What Is the Salary of a Cruise Ship Captain?

By Alice Nichols

Cruise ship Captains are responsible for the safety and well-being of those on board their vessels. They must be highly trained and experienced seafarers who understand the complexities of navigating on the open seas.

The salary of a cruise ship Captain depends on a variety of factors, such as experience, qualifications and the size of the vessel. Generally speaking, Captains on larger vessels tend to receive higher salaries than those on smaller ships.

Captains must have at least 5 years’ experience as a First or Second Officer in order to qualify for the position. They must be able to maintain order and discipline among crew members, handle emergency situations, oversee navigation and daily operations in accordance with regulations, and ensure that all safety protocols are followed.

The size of a cruise ship will also affect the salary of its Captain. Larger ships require more experienced Captains who can manage a larger number of crew members, as well as handle more complex navigational tasks. Captains aboard large vessels can earn anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 per year.

Familiarity with various ports is often preferred by cruise lines when hiring Captains. Some companies may require their Captains to have experience navigating in certain areas or regions before they can be considered for higher paying positions.

In addition to their base salary, Captains may receive additional pay for working overtime or handling special assignments, such as supervising hazardous cargo transportation. Cruise lines may also provide incentives such as bonuses or vacation time in order to attract qualified applicants.

Overall, cruise ship captains can expect to earn an average salary ranging from $80,000 – $200,000 per year depending on their experience level and size of vessel they are commanding.


The salary of a cruise ship captain depends upon various factors like experience level, size of the vessel they are commanding etc., Generally speaking, Captains on larger vessels tend to receive higher salaries than those on smaller ships ranging from $80,000 – $200,000 per year depending upon experience level and other factors.