become a cruise ship captain

Let your Dreams set sail! How to become a cruise ship captain.

A big Hello to all the readers! Today we are again meeting up with another exciting topic. What do you know about Ships captains? We hope you do know something! But being a cruise ship captain is much more enjoyable. So, we have gathered a lot of helpful information about who a cruise ship’s Captain is and how to become one. So if any of you are with the thought of becoming one, we hope this information will support you. Let’s find out How to become a cruise ship captain.

become a cruise ship captain

Who is a cruise ship captain?

A cruise ship captain is a mariner who has the license to operate a vessel. He holds full responsibility for the ship he commands. Apart from using the boat, the Captain is also responsible for their crew and passengers. A ship captain’s decision is the final decision for everyone on board, including officers, mates, staff, and passengers. He has to take responsibility for almost everything regarding the operations of the ship, the passenger’s needs, and the crew. Therefore, this is not a simple task. Becoming a cruise ship captain is a lot of responsibility that it shows. So, if anyone wishes to take up this position, he needs to be fully qualified and updated on all aspects of the job role.

Suppose you look into more detail about the responsibilities and the job role of a cruise ship captain. In that case, Ship captains are the prominent persons responsible for the ship’s passengers and safe cargo transportation. They should be knowledgeable in using navigational aids to determine the ship’s speed and location. The Captain directs the ship’s piloting and avoids hazards. Cruise captains must ensure that the crew and the staff strictly follow all maritime protocols and safety regulations. Also, he has to supervise the maintenance of the ship’s engines and other related equipment for general upkeep. Keeping to the vessel’s security plan is another responsibility of the Captain. It also includes procedures for safeguarding refugees, hijackers, pirates, and terrorist threats. The cruise captain has to conduct searches and maintain restricted areas for the ship’s safety.

The cruise ship captains never forget to greet and socialize with guests through their professional responsibilities. They have to record the ship’s movements, passengers, and cargo. Maintaining the ship’s certificates and documentation is one of the primary duties of the cruise captain. They also have to ensure that the vessel complies with immigration and customs laws.

How do you become a cruise ship captain?

Have you ever thought of how to become a ship captain? First, let us see the requirement to become a ship captain. It is no easy task, dear readers. There are a ton of needs to fulfill. The good thing about this is that you can travel worldwide.

If you want to take up a ship captain’s role, you need to fulfill the below qualifications. The Ship Captains are expected to have skills essential for performing their duty well. If you are interested in the job role, it is necessary to learn more about it and its responsibilities. 

To be a ship captain or the Captain of a cruise ship, there are certain levels of Education. So for those wondering, What are the requirements to be a ship captain?” Here, we have listed out the essential requirements to get an idea of how to lead the way towards your dream.

Cruise ship captain

Cruise ship captain requirements

  • The most important thing is completing your secondary or high school education. Most students who would love to take up the challenge of being a ship captain work in shipyards as part-timers or during the summer breaks to understand how things work in a vessel. This way, most students try to get exposure before moving entirely into the subject and specializing in it.
  • Once you have completed secondary education, you can join a well-reputed Maritime academy for the next level of Education on shipping. Most US academies allow you to obtain a four-year Bachelor of Science degree. And the qualification you get from other academies is equivalent to this most of the time. 

It is the fastest track to become a cruise ship captain. Maritime Academies in the United States are in California, the Great Lakes, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas A&M, and the U.S. Merchant Academy. The United States Maritime Administration funds these institutes to ensure that all those who enter these institutes are well qualified. And it makes the government have a steady stream of well-trained merchant marine officers. 

After completing the Maritime school, if you cannot find a position as a cruise ship captain, which is very difficult due to the demand, you can at least join as a merchant marine captain through the US government. But if you base in another country, you can receive naval Education or experience, according to the best path in your country or region.

  • The next important thing is that you need to get the required training and hands-on experience. It is best to find an internship on a ship while studying in the maritime academy. Most maritime students need to have practical experience for graduation. 

