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How to Become a Personal Trainer on a Cruise Ship in 2024

How to Become a Personal Trainer on a Cruise Ship in 2024

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on October 20, 2017 — Updated on May 12, 2024

To become a personal trainer on a cruise ship, secure the right qualifications and experience, then apply to cruise lines. Here’s how.

How to Become a Personal Trainer on a Cruise Ship

Becoming a personal trainer on a cruise ship is the perfect way to see the world. Read on to find out how to become a personal trainer on a cruise ship, personal trainer cruise ship salary options, and more.

  • Cruise lines have extensive training facilities on ships and need personal trainers.
  • You can apply directly to a cruise line or through a recruiter.
  • Having experience and certifications can assist in landing that initial interview.

You may have big dreams of seeing the world as a personal trainer, but perhaps you don’t have as deep of pockets. It can be costly to get out there and see all of the continents and islands. One of the beauties of being a personal trainer, though, is that you can indeed work from anywhere. That “anywhere” can even include a cruise ship!

Fitness Income Ideas

As a personal trainer, there are a lot of personal trainer career options and personal trainer income ideas here. One of the best is learning how to become a traveling personal trainer. It is just about knowing how to tap into the industry and get involved!

Check out our list of the best personal trainer certifications and the best group fitness certifications to learn more about the various types of personal trainer group fitness certifications.

Even on a cruise trip, you need a software platform that allows you to manage and grow your business so be sure to check out the best group fitness software for personal trainers, the best fitness class scheduling software, the best software for gyms, the best software for personal trainers, and more so you can get to work growing your personal trainer cruise ship fitness business!

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Owner, Ledbetter Fitness

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Cruise Ship Personal Trainer Salary

Personal trainers on cruise ships often enjoy a unique compensation structure that combines a base salary with potential earnings from commissions and gratuities. The salary varies based on the cruise line, the trainer’s experience, and the specific terms of their employment contract. Working as a personal trainer on a cruise ship can be an exciting opportunity, not only for the travel benefits but also for the potential to earn a decent income while helping a diverse range of clients from all over the world achieve their fitness goals.

Cruise LineBase Salary RangePotential With Commissions and Tips
Carnival Cruise Line$1,800 – $2,200/moUp to $3,500/mo
Royal Caribbean$2,000 – $2,500/moUp to $4,000/mo
Norwegian Cruise Line$1,900 – $2,400/moUp to $3,800/mo
Princess Cruises$2,100 – $2,600/moUp to $4,200/mo
Celebrity Cruises$2,000 – $2,500/moUp to $4,000/mo

Personal trainers on cruise ships typically receive a lower base salary compared to their land-based counterparts, but the potential for additional earnings through commission and tips can significantly increase their total income. In addition to financial compensation, personal trainers enjoy free lodging, meals, and the ability to travel the world, which are considerable non-monetary benefits. This job requires a unique blend of fitness expertise, sales skills, and the ability to engage with people from various backgrounds in a dynamic environment. For those passionate about fitness and adventure, working as a personal trainer on a cruise ship offers a fulfilling path that combines work with exploration.

Finding Personal Trainer Cruise Ship Jobs

To become a personal trainer on a cruise ship, you must first meet specific qualifications and experience requirements (read our full guide on how to become a personal trainer here). There are many fitness jobs on cruise ships you can research, from working as a personal trainer on a cruise ship to working as a fitness instructor on a cruise ship. Finding personal trainer cruise ship jobs and fitness instructor cruise ship jobs just takes some legwork and research. Working as a personal trainer on a cruise ship offers a unique opportunity to travel the world while helping people stay fit and healthy.

How do you become a personal trainer on a cruise ship? If you have ever been on a cruise ship before, you know that the major cruise lines usually offer reasonably extensive fitness programs. They have gyms that are more advanced than many you may enroll in at home, classes that you can attend, and personal trainers for guests to sign on with. Working as a personal trainer on a cruise ship can be a great way to see the world, while also making a stable income at the same time.

It’s essential to understand that a personal trainer cruise ship job demands versatility and the ability to work with diverse groups of people in a dynamic, moving environment. For fitness professionals, utilizing a robust platform like Exercise.com can streamline managing client schedules, tracking workout progress, and providing fitness plans remotely, making it an ideal tool for trainers aboard cruise ships.

Step #1 – Obtain Necessary Certifications

Before you can start training on a cruise ship, you need the right professional certifications.

