Cruise Ship Captain

Head up huge cruise ships travelling to exotic destinations.
picture of Cruise Ship Captain

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$31,000 – $117,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Cruise Ship Captains do?

Anyone who’s ever been on a cruise, or even seen the commercials for a cruise line on TV, knows the myriad activities taking place at any given moment. There are Dancers and Comedians on stage, shuffleboard on deck, and bells ringing throughout the casino. These floating cities have bowling alleys, upscale dining, movie theaters, and bingo.

With all this activity, it’s no wonder that most ships employ approximately one crewmember for every three passengers. The Cruise Ship Captain is in charge of it all.

Your obvious role as Cruise Ship Captain is to maneuver the mammoth ship from one place to another. It’s not exactly like parking a van, so it takes substantial practice and training to prepare for the role. Although there are several levels of employees to manage tasks, you’re ultimately responsible for budgets, employees, activities, safety, supplies, and passengers.

You also don your best Cruise Ship Captain smile while you dine and pose for pictures with your guests. After all, you’re in the customer service business. In order to keep the smiles on your passengers’ faces, you make sure the ride is as smooth as possible, contend with weather and waves, and see to it that every employee — from the Purser to the Staff Captain — is completely focused on the passengers’ needs.

To make all that happen, you schedule meetings with staff; ensure that everyone follows maritime, local, and international regulations; and watch for hazards, such as political unrest, terrorists, or pirates at ports of call.


Should I be a Cruise Ship Captain?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Cruise Ship Pilot, Master, Ship, Ship Captain, Shipmaster, Ship's Captain

    How to become a Cruise Ship Captain

    Most Cruise Ship Captains have an Associate's degree or a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:k9lhha&chl=no+college+%2824%25%29|certificate+%2841%25%29|associate%27s+%2825%25%29|bachelor%27s+%285%25%29|master%27s+%285%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,24,41
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