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How To Become An Officer On A Cruise Ship?  
User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 12707 times:

I was watching a program on the Travel Channel about cruise ships. This go me thinking, "how would become a First Officer on one of those?"

We all know the route to an airline cockpit; there are even college degrees in this area. All one has to do is have the time and necessary experience before they're even considered for hiring.

So, how does one become an officer on a cruise ship with a major cruise line (ie: Royal Caribbean, Carnaval etc)?

Also, is the a site that's like this one for cruise ships? There has got to be a following like there is for airliners.

Thanks!

- Neil Harrison

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirworthy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 12672 times:

Here's some info from another pilot board on how to become your own ship captain:

http://forums.flightinfo.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8887

But if you want to steer the big ones, you usually have to be from Norway I believe. You attend a school, then become a machine operator in the engine room, then move up to captain.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 12615 times:

Country of origin does not matter... I am sure that there are many "dues" to be paid in working your way up to being the master of a large ship.

User currently offlineAirworthy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 12583 times:

Yeah, I don't think you HAVE to be from Norway, but you have to have to have some formal training in naval science.

I think the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine Academy may have some training for civilians, but most if not all of shipping employees are retired military people.

This is really similar to airline pilots for the major airlines.


User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4629 posts, RR: 36
Reply 4, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 12573 times:

Actually country of origin does matter, but it's not JUST Norway.

It's either Norway, Italy, UK, and Finland (I think)



Word
User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 12556 times:

Uhm...I think it doesn't matter, you should speak English and language of the country where the cruise line is from and that should do the deal.

User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 12545 times:

I found this on Royal Caribbean's website:
http://extranet.rccl.com/dept/hr/marine/AppTrack/Default.aspx?p=3&jid=4

Does anyone know what half that stuff is (the licenses and stuff)? Apprently, one doesn't have to be strictly from Norway (although, I have yet to sail on a cruiseliner whose captain isn't from Norway).

- Neil Harrison


User currently offlineAA61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 7, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 12546 times:

I agree, I have only been on boats with captains from Norway, the boats too!


Go big or go home
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 12542 times:

Breaking news...a cruise I was on last month had a GREEK captain and crew.

User currently offlineLubcha132 From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 2776 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 12528 times:

Celebrity is Greek...the X is for the Greek word for Celebrity.

User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 12524 times:

Which only goes to show that you don't have to be Norwegian to captain a cruise ship. Actually, Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean.

User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 12505 times:

There is a set of international shipping regulations too, similar to ICAO. The US has the most restrictive regulations though, so restrictive in fact that it is cheaper to fly stuff between Hawaii and the lower 48 than it is to ship it.

In the US itself there are fewer and fewer US owned ships that operate internationally, most US owned ships are used when they have in state to state operations.

Now has far as training, well there is always the Merchant Marine Acadamy and the USCGA. To get your USCG Captians liscene you have to take a knowledge test, and prove so many days working at sea before they give it to you. And you have to work your way up on those liscense too.

Oh also Flight Safey now has a division I believe called Marine Safety. They are now getting into simulation of large ships, their first simulator was for that mega cruise ship that they have operate down here in Florida.

[Edited 2003-04-16 06:45:55]


At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks ago) and read 12502 times:

I guess it's very similar to becoming an airline pilot. You'd probably start off on small stuff- driving tugs etc. then move on to bigger stuff. A cruise liner would be the equivalent of an airline job so you'd probably have to be a boat driver for a fair few years before you got there.

User currently offlineGocaps16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4347 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 12464 times:

First of all, start getting your private boat license in a wooden row boat.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Actually, start with speed boats since they require a license.

Kevin



SIX T'S!......TURN. TIME. TWIST. THROTTLE. TALK. TRACK.
User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 12450 times:

Thanks PPGMD! That's the answer I was looking for. I also did some hunting around on the USCG's website. It appears that it is a lot easier to become an airline pilot than it is to become a cruise ship officer!

- Neil Harrison


User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 12429 times:

I was on the Grand Princess a few years ago and our captain was Italian.



FSP


User currently offlineKRIC777 From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 280 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 12427 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

which only goes to show that you don't have to be Norwegian to captain a cruise ship. Actually, Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean.

Yeah...wasn't Gavin McLeod (Capt. Merrill Steubing) American  Smile


User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 12419 times:

Actually, I was reading somewhere that although the majority of cruise ships captains are of foreign descent a lot of them live in the US.

- Neil Harrison


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29802 posts, RR: 58
Reply 18, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 12414 times:

The short answer is that you have to join the Merchant Marine.

The US shipping industry has been pretty much decimated since the 1960's because of costs.

In fact the first ocean going passenger vessel built in the us in 20 years was constructed in 2000. That was the MV Kennicott and is in survice with the Alaska Marine Highway provided auto ferry service.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 12410 times:

Actually that is true, most are foreign because the cruise ships are owned by foreign operators. And most live in the US because the ships depart from the US most of the time.

