What it really takes to be a cruise ship captain

Cruise ship captain

Becoming a cruise ship captain takes years of education and on-the-job experience.

Okay, so becoming a cruise ship captain takes a little more than filling out a questionnaire, under and a week’s training in the Caribbean, and having a few more responsibilities than welcoming guests, indulging in captain’s dinners and smoking pipes!

But what does a cruise ship captain really do, and what does it take to become one? Read on to find out.


You would need a high school diploma and a bachelor’s or master’s degree in marine science or marine engineering, preferably from a maritime college or academy, to become a cruise ship captain.

You’d need to have a thorough understanding of logistics, navigation, maritime and safety law and management from your studies.

Years of experience and significant on-the-job training is also required, and you’d need to earn a captain’s license from a federal maritime authority – which can take up to ten years!

Cruise ship captain’s skillset

A cruise ship captain must possess a varied skillset, from leadership, customer service and communication skills to administrative abilities.

Also important are strong analytical and problem solving skills, the ability to keep a cool head in emergency situations, and to be able to thrive working under pressure.

Key responsibilities

Aside from hanging out with passengers, smoking pipes and marrying couples (yes, really!) cruise ship captains are responsible for a variety of critical tasks.

As cruise ship captain you’d be in charge of managing a crew of thousands of staff, maintaining complex navigational systems and engines, overseeing the embarkment and disembarkment of passengers, ensuring safety equipment is in top working condition, enforcing safety procedures, steering the ship and communicating with ports and nearby vessels – all while ensuring compliance with local and international law.

Phew – being a cruise ship captain sounds like a significant amount of responsibility, dedication and hard work. But do you still dream of being a cruise ship captain? Tells us in the comments below!

Thanks for taking part in our April Fools!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *