Cruise Director on a Liveaboard: 7 Tips to Help You Get There


Cruise Director on a Liveaboard: 7 Tips to Help You Get There

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Cruise Director on a liveaboard: 7 Tips to Help You Get There


Have you always wanted to be a paid pirate? Being on a boat for many days and getting land sick as soon as you step off the vessel? Become a Cruise Director on a liveaboard.


As a divemaster I wanted to become a Cruise Director. I did not get the position at first, even after two seasons on liveaboards. It was frustrating to not get more responsibilities. 


I asked Cruise Directors about their qualifications and experience they had. I found out some keys that make a qualified Cruise Director.


Today I share 7 tips that help you to become a Cruise Director on a liveaboard.


sandy island with liveabaord-Cruise Director on a liveaboard

Develop the attributes of a manager

As a Cruise Director, you will be in charge of 
a small company inside a company

Likely you will organise the

  • Accounting
  • In-water activities
  • Land excursions
  • Crew roster
  • Overseeing of food supply
  • Maintenance of the technical machinery on board
  • Ordering of spare parts
  • Repair of diving equipment
  • First aid
  • Be the entertainer in the evening for guests and sometimes therapist for a lonely single traveller
  • Whatever the guests or the crew surprise you with 

These are skills which can be learned. This is one of the reasons why lots of experience in the diving industry is recommended before going for an employment as a Cruise Director on a liveaboard.

Sometimes dive companies hire couples to complement each other’s skills.


bow of liveabaord-Cruise Director on a liveaboard


2–Bring technical understanding

Most of the vessels come with tons of technical equipment

  • Engines
  • Generators
  • Dive compressors
  • Nitrox system
  • Scuba tank filling banks
  • Desalination-freshwater maker
  • Air-conditioner
  • Water pumps
  • Electric wiring
  • Plumbing
  • Woodwork
  • Steelwork
  • Fire fighting system
  • Life rafts
  • And more


Don’t worry. On most dive boats you don’t need to repair all that stuff. However, locating of an issue, problem-solving and ordering of spare parts might be your duty.


It helps a lot if you bring a good foundation of technical understanding with you. You don’t need to be an engineer but any technical job experience helps a lot. 


sunrise on liveabaord-Cruise Director on a liveaboard




Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. President) said:

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal, nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Attitude is a (the) major thing to have. You don’t have one-or-the-other skill? Don’t be discouraged. With a kick-ass attitude, you might not only get the job as Cruise Director but do it incredibly outstanding.

I have met dive professionals on all levels. Some were motivated to the tips of their fingers. Some who were too lazy to research the online presence of a dive company they applied at.

During dive briefings, even a blind guest can recognise a really motivated staff.

Being in the scuba diving industry for a long time does not guarantee you employment. If you get tired of the industry I strongly suggest doing something else for a while.


Consider coming back to the industry later. Your happiness and attitude will be grateful.


portside sunrise on liveabaord-Cruise Director on a liveaboard


4–Bring social intelligence


What the heck is that? 


Social intelligence is the capability to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments (source: Wikipedia). 


And this is exactly what you need. The Cruise Director on a liveaboard needs to understand both the needs of the guests and the crew and be a good interface between them. And then there is the boss who wants something too.?


Especially after more than five to six days on board guests can start acting in a surprising way. Often, they are not used to being in such a small space such a long time.


Boat crew might get tired at some point or even unhappy with certain things. Other cultures than your own can take you a while to understand. Therefore, being in the desired country for a while before working on a liveaboard is recommended. 


spectacular clouds-Cruise Director on a liveaboard


5–Speak the local language


Ya right, I am gonna learn a language in four weeks. No worries. You don’t need to learn a language in four weeks.


Staying in a country for a few months or even for the first year working on land will help immense achieving the local language skills you need. I published an article on how to learn a language fast.

This will make you way more employable because you will have your first months/year time to 
learn the local culture too. Believe me, this can be very important

Now you worry
you won’t make money for a few months. Relax and read in my next article how to make an extra buck.



6–Be an experienced dive instructor with specialities to teach 


On liveaboards, it happens that you teach all sorts of dive courses.


A lot of liveaboards have Nitrox. Being able to teach the Nitrox speciality makes you definitely more employable. Dependent on the company more specialities such as deep, gas blender etc., are beneficial. 


Dive companies expect their Cruise Directors to be experienced in teaching these kinds of courses. On trips, there are many other challenges. The Cruise Director should be ready to do the teaching part straight out of the gate.


However, often times the diving and teaching part of your job as Cruise Director is minor. That’s why some companies change their job descriptions more into liveaboard manager because that’s what you probably are essentially.


boat sailing into sunset-Cruise Director on a liveaboard


7–Connections or a kick-ass job application


The Cruise Director enjoys a lot of trust from the owner of the company once they are employed. Put yourself into the shoes of a liveaboard owner.

The Cruise Director is the front man like the singer in a live band. The band can shine and fall with the front man. So does the company.

If you send a semi professional job application how do you think the owner could possibly trust you to be a professional Cruise Director? The owner will not even bother contacting you back.

With a kick-ass job application, you will achieve a great first impression and stand out of all other applicants.

Because liveaboard owner struggle sometimes to find good staff they offer these kinds of jobs only to recommended people. Therefore it is really important to socialise inside the diving industry. 


  • Go to the local bars and clubs where diving people hang out
  • Join social media groups
  • Join beach clean ups
  • Volunteer in ocean conservation programs
  • Be active in relevant diving forums
  • Organise meet ups for divemasters in training of all local dive schools (local dive shops will get to recognise you as a doer) People will speak about it.
  • Be creative!


 All this can be a part of your personal marketing.


Cruise Director on a liveaboard sunset red sky

Photo by Heejing KIM on Unsplash




I became a dive instructor and got teaching experience. I practised the skills and qualifications mentioned here in this post. 

Eventually, I became a Cruise Director on a liveaboard. It made me very proud and the rewarding feeling of being a paid pirate is just wonderful.


I really hope this article helps you to find dive jobs with great dive shops.

Write your expertise, experience, and questions in the comments.

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Andreas is a dive instructor and writer. In the scuba industry, he has been working as marketing manager, cruise director, instructor, retail seller and dive guide. Recent years he worked in Indonesia, Australia and Thailand. Now he enjoys listening to the questions and struggles of dive professionals to share his expertise.

All stories by: Andreas

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