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What Does a Cruise Ship Entertainer Do?

K. Testa
K. Testa

A cruise ship entertainer can be anyone that performs on a cruise ship. The definition of cruise ship entertainment is broad and encompasses various activities and forms of amusement. Depending on the specific cruise line, some of the entertainment options available can include formal music and dance performances, comedy and magic acts, and parties and nightclubs. Entertainment can also consist of casinos and other on-board activities, in addition to land excursions taken when the ship is in port — for the most part, though, "cruise ship entertainer" refers to someone who performs for an audience on the ship. He or she typically earns a predetermined salary, which varies according to his or her particular talents and level of experience, as shows and other types of entertainment are often included in the total cost of a customer's cruise package.

Some common examples of headline acts hired by cruise lines include magicians, comedians, hypnotists, and ventriloquists. Other types of cruise ship entertainers might include mimes and jugglers, who either put on scheduled shows in specific venues or roam informally around the ship. The availability of these and other types of specialty acts can vary depending on the particular audience. For instance, a cruise ship that normally specializes in entertaining families with young children might present kid-themed shows with performers dressed up as familiar cartoon characters.

Cruise ship entertainers may include ventriloquists.
Cruise ship entertainers may include ventriloquists.

Cruise ship entertainment can also include dramatic performances, ranging from small plays to large musical productions. Some ships, for example, put on full versions of Broadway or Las Vegas shows. Both the large shows and the small cabaret acts alike usually employ a number of actors, dancers and singers. They usually hire solo performers as well as entertainers who are part of an orchestra or band.

Cruise ships are floating vacation resorts.
Cruise ships are floating vacation resorts.

A cruise line might also feature piano bar musicians, lounge acts, and strolling musicians. In addition, a cruise ship entertainer might be a member of a classical trio or string quartet that plays in the ship's formal dining areas and at wedding ceremonies or receptions. Since these groups perform live, they might spend a significant amount of time practicing. Disc jockeys or DJs, on the other hand, typically have a collection of prerecorded music that they use to provide entertainment in bars and at parties.

Another example of someone who might be considered a cruise ship entertainer is a cruise director, along with any other crew members who plan on-board activities or land excursions for the guests. According to many cruise ship entertainer job descriptions, ships with casinos typically employ people who could be considered entertainers as well. Individuals with outstanding musical or dramatic talents, however, are usually the most sought after candidates for entertainment positions on cruise ships.

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Discussion Comments


You won't get rich working as a member of a cruise ship staff as an entertainer, but the ship is a great place to meet people and possibly make contacts that will lead to a better job.

Just think of all the people who take cruises. Some of these people are in the entertainment business and if you do a good job entertaining on the ship you may catch a producer's attention and this could launch a successful and financially rewarding career.


In general, cruise ship entertainers are not paid very well and they spend so much time at sea. Almost as soon as one cruise ends, they are preparing for the next one. I think the job would be fun for a summer or maybe even a year, but I bet it gets monotonous after a while.


I have a friend who was a dance and theater major in school. Her dream is to perform on stage in New York or London. That's what she always talked about doing when we were in college. However, the competition for those roles is very intense. There are far more people looking for roles than there are actual parts.

After graduation, my friend landed a job performing on a cruise ship. She and the other entertainers usually do a couple shows a night and they rehearse some doing the day. However, the rehearsal is minimum once they get the routines and lines committed to memory, and they are doing the same show each night.

When they start a new show the rehearsal hours are much longer and they have less free time. Normally, they are able to lounge around the ship during the day and go ashore when they are in port. It's not her ideal job, but she says she likes the schedule and in some ways she feels like she is always on vacation.

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    • Cruise ship entertainers may include ventriloquists.
      By: phinizrl
      Cruise ship entertainers may include ventriloquists.
    • Cruise ships are floating vacation resorts.
      By: Rawpixel
      Cruise ships are floating vacation resorts.