How to Become a Cruise Ship Captain

If your dream is to become a cruise ship captain, you must be well educated, experienced and certified by a maritime academy if you want your dream to come true. Once you have accomplished the milestone, life will be luxurious and easy for you.


  • 1

    Good high schools grades are very important if your dream is to become a cruise ship captain. Work hard and give proper time to your studies when at high school. Your aim should be to finish amongst the top five students in your graduating class if you are to have a chance of joining the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Most of your courses need to be in mathematics, sciences, English and computer studies.

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  • 2

    Across the United States, seven colleges offer degree-granting maritime program. These include U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, State University of New York Maritime College, California Maritime Academy, Great Lake Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Texas Maritime Academy. Get admission in one of these colleges and graduate.

  • 3

    You will be required to pass to Basic Safety Training (BST) exam. Get it out the way to obtain BST certification.

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  • 4

    You will need the STCW-95 license before you can even apply for a job as a cruise ship captain. To get the STCW-95 license, you need to take and qualify the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers Exam. There are several training institutes which will help you pass this exam if you are willing to pay a certain fee. Enrol at a local STCW-95 training institute.

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    Since you do not have any practical experience on a cruise ship, you cannot get the job of a cruise ship captain at the very start of your maritime career. While pursuing a cruise ship career, getting appointed as a third mate officer on a cruise ship will be your best shot at the start.

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    From here on, it should be simple if you have the necessary skills to become a cruise ship captain. Get promoted through ranks of a second mate office, first mate officer, chief mate officer, and then finally, master captain of the cruise ship. Remember that you will be required to pass certain exams and to obtain a few more licences in your journey up the job ladder. So make sure that you keep yourself up to date with the latest knowledge about the cruise ship industry.

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