How Much Money Does a Cruise Ship Captain Earn?

By Robert Palmer

Cruise ship captains have one of the most influential and responsible roles in the entire cruise industry. As the leader of their vessel, they are responsible for the safety and well-being of their crew, passengers, and cargo. This means that they must be knowledgeable in navigation, maritime law, and even medical practices in order to prepare for any emergencies that may arise.

Captains must also be excellent communicators who can effectively manage a large crew of both officers and non-officers. With such a wide range of responsibilities, it’s no surprise that cruise ship captains are usually among the highest paid professionals in the industry.

The salary of a cruise ship captain is typically determined by experience level, years of service, and even the size of their vessel. Entry-level captains can expect to make anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 per year. More experienced captains or those working on larger ships could make upwards of $150,000 annually.

In addition to their salary, cruise ship captains can also receive bonuses based on customer satisfaction or other performance metrics. They may also be eligible for medical benefits and other perks such as vacation time or discounts on cruises.


Overall, cruise ship captains are some of the highest paid professionals in the maritime industry. Depending on experience level and years served, they can make anywhere from $60,000 to over $150,000 per year plus additional benefits such as bonuses or vacation time.