How are the SUNY Maritime summer cruises?

Any grads or current students who can attest to what they’re like? After doing some brief research, I’ve heard that there’s ~500 students on board for each trip. Is that true? What is the living/sleeping situation like? How may people per room, etc?

As a male deckie, on your 3rd class and 2nd class cruises(assuming you don’t cadet ship) you live in a converted cargo hold with 150 other people. You have minimal personal space or privacy. Your days are very regimented and planned out for you. As a 1st class, you could potentially move to an 8 man room, though that is not a guarantee. I would not be very concerned about personal space because you will probably be too tired to do anything but sleep. The experience is worth it, but you may not realize it until you are done and graduated. This is of course with the current ship, the new ship is planned to come out for SST 2022.

Why is it so tiring? And do I go on a different cruise than freshman since I’ll be a graduate student?

In terms of seamanship training, even as a grad student, you are considered a “freshman” if that makes any sense. You will be in professional development and navigation classes on campus with kids under twenty as well.

On my first cruise, I had a desert storm vet living next to me. Great guy

Don’t think of it in terms of a “cruise”. You’re there to learn, not to vacation. If you consider that, then it should make sense why you’ll be tired.
And as Yankee said, in terms of the regiment, on the ship you’ll be the same as a freshman. Thousands of people have done it before you, it’s not that bad.
Your best best is to arrange a visit the school and get a tour of the ship. I would do that sooner rather than later because they’re going to restrict access once they start to prepare for Summer Sea Term.


Hope you like running a needle gun!

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Needle gun isn’t that bad. And you probably don’t have to do that more than a couple times during SST. Worse jobs are to be had: scullery and the macerator.

And that… is why TMA was great back when we had Prep cadets (…among other reasons). Never had to touch the scullery back then. Thanks for ruining that SUNY. :expressionless:

I thought it was Mass that let the cat out of the bag that y’all had been taking non STCW basic safety trained high school kids out to sea as passengers / employees / cadets since the mid seventies. :yum:

Oh, you may be right about that now that I think about it. Certainly took away a lot of the “fun” of sailing on the Clipper though regardless.

You don’t get any special privileges as a grad student and are subjected to all the goofy MUG stuff. You’ll sleep in a 156 man berthing space with 18 year olds, have 20 year old kids threaten to write you up if you go early to lunch/dinner or do your laundry at a time you aren’t allowed to. It can be a head scratching experience especially after a year of being a day student.

If you have a good group of grad friends it can be fun in port, but don’t expect to learn anything of serious value, most of the actual hands on stuff is done by the 1/C cadets.

Should be pretty epic soon enough with that brand new ship they will be getting! :+1:t2:

I learned something of value from each of my three cruises, even as a grad student. Learning how to use different tools, managing people and sucking up doing the worst jobs on that bucket made transitioning to the fleet after graduation much less shocking than I had imagined. As far as the upperclass writing people up… never as big an issue as people made it out to be unless you were a complete dolt who couldn’t follow the herd to the day’s activities or someone who couldn’t comprehend a watch schedule.

In fact, in my three years there a few (not all) of the worst people I ever came across were the grad students. They refused to refer to themselves as any class until they were First Class and quite often talked down to their fellow classmates. They failed to realize (and SUNY failed to inform them) that day students merely have first class privileges, not the authority.

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Deck and engine are divided, each into three divisions with class (rank) intermingled in each. The rotation is work, watch and class. One division has work, the second has watch and the third has class. This schedule of what division has what will rotate seemingly at random so that your division has watch 3 days in a row, then 2 work days, then 4 class days, so on and so forth.

Because there are so many cadets and limited space, instruction, etc. the “cruise” is broken up into halves, each half being about 45 days or so. Your 3rd class cruise will be 45-50 days, 2nd class cruise 45-50 days and 1st class cruise will be the full 100~. The underclass, or 2nd and 3rd classes, will changeout at the third port. “A” half underclass will fly home to JFK and the “B” half 2nd and 3rd class will fly into the changeout port. 1st class are, like I said, on the whole time, so they have to take up the underclass watches, in port work and what haven you. As an underclass, you will be randomly assigned which half of cruise you’ll go on, however you can trade with someone for whatever reason you want as long as you both agree. In my experience “B” half has the better ports but “A” half will allow for a better summer home.

