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Master of the Ship and Department Heads

A cruise ship is like a little village, where many people of different nationalities and cultural background life on a very limited space.

This is only possible with rules to which everyone has to adhere to and a military like hierarchy.

On top of that hierarchy onboard stands the Master of the ship. Mostly he/she is referred to as Captain. However, there could be more Captains onboard (those who hold a Captain's license) but there is only one Master onboard. The one, who was hired in that position by the Cruise line.

The Master overseas and is responsible for the entire operation onboard. The responsibility includes the safety of the ship, the guests and crew onboard.

He/She is the "Judge" onboard, who has the final say. He/she decides who can come onboard, who will be removed from the ship, what disciplinary action will be taken.

He also deals with local authorities when necessary.

Master of the Ship and Department Heads

Department Heads

There are 3 department heads, who will report directly to the master and who are responsible for their entire department:

  • Staff Captain (sometimes also called Chief Officer)
  • Hotel Manager
  • Chief Engineer

Staff Captain is the second in command. It means he/she would be the replacement of the Master, if that should become necessary. He/She is responsible for the employees of the Deck Department, the day to day operation of the Deck Department and the Discipline onboard.

Hotel Manager is responsible for the entire Hotel Department, the guest services, provisions, day-to-day operation for the hotel part of the ship. He/She has the most numerous department of crew and is helped by various department heads who report directly to him/her.

Chief Engineer is responsible for the Engine Department onboard. Besides the main engine, this includes all technical matters onboard, such as electrical, refrigeration, mechanical works, machinery etc.

The ship runs in the most efficient way when these 3 department heads work well together. If one of them is not working with the others, work onboard becomes difficult and more complicated than it has to be.

Department Heads and Officers always perform a “being a good example” function, too. If those 3 work well together, so will the internal department heads and the crew members. Everyone benefits from this, foremost the guests onboard, who are the ones who make this industry at all possible. Without guests, there would be no cruise ships. Therefore the ultimate goal is always to provide the best service and make those vacations for guests an unforgettable experience.

And this is achieved by everyone pulling on the same rope, in the same direction.

Written by Scarlet Perez