Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Working in the Casino on a cruise ship.

Many will tell you that working in the Casino is the most glamorous of all cruise ship jobs. Expectations are high....”Think of all the rich people you’ll meet”, “ I bet you’ll get so many tips, “you must get to wear beautiful uniforms”, you don’t work during the day surely” and so on and on and on.........wake up!

Life in the casino is not like that at all. It’s another job that requires nearly working 24/7, 7 days a week. Often starting as early as 10am and working til 2am. Yes and that doesn’t include the cash count and slot drop count that comes after 2am. BUT, and this is a very big but, it’s still worth it.

I know, I did this for 5 years, on seven ships. I started on the lowest of the low and worked my way up to casino Manager on a 5 star luxury yacht, often voted best Cruise ship in the world.

Everything you read here is in regard to Carnival casinos who have 74 cruise ships across 10 fleets and it grows every year.

Casinos Austria is another company, smaller than Carnival,l but they also have several casinos on some very prestigious ships such as Seadream.

As with the hairdressing post below you will need to contact these two companies directly, not the Cruise Lines themselves. The details are below:

Whats the first step?

You will need to have at least a years experience of working in a casino (and usually that has to have been within the last year-so if you changed job and are a bit rusty you’ll need to get some experience again).

This means should at least be able to deal Roulette, Blackjack and Stud Poker competently. On a ship there will only be 1-2 inspectors or pit bosses looking after10-15 dealers, so you’ll need to be confident that you can deal without making mistakes, or to many mistake at least! Don’t worry about Craps (the dice game) as you will usually get trained up for that once onboard and have proved yourself competent with the other games.

You will also need to be a team player and be a friendly person. Make sure this is written into your references, it really counts.

Yes..yes. I can do all that. So whats next?

Use the above websites to apply for a position. Sometimes you will only have a telephone interview and a thorough check of all references (especially if they really need staff), at other times you may need to attend an open interview which are held in different countries at various dates. (check the websites for these).

If you are successful you’ll have to ensure that your passport is up to date (the office should help you with applying for the Visa’s you will need), you’ll need to have a medical (usually they will tell you where) and thats it. You will need to pay a 500USD deposit, the reason for this is that if you don’t like it, are no good at your job or you commit a sackable offence you will be paying for your flight home not the company!

Ideally you should take some nice tuxedo shirts with you and either black trousers (with no pockets) or a black skirt. If you do this it will save you having to wear the cheap uniforms they supply you with.

Take some money to get you through your first night before boarding the ship and to get you through the first few weeks before you get paid.

I’m joining the ship tomorrow what can I expect?

Well , that will totally depend on which ship you will be joining? Sometimes, especially on Carnival and Holland America you will be allowed to go in most passenger areas providing you are wearing your uniform., that includes the buffet, the theatre and the disco. Carnival have a pool especially for crew so if you chill out there you can where whatever you like as it is a crew area. Sometime the ships management try to tell you that you are not allowed in passenger areas, usually when the Casino is a concession, eg Seabourn and they only allow the manager to those areas. It’s easier not to argue and anyway who wants to hang out onboard when theres a beautiful beach nearby.

Many young people work onboard so there will definitely be someone you get on with. Also every night you can usually find a place to party and the crew bar...well just don’t ring the bell. On Carnival you can buy cocktails for 1USD, on other ships this is limited to beer and wine but when theres a will theres a in water bottles no one knows the difference. Just don’t accidentally drink it first thing in the moring! Cigarettes are also dirt cheap.

You’ll be sleeping in bunk beds and sharing a cabin with 1-2 others but at least you won’t be lonely. Sometimes you can apply with your partner and if you are lucky you will get placed together but not always. They do like to split you up for the first contract as a trial, however I was lick yenough to join the ship with my boyfiend and share a cabin with him to every time so may be you will also be lucky.

Casino work

When the ship is docked the casino can’t be open sop you Will have the whole day free, unless you have IPM (more later).