Since I’m a deckie, I’m only going to talk about deck side. As an underclass, you’ll most likely live in the 156 man hold, which is a shitshow. We’ve all done it and you will too. By this point I’m sure you’ve gone through Indoc so you know what it’s like. 3rd class are the cheap and plentiful workforce that keeps the old tub alive so expect to do a ton of bullshit work. Your watches will consist of rotating lookouts. PORT and STBD bridgewing, stern and bow all rotate throughout the 4 hour watch. Buy some rain gear because you’ll need it for sure. Quarterdeck watch will see you do hourly rounds throughout the ship with a 50 year old detex clock. This thing gets checked daily by the 1st class security rate as well as an underpaid mate who are probably both fed up and will nail you for skipping stations. Class is class, same khakis, same instructors, etc. as on land. I can guarantee you will be treated like shit; it’s the nature of the game. Luckily you will be with all of your closest friends in life and it’s really not that bad. As a 3rd class you average about 2.5 days off in whatever port you’re in which is great.

As a 2nd class you’re more or less a 3rd class; you have no real responsibility and you deal with the same bullshit. The main difference is now you’ll have to do a ton of cel nav, so don’t blow it off because you’ll be doing it the rest of your career up til license and throughout your career sailing as a mate. You get slightly more port time and an hour extra added to your curfew.

Your 1st class cruise is the best one by far. The cruise itself is really geared towards the 1st class as they’re given specific job rates to oversee you, the underclass, who are really the unlicensed workers of the ship. 1st class are given much better privileges then the underclass by basic rite of passage and tradition and they more or less run the ship. Or atleast they’re supposed to in theory. You’re given alot of responsibility and like a 3rd mate, answer directly to Chief Mate who will grade you on how your work party did. You stand watch as if you were 3rd Mate, with supervision from a licensed Master Mariner. You get to hit every port on the list and you’re off pretty much the whole time with an 0200 curfew. Basically 1st class cruise is awesome and was, in my experience. the best experience I had at the school.

Cruise, as we cadets like to call it, is the best part about SUNY Maritime. I’ve been to 9 countries, 12 ports, all with my closest friends in life. I work a six figure salary 3rd Mate job now but I’ll apply to sail as a day working mate for peanuts on the TSES every summer because nothing can or will replicate that experience for me.

Don’t take the bullshit seriously, work hard because it makes the day go by faster, don’t get busted being drunk, take a ton of pictures, buy some souvenirs, eat some crazy foods, go on the ship funded tours and enjoy every moment and memory because you’ll look back on it in 20 years and miss the hell out of it.



I first visited the school in 1999 and almost 20 years later the ship smells and sounds exactly the same as the first day I walked aboard as a prospective student on a tour. Loads of great memories there that come out as soon as I’m back for the cruises and wander around her decks and holds for awhile.


Though, now there is talk about domestic ports actually being a thing. Sad to see this pushing to be a reality. One of the best parts about this school was the chance to travel to different countries with your friends but now they are trying to steal that from us and probably will not adjust the cost of the semester.

Could it have something to do with the training ship being so advanced in age, fears of another El Faro type situation, and the planned replacement vessel?

Perhaps the current TSES is better staying along the coast until she is turned into razor blades.

A ship is generally closer to rescue near the coast but both the El Faro and the Marine Electric got in trouble near a coast.

Yeah I am just playing devils advocate and speculating where the school may be angling themselves to playcate parents and the state university system until their new build comes online. It’s more likely they don’t want to spend the money on fuel to get across the ocean though. Or the flights for the cadet changeout.

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One factor is that because of Captain Smith’s resignation, the new captain will have it easier in domestic ports rather than go international. The flight changeout also is a big factor because last year they spent around $400,000 on a charter due to the location of the changeout port and other reasons.

About spending money to cross the atlantic, cruise prices were increased heavily last year and by remaining in the states, the college does not expect to lower the cost though they are talking about visiting ports like Albany and Philadelphia, places that take only three hours by car to get to or $30 worth of gas.