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How to Become a Yoga Teacher on a Cruise Ship

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If you’re thinking about teaching yoga on a cruise ship, our guide will tell you what to expect from the role so you can decide if it’s right for you!

In this article we’ll cover:

Any successful career begins with receiving the proper training. At OriGym our Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training course is an industry-leading provider, accepting all students aged 16+, regardless of their experience levels. 

For more information about this qualification, and the further yoga training OriGym can provide, be sure to download and browse our course prospectus here!

The Qualifications You'll Need for All Yoga Cruise Ship Jobs

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Teaching yoga on a cruise ship requires several qualifications so that you’re equipped to instruct accurately and safely whilst on board.

We’ll run through each of these qualifications so that you know exactly what to expect and how they’ll help you secure cruise ship yoga instructor jobs. 

But for a basic beginner's guide on how you can break into the industry, check out our article exploring 'How to Become a Yoga Instructor'.

You’ll Need a Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training Qualification for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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The most important qualification you’ll need to get is a Level 3 yoga diploma. This is the foundational yoga course that will teach you all of the practical and philosophical fundamentals of the practice.

The course should cover a mixture of information and practical elements so that you know about the history of yoga, as well as being prepared to plan and deliver a class. 

Our own course contains the following practical elements that will help with teaching yoga on a cruise ship to a wide variety of different people:

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You’re assessed partly on your ability to plan and deliver a class that centres around breathing and asanas so you’ll be prepared to move straight into teaching as soon as you finish!

You should also keep your eyes peeled for how many ‘teacher training hours’ a course has. Most jobs will ask you to have at least 200.

This basically means how many hours of teaching material a course contains. This will signify to the employer that you’ve had a certain level of learning and have the right amount of knowledge to teach a high quality class!

This is the same for yoga instructor jobs on cruise ships. Normally they’ll want you to have some experience teaching and you won’t be able to secure any class slots without this leve!

As you can see below, this is something often explicitly stated in job advertisements:

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Our own yoga teacher training has 400 hours to help you to stand out and better prepare you for teaching your first yoga class.

You Should Complete Level 4 Yoga Teacher Training for Yoga Cruise Ship Jobs

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The next step is developing your knowledge of different yoga styles further and giving yourself more of a USP or niche. 

This isn’t an absolute necessity for yoga cruise ship jobs but it will often give you the advantage over other applicants. 

A Level 4 yoga diploma with us will allow you to choose one of the following styles to specialise in, allowing you to:

You’ll also deepen your understanding of structuring sessions for different types of class members and different levels.

 

Become a Yoga Teacher with OriGym

Start your career today with our industry-leading Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training. 

 

This will include learning a wider variety of asanas and how to make your classes more inclusive. 

This would be especially helpful for teaching yoga on a cruise as you’ll be able to cater for a wide variety of different:

  • Abilities
  • Styles
  • Ages 
  • Fitness levels

Sometimes this level of specificity is asked for in advertisements for yoga cruise ship jobs, like below:

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As you can see here, MSC Cruises wants somebody who has in depth knowledge of specific types.

Having this breadth of knowledge will mean that your teaching yoga on a cruise ship has plenty of variety and you can teach a range of different classes.

For example, if you’re interested in becoming an Ashtanga yoga teacher you can teach this class onboard for more experienced yogis, whilst having a gentler flow for beginners or even just a meditation class.

Obviously this will depend on the cruise line, and their schedule, but having this flexibility will make you more attractive to employers. 

A Diploma in Personal Training Will Help You Secure Yoga Cruise Ship Jobs

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Plenty more positions will be available to you if you combine your teaching yoga on a cruise ship with personal training.

A lot of the positions will usually advertise for a holistic trainer, who can cover all bases, rather than a yoga instructor specifically.

This is why we’d recommend completing a diploma in personal training. This combines a Level 2 fitness instructor course and a Level 3 personal training course, and you need a Level 2 in order to qualify for Level 3.

This means you can teach a wide variety of fitness classes and give gym inductions, as well as working individually with clients with specific goals.  

It can be hard to find specific yoga instructor jobs on cruise ships because, more often than not, there will only be a few people managing the fitness classes and gym sessions on board.

