions, you can either contact third-party companies or you can apply straight on the company’s careers webpage. Both ways are equally good, and you are guided through the onboarding process by the hiring partner/company representative so the overall process is quite smooth.

To apply for a position in Food and Beverage Department, it is usually required to have 2 years of experience working in the F&B department on land or a cruise ship. You will also be required to have some decent communication skills. The technical knowledge and your confidence will help you grow in the company and get promoted later.

Please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the cruise companies might require additional paperwork and a mandatory vaccination record. Please refer to the hiring partners and company policies for more information.

Find the cruise company’s official careers webpages in the article: Working on a Cruise Ship: How to Apply for a Cruise Ship Job?

Food and Beverage Department - Working as a Cruise Ship Waiter (2)

Restaurant Department Job Positions

Let’s start from the highest to the lowest:

(Video) F&B (waiters) On Cruise Ships Joining Process And There 1st Contract Life ( Part #1)

1. Maitre’D or Restaurant Manager

Overall, Maitre’d is in charge of the dining rooms, buffets, and specialty restaurants onboard a cruise ship. They ensure that everything is in order, and keep the eating and dining experience to a high standard for all guests.

2. Assistant Maitre’D

The assistant Maitre’d is in charge of the individual dining venue on a cruise ship. They ensure that everything is in order, assign the wait staff to their sections of the restaurants, and keep the eating and dining experience to a high standard for all guests.

3. Head Waiter

The head waiter is in charge of one section of the dining room. They ensure that everything is in order, assign the wait staff to their sections of the restaurants, and make sure that the eating and dining experience is kept to a high standard for all guests.

4. Restaurant Supervisor

This is a multitasking position. They will get assigned to different areas such as host or reception, supervising the buffet, room service supervisor, etc. Restaurant attendants report to him and he reports to AMD (Assistant Maitre’d).

5. Waiter

Waiters set up tables, explain menus, take orders, serve food and beverages, and clean tables in their assigned areas. They must know menu items and ingredients to be able to promote the items being served and answer guests’ questions. Waiters are fully responsible for ensuring the satisfaction of guests in their stations. They also coordinate service with the Assistant Waiter according to service procedures.

6. Assistant Waiter

The Assistant Waiter will work with other Waiters to serve meals and take care of our diners. You will set up tables, take orders, serve food and drinks, and clean tables. You must also become familiar with menu descriptions and wine lists, and work in various food and beverage areas. They also work in buffets in breakfast or lunch shifts.

Cruise ship waiters and assistant waiters get a contracted salary of $1000 to $1700. Including the tips and gratuities, it can vary from $2000 to $2500. On the ship, there is the point system. Every cruise passenger/guest rates you for the service provided, increasing or decreasing your point value.

From my own experience, you can easily make $2500 a month, and you can earn extra depending on your skills.

7. Restaurant Attendant

Restaurant Attendants work closely with the Restaurant Supervisor or Head Waiter to perform food service functions in various dining venues onboard. They normally work in buffets and room service.

(Video) F&B waiters Jobs on Cruise Ships & Salary With Work | Complete Information

Restaurant attendant has a contracted salary 800$ to 1000$. On top of that, they get tips that mostly depend on their skills and the area they are working in.

I would like to mention that every job position comes with its responsibilities and some side duties. The side duties are mostly related to updating and maintenance of inventory like glassware, silverware, linen, condiments, and dry store.

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Contract Length

The contract length is almost the same for all positions – 7 months. You also have an unpaid vacation of 6 weeks. There is no guarantee that you will get the same ship for the next contract, as it all depends on the availability and the business’ needs.

Food and Beverage Department - Working as a Cruise Ship Waiter (3)

Life Onboard a Cruise Ship (Restaurant Department Crew)

Every organization or workplace comes with its pros and cons.

Onboard a cruise ship, restaurant department crew members work seven days a week, 9 to 12 hours a day. You will most likely work in the break shift. It is quite hectic and varies from the itinerary to the itinerary, but once you get used to the routine it will be fine.

(Video) Position overview waiter,training waiter on cruise ship

Waiters normally work in the breakfast and dinner shifts, so you have almost 6 hours in between the shift. You can use this time to go out and explore the ports of call. At dinner time, the work usually finishes before 11 pm.

Apart from work, there are plenty of crew recreational areas that you can enjoy, like crew bar(s) crew back deck/night club, crew arcade, crew gym, and so on. Every month HR arranges crew parties and events that are the best part of crew members’ life, although this can also vary from company to company.

The main advantages of working on a cruise ship (Restaurant department):

  • Free accommodation: You have to share a room with one of your colleagues.
  • Free food: There are 2 to 3 crew restaurants (crew mess/staff mess), depending on the ship size. The food is buffet-style and includes delicacies from all over the globe.
  • Laundry service: There are dedicated days for free laundry service for your uniform. You can also wash your personal clothes in dedicated laundry machines that are operational 24 hours.
  • Crew bar and nightclub: When the HR organizes crew parties, free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included. The rest of the day (evening) will be a minimum charge, like $1.5 for a beer.
  • Crew shop/slop chest: You can buy daily essentials, toiletries, and snacks at the crew shop. However, the prices are not that cheap so sometimes it’s better to buy things outside in port.
  • Crew gym: Almost every ship has a crew gym open 24/7. You can choose your time to work out, according to your convenience.

