Everything you need to know about getting entertainment work on Cruise Ships
Cruise Entertainment jobs remain the ultimate dream for many talented performers but how do you get started, what do you need and what can you do right now to help you on your path towards performing on ships around the world?
There is very little good quality, easy to follow advice out there that will tell you everything you really need to know, so for our latest update to the Get More Gigs guide, we’ve pulled together all the information and advice you'll need to land that cruise contract. You can either read the full guide, jump to the sections that matter to you or listen to the podcast below.
If you haven’t already registered with us and would like access to the full Get More Gigs: Essential Guide to Marketing for Entertainers as well as free job email alerts for your act, you can sign-up here.
In this section, we cover all the big questions…
There will always be fierce competition for Cruise jobs, but if you’re talented and hard-working your dream of being a Cruise Entertainer is achievable. Although there will always be plenty of applicants for Cruise jobs, there are also plenty of Cruise ships and lots of jobs to apply to. And Agents and Cruise lines are always looking for one thing – fresh talent.
Certainly Covid has affected the industry, but Cruise companies are recruiting now for cruise trips starting in Spring, so don’t be put off! You can find out more about when each Cruise line will resume sailing here.
If you have everything you need to apply and use the right channels (read on to find out more on these) then now is the time to get started. The sooner you start getting your publicity in front of the right people, the faster you will get to where you want to be.
Need some motivation?
This is an email we received from one of our members last year:
“It's been a while since we've touched base, but it would be a shame if I didn't personally thank you and Entertainers Worldwide.
I became a member almost a year ago and was quite diligent in checking frequently for any work I could obtain as a Singer or Singer/Dancer on ships. It was a dream of mine, and have profiles on Actors Access, Backstage, and go to in-person auditions for cruises constantly since I live in Florida (but have had no success).
Three months ago AB Casting and Talent Agency saw my materials on your site and loved what they saw, agreeing to keep me on file in case a good fit came along. And last week it did! I'm going to be the new lead vocalist on board MSC Armonia for the next 9 months!
To someone like me having a profile on your site completely changed my life and helped me make a life-long dream come true. I thought you should know how deeply grateful I am. Thanks!" Kayla Fischl, Florida
As you can see, it doesn’t always happen quickly, but it’s worth persisting!
If you’re not already registered with us, then you can sign-up for free here. It only takes a couple of minutes and once you’ve done it you’ll receive job email alerts for your act type, as well as access to our Get More Gigs: Essential Marketing for Entertainers guide and our members’ offers.
In short, there are "Guest Entertainer" Headlining Act Contracts, Lounge Performer Contracts and Cruise Ship Show Team, Party Bands and Band Member Contracts. We have covered this in depth on our Cruise Entertainment Jobs page as well as outlining how much you are likely to earn from each type of contract.
If you want to be a soloist 'Guest Entertainer' (ideal for stage magicians, comedians, singers and speciality acts) performing your own shows on the main stage in the ship’s theatre you will need solid experience in performing your show and at least 2 separate shows that you can perform. These would usually be 2 x 45 mins or for some contracts 1 x 45 for your main act and a 1 x 20 minutes show that would be split with another act or in the ship's 'variety show'.
If you are aiming to get a job in the on-board ‘production team’ or are a musician hoping to be part of the ship’s band, then you will need to be highly skilled, expertly trained and the more experience you have, the better your chances of landing a contract.
For Lounge performers, such as Duo’s, you will again need to be experienced at performing your act, have a high-quality show and a large, varied repertoire of songs.
We can not stress this strongly enough - you need high quality promotional materials that reflect your talent and professionalism.
No matter how talented you are, if you don't have excellent promotional materials you are much less likely to land a Cruise contract. You will need both photos and a video showreel showing the high standard of your previous performances.
Professional photos and showreels can be expensive, which is why we offer our members affordable photo and video editing services . You can also read more here about writing your profile, getting professional photos and a stunning showreel.
You have a great, professional act (check!), plenty of professional experience (check!) and fantastic promotional materials (check!) – so what now? As the testimonial at the start of this article will tell you, creating a profile with us and applying for Cruise jobs and auditions via our website really works.
The reason for this is simple, we are the easiest place online to get Cruise Entertainment jobs, since we have jobs linking directly to the cruise lines. Agents worldwide also add cruise posts to our jobs pages. This allows our members to apply to the exact agents who are putting acts out onto cruises now.
"I think becoming a member of Entertainers Worldwide is the best investment I ever made. In less than one day after my profile activation, 4 different agencies have already got in touch with me and everything feels very promising. Looks like I will be working as pianist on a cruise starting from November!" Maurizio Mariscoli, Italy.
You can also contact specialist Cruise agents and try to get onto their books that way. You can find out all about Agents and how they work here.
The primary piece of advice we would give here is this – make sure you have a strong USP! Your Unique Selling Point, the thing that makes you different to every other act an agent or recruiter sees that day, needs to be clear.
Make sure you make it obvious at the beginning of your showreel and in your biography that you have something special and unique that makes you different to other singers/dancers/musicians/magicians etc.
Part of your USP can be the highlights of your career, which you should add both to the top of your publicity and to your email signature.
Here’s an example from one of our members who has worked on Cruise Ships:
- One of the UK's Most Experienced Professional Magicians
- Member of the Prestigious Magic Circle
- Performed on BBC1’s ‘The Apprentice’ - 2017
- Performed LIVE on Channel 4’s ‘The Last Leg’ - 2015
- Professional Close-Up & Comedy Stage Magic
- Performed at over 2000 Events Worldwide
- 17+ Years of Experience
- Performed the World's Largest Stage Illusion with a 5 Ton Lear Jet
- Headlined over 100 Cruise Ships Worldwide
Most of us don’t have quite so many amazing highlights (!), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create some. For example, how about...
TV appearances & Radio shows
You could apply for opportunities to appear on any TV channel (regardless of how prestigious) even if it’s just a 30 second appearance performing...you can then add ‘As Seen on TV’ to your publicity! Even going onto a popular cooking show or daytime quiz show on TV or radio and performing for a few seconds will give you experience that you can add to your profile.
The same thing applies to popular social media channels and platforms. For example, if you appear on a huge Instagram feed for Magicians and get thousands of reactions and comments, that’s also material for your publicity. Similarly, if you set up your own accounts and manage to get a large amount of followers, that makes you a social media star and at the moment that’s probably a bigger booking magnet than success on any other form of media.
You could start by creating a video of your very best performances and promoting it everywhere on social media. That could lead to a highlight like this: 'His best performance has been viewed on YouTube over 800,000 times'.
There are plenty more ideas on how to successfully promote your act on social media in part one of our Get More Gigs Guide.
- Become a member of any well-know prestigious organisation
- Perform with / support a well know performer
- Go for a world record in what you do
- Enter competitions so that you can list yourself as ‘Winner of the XXX award’
- Raise money for your favourite charity with a performance and add this to your highlights as 'Her performances have raised over £3000 for the 'x' charity'
The primary goal is to make sure you stand out. Anything that you can list as ‘The World’s Number 1 at…’ or ‘The 2021 Winner of…’ is bound to catch a bookers attention!
We hope you’ve found this guide really useful, but please do contact us anytime if we can give you more advice on getting Cruise contracts through our directory.
Fired up and ready to get started? You can go straight to our Cruise Jobs page here. And finally, if you’re not already registered with us, then you can sign-up for free here. It only takes a couple of minutes and once you’ve done it you’ll receive job email alerts for your act type, as well as access to our Get More Gigs: Essential Marketing for Entertainers guide and our members’ offers.
Good Luck & Happy Travels!