This means that the positions advertised will often be for a fitness instructor or a personal trainer who specialises in yoga, rather than just a yoga instructor.

Though this might seem like a big investment, and a distraction from your primary goal, gaining these holistic skills will inform your yoga practice as well as the way you work with class members.

For example, working on cardio and strength training with clients will improve all of the following, which will in turn improve their yogic practice:

  • Improves flexibility
  • Strength
  • Cardiovascular endurance 

As you can see from this advertisement from London Wellness Academy, a Level 3 PT qualification is often stipulated in job descriptions:

london wellness teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

So, this is a great way to secure a job teaching yoga on a cruise ship by diversifying your skills and offering a range of fitness activities onboard!

A Qualification in Pilates is a Bonus for Being a Yoga Teacher on a Cruise Ship

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Last but not least, you can invest in a qualification specific to pilates if you want to teach yoga on a cruise ship. 

This is because a lot of fitness facilities, and roles on a cruise ship, will offer a combination of yoga and pilates to cater to a fitness focused audience, like this one below:

pilates teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

By completing a pilates qualification this will, much like a PT course, broaden your skill set and make you more attractive to employers. 

There’s typically, similar to yoga, both Level 3 and 4 for pilates. It’s entirely up to you whether you go for both or just the Level 3.

Most Level 3 courses will provide enough practical and theoretical skills for you to secure a position because there aren’t as many different key varieties of pilates as in yoga. 

When choosing a pilates course provider make sure you choose one with a similar structure to our yoga and personal trainer courses.

You need to make sure you pick one that will provide you with practical skills as well as just theory.

This will help you design and implement classes and give you some hands-on experience of a class before you start onboard!

Additional Requirements for Teaching Yoga on Cruise Ships

There’s other certifications and official registrations you’ll have to make sure you have if you’re teaching yoga on a cruise ship. 

You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the correct documentation before you start so we’ll look at these in a little more detail now.

You’ll Need a Visa for Each Continent the Cruise Ship Visits

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Each continent you could potentially visit whilst teaching yoga on a cruise ship has different requirements. It can be a complicated process trying to secure the right one and ensuring you’ve got all of the legal documentation. 

Usually a cruise line will give you this information before you start and will tell you which visa you will need.

In fact, often you need to have secured a position before you can apply for certain work visas to guarantee you have a reason to be in the country. 

We’ll run through each of the continents you might travel through and which visa you’ll need for each.

US Based Cruise Lines

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There’s a few different visas available for teaching yoga on a cruise ship including: 

  • C1 Visa - This permits the bearer to get direct and immediate transit through the US
  • D Visa - Permits crew members to remain in the US for a maximum of 29 days as long as the ship remains in the US
  • C1/D Visa - Combines the two meaning people who have this visa can join the ship in the US or pass through a US port

Most US based cruise lines will ask you to have this last one as it means you have more flexibility and are covered for being in the US and travelling from port to port. 

As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to have secured a position before you can successfully obtain a CD/1 visa.

Once you’ve got a job secured you can take your proof of employment to the US embassy to start the process.

 

Become a Yoga Teacher with OriGym

Start your career today with our industry-leading Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training. 

You’ll need to provide the following documents and information:

  • Application documents
  • Proof of employment
  • Purpose of entry
  • Evidence of the intention to return
  • Your passport

You’ll have to do this at the embassy in London for an in-person interview where you’ll discuss your employment and present these documents.

You’ll have to pay a fee of $160 (approximately £132) for this visa, and the length of the process entirely depends on how long it takes to get the initial appointment for an interview.

Once you do, and you’ve successfully been interviewed and submitted your documents, it’s usually around a week that you’ll be sent the visa by mail. 

Visa Requirements for European Cruise Lines

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Following Brexit, there’s now different rules and work permits for individual European countries that you’ll need to obtain.

As there’s no overall European visa that covers the continent holistically, the advice on the government website is to contact each individual country’s embassy:

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Much like with the US you will need a visa whether you’re docked in a European country or you’re teaching yoga on a cruise ship that’s in a country’s waters.

