Does Every Cruise Ship Have to Do a Test Cruise?

By Michael Ferguson

When it comes to taking a cruise, safety is the number one priority. Cruise ships are required to undergo rigorous testing procedures before they can set sail.

But does every cruise ship have to do a test cruise? The answer is yes – in most cases, a test cruise is required before a vessel can be approved for revenue service.

In order to ensure the highest degree of safety for passengers and crew, all major cruise lines follow strict guidelines and regulations set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These regulations include safety drills, fire safety protocols, and other requirements that must be met before the ship can begin carrying paying passengers. As part of this process, the cruise line must also complete a “Test Cruise” prior to beginning operations.

The purpose of the test cruise is twofold: firstly, it allows the crew to become familiar with all aspects of the vessel and its equipment in order to operate it safely; secondly, it provides an opportunity for authorities to observe and evaluate how well the crew is performing their duties. During this process, they will examine everything from how well the crew understands safety protocols to how quickly they respond in emergency situations.

The duration of a test cruise may vary depending on the size and type of vessel. Smaller vessels may only require one or two days at sea while larger vessels could require up to several weeks. During this time, all areas of operation will be observed including navigation systems, communication systems, medical facilities, dining services and more.


Yes, every cruise ship has to do a test cruise before being approved for revenue service. This is done in order to ensure that both passengers and crew are kept safe during their voyage. The duration of this test may vary depending on the size and type of vessel but regardless it is an important requirement that needs to be adhered too in order for any ship to set sail!