Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cruise Ship Chef Job Description | Salary | Job Requirements

Have you always dreamed of spending every day surrounded by the peaceful waves and sun-filled skies of the open ocean? If so, consider becoming a cruise ship chef!

Cruise ship chefs are responsible for mealtimes on board luxury ships, making sure that all passengers have what they need to thoroughly enjoy their one-of-a-kind experiences at sea. Not only do these esteemed professionals get to explore some of the world’s most picturesque places while savoring delicious gastronomic sources, but they also benefit from an attractive salary package.

Read on to find out more about how much cruise ship chefs can earn, their job description, what job requirements must be satisfied, and what responsibilities come with this forward-thinking role.

Job description and responsibilities

Cruise Cook Duties and Responsibilities

The world of a cruise ship chef is one that is full of nonstop excitement and a constant need for culinary creativity. From starting the day off prepping ingredients to serving multiple-course meals and everything in between, a cruise ship chef’s job is never done.

Beyond the basic task of cooking meals, the responsibilities of a cruise ship chef include menu planning, ensuring proper food handling and sanitation, managing food inventory, and, perhaps most importantly, adapting to the preferences of dinner guests hailing from all corners of the world.

These culinary professionals are experts at keeping the entire kitchen running smoothly, and they are always ready to take on new challenges and add their own unique flair to the dishes they create.

List of generic duties of a cruise ship chef (male or female):

  • Responsible for the overall operation of the kitchen
  • Supervises all kitchen staff and ensures that they are properly trained
  • Develops menus and recipes in consultation with the head waiter and captain
  • Orders all food and supplies for the kitchen
  • Oversees the preparation of all food served on board the ship
  • Ensures that all food is prepared in a sanitary manner
  • Taste-tests all food before it is served to passengers
  • Works closely with the pastry chef to develop dessert menus and recipes
  • Plans special meals for VIP guests and those with dietary restrictions
  • Monitors food costs and works to keep them within budget
  • Keeps detailed records of all food served on board the ship
  • Liaises with port authorities to ensure that all food brought on board the ship meets health and safety standards


See also: Cruise Ship Waiter: All You Need to Know


Salary: How much cruise ship chefs make?

Cruise ships are known for their luxurious amenities, including world-class dining experiences. But have you ever wondered how much those talented chefs whipping up your meals are earning?

Cruise Ship Chef Salary Averages

On average, cruise ship cooking staff makes around $2,500 to $4,000 a month, depending on their experience and level of expertise. This may seem like a decent salary, but keep in mind that these chefs are working long hours, often with few breaks, and in a challenging, high-pressure environment.

However, for many passionate chefs, the opportunity to travel the world and showcase their skills to a diverse group of guests is a dream come true.

The culinary world on sea ships is a thrilling one, filled with innovation and creativity, and the chefs who embark on this journey are constantly learning and growing in their craft.


You might be interested in: Cruise Ship Steward Salary and Job Description


USA and Canada

Monthly salary for a cruise ship chef in the USA and Canada is around $4,500 to $6,000 per month, $54,000 to $72,000 per annum. Of course, these figures can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as experience, job title, and the cruise line you work for. However, one thing is for certain – the demand for skilled chefs on cruise ships remains high, making it an exciting and lucrative career path for those passionate about food and travel.

South America

In Mexico, the average monthly salary is around 20,000 MXN, while Brazil and Chile come in at approximately 6,000 BRL and 1,250,000 CLP respectively. When calculated on an annual basis, these figures work out to be 240,000 MXN, 72,000 BRL and 15,000,000 CLP.


Australia and New Zealand

Average monthly pay: ~$4,000 to $5,000.

Annual average: $48,000 to $60,000 – a decent living for a rewarding career at sea.


Middle East

For beginner chefs starting their careers on cruise ships in the UAE, the monthly salary can range from around 5,000 AED to 9,000 AED, while an average annual salary of approximately 60,000 AED to 108,000 AED.


Beginner chefs can expect a monthly salary ranging from approximately 5,000 QAR to 9,000 QAR, while senior chefs can anticipate a monthly salary ranging from around 9,000 QAR to 15,000 QAR.


East Asia


In Singapore, beginner chefs starting their careers on cruise ships can expect a monthly salary ranging from approximately SGD 2,500 to SGD 4,500, while SGD 30,000 to SGD 54,000 per year. Senior chefs with extensive experience can anticipate a higher monthly salary, ranging from around SGD 4,500 to SGD 8,000, which amounts to an average annual salary of approximately SGD 54,000 to SGD 96,000.


