How Does One Become a Cruise Ship Captain?

By Alice Nichols

Becoming a cruise ship captain is an incredibly rewarding and exciting career choice. It involves a great deal of responsibility and hard work, but the rewards can be great. From navigating the ship through rough seas to overseeing the crew and passengers, being a cruise ship captain is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs in the maritime industry.

To become a cruise ship captain, you must first obtain your master mariner’s license. This requires several years of experience on merchant ships and passing several exams to demonstrate knowledge of maritime law and navigation. You will also need to go through safety training courses as well as a drug test before you can obtain your license.

Once you have obtained your license, you will need to find employment on a cruise line. You must demonstrate leadership skills and have prior experience in managing large teams of people in order to be considered for the position. You will also need to have extensive knowledge of safety protocols and be able to handle difficult situations with poise.

Once you have been hired by a cruise line, you are likely to begin as an assistant or third officer before progressing up through the ranks. This may take several years; however, during this time you will be gaining valuable experience in managing crews as well as learning about navigation and safety protocols.

In addition, it is important for cruise ship captains to continue their education throughout their careers by attending seminars, taking classes or studying for additional maritime qualifications. This will allow them to stay abreast of current regulations and best practices in the industry.


Becoming a cruise ship captain requires dedication, hard work, and commitment. It is not an easy job but it can be an incredibly rewarding experience if one is willing to put in the time and effort necessary. With the right qualifications, experience, and attitude anyone can become an amazing cruise ship captain!