Ask you can tell boating is my other hobby. As it should be since I live in FL. You should see my tan farmers tan for sure, there is like a 3 shades diffrence between my upper and lower arms.

[Edited 2003-04-17 04:57:01]


At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 12393 times:

PPGMD:

I really appreciate your help! I must say that boating is an interest of mine too. Living in the Boston area, it is pretty much engrained in you from day one.

When I get the time and money (this whole flying thing has pretty much sucked up both) I would like to learn how to sail. I figure that with the flying thing, I'm almost there as aviation draws a lot from nautical history.  Smile

Anyhow, thanks again!

- Neil Harrison


User currently offlineAtenara From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 12387 times:


There are a lot of maritime schools you could attend to get a degree in becoming a seaman, it is not quite easy to become a first officer in a big cruise line because it goes by rank and seniority. By the time you work yourself up it could be like 15-20 years


User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 22, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 12380 times:

>>There are a lot of maritime schools you could attend to get a degree in becoming a seaman, it is not quite easy to become a first officer in a big cruise line because it goes by rank and seniority.<<

Yeah, that's what I thought. I was wondering about the process to become an officer on one of these floating palaces.

Everyone knows that there are multiple ways to become an airline pilot (armed forces, college programs, pay your way, academies, etc.). I wanted to know if it was similar in the shipping world.

- Neil Harrison


User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 12376 times:

I wonder if cruise liner officers log their time in a logbook as pilots do? Maybe you need a certain amount of hours before you can command a "heavy" cruise liner.  Smile

User currently offlineWoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1049 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 12351 times:

hehe.... a simple question with a complex answer.

The licenses you need to get are the 3d Mate, 2d Mate, 1st Mate, Master.
The differences between the licenses are basically time, experience, and knowledge as far as I know. You get these by taking the Coast Guard exam.

And within these licenses there are categories, very similar to type ratings in the aircraft, but they're not tied to a specific ship or class of ship, but rather tonnage. 50 ton, 100 ton, 150ton, 200ton, unlimited., etc... these ratings determine what type of ship you can work on. To find employment with a shipping company to work on a cruise liner or any other large commercial ship, you'll need a minimum of an unlimited 3d Mates license, since there probably aren't any 200 ton cruise liners out there. You don't have to get a 50ton rating before you get an unlimited rating, you just go straight for the unlimited. But you do need the 3d mate, before you go for 2d mate, before you go for 1st mate and ultimately master.

To get the time to qualify for the 3d Mate's license you can go to one of the maritime academies (you'll graduate with an unlimited 3d Mate's and a degree), or you can start at the school of hard knocks working as an able-bodied seaman and going up from there.

Talking with some mariners out there, cruiseliner work is actually the low end of the pay scale, with the more lucrative jobs being on cargo ships (Ro-Ros, container ships, bulk break ships, tankers, LPG ships, etc). Plus you get better schedules working cargo ships.

There's two different tracks you can take either the deck track or the engineer track. Deck track - you're up topside, driving the ship, you worry about proper loading (stability is critical), dealing with cargo ops, etc. Engineer track - you work down in the engineroom, and you just keep the engine running, and keep the lights on and the fresh water running. Usually you don't switch between the two (unless you are willing to start all over again.)

As far as the military side goes, time and experience does not transfer at all. A military pilot can take a military competence test to get the appropriate FAA license. and boom all his time transfers, he becomes competitive with his civilian counterparts when looking for employment at any airline if he has the right kind of time, e.g. a helo pilot probably can't find work at United, American, etc.

For a Navy officer after 20+ year career at sea driving everything from frigates, cruisers, destroyers, and maybe command of an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship, none of that sea time is creditable and if that officer wants to look for employment in the civilian maritime industry, he has to take the 3d mate's exam and start working from there and time building from there.

I think the Coast Guard does things differently, their officers do get credit for their time at sea.

Just my speculation here, I think the reason why Navy officers don't get credit for their sea time in the civilian sector is because while the Navy does drive ships, it's not their primary job. No one else drives the ship, but the primary job of a naval officer is to fight the ship/tactics and weapons employment and while there is time devoted to driving ships and the ins and outs of the propulsion plant, there isn't any attention paid to cargo loading, etc.


Cheers  Smile
Woodreau / KMVL



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
25 Pilot1113 : Woodreau: Thanks a lot! That about answered my question! I really appreciate it! - Neil Harrison
26 L-188 : Hey Woodreau. I was under the impression that time on a Navy ship at sea did count as "Sea Time" for the "Able Bodied Seaman" rating. But that of cour
27 Tbar220 : FSPilot747, I was on the same shit just last December, and I remember the captain quite well! He was quite the character. Short Italian guy, Guiseppe
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