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What Is a Cruise Ship Captain's Salary? (Photo: GRIGORY GALANTNYY/Shutterstock)

What Is a Cruise Ship Captain's Salary?

What Is a Cruise Ship Captain's Salary? (Photo: GRIGORY GALANTNYY/Shutterstock)
Melinda Crow

Jan 8, 2020

Read time
1 min read

Cruise ship captains seem pretty near the top of the list in the glamorous job category. But, the reality is a tad less glam and a whole lot more work than you might think.

Captains are known as the "master" of the ship. The hotel manager, cruise director and chief engineer all report to the captain. He (or she) is responsible for the safety of the ship and everyone onboard, putting them on-call 24/7 during their tour of duty that lasts for months.

Captains not only need to know how to steer the cruise ship in open water and during tricky docking maneuvers, but they have to socialize with passengers onboard, making small talk and hosting dinners.

Getting to the captain's chair takes longer than becoming a brain surgeon. Including a four-year bachelor's degree from a maritime academy and years of navigational experience gained at lower officer levels, most cruise ship captains earn their bars 18 to 22 years after beginning the process.

After all that, what does a cruise ship captain make for a living? Most bring in an average annual salary of around $150,000.

Updated January 08, 2020
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