  • Ensure you have a recognized personal training certification from an accredited organization like ACE, NASM, or ACSM.
  • Consider additional certifications in CPR and First Aid, as these are often required for onboard positions.
  • Specialized fitness classes, such as yoga or Pilates, can enhance your employability.

Having the right certifications is the foundation of your fitness career on a cruise ship. Exercise.com’s software helps manage these certifications by providing reminders for renewal deadlines and continuing education opportunities, ensuring you remain compliant and up-to-date in your qualifications.

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Step #2 – Gain Experience in the Fitness Industry

Experience is crucial in securing a position as a personal trainer on a cruise ship.

  • Work in various fitness settings, such as gyms, wellness centers, or as a freelance personal trainer.
  • Focus on gaining experience in areas that are popular on cruise ships, like group fitness classes, wellness coaching, and aquatic fitness programs.
  • Develop strong customer service skills, as guest satisfaction is paramount in the cruise industry.

Using Exercise.com, you can manage and grow your fitness business on land before taking to the seas. The platform allows you to track client progress, create and market fitness programs, and build a strong professional reputation, all of which are attractive to cruise line employers.

Read More:

Step #3 – Apply to Cruise Lines

With the right qualifications and experience, you’re ready to apply to cruise lines.

  • Research different cruise lines and the fitness services they offer. Look for those that align with your skills and interests.
  • Prepare a compelling resume that highlights your fitness training certifications, experience, and any customer service accolades.
  • Utilize online job portals and the career pages of cruise lines to submit your applications.

Exercise.com can enhance your application process by providing a platform to showcase your professional portfolio, including client testimonials, success stories, and detailed workout regimens.

Step #4 – Prepare for Interviews and Demonstrations

If your application catches the eye of a cruise line, you’ll likely be invited to an interview or asked to perform a practical demonstration.

  • Practice common interview questions specific to the cruise and fitness industry.
  • Be ready to conduct a fitness class or a personal training session as part of the interview process.
  • Show adaptability and knowledge of working in multi-cultural environments, as cruise ships have diverse clientele.

Leverage Exercise.com to prepare for these demonstrations by using its extensive library of exercises and customizable workout templates to plan and perfect your session presentations.

Read More: Personal Trainer Interview Questions and Answers

Step #5 – Understand the Lifestyle and Commitments

Before committing to a job on a cruise ship, understand the lifestyle and what you’re signing up for.

  • Be prepared for long contracts that can last from six months to a year with limited time off.
  • Understand the living conditions, which may include sharing a cabin and having restricted access to certain ship amenities.
  • Adapt to working unusual hours, as guest activities on cruise ships can occur at all times of the day.

As you navigate the unique challenges of being a fitness trainer on a cruise ship, Exercise.com’s software becomes an indispensable tool for maintaining a structured and efficient workflow, no matter where you are in the world.

Embarking on a career as a personal trainer on a cruise ship is an exciting opportunity that combines travel with fitness. By following these steps and utilizing a comprehensive management platform like Exercise.com, you can effectively manage your clientele, prepare fitness programs, and ensure ongoing professional development. Ready to take your fitness career to the high seas? Book a demo with Exercise.com today and discover how our software can help you succeed in the cruise industry and beyond.

Tony Gentilcore
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Tony Gentilcore
Founder, Core Online

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Types of Hiring on Cruise Ships

Cruise ships usually hire personal trainers in one of two ways: seasonal and permanent. The seasonal hires are personal trainers that are going to be brought in for a set period. They may be hired during winter cruises for example, or perhaps during the summer, depending on the needs. Permanent staff are personal trainers who work for the cruise line full-time.

It is essential to understand as a trainer that once you are full-time with a cruise ship, your home for months at a time is that very ship. Most trainers on cruise ships will work for several months before getting a break for a month or two to return home, only to start back up again with another set period on the boat.

Contact the Cruise Line Directly

One of the best ways to initially gauge interest from a cruise line as a personal trainer is to reach out directly. Many of the big cruise lines, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival, all have large human resource departments that are hiring all of the time.

You can hop right onto the corporate site of any of these cruise lines and scan the job postings. See what they have to offer you regarding employment and if those offerings would potentially meet your needs as a personal trainer.

If you see something that interests you, do not hesitate to apply on your own. If no job postings are there, you could even call the company or drop them an e-mail to offer your services.

Before you reach out to the cruise line directly, try to put some work into your resume and cover letter. Talk exclusively about the cruise line you are applying to. Showing knowledge of the ships and the itinerary can speak volumes for how much interest your application garners.

Using a Personal Trainer Recruiter

The other option that many personal trainers will turn to is using a recruiter. Employment service companies are great as they work with the cruise lines to understand who the corporations need and then match up the most qualified candidates with them.

A recruiter can help you in many ways. They can work with you on your resume, help you with a cover letter, and help navigate the entire application process.

Before you sign on with a recruitment company, though, do your homework! Be sure that they have multiple cruise lines that they work with. The bigger the pool of jobs the recruitment company has their hands on, the better the chance for you to get hired through them.

Cruise Line Considerations

There are a few pieces of criteria that cruise lines are going to be on the lookout for with applicants. First, they are going to seek applicants from the United States, as well as Canada, who are certified personal trainers. Having a certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), or Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), NASM, ISSA, or one of the other best personal training certifications is typically a prerequisite.

Work experience is another area that cruise lines usually look for as well. These are high-end fitness facilities on the ships, so the cruise lines are looking for the best trainers available. Having at least six months of work experience before applying is typically required.

If you have unique skills, make those known on your application as well.

A cruise line can be a great company to work for. As a trainer, it gives you the opportunity to train clients, build up experience, and see the world, all while making an income! Knowing how to navigate the waters of the cruise line industry can be a challenge, but with the tips we have detailed above, you should be on the right track to landing that cruise line dream job as a personal trainer.

Types of Fitness Jobs on Cruise Ships

Cruise ships offer a variety of fitness-related jobs that cater to the health and wellness of their passengers. These roles are crucial for providing a balanced and enjoyable experience on board, allowing guests to maintain their fitness routines while enjoying their vacation. Working in the fitness sector on a cruise ship not only provides the excitement of traveling to exotic destinations but also offers the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse clientele. Here are some common fitness jobs found on cruise ships:

  1. Fitness Instructor – Leads group exercise classes such as aerobics, Pilates, yoga, spinning, and water aerobics. Must be able to cater workouts to all levels of fitness and manage large groups of passengers.
  2. Personal Trainer – Works one-on-one with passengers to personalize fitness plans based on their goals, fitness levels, and any medical considerations. Requires excellent interpersonal skills and a deep knowledge of exercise science.
  3. Sports Coordinator – Organizes and oversees sports and recreation activities on the ship. This role involves managing sports facilities, scheduling tournaments, and ensuring safety during all activities.
  4. Wellness Coordinator – Focuses on the overall wellness experience of the passengers, including stress relief programs, nutrition workshops, and wellness seminars. This role often requires knowledge in areas beyond physical fitness, such as diet and mental health.
  5. Massage Therapist – Provides a range of therapeutic massage services to passengers. Requires certification in massage therapy and knowledge of various techniques like Swedish, deep tissue, and sports massage.
  6. Aqua Fitness Instructor – Specializes in conducting fitness classes in the ship’s pools. These instructors must be creative in adapting land exercises to water and ensuring a safe environment for all participants.
  7. Dance Instructor – Leads dance classes, which may range from ballroom to salsa to line dancing, depending on the cruise line and clientele. This role requires a background in dance and the ability to teach steps to beginners.
  8. Health and Wellness Lecturer – Delivers presentations and seminars on various health topics such as nutrition, exercise trends, and lifestyle habits. This position is ideal for someone with a background in health education and public speaking.
  9. Adventure Activities Coordinator – Responsible for managing and guiding outdoor fitness activities like rock climbing, zip-lining, or scuba diving offered on or off the ship. This role requires certifications specific to the activities as well as risk management skills.
  10. Fitness Director – Oversees all aspects of the cruise ship’s fitness programs and facilities. This managerial position involves scheduling classes, managing staff, and ensuring the highest standards of safety and customer satisfaction.

Working on a cruise ship in a fitness capacity can be an enriching career choice, providing a unique blend of travel, fitness, and customer service. These roles require individuals who are not only passionate about fitness but also possess strong interpersonal skills and a desire to help others enjoy their vacation healthily. Whether leading a high-energy class or providing a relaxing massage, fitness professionals on cruise ships play an essential role in enhancing the onboard experience for passengers. If you’re seeking a dynamic fitness job that combines your love for health and travel, a position aboard a cruise ship might be the perfect fit.

