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Types of Shipboard Positions

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Ship Life


Hotel Manager

Purser's Office

Chief Purser


Crew Purser

First / Second Purser

Assistant Purser



Hotel Department


Hotel Manager

The Hotel Manager is a member of the ship's senior management team. This team consists of the Captain, Chief Engineer, Staff Captain, Hotel Manager and Cruise Director. The Hotel Manager is responsible for the day to day operation of the Hotel department which includes the following: the Purser's office, the Steward department, the Bar, Food & Beverage departments, cruise staff, the casino and the concessionaires such as the salon, photo and gift shop. 

Purser's Office

The Purser's office is the administration hub of the ship. This office has many responsibilities. The Chief Purser may delegate tasks differently depending on the ship and its procedures. The Purser's office has a front counter where Assistant Pursers deal with passenger questions and complaints. Other administrative responsibilities of this office are filling out maintenance requisitions, currency exchange, postage sales and adjusting passenger and crew manifests. While in port, the Purser's office is responsible to keep contact with the ship's agent. Other responsibilities include shipboard announcements, sailing reports and distribution of safety deposit boxes for passengers. In the event of unexpected passenger disembarkation due to illness or family emergency, it is the Purser's office task to arrange and complete the necessary paperwork. 


Canadians, Americans and British have a good chance of being hired for positions within the Purser's office, but anyone interested will have to start at the bottom of the ladder. The Assistant Purser, also known as the Junior Officer, is the first step in learning the duties involved. You may need to complete several contracts before gaining enough experience for promotion.

Chief Purser

The Chief Purser oversees all revenues and expenses. He or she reports accounting to the cruise line's head office. The Chief Purser is a position that requires extensive hotel or cruise ship experience. 


The accountants of the ship consist of the Chief Accountant, his or her assistant and a computer operator. This team is responsible for the ship's finances. They control the safe and supervise all revenue from activities such as bingo and horse-racing. They provide floats, cash advances, change for the Purser's office and assist with the ship's payroll. They keep a close eye on shipboard passenger accounts, print statements for the guests and ensure full payment from passengers is collected before they disembark at the end of the cruise. An accounting education or equivalent experience is required if you are interested in applying for a position as an accountant. 

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Crew Purser / Human Resources Manager

The Crew Purser's primary responsibility is customs and immigration procedures relating to crew members. Other duties include ensuring that all passports and visas are valid, preparing paperwork for crew signing on and off, keeping updated records, berthing and crew lists, assigning cabins to new crew, and sorting and distributing crew mail. The Crew Purser must keep the shore-side office informed of the ship's requirements and upcoming crew vacations. The Crew Purser has an important role of acting as a liaison between the cruise line's head office, shipboard department heads and the individual crew member. 

First / Second Purser

The First and Second Pursers assist the Chief Purser with all general accounting. Depending on the cruise line, requirements for this position include hotel or resort experience as well as previous training in the Purser's office. An accounting or banking background would be a definite asset. 

Assistant Purser / Junior Officer / Receptionist

This entry-level position is a key front line contact for the ship's passengers. Similar to duties at the front desk of a hotel, you will provide information on the ship and its ports-of-call. You will provide safety deposit boxes, open and close shipboard charge accounts and assist in resolving passenger complaints. Selling postage and handling outgoing mail is also a part of this position. Requirements include one-year hotel front desk, hospitality or banking experience. On your resume, emphasize strong clerical abilities, excellent customer service skills and your ability to multi-task.

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