The variety of different time scales means you’ll need to start planning way in advance where possible as different countries can take a long time to process visas.

For example, Spain warns on their government website that work visas can take around 8 months:

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Also, as you can see, you may be entitled to a different style of visa for a seasonal contract. We’ll touch on the different kinds of contracts for teaching yoga on a cruise ship in our section ‘Contracts And Working Hours For Yoga Teachers On Cruise Ships’

Most will be similar to the C1/D and require basic travel documents and your offer of employment but it’s worth visiting the embassy for each country and researching each country’s requirements individually!

Australian Cruise Lines

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Australia is unique in that it offers a specific visa for people who will be working onboard a cruise ship or other working vessel.

As long as it’s short term you can stay on the ship with this visa if you can prove you’ll be teaching yoga on a cruise ship for the allocated amount of time.

If the ship you’re on is not a military vehicle then you’re able to obtain a visa free of charge to work aboard the cruise ship:

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As you can see the process is also fairly quick so this is one of the easiest ones to apply for!

The requirements of the visa are as follows:

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So, if you’re interested in teaching yoga on cruise ships, you can see if the particular cruise you’ll be working on means you’re eligible for this free visa.

To find out more about how to become a yoga teacher in Australia, check out our article!

Caribbean Cruise Lines

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Other visas you might need to secure for teaching yoga on a cruise ship are for places in the Caribbean.

Much like European countries, each one of the islands can differ slightly in terms of the conditions and rules regarding work for UK nationals.  

There’s a long and short term visa, like in other countries, depending on how long you expect to be passing through Caribbean waters. 

Most Caribbean cruises are around 2 weeks and so you would be covered by the short term visa which lasts for 90 days. 

These will also differ in price so you’ll need to contact the embassy for the individual places you’ll be visiting.

For example, Jamaica has a tiered price system based on the length of the visa:

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This top visa is the one that you would need and works out as £145.67:

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There’s also certain rules with the C1/D that can affect this and influence which visas you need so make sure to ask about this at the embassy if you’ll be visiting or going through several territories. 

You’ll Need a Valid Passport for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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You’ll also need a valid passport if you’re looking for yoga teacher jobs on cruise ships, making sure it’s in date and within a certain period before running out (which we’ll touch on below).

Your passport is something you’ll need to show in order to get a visa but also to be able to step onboard so it’s one of the things stressed the most in applications:

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For most European countries, you’ll need to have at least 3 months left on the passport after the date you leave the EU country.

For example, if you were due to leave the last country on 2nd August you would have to have a passport that was valid until at least 2nd November.

There’s plenty of places that require longer though, so it’s always best to update your passport if you have any less than 6 months left.

This will mean you avoid any unnecessary stress and don’t have to pay any extra last minute fees to get it fast-tracked for renewal!

Safety Certifications Needed for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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Though you’ll have a basic understanding of health and safety when you become a yoga teacher, yoga instructor jobs on cruise ships require additional safety training on top of your yoga qualifications.

This is because on top of the usual risks involved in teaching, you’ll need to be prepared for the additional risks that come with working on a ship specifically such as: 

  • How to don a life jacket
  • How to swim whilst wearing a life jacket
  • Onboard safety related to fire and fire prevention

This is why all yoga jobs on cruise ships will ask you to have an STCW certificate (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping).

As you can see from this job advertisement below, a lot of cruise lines will specify which kind of certificate they want you to complete: 

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This cruise line wants you to have completed all the basic safety, security, and passenger safety certificates.

This includes: 

  • Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FPFF)
  • Elementary First Aid (EFA)
  • Security Awareness (PSA) - Webinar
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) - Webinar

You can purchase all of these as part of a package from Steam Marine Training. It’s done over 5 days and costs £825 as a price for all of the different certificates:

SCTW teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

Obviously this is quite a lot of money so it’s worth asking your prospective employers what the specific certificate they want is.

Some cruise lines will want you to have a few but not all of them, so it’s worth checking so you don’t fork out for certificates you won’t need!

Medical Certificates for Yoga Jobs on Cruise Ships

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There’s also certain medical certificates you’ll need to obtain for teaching yoga on a cruise ship which guarantee you’re safe to work onboard.