There are disadvantages as well, including a huge amount of stress, long working hours, no day off, difficulties in dealing with guests, coworkers and supervisors… but all of this is compensated by the experience we get and of course, the salary we earn.

To Conclude

To conclude, I must say that working on a cruise ship is fun and exciting. You share your living space with over 60 different nationalities, you get to know different cultures, food, languages, and mentalities.

Long working hours and pressure of delivering the service are immense, long contracts can sometimes be demotivating but to compensate for all of this, there are plenty of recreational activities, healthy working environment and generally a great onboard atmosphere.

Each destination you visit will give you the memories of a lifetime, and that’s something that can’t be compared to any other life experience.

Cruise Ship Hiring Agencies in India

Check out this YouTube channel for cruise industry updates, job vacancies, information on how to apply for cruise jobs:

Popular Links:

(Video) Food and Beverage Position on Cruise Line| AMAN THE CRUISE TRAVELLER | EXPLAINED IN HINDI

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What is food and beverage service in cruise ship? ›

Food and Beverage is the largest department aboard the ship and it's members are responsible for all dining rooms, restaurants, bars, galley (kitchen), clean up (utilities) and provisions operations. The Food and Beverage Manager / Director is the head of the entire department.

What does a waiter do in a cruise ship? ›

Waiter is responsible for general serving food and beverages in restaurants and dining rooms aboard the cruise ship in a timely, efficient and personalized way to ensure quality service and overall passengers experience.

What do you call a waiter in a cruise ship? ›

Head Waiters

The Head Waiter (often called Chef de Rang) manages and trains all of the Wait Staff within a section of the Dining Room. Various cruise ship restaurants have different needs, but they are usually responsible to: Escort guests to their seat. Provide them with the menus. Make recommendations for wines.

What are the duties and responsibilities while working on cruise? ›

Cruise ship workers provide services to passengers on cruise ships. Besides assisting in the operation of the ship, they may serve food and drinks, maintain cabins and public areas, lead shipboard activities, and provide entertainment.

How much is the salary of waiter in cruise ship? ›

$2500-4200 U.S. per month depending on the cruise line, size of ship and gratuities from passengers. Possibilities for promotion to Dining Room Head Waiter / Waitress position. Register for Cruise Ship Jobs Now!

What are the major departments on a cruise ship? ›

An average-sized cruise ship typically has a passenger capacity of around 2000-2500 and a crew complement of 600-1000, which is predominantly divided amongst the following departments, viz., Deck, Engineering, Food & Beverage, Housekeeping, Sanitation, Guest Services, Laundry, Spa, Medical, Entertainment, Photography, ...

What questions do they ask at a Waitress interview? ›

The Top Waiter and Waitress Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them)
  • Why do you want to be a waitress or waiter? ...
  • What is your greatest strength as a server? ...
  • What is your biggest weakness when serving? ...
  • What is your experience level as a waiter/waitress? ...
  • What do you love most about being a waiter or waitress?
22 Jul 2021

How much is the salary of waiter in cruise ship Philippines? ›

The estimated total pay for a Waitress at Royal Caribbean Group is ₱20,000 per month.

How much does a Carnival cruise waiter make? ›

Average Carnival Cruise Line Server monthly pay in the United States is approximately $2,098, which is 26% below the national average.

What does an assistant waiter do? ›

Also known as bussers, server assistants are typically employed by family diners and restaurants to assist servers in delivering food to patrons and responding to their requests. They clear, clean, and reset tables, refill beverages, and polish silverware.

How much do waiters get paid on Royal Caribbean? ›

$3,301. The estimated total pay for a Waitress at Royal Caribbean Group is $3,301 per month.

What are the questions asked in cruise interview? ›

Common interview questions might include 'Can you tell us a bit about yourself? ' or 'Why do you want this job? ' Meanwhile, job-specific questions could include: 'What skills can you bring to this cruise line?

Why do you want to work in a cruise ship best answer? ›

One of the main reasons people choose to work on cruise ships is the chance to travel to many places they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see. Since they live on the ship, they receive room and board as part of their compensation. They travel the world without paying for expensive hotels and food.

What is a cruise worker called? ›

Alternative titles for this job include Cabin steward

Cruise ship stewards clean and service cabins on board cruise ships.

Which cruise ship pays best? ›

  • #1. Celebrity Cruises. #1 in Best Cruise Lines for the Money. ...
  • #2. Holland America Line. #2 in Best Cruise Lines for the Money. ...
  • #3. Royal Caribbean International. #3 in Best Cruise Lines for the Money. ...
  • #4. Norwegian Cruise Line. ...
  • #5. Carnival Cruise Line. ...
  • #6. Princess Cruises. ...
  • #7. Costa Cruises. ...
  • #8. MSC Cruises.