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How much do personal trainers get paid on cruise ships?

Personal trainers on cruise ships typically earn a base salary that ranges from $1,800 to $2,500 per month, but with commissions and tips, total earnings can increase significantly, often reaching up to $3,500 to $4,000 per month. The compensation package usually includes room and board, which makes it easier to save a substantial portion of the earnings. Exercise.com, as a comprehensive fitness business management software, can help personal trainers aboard cruise ships manage and track their client sessions and payments efficiently, even when internet access might be limited.

How to become a cruise ship personal trainer?

To become a personal trainer on a cruise ship, you need to have a recognized personal training certification and preferably some experience in the fitness industry. Most cruise lines also require you to have additional qualifications in CPR and first aid. The application process typically involves submitting a resume to cruise line job portals and going through an interview process that may include practical demonstrations of your training skills. Exercise.com can help aspiring cruise ship trainers prepare by offering resources for certification prep and client management techniques, enhancing their credentials.

How to be a PT on a cruise ship quickly?

To quickly become a personal trainer on a cruise ship, obtain a recognized personal training certification, ensure you have up-to-date CPR and first aid certifications, and gain some experience in a fitness or hospitality setting. Applying to multiple cruise lines and using recruitment agencies that specialize in cruise ship employment can speed up the process. Maintaining a profile on Exercise.com can also be beneficial, as it showcases your professional qualifications and training philosophy to potential employers.

Are there personal trainers on cruises?

Yes, there are personal trainers on most large cruise ships as part of the onboard fitness center services. These trainers offer one-on-one sessions, group classes, and sometimes even personalized health programs for guests who want to maintain their fitness regimen while at sea. Being a personal trainer on a cruise ship is an excellent way to combine a passion for fitness with the opportunity to travel.

Can cruise ship workers use the gym?

Yes, cruise ship workers, including crew members, typically have access to the gym facilities onboard. However, the access might be restricted to certain hours that are less busy to ensure that paying guests have priority. This setup allows crew members to maintain their fitness levels while working at sea.

Can you travel the world as a personal trainer?

Yes, you can travel the world as a personal trainer, especially if you work on cruise ships or with international resorts and spas. Many personal trainers also travel by offering online coaching services or running fitness retreats and workshops in various locations. Platforms like Exercise.com can facilitate this global approach by providing tools to manage clients remotely, schedule sessions across different time zones, and market services internationally.

Do people who work on cruise ships make good money?

The earnings for people working on cruise ships can vary greatly depending on the role, experience, and the cruise line. While some positions may offer lower base pay, many jobs provide tips, commissions, and free room and board, which can significantly increase effective earnings and savings potential. Personal trainers often fall into the higher end of the earnings spectrum due to their ability to earn additional income through private sessions and group classes.

Can you make a living working on a cruise ship?

Yes, many individuals make a living working on cruise ships. Roles in entertainment, fitness, and hospitality can offer competitive salaries, tips, and commissions. Moreover, with few living expenses while onboard, it’s possible to save a substantial portion of your earnings, making it financially viable for many.

What benefits do you get working on a cruise ship?

Working on a cruise ship offers several benefits, including the opportunity to travel the world for free, room and board, and the chance to meet people from diverse backgrounds. Employees often enjoy discounted rates for friends and family, access to ship facilities like pools and fitness centers, and sometimes health and dental benefits.

How do I become a personal trainer?

To become a personal trainer, you need to earn a certification from a recognized organization such as NASM, ACE, or ISSA. It’s essential to learn about anatomy, physiology, and nutrition and gain practical experience in fitness training. Additionally, you should develop strong communication and motivational skills to effectively work with clients of varying fitness levels and goals.

Read More: How to Become a Personal Trainer

What are the best personal training certifications?

The best personal training certifications include NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise), and ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association). These certifications are widely recognized and respected in the fitness industry and provide comprehensive education that covers all aspects of personal training.

Read More: Best Personal Training Certifications

What is the best personal training software?

The best personal training software is Exercise.com, which offers comprehensive tools for managing clients, workouts, scheduling, and online training services. It’s ideal for personal trainers looking to streamline their business operations, enhance client engagement, and grow their business effectively. Whether you’re working with clients face-to-face or online, Exercise.com provides the flexibility and functionality needed to manage your fitness business efficiently.

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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