Australian & South Pacific Cruises
(Proudly Australian Owned and Operated)

Book Your Cruise
Online to Save
P&O Cruises 7 Day Sale - Up to $1100 Onboard Credit & Reduced Deposits
 *For new bookings on selected cruises. Sale ends 10pm Monday 31st October 2016.
Click Here To View Cruises

A Day in the Life of the Captain of a Cruise Ship


Most people have a vision of the ship's captain standing behind a big wooden steering wheel at the front of the ship, one hand on the wheel, another holding a telescope. The reality is very different.

The captain is actually in charge of the whole ship, so his tasks stretch far beyond simply navigating the ship. In fact, a better job title might be "ship manager". The captain is responsible for moving this floating city from port to port, with thousands of passengers and crew relying on his leadership. It’s no mean feat!

Driving the ship

The captain does indeed get to drive the ship, often taking charge as it moves in and out of port. Once safely out at sea, the ship can be on autopilot for much of the time – just like a plane. The captain also doesn't work alone; he has a team of officers to help. At any one time, you might find eight officers on the "bridge". This will include a navigator and co-navigator who plan routes and speeds, and the all-important lookout sailor.

New ship, new rules?

The captain isn't always on the same ship. They'll switch between different ships in the cruise line’s fleet, and may have less than 12 hours before the next trip. Every time they take charge of a new ship, the captain must learn how to manoeuvre that specific vessel, though many of the other procedures remain the same.


Around the clock job

As commander of the cruise ship, the captain has a 24/7 job to do. The majority of their time is taken up with management tasks. With a few thousand passengers and anywhere up to a thousand crew, life can move very quickly on a cruise ship and the captain needs to be on top of things.  Luckily, modern technology makes this simpler than ever and the captain can easily communicate with his crew around the clock.


Leader of the pack

As CEO of the ship, most captains have three senior officers directly reporting to them, including the Hotel Director and the Chief Engineer. The former is in charge of all things to do with entertainment and accommodations, while the latter takes care of the technical side of the ship. The staff captain (deputy captain) is second in command and looks after the bridge, the ship’s navigation and the sailors.

How to become a captain

Most captains will probably have been in the industry for many years, decades even, starting out as a cadet and rising through the officer ranks. There’s plenty of training involved, both before becoming captain and during.

Ups and down of sea life

As with any job, there are pros and cons to being a cruise ship captain. One perk is that there is always something to see. The captain gets the best view in the house when it comes to whale watching and other wildlife encounters, and no day is the same as the next.

However, a definite downside is that captains can be out at sea and away from their families for weeks or months at a time. And while they’re on the ship, they won’t have much time to themselves.

Meet the captain

Many cruise lines give special passengers a chance to meet the captain on a tour of the ship. You'll find him in the "bridge", but only at the captain’s discretion and if he deems it safe.

Related Posts:

Terms and Conditions
Find us on Facebook

Find us on Google+
©Copyright 2016 Ozcruising Pty Ltd.  
All materials, including the web site design, illustrations, map illustrations, images, designs, and logos, appearing on this website are protected by Copyright. The copyright of all website content is held by Ozcruising P/L and /or the original creator of the materials. Ozcruising website content may not be copied, published, modified, or distributed in any form or by any means other than as Ozcruising P/L has expressly authorised. Any unauthorised use of the Ozcruising website content may violate copyright, trademark and other applicable laws and could result in criminal or civil penalties.

All information on this Web Site is constantly updated and obtained from the Cruise Companies represented. Photographs, illustrations and other promotional material displayed on our website are for promotion purposes only. Availability, itineraries, routes, weather conditions, deck plans, ship cabin configurations, ship décor and so forth can change without notice. Passengers must ensure all details on their booking confirmation are correct, and that the Terms and Conditions of Ozcruising P/L and the Cruise Company booked with are read and understood.