Ship Purser

Handle money matters and customer service on board a cruise ship.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$34,000 – $107,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ship Pursers do?

The term “Purser” comes from the word “purse” and, therefore, traditionally had to do with handling money. While handling money is indeed part of the job of a Ship Purser, it has become just one of the many responsibilities in this position.

As a Ship Purser, you are part of a team that provides outstanding customer service to the passengers on a cruise ship. Yes, a cruise ship. You exchange currency and help passengers find banks, ATM’s, or other ways of getting cash at the next port of call.

Passengers rely on you to handle personal belongings that are stored in the ship safe or in safety deposit boxes. You also hand out maps, give directions, answer questions, mail letters, and resolve complaints.

The Ship Purser’s desk is typically open 24 hours a day so there is always someone to respond to the customers’ needs. Long shifts are just one of the challenges in this position. You are often expected to stand for long periods, some customers can be downright cruel, and the pay is nothing to write home about.

However, the trade-off is that you get a cabin on board. And during your off hours, you get to see the ports, partake in some excursions, and enjoy the many shows offered on the ship. Besides, not everyone is grumpy. In fact, you mostly service passengers who are on vacation, happy, and agreeable. So if you do your job well, you help them make a great experience even more fantastic.

Should I be a Ship Purser?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Personnel Adviser, Purser

    How to become a Ship Purser

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Ship Purser-related education!
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