Many Maritime Academies have good relationships with the government and local mariners. It is a path to find an ideal internship for your interests.

Getting an internship on a cruise ship will help you gain experience, and you can see if this is the ideal career for you. Suppose you are lucky and capable of handling more than one internship while in the academy; get one on a cruise line and another on a commercial or government ship. It will help you to understand the difference in these career paths. 

  • Once you are qualified to form the maritime academy, you can apply for a position as a third mate or even a deck officer on a small vessel for initial experience. Most maritime academies help you find your first job to develop qualifications for a better career path. 

Although your career goal is to be a cruise ship captain, you have to start on the deck to get an overall experience. If you have not got a Bachelor’s degree, you will have to spend many hours and many years to gain experience as a deckhand before moving up the career ladder. Becoming a deck officer or the third mate will qualify you to take exams to become a captain. But if you have a bachelor’s degree in the related subject, you can avoid the deckhand stage altogether and straightaway moves forward.

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the related field is necessary if your only goal in the career path is to become a cruise ship captain. A Master’s of Science degree in maritime engineering, marine science, or a related field is an added advantage. But before applying for a program, you should make sure the school offers courses specifically for captaining a cruise ship. If you can Achieve top grades during your studies, you will be able to get to your goal quickly. Many cruise ships only hire captains at the top of their graduating classes list.

Dear readers, also remember A Master’s degree is not always necessary to get a position or a job offer. But because cruise ship positions are highly demanding, it might be an added advantage if you qualify. Many cruise ship captains do not qualify for a Master’s degree but get to the goal through experience. You should decide if your experience is enough or if you could benefit from a Master’s degree. If you have not attended a maritime high school or Marine Academy or if you do not have many years of experience on a ship, you may need the additional qualifications to be a viable candidate to apply for a position on a cruise ship.

us cruiser captain skills

When you think of a cruise ship captain, we all get an image of an intelligent personality. Do you know how to become the Captain of a cruise ship with all the needed skills? Here we have mentioned a list of a few qualities that the person should possess as a Cruise ship captain.

Usually, a cruise ship captain must have various skills, from leadership, customer service, communication, and administrative abilities. He should also have good interpersonal skills to deal with people. The Captain of a cruise ship is the primary person responsible for everything. They are the highest officials on board, and all the other staff is answerable to the Captain. And the Captain makes the final decisions and directs all activities on the ship through direct or indirect leadership. Another critical skill a cruise ship captain should have is intensely analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to be calm in an emergency. You never know the type of emergencies that will arise in the next minute. So, the Captain has to be ready to face all such situations and to be able to thrive working under pressure.

We have listed below personality details so that the readers can get a quick but clear idea of what type of a person the cruise ship captain should be.

  • A Personality with a positive vibe
  • Energetic and enthusiastic
  • Able to solve the problems
  • A robust Team Player
  • Good sailing experience
  • Should be excellent in customer care
  • Well maintained work ethics
  • Have Excellent Communication Skills.
  • Should be able to Manage all personnel.
  • Ensure safety when loading and unloading cargo at ports.
  • Control and maintain the inventory
  • Provides security where needed
  • Should be able to hire and fire.
  • Ready to Respond to possible threats from terrorists or pirates.
  • Make sure all immigration issues are appropriately resolved.
  • Well educated on the legal aspects of the 

How much do cruise ship captains make?

Now dear readers, we come to the essential part of the discussion. 

At the end of all this, you expect a good salary. So here is some vital information on this aspect. 

Cruise ship captain salaries have been changing over the past years. Simply, it has been increasing! But the current trends in the cruise industry make it difficult to project with certainty. The pandemic also has a significant role to play in these changes. But as always, it is expected that cruise ship captains will continue to be the highest-paid officials at sea. The salary range starts from $50,000 for captains of small ships offering day cruises out of ports like San Diego or Miami up to about $200,000. The cruise ship captains on the most significant vessels such as Royal Caribbean Oasis of The Seas or Carnival’s Mardi Gras cruise ship stand at the highest end. The average cruise ship captain salary for a central cruise line is normally between $110,000-$150,000.

