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What is a Cruise Director?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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Every successful cruise requires the presence of a cruise director. Essentially, the cruise director serves as the planner for all types of shipboard entertainment and activities. Along with ensuring that all social and cultural events are well coordinated, the cruise director also often acts as the main source of information for the guests on the cruise, ensuring they are having an enjoyable experience.

Often, cruise directors begin their careers in some type of support capacity, such as working as an assistant that focuses on a limited number of cruise activities. This gives the novice some experience in how to coordinate a wide range of events and services that help to make cruises so attractive and pleasant for the paying guests. In fact, it is not unusual for new employees to spend time on several cruises as part of the entertainment staff, or as an assistant to a seasoned cruise director. This period of applying accumulated knowledge while under the watchful eye of a seasoned professional can make all the difference refining the skills required to be a successful cruise director.

In some cases, a cruise line will require that new employees attend training sessions before assignment to the staff of a cruise ship. During the training sessions, the employee has the chance to learn all the essentials that are needed to be successful in the field of cruise directing. The training will include a number of basic techniques that are utilized in all types of customer care. For example, the program may involve learning how to deal with difficult clients, what to do in the event that some activity is not working well for the guests, handling last minute changes to the cruise schedule, and responding to queries from the passengers.

Different cruise lines set unique requirements and responsibilities for their cruise directors. For this reason, it is always a good idea to look into the job description that is issued by each cruise line under consideration. Along with the job description, exploring the amount of time involved in the training, the rate of pay during training time, and what type of openings are currently available can help the potential cruise director to know if a particular cruise line is a good fit.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseTour, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Certlerant — On Mar 16, 2014

@Certlerant - The main factor in hiring cruise directors is experience.

However, education in fields like leisure studies, business or hospitality and experience in other hospitality jobs, like restaurant or hotel jobs, certainly couldn't hurt and may give you a leg up over entry level competition.

It is important to remember that a cruise director is akin to an activities director in other fields. As a result, education may not be as important as enthusiasm, energy and a good work ethic.

By Glasis — On Mar 16, 2014

Is it helpful for someone who wants to be a cruise director to have experience in the tourism industry or even a certificate or degree in this area?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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