Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes and have crews ranging from a few dozen to a few thousand people. As a result, the ranks of the crew members depend on the size of the ship. On smaller vessels, there may only be a few basic positions, while on larger ships, there may be dozens of different roles.
At the top of most cruise ships are two key positions: Captain and Chief Officer. The Captain is in charge of the entire ship, from making sure it is running smoothly to ensuring that all safety regulations are followed. The Chief Officer is second in command and assists the Captain with their duties.
Below these top two positions are three main departments that each have their own ranks. On some ships, these departments are overseen by a staff captain or staff chief officer who is in charge of managing each department’s activities.
Deck Department – This department includes officers such as navigators and engineers who are responsible for operating the ship’s navigational systems and engines. Additionally, this department includes ratings such as bosun (boatswain) and deck hands who keep the deck clean and orderly.
Engine Department – This department includes officers such as chief engineers who oversee the operation of engines and other machinery on board. Additionally, this department includes ratings such as engine room assistants who help keep machinery running properly.
Hotel Department – This department includes officers such as hotel managers who oversee guest services on board including housekeeping, food services, entertainment and more. Additionally, this department includes ratings such as waiters and stewards who provide direct service to passengers during their cruise experience.
Cruise ships come in many shapes and sizes so they can employ crews ranging from a handful to thousands of people with different ranks depending on the size of vessel they work on.
Atop most cruise ships will be two main positions; Captain and Chief Officer followed by three main departments which include Deck Department with navigators & engineers; Engine Department with chief engineers & engine room assistants; Hotel Department with hotel managers & waiters/stewards.
Overall understanding what roles & ranks make up a cruise ship crew helps to appreciate how much work goes into providing guests with an enjoyable experience onboard.