In Malaysia, the monthly and yearly average salaries for cruise ship chefs are slightly lower compared to Singapore. Beginner chefs can expect a monthly salary ranging from approximately MYR 2,500 to MYR 4,000, which amounts to an average annual salary of approximately MYR 30,000 to MYR 48,000. For senior chefs, the monthly salary ranges from around MYR 4,000 to MYR 7,000, translating to an average annual salary of approximately MYR 48,000 to MYR 84,000.


Beginner chefs in Indonesia can expect a monthly salary ranging from approximately IDR 3,000,000 to IDR 6,000,000, which amounts to an average annual salary of approximately IDR 36,000,000 to IDR 72,000,000. Senior chefs can anticipate a monthly salary ranging from around IDR 6,000,000 to IDR 10,000,000, translating to an average annual salary of approximately IDR 72,000,000 to IDR 120,000,000.


Entry level chefs can expect a monthly salary ranging from approximately JPY 250,000 to JPY 400,000, which amounts to an average annual salary of approximately JPY 3,000,000 to JPY 4,800,000. Senior chefs can anticipate a monthly salary ranging from around JPY 400,000 to JPY 700,000, translating to an average annual salary of approximately JPY 4,800,000 to JPY 8,400,000.


Monthly average: £1,500 to £2,500

Yearly average: £18,000 to £30,000

Senior chefs can make £2,500 to £5,000 per month, approximately £30,000 to £60,000 yearly.

Belgium, Austria, Finland, and Europe

For beginner chefs starting their careers on cruise ships in these European countries, the monthly salary can range from approximately €1,800 to €3,500. This translates to an average annual salary of approximately €21,600 to €42,000.

As for senior cruise ship chefs, the monthly average pay in European countries is €3,500 to €6,000, while €42,000 to €72,000 per year.

South Africa

For beginner chefs starting their careers on cruise ships in South Africa, the monthly salary can range from approximately ZAR 8,000 to ZAR 15,000. This translates to an average annual salary of approximately ZAR 96,000 to ZAR 180,000.

As for senior chefs with extensive experience and expertise, the monthly salary tends to be higher, ranging from around ZAR 15,000 to ZAR 30,000, which amounts to an average annual salary of approximately ZAR 180,000 to ZAR 360,000.


Job requirements and qualifications

Becoming a cruise ship chef is an exciting and rewarding career path for aspiring culinary professionals. It offers opportunities to travel the world while showcasing culinary skills to diverse passengers.

Cruise Chef Job Requirements

However, before setting sail, it’s vital to understand the job requirements and qualifications for this position. Let’s explore the extensive skillset and experience required to become a successful cruise ship chef.

1. Culinary education, training, and experience

A degree in culinary arts, food science, or hotel management is typically preferred for cruise ship chef roles. However, some passionate and experienced chefs with no formal education in culinary arts can join the industry by first gaining valuable experience in restaurants, hotels, or catering companies. Regardless of education, training, and experience, cruise ship chefs must exhibit proficiency in cooking, baking, and presentation skills.

2. Ability to meet high volume demands

Cooking for hundreds or thousands of passengers daily is not an easy task. Cruise ship chefs must have the ability to handle high volume orders while maintaining the quality of food and presenting it in an appealing way. As a cruise ship chef, you need to be familiar with batch cooking, large scale food storage, and food safety standards.

3. Multitasking skills

Cruise ship chefs work in fast-paced environments and juggle multiple responsibilities such as order processing, supervising kitchen staff, inventory management, and maintaining cleanliness. Being an efficient multitasker is a valuable trait in cruise ship chef roles.

4. Adaptability and flexibility

Cruise ships sail in different regions worldwide, and the cuisine on board should reflect each destination. Chefs should be adaptable to different cooking styles and ingredients and use their creativity to introduce unique flavors to match the local cuisine. Additionally, the cruise ship industry is highly seasonal, requiring chefs to adapt to changing schedules, work long hours, and be away from home for extended periods.

5. Excellent leadership and communication skills

As a cruise ship chef, leadership and communication skills are key. You’ll need to direct and oversee a diverse kitchen team, guide them in preparing dishes, inspire through creativity, and offer training when needed. Communication is essential to building relationships with both staff and passengers and ensuring that everyone’s dietary requirements and preferences are met.