Most positions will specify this in their job descriptions as you can see below:

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You will need to get an ENG 1 certificate for most cruise ship yoga instructor jobs. Information about this can be found on the government website:

med cert teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

You will have to make an appointment with an approved doctor and will have a 30 minute appointment to look at your health and medical history.

The certificate will then be provided by the medical professional who carries out the assessment.

You’ll need the following items in order to complete the assessment:

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Language Requirements for Teaching Yoga on Cruise Ships

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There’ll also be some language requirements for people who are teaching yoga on cruise ships. This is because you’ll need to prove you can communicate with people well whilst on board.

Usually a certain level of English will be requested from people from the UK or the US, but cruise lines will sometimes want you to be able to speak more than one language.

A cruise ship will usually have people from all over the world onboard who speak a variety of different languages.

If you can speak a language other than your own, especially a global language such as Spanish or French, this will give you the edge with employers.

Some job advertisements will say that speaking several languages would be a bonus:

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Whereas others may explicitly want you to speak more than one language at a fluent level to get yoga cruise ship jobs:

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So, this is worth bearing in mind when you’re writing your CV and applying for positions!

Age Restrictions for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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Most yoga cruise ship jobs will have age restrictions based on where the cruise goes and the kind of job that’s being advertised.

A lot of cruise lines have all of their jobs set to 21. This is because some of the roles, such as in a casino or as a bartender or waiter, will have age restrictions associated with them.

For example, in order to serve alcohol you would have to be 21 if you were passing through United States territory, so this is why this is often the minimum age requirement for employees.

For this reason most yoga cruise ship jobs have a minimum age requirement of 21. 

However, certain lines have different ages for different jobs. Those that go through Europe may, in some cases, have the age limit as 18. 

Securing the Right Insurance for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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Another thing you’ll need to make sure you have before you set sail is that you have the right yoga teacher insurance

There’s a few different kinds you should be aware of so we’ll run through each of them now and where you can get them.

Public Liability

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Public liability insurance is the essential insurance you’ll need if you want to teach yoga on a cruise ship or anywhere else.

This is designed to cover you for the cost of compensation when a class member or client makes a claim against your business.

This might be one of the following:

  • If a class member gets injured during class
  • If somebody in your class or facility damages equipment that doesn’t belong to you

This is especially important when you’re on a cruise ship because inevitably the equipment that you’ll be using will belong to the cruise line and you’ll be teaching a large number of different people. 

You can get this specifically from Insure4Sport:

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However, because this is the basic cover for plenty of different professions, a lot of companies offer this cover for fitness businesses such as personal training and yoga teaching specifically.

Personal Accident Insurance

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This is insurance designed to protect you against accident and injury which may result in loss of earnings because of inability to work.

With personal accident insurance you’re usually covered against:

  • Accidental injury or death at work
  • Lost income
  • Medical costs
  • Hospitalisation benefit

So, if you’re teaching yoga on a cruise ship you can often get this kind of insurance combined with public liability insurance, often saving as part of a package for businesses.

You can get this from plenty of insurance companies but Insure4Sport also does this combined with other features:

insurance teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

The benefit of this particular policy is that it’s worldwide.

More often than not, policies have what are called ‘territorial limits’. These are the geographical limitations of a particular insurance policy. 

This means a lot of policies won’t cover you at sea so remember to check with the insurance company on any stipulations they have!

Travel Insurance

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Lastly, it’s a good idea to invest in some more standard travel insurance to cover any possessions you’re bringing onboard the ship. 

Plenty of insurance companies now offer separate, specific policies for cruises rather than just standard holistic holiday insurance.

In fact, some policies won’t pay out for losses or damages incurred on a cruise without ‘cruise cover’ so this is something you should consider getting specifically!

Most cruise lines will have a policy that will cover crew members for loss or damage as a result of:

  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Collision 

Unfortunately you won’t be covered by this policy for theft. This is why it can be important to invest in your own insurance to cover what’s missing in the cruise’s own.