Do cruise ship workers get paid overtime? ›

Do Cruise Ship Workers Get Overtime Pay? There is no set “yes” or “no” to this question and while the MLC sets out some rules on this it's not cut and dry as to whether or not crew are required to get overtime pay. But, yes, overtime pay for cruise ship crew can (and does) happen.

Is cruise ship salary tax free? ›

Seafarers Earnings Deduction (SED) is a piece of tax legislation that exempts Seafarers from paying income tax on overseas earnings. Basically, the Seafarer can claim 100% tax relief on the amount you earn.

What qualifications do you need to work on a cruise ship? ›

While specific position requirements depend on the job you are interested in, there are some essential requirements that all crew must meet to work onboard:
  • Be 21 years of age or older.
  • Be able to pass a criminal background check.
  • Hold a valid passport.
  • Have a US C1/D visa (if you are not a Canadian or US citizen/resident)

Is working on a cruise ship worth it? ›

Cruise ship crew life can be intense: long hours, no days off for months, lots of rules, demanding guests, small living quarters and little to no privacy. But working on ships also allows you to travel to places some only dream of while making some amazing connections with fellow seafarers from all over the world.

What types of employees might a cruise ship employ? ›

There's a lot of job opportunity

Be it captains or childcare workers, dancers or doctors, chefs or cruise directors, stateroom stewards or spa therapists, each Royal Caribbean ship provides around 450 different types of jobs at various ranks.

Are food and drinks included in cruise ships? ›

Your cruise fare always includes food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a cruise ship. However, not all venues that offer food will be free. The main dining room and cruise ship buffet will always be included in your cruise fare, though a few specialty items might cost extra.

What are the two classes of food service offered in the restaurant? ›

There are two key distinctions: commercial foodservice , which comprises operations whose primary business is food and beverage, and non-commercial foodservice establishments where food and beverages are served but are not the primary business.

How cruise line is connected with hospitality industry? ›

In many ways, the cruise industry also shares similarities with the hotel industry, as accommodation is provided on board. This means that the people hired to work within the cruise industry are diverse, including cruise ship crew members, service staff, entertainers and even specialist cruise ship hotel managers.

How much does a galley steward make? ›

The average salary of a Galley Steward at Carnival Cruise Lines is ₹ 2.9 Lakhs per year which is 15% less than average salary of a Galley Steward in India which receives a salary of ₹ 3.4 Lakhs per year.

Is food on cruise ships free? ›

Is food on a cruise free? You can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for free on a cruise. This includes access to all complimentary food venues onboard. Main dining restaurants feature versatile menus that cater to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences, which comes included in your cruise fare.

What can you not eat on a cruise? ›

Top Foods to Avoid on a Cruise
  • Burgers and Fries.
  • Fine French Food.
  • Steaks and Grilled Meats.
  • Pizza.
  • Sugary Cocktails.
  • Chef's Table Dinner.
  • Buffet Fare.

How much food does a cruise ship need? ›

The kitchens are extra enormous.

A ship that carries 3,500 passengers uses 600 pounds of butter per day, 250,000 eggs per week, and 170,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables per cruise. Naturally, there are more hands on deck in the kitchen too.

What is the role of food and beverage service? ›

Food and Beverage Servers are customer service professionals that work for restaurants, cocktail bars and other establishments. In addition to serving food and drinks, Food and beverage Servers perform tasks, such as setting up tables, removing used dishes and preparing simple dishes.

What is the main aim of food and beverage service? ›

The main aim of food and beverage operations is to achieve customer satisfaction. In other words, to meet the customers' needs.

How do you serve food and beverage to the guest? ›

Remove the food cover using your right hand to place the food in front of guest and serve from the right hand side of the guest. Always serve children/lady first then an older gentleman or a guest and the host last (move clockwise around the table for serving). Always serve the food according to the sequence.

What are the questions asked in cruise interview? ›

Common interview questions might include 'Can you tell us a bit about yourself? ' or 'Why do you want this job? ' Meanwhile, job-specific questions could include: 'What skills can you bring to this cruise line?

What course should I take if I want to work in a cruise ship? ›

Among those who can avail the training program are graduates of courses such as Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BSHRM), BS Tourism, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), BS in Hospitality Management (BSHM), 2-year Associate in HRM, 2-year Cruise Ship Management Course, 2-year ...

Can Hospitality Management work in cruise ship? ›

Working on a Cruise Ship

Individuals from a variety of hospitality backgrounds can find a bevy of opportunities in cruise ship management. From preparing gourmet meals to finding a guest a new room, each cruise ship manager plays a crucial role in ensuring the highest quality of service to customers.

What department is Galley Steward? ›

The steward department consists of service staff and generally refers to the galley (kitchens). The main duties of these crew members are to prepare and serve meals for the ship's crew and conducting general housekeeping aboard the ship.

How long is Carnival hiring process? ›

The hiring process at Carnival is straightforward and involves an online application, phone screening, and interview. The entire hiring process at Carnival takes between two weeks to one month to complete, including the background check, fingerprinting, and drug screen.

What are the duties of Galley Steward? ›

Galley Stewards work closely with the Chefs onboard and are responsible for Dishwashing, sanitation, trash removal and many other back of house restaurant functions.


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