What’s Life Like for a Cruise Ship Dancer?

What’s Life Like for a Cruise Ship Dancer?

The cruise industry is massive and ever-growing, with dozens of gigantic new ships launching every year. For ocean liner staff, that means even more excited guests who want the best possible experience. As a dancer on a cruise ship, it’s your job to deliver escapism and entertainment almost every day for months at a time. Therefore, the lifestyle of a member of the cast is a little different from that of others on board. Today, let’s take a look at your life as a dancer on a cruise ship.

New, Floating Surroundings

Today’s cruise ships aren’t just big – they’re ridiculously big – more like floating cities than ships. That means it’s going to take a good bit of time to get used to the layout of the vessel you join. While passenger-facing areas are streamlined and easy to navigate, it can be trickier getting used to some crew-only areas. You’ll find slightly more confined spaces, winding hallways, and basic signage and décor.

But you’re part of the show – this means that there are all sorts of great resources generally available to you as a dancer (which will vary from ship to ship). Examples include fitness centres, pools, spas, sundecks for tanning and sunbathing, and much more. Take advantage of these opportunities to rejuvenate yourself between shows and rehearsals – you’d be surprised how much good it will do for you!

Keeping Fit and Eating Healthy

Cruise ship life is hard on a dancer when it comes to food and nutrition – mainly because cruise lines make buffets and multi-course meals a selling point (and they should – the food is fantastic). It’s easy to fall into bad habits, but you need to make sure you stay on top of yourself and keep up the habits that got you to where you are. Try banging together with your fellow castmates to have a healthy diet and be energized for every show! Bouncing motivation off one another and working as a group to stay fit, active, and healthy goes a long way in preserving the quality of everyone’s individual performances.

Cruise ship kitchens typically have a limited menu for the crew, so it’s important to think outside the box and come up with a dieting plan that works with what’s available to you. In addition, make sure you create – and stick to – an exercise schedule. Just be sure to adapt workouts that help with your dancing and don’t add bulk to your frame!

The Show Must Go On

Put everything about cruise ship life – the excursions, trips around the world, meeting locals – aside, and focus on why you’re onboard in the first place. It’s easy to be distracted by the temptation of relaxing poolside and doing nothing on your days off at sea, and downtime is essential, but don’t forget that you have responsibilities.

In short, not only do you need to rigorously rehearse and perform almost every day (sometimes twice), but you need to remain healthy, active, motivated, and in a positive mindset. Sounds like a lot to handle, right? Well, it’s easier than you may think if you work hard enough at it!

Develop a balance of work and “home” life that suits you to stay focused and motivated. For example, while expensive, a Skype call to your family back home will do wonders for your peace of mind and comfort, as will getting to know your fellow dancers and crew to build inspiring relationships. In the end, the show must go on, and you need to be able to keep up with it!

The lifestyle of a cruise ship dancer is exciting, unique, and a life-changing experience. However, it isn’t short on structure and responsibilities. Learning to make the most of your time at sea will go a long way in making your experience even more cathartic and memorable.


Mykaila began dancing at the age of three and trained in all styles at the Linda Jamieson School of Dance in Ottawa, Canada. Upon graduating high school, she moved to New York City to attend the prestigious Ailey School to further her dance training. Immediately after finishing her 3-year program, Mykaila starred in The Musical CATS as Victoria on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

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