Remember, the cruise ship industry is fast-paced and ever-changing, requiring individuals who can adapt promptly and continuously grow in their field. If you have what it takes, grab the opportunity to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as a cruise ship chef.


How to Become a Cruise Ship Chef (Step by Step)?

If you have a culinary degree or experience, becoming a cruise ship chef might be the right career path for you. Here is step by step process providing everything you need to know about paving your way to become a successful cruise ship cook.

How to become sea ship chef

Step 1: Gain culinary experience

You can start by attending culinary school and then gain industry experience in restaurants, hotels, and other food establishments. Food safety training and certifications also contribute to your chances of getting hired as a cruise ship chef.

Step 2: Research cruise lines

Research cruise lines and job portals to get an idea of what they offer in terms of culinary jobs. Some cruise lines have multiple restaurants, while others may outsource their culinary services. You can also find out the requirements, such as certifications in food safety and academic qualifications, to apply for a chef position.

Step 3: Apply for a cruise ship chef job

Once you’ve conducted thorough research, it’s time to apply for cruise ship chef positions. Applications can be submitted online, through recruiters, or by contacting cruise lines directly. Be prepared to provide a resume, cover letter, and references. Ensure that your application highlights your experience, training, and qualifications required for the position.

Step 4: Attend an interview

If your application is successful, you’ll attend an interview. The interview will be either in-person or virtual, depending on the cruise line. Prepare for the interview by having a well-crafted resume, rehearsing answers to possible interview questions, and learning about the company you’ll be working for.

Step 5: Complete medical and background checks

After the interview, the cruise line will conduct medical and background checks to ensure that you comply with the company’s policies and standards. Medical assessments check your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, while the background check inspects your criminal record.

With all that, if you are starting from scratch, you might be interested in assistant cruise ship cook position.



Embarking on a career as a cruise ship chef provides a host of benefits that extend beyond cooking up delectable feasts for passengers. From exploring exotic locales to networking with industry professionals, the advantages of being a chef on the high seas are bountiful.

Working in a fast-paced culinary environment with colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds can enrich one’s skills and broaden their worldview.


How to apply a cruise ship cook?

how to apply cruise chef

1. Research the cruise line and find out what their specific requirements are for a chef position.
2. Make sure you meet the minimum qualifications for the position, which usually include a certain amount of experience and/or training from a culinary school.
3. Submit your resume and cover letter to the cruise line. Be sure to highlight your relevant experience and skills.
4. If you are selected for an interview, be prepared to discuss your experience and why you would be a good fit for the position.
5. After the interview, follow up with a thank-you note expressing your interest in the position.
6. If you are offered the job, be sure to ask about the specific details of the position, such as hours, salary, and benefits.
7. Once you have accepted the job, start preparing for your voyage by researching the cruise line’s itinerary and menu options.


Interview questions

Some common interview questions for a sea ship chef include asking about your cooking experience, your ability to manage a team of culinary professionals, and your expertise in international cuisine.

cruise ship cook interview questions

Here are some:

  • What experience do you have working in a professional kitchen?
  • What experience do you have working on a cruise ship?
  • What specific experience do you have with preparing and cooking seafood?
  • What experience do you have with preparing and cooking international cuisine?
  • How well do you handle working in a fast-paced environment?
  • How well do you handle working long hours?
  • How well do you handle working in close quarters with other people?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cooking?
  • What would you say is your signature dish?
  • Do you have any dietary restrictions that we should be aware of?


Where to find cruise ship chef jobs?

Here are some job portals provided country-wise where you can find latest openings for cruise chefs:




  • Catering Crew in Canada:


United Kingdom






Australia and New Zealand



South Africa and Other African Countries

Here you can find cruise ship cook jobs in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Chad, Tanzania, Mozambique and other countries in the African continent.



East Asian Countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and others



Continue exploring:


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  1. I just finished my culinary certificate awaiting graduation I am very passionate determined and eager to learn and become the best. I am currently 25 years from Lesotho I would love and appreciate to volunteer at your cruise ship at any position more than anything it has always been my dream to turn it into reality. Thank you for going through my message as I will be waiting to get a reply from you, my CV is available as proof of my additional enthusiasm hard work and character.


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