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Royal Caribbean will hire 10,000 workers this year to meet booming demand

09 May 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group's business is so hot right now that the cruise line wants to hire as many as 10,000 new crew members to work on its cruise ships and private destinations.

10,000 new hires

Booming demand for cruises in 2024 has broken the company's sales records and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

That surging demand means more people are needed, and a hiring blitz is about to take place.

According to a report by Reuters, Royal Caribbean Group will hire 10,000 workers this year.


Royal Caribbean Group owns Royal Caribbean, the largest cruise line in the world, along with Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises. They also partly own two German cruise lines, TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

In the report, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean confirmed plans to hire more than 10,000 workers to help staff the three new cruise ships joining their fleet.  This includes Utopia of the Seas, Star of the Seas, and Celebrity Xcel.

Icon of the Seas

That's in addition to the addition of Icon of the Seas, which started sailing in January 2024.

"The recruiting strategy follows the business strategy of moderate capacity growth," an unnamed spokesperson said.

At the end of 2023, Royal Caribbean had around 88,700 people working on their ships, which is 6% fewer than the year before. They also had about 9,500 full-time employees working on land and at their private destinations, which is 17% more than the previous year.

Where will they hire from?

Crew members

While Royal Caribbean Group did not share where they will hire the new workers from, it appears Caribbean countries will help supply many of the new hires.

In the report, recruiters from a variety of countries said Royal Caribbean has approached them about hiring needs.

The Caribbean Maritime University in Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, and the Gambia Tourism Board all reported being contacted about hiring new workers.

More crew to meet higher demand

Sail away crowd

2024 is off to a fantastic start for the company, with total revenue for the first quarter of $3.7 billion thanks to strong demand for bookings that actually put them ahead of their own financial projections.

In the first quarter, over 2 million people took cruises on a Royal Caribbean Group brand ship.

As a result, Royal Caribbean Group raised its earnings forecast by 50% compared to what it forecast in February.

Icon arrives in Miami

"The first quarter was tremendous, sending us well on our path to a year that is significantly better than we expected just a few months back," Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said at the company's call with investors.

"What transpired over the past three months was even better than our already elevated expectations."

88% of cabins for all of 2024 are booked up, according to Mr. Liberty.

New ships coming soon

Icon and Star of the Seas

Not only is business good, but more ships are being built and that means new opportunities for growth.

Royal Caribbean Group has reiterated its mantra of moderate capacity growth for a while, with new ships coming online periodically, rather than a building spree.

"We remain focused on executing our proven targets formula for success, moderate capacity growth, moderate yield growth, and strong cost controls that lead to enhanced margins, profitability, and superior financial performance," Mr. Liberty told investors.

Utopia of the Seas overhead render

Icon of the Seas started sailing in January and Utopia of the Seas will start cruising in July.  Two new ships in one year is a rarity for Royal Caribbean, and that's a lot of crew members needed to make them function.

Typically, a new cruise ship sources its crew members from elsewhere in the fleet.  Preparing a new ship to enter service requires a great deal of expertise, as there are unique challenges for crew to get a new ship running smoothly. As a result, the norm is to cherry pick the best crew members from around the fleet to staff up the new ship, with new hires replacing them.

Icon of the Seas has a crew member total of 2,350, while Utopia of the Seas carries 2,290 crew members.

Star of the Seas concept art

Two more cruise ships enter service in 2025, with Star of the Seas in August 2025 and Celebrity Xcel in November 2025.

That's on top of a new beach club that will open in 2025 in The Bahamas.

Artist rendering of new Nassau Beach Club

Royal Beach Club Nassau is a new concept to offer a paid option exclusively to Royal Caribbean guests to enjoy a private beach enclave in the heart of Nassau, Bahamas.

The 13 acre site will feature swim-up bars, live music, two beaches, four restaurants serving local food.

Read more: Royal Caribbean has a plan to dominate short cruises

The beach club will add hundreds of new jobs, both during the construction and operation of the new club.

On top of all of this, you have the regular turnover of employees.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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