doctor working on a cruise ship

Doctor Cruise Ship Jobs

As a cruise ship doctor, you will be working in the shipboard medical department. Within this diverse and welcoming environment, you will practice your medical profession at sea in a truly unique environment. Each ship has a modern, well equipped medical centre which accommodates a skilled team of healthcare professionals. 

As part of a medical department which prides itself on delivering high quality, patient-centric healthcare, you will make full use of your medical skills as you treat both guests and crew members. 

Responsibilities of a Cruise Ship Doctor 

  • Provide individualised outpatient, inpatient and ICU care for guests and crew. 
  • Provide high levels of customer service while maintaining a professional, dignified, assertive, and polite manner at all times. 
  • Work closely with on-board nurses and paramedics, to perform various technical and non-clinical administrative tasks that support the efficient and safe operation of the medical centre. 
  • Whilst on board, you will learn and practice a range of technical skills such as x-ray acquisition and perform laboratory tests and other procedures. 
  • In addition to providing medical support, you will be required to participate in drills, audits, inspections, and mandatory training. 

Shifts and Contracts

During the day, you will hold two three-hour clinics, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You will spend the remainder of your time on call. 

Typically, cruise ship doctors work on a four-month contract. At the end of each four months, you will take two months off before heading back out to sea to begin a new contract. It is worth noting that you must be willing to commit to a minimum of two contracts. 

Salary and Benefits

As a cruise ship doctor, your salary will be around US$9,000 per month. Wages are paid monthly and the company does not withhold any taxes from salary wages, except in the UK and US. 

In addition, expenses such as accommodation, laundry, food and drinks are covered. 

The onboarding process 

After securing your position, you will need to complete a pre-boarding process. This will include all ship safety requirements. 

You will be flown from your nearest international airport to an airport close to where the ship is docked. You'll then make your way to the port and board your new home. 

Your position will be confirmed the day you join the vessel. Please note, a start date might not be available even after you are ready to board, depending on allocated vacancies to new medical staff. 

Once aboard, you’ll be shown around the shipboard medical centre and brought up to speed on how to operate any medical equipment with which you are unfamiliar. 

Requirements to work as a cruise ship doctor

  • To be considered for a position as a cruise ship doctor you will need to 
  • Hold a valid accredited ALS/ACLS certificate prior to joining any vessel 
  • Hold a valid passport 
  • Obtain a United States C1/D Visa (not applicable for US and Canadian citizens) 
  • Hold a Medical Degree and current registration and licensing with an appropriate governmental or national regulatory body. 
  • Have at least three years’ postgraduate clinical experience in emergency medicine, acute care or ICU, and most recent work experience should be in a clinical setting.
  • Additional training in advanced airway management, ICU, Primary Emergency Care, Immediate Medical Care, ECG, Advanced Trauma Life Support and Advanced Paediatric Life Support is highly recommended, and experience working in private healthcare settings is preferred. 
  • Be fluent in English, both conversational and technical - Mandarin and/or Japanese are also desirable 
  • Be computer literate and proficient in using Microsoft Windows 7 (or higher) and Microsoft Office programmes 
  • Have experience using electronic health records (preferable) 
  • Have exceptional interpersonal, customer services and communication skills 
  • Commit to completing at least two four-month contracts within twelve months 

Why work as a cruise ship doctor

Working as a cruise ship doctor is an exciting role and richly rewarding that requires you to operate in a small team. Working alongside a senior doctor, you will treat patients with an array of conditions, allowing you to improve your practice as you work. 

Expect far more hands-on and intimate interaction with your patient with more autonomy and responsibility than you may receive in other healthcare settings.

This is a fantastic opportunity to visit spectacular destinations such as America, Australia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, all while performing the job you love. 

For more information on daily life and the pros and cons of working on a cruise ship read our ‘life on a cruise ship’ guide.

Interested in finding out more about cruise ship jobs?

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