As there’s many providers of this kind of insurance one of the best things to do is to look on a comparison website to find the best deal, such as Compare the Market:

meerkat teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

Full Explanation of the Appplication Process for Yoga Cruise Ship Jobs

Now you know how to prepare for teaching yoga on a cruise ship, you’ll need to know exactly where and how to find roles whether it’s yoga specifically or more holistic cruise ship personal trainer positions. 

We’ll look closer at how to find yoga jobs on cruise ships and what you need to know about the recruitment process used by cruise lines.

 

Become a Yoga Teacher with OriGym

Start your career today with our industry-leading Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training. 

Using a Recruitment Firm 

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One of the most common ways of finding work teaching yoga on a cruise ship is by signing up to a recruitment agency.

This is the best option for any new yoga teacher because you’re getting as much help with finding a role as possible!

The process is the same across several recruitment agencies who supply workers for all of the different departments of a cruise.

A lot of agencies have a similar process and often won’t charge agency fees either! 

Crown Recruitment are a great example of this and you sign up by providing your details and CV like below:

recruitment process teaching yoga on a cruise ship image

Once you’ve done this you’ll have an interview and go through a screening process with checks by the recruitment agency themselves.

You're then placed into a pool of available candidates. Being attached to a reputable company means you’re lent credibility and are therefore more likely to secure a role when you’re just starting out.

It can be hard to source jobs individually as lots of cruise lines rely on these recruitment agencies solely, offering jobs via their websites.

You can also sign up or subscribe to apps and newsletters to be notified when new positions become available via these agencies. 

This is what Cruise Academy does:

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Applying for Yoga Instructor Jobs on Cruise Ships with Your CV

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Another way you can apply for yoga cruise ship jobs is in the traditional way: directly with your CV. 

You can either do this through the individual cruise line or sign up for premium job boards that act like Indeed but solely for cruise ship work.

This is great for more experienced yoga instructors where working on a cruise ship is the next step in a longer career.

This is because you’ll be relying on your experience and ability to sell yourself, more so than if you sign up for a recruitment agency. 

There’s several job boards to choose from including:

Most of these places will either advertise for free or charge a yearly or monthly fee to use premium services where you have access to more jobs. 

 

Contracts and Working Hours for Yoga Teachers on Cruise Ships

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There’s a couple of different ways of working on a cruise ship depending on the role you have and the kind of work you’d like to do.

The two different ways are:

  • Seasonal
  • Full Time 

We’ll run through each of these options for teaching yoga on a cruise ship so that you can decide which you think would be best for you!

Seasonal Yoga Cruise Ship Jobs

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This is the most common kind of contract you’ll find when you’re looking for yoga instructor cruise ship jobs. 

Whether you have a permanent, full-time contract or a seasonal one, you will be working a set amount of months before having a break, based on the busiest months for holiday makers.

The difference with a seasonal contract, especially if it’s your first position, is that it can often be for just one season.

This is so that the cruise company can see if you’ll be a good fit and have enough cover for the busiest months during the summer months, which are the most popular.

Despite your initial role potentially only lasting a few weeks or months, it’s a great way of seeing whether working on a cruise ship is for you!

It’s also great for people who want to combine teaching yoga on a cruise ship with getting private yoga clients on land, in a specific location.

You will also be more likely to be able to work full time once you’ve done seasonal work, which we’ll cover in more detail now.

Full Time Contracts for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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You also have the option to work full time in yoga teacher cruise ship jobs. Full time contracts will also be subject to seasonal patterns but will usually last for more than one season.

You will also be able to work on the ship for longer periods than with seasonal work, depending on the cruise line.

You would usually have between 6 and 8 months on board with a break of a few months. This period on land is usually unpaid but, as your board and food will be covered, the majority of your money is your own when teaching yoga on a cruise ship!

So, as long as you save whilst on board, you can cover this period when you’ll be on land.

You’re also more likely to work during off-peak periods as well as the busier summer months in a full time position. 

These full time positions will usually be offered at the end of a seasonal contract, if you’ve shown promise and excelled, or they’ll be offered separately to people with more experience. 

 

Become a Yoga Teacher with OriGym

Start your career today with our industry-leading Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training. 

