Life on board a cruise ship can be exciting and rewarding visiting exotic ports of call, working with people from all over the world, earning a good living, and having your room and board provided free. But life on board is also demanding and challenging working long hours seven days a week, living in shared accommodations with your co-workers and following the ship's rules and regulations.
Most cruise lines offer an average contract of six months, but depending on the position, it could be as short as four months or as long as ten. Unless you're in an executive-level position, you'll only be paid during your contract - vacations are unpaid and usually last two months. Once you've finished a contract you're not obligated to return for another contract, but if your sign-off evaluation is good, you'll be invited back for another.