How much do cruise ship captains make

Dear readers, did you know ship captains’ salary is different from city to city because their salary depends on the cost of living? When the Expenses are higher in certain cities, the wages there will also be higher. It makes the ship captains live in that location as then they do not have to fly in or travel each time they are called to work. The captains who work out of busy ports in larger cities get more money than others.

Did you know that other positions earn more than a cruise ship captain? An architect captain gets an annual salary of $91,389. But an international cruise ship captain gets about $82,873 per year, while a port captain earns about $76,894.

When considering a captain’s massive responsibility, there is a good side when you initially see it as a low scale. Usually, the average salary goes up according to years of experience.

  • For 0-5 years-the annual salary is USD 59,00
  • 5-10 years of experience -earns a yearly salary of USD 80,000
  • For 10-20 years experience- working on a cruise ship, you will earn USD 97,000
  • Over 20 year-will potentially obtain a salary of USD 113,000

Also, we need to remember that the factors that influence salary vary according to the ship’s size and its company. Normally the Commanders of military boats doing day excursions can expect USD 50,000. But a top-notch luxury cruise captain can earn USD 150,000.

So, we hope you readers understand the basic salary of a cruise ship captain. We have drawn a few comparisons so that the picture is more apparent.

FAQs about being a cruise ship captain.

  • How long does it take to become a cruise ship captain?

 Becoming a cruise ship captain is a step-by-step process with a lot of experience and academic knowledge. One must go through all these critical stages to come to the end goal of becoming a cruise ship captain. So, it might take 18-22 years.

Typically the Cruise ship captains have to receive a captain’s license from the federal maritime authority. But note that obtaining this license can take up to ten years. It takes a lot more time to become a cruise ship captain than any highly skilled professional like a brain surgeon. So, most cruise ship captains get their bars 18 to 22 years after beginning the process. We hope this explanation is enough for you to know, “how many years does it take to become a cruise ship captain?”

  • How to become a cruise ship captain in the UK?

As in any other country, A degree or diploma in Nautical Science is essential to become a cruise ship captain UK. Also, they need to have onboard training as cadets or apprentice officers lasting several months. After this training, the potential candidates are considered eligible for the 2nd Mate examination. When they get through this examination, they are qualified to work as 3rd Officers onboard cruise ships. After that, they will get to move towards the goal of becoming a cruise ship captain, which will need a few more academic qualifications and training before taking up the job.

  • What is a cruise ship captain quarter?

There are significant benefits of being a cruise ship captain. Traveling around the world is one of them. 

As a captain, you also have the privilege of having your cabin. The Captain’s cabin is the most luxurious and the biggest of all. It is Also known as the Captain’s quarters. The house is usually located directly behind the bridge or somewhere near it. It is mainly to provide quick and easy access.

  • Who is the youngest cruise ship captain?

 Now, this is some exciting news. Surprisingly, the youngest cruise ship captain is a female as well! Captain Kate McCue is the Master of the Celebrity Summit, a 91,000-ton cruise ship. Last year she made a record as the first American female to captain a mega-ship for a cruise line. Still being at the age of 38, she tops the list among the youngest to reach the status of Captain, a position often held by an elderly male. 

Captain Kate McCue

  • What is the cruise ship captain’s salary per month?

According to the latest records, the average monthly payment for a Cruise Ship Captain in the United States is $4,519 a month.

  • What is the cruise ship captain’s salary- in the UK?

Cruise ship captains get an average salary of £39,836 per year. It is similar to an average of £15.78 per hour or roughly £837 per week. 

So dear readers, we shared a lot of exciting information for those who love to be a cruise ship captain or are interested in finding out more on this subject. We hope this created the perfect picture of who a cruise ship captain is, the responsibilities, the level of educational qualifications required, and the ideal personality you should have. 

Stay tuned for more exciting facts on more unique topics! Till then, happy dreaming of being a cruise ship captain!

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