The benefit of these roles is obviously that you’ll have slightly more job security as well as being more integrated into the team onboard!

One of the down sides is that you’ll be away at sea for the majority of the year so this can be incompatible with other commitments.

Also, working during off-peak times may mean that you get to do less teaching yoga on a cruise ship and more of other responsibilities during quieter periods. 

Hours You Can Expect to Work When Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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No matter which contract you choose you’ll be working a similar shift pattern and hours to the other workers on the cruise ship.

Usually days will be long, between 10 and 13 hours, and will usually be on a 7 day schedule as you’ll be expected to be able to provide yoga classes for clients each day of the cruise. 

You’ll have to cater to a range of different abilities teaching yoga for beginners as well as some of the faster flows and styles we mentioned earlier. 

Passengers will also want to complete classes at a variety of different times so that they don’t always clash with other popular activities onboard. 

You won’t work solidly for that period of time though! You’ll usually get frequent opportunities for breaks and a lunch break. 

For example, this is the schedule of a fitness instructor interviewed by Cruise Ship Jobs:

schedule teaching yoga on a cruise ship image 

Obviously this might look more varied than what you might want if you’re only interested in teaching yoga on a cruise ship and not other fitness classes.

However, this is why it’s a great idea to complete a personal training diploma as well as your yoga qualifications. 

This will keep your role varied and mean that you get to do more physical classes and activities to fill your schedule.

Salary Expectations for Teaching Yoga on a Cruise Ship

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A lot of cruise liners won’t advertise the salary of particular positions. Instead it’s something that will be negotiated as part of the terms of a role during the interview.

This means it can be hard to determine an average salary or the range of pay for teaching yoga on a cruise ship.

To get an idea of how much you can expect to earn when you teach yoga on a cruise ship, you can look at some of the more holistic roles.

For example, according to Cruise Ship Jobs, a personal trainer on a cruise ship can earn between $2,200 and $2,800 per month.

This works out as, roughly, between £1,650 and £2,100 a month. Because this is for a PT role it represents the higher end of the payscale, but this gives you an idea of how much you could expect to earn.

This is still only an estimate though, due to the variety of factors that influence salary such as:

  • Commission on classes
  • Food and board
  • Use of other amenities  

Some cruise companies will deduct a certain percentage or amount to cover the cost of your living onboard. 

Where the cruise company is from, or where the cruise starts, can also influence the salary for somebody teaching yoga on a cruise ship. 

For example, you’ve already seen above that a lot of the salary suggestions are given in dollars because a lot of the most popular cruise lines start in the United States.

They will have different salaries and rates of pay to those positions from an equivalent company in Europe or the UK.

You can research the average yoga instructor salary in different parts of the world to get an idea of how much these might differ, and the sort of wage you can get.

For instance, the average UK salary varies according to several job sites but it’s between £25,000 and £40,000 depending on experience and whether you’re an instructor or a yoga studio manager:

salary teaching yoga on a cruise ship image copy


Though it may seem like this is far higher than a position on a cruise ship, the salary of around £2,100 we mentioned earlier represents the average position which is likely to have deductions.

If you had this salary, and earned around £22,000, this is estimated based on those deductions and is the take home amount.

So, though it seems like far less than positions on land, you might end up having more take home money as the deductions for food and board will usually work out less than the equivalent on land!

You should check during the interview what the salary expectations are and have an idea in your head of these averages so you know what to expect, and what to negotiate!

Before You Go!

That concludes our guide on teaching yoga on a cruise ship! Hopefully, now you’ll know what to expect from the role and how to look for the best way of working to suit you!

Remember, the best way to enhance your knowledge and prepare you for a yoga career is with the proper training. Thankfully, our industry-leading Level 3 yoga teacher training qualification, will ensure you're prepared to take the industry by storm.

You can also learn more about this course and our advanced Level 4 yoga qualification by downloading our free course prospectus!

Written by Jessie Florence Jones

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Jessie has a 1st class honours degree in English Literature from University of Leeds and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Naturally Jessie has a real passion for writing especially about film, culture and wellbeing. Outside of writing she loves hiking, country walks and yoga, which she has been doing religiously over lockdown.

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