The Casino opens apx 30 minutes after the ship has sailed and will be open until the last passenger leaves. On Seabourn this could mean as early as 12am or as late as 6am, when the ship came into dock again. With Carnival it will be more regular, apx 2-3 am finsihing. But don’t forget afterwards you will do the count. Everyone help with the first part of this and then 1-2 remain to do the count. Who stays depends on a rotating basis (or if you have been bad expect a extra count or two).

If te ship is at sea all day then the Casino is open from 10.30 am right though the whole day. Ther are normally two shifts, so you will get a break at some point but “Sea” days are a little crappy.

In the casino you will be allowed to accept tips so you are gonna have to smile a lot and laugh at jokes that aren’t even funny. You really need to be a people person to work on a ship whatever job you do. If you don’t make your fair share of the tips the others will start to dislike you and all te tips go into a pot and are shared. This used to be shared between the whole Casino but now all the tips in the fleet go into huge pot and are divided between everyone. This wa supposed to make it afirer for everyone but I dion’t realy like that part of it. I never knew who I was carrying.

Tips also vary a great deal. I once did a cruise and made 7500USD in six days. There were only two of us and we made that each! But also I’ve done cruises where I made only 100 USD in two weeks (beware of world cruises).

Extra info

As well as your casino work there will be lifeboat drills twice a week , which take up to 45 minutes to complete. Do not sleep through these.....or you will pay the price.

IPM is in port manning and it sucks. A certain number of people are required to stay onboard the ship when it is docked in case it start to sink or there is afire and the passengers need guiding off. Yeah, whatever, its crap but you have to do this at least once a week.

Cabin inspection is when the masters of the ship will come and check your cabin to see if you are behaving like good little girls and boys, usually once a week. On some ships this is just a quick glance and a tick against your name. On others, (this is true), you will have to strip down your bed to the mattress and have a spotless cabin. This happened to me twice, right after I paid my Philippine Cabin steward to make my bed!

I must not forget to tell you this...tipping and bribing is common place. You want some fresh bread go and see the baker with a few dollars and a smile and he’ll give you some, just don’t get caught. The cabins stewards will also take care of your bed, bathroom and laundry if ou tip them regularly, best to agree a price beforehand and it is so worth it.


As a dealer you can expect to make 15 USD a day. A Cashier 20 USD an Inspector /pit boss 30USD per day. It’s a pittance but as we talked about it beforehand it’s the tips that really make it worth while.

Is it worth it?

It is a great life. You will get to see so many places, especially since you can not work when the ship is in port, you will be free much more than the other professions. The down side is that when the rest of the ship are partying in crew bar after work you will still be working, but you didn come on a cruise ship to party ...did you?


Anonymous said...

There are a few cruise lines which still employ concessionaire companies to operate the casinos aboard their ships, however most lines manage their own casino operation; known as 'in-house'. In both cases he department is generally run in the same manner, consisting of casino managers, dealers/croupiers, cashiers and slot technicians. In compliance with international custom laws, the casino is only allowed to open while in international waters; usually three miles out to sea. Subsequently the staff only work while at sea and have port days off. well, there are also other cruise ship jobs out there that one can look for depending on his interests

John Smith said...

having cruise ship jobs related to the casino is very awesome as compared to other jobs, working on a casino has a definite time. Casino's operate depends on the ships location and there is a time limit for it. This makes it easier for the crew in that department as for when the casino is closed they have a chance to enjoy the cruise as well.

Unknown said...

I have an experience during my on job training working in a cruise ship but I have not experience working in a casino cruise lines, I got to find a job in a cruise ship.

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Last month, I applied in but I haven't received an answer, how long do I have to wait to get an answer?

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Carlos Miguel De Villa said...

Working in a casino usually makes me feel excited because it is an opportunity to see rich people, what they look like, what they wear and what are their qualities. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips. Anyways, I'd like to recommend a good cruise ship agency in the Philippines. It is

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