Possibility or Pipe Dream?

So I’m 31 and the extent of my education is high school and a tiny bit of unfinished university education in psychology, I’m blind in one eye and have crappy peripheral vision in the other. I’ve recently become extremely interested in working as a 2nd or 3rd officer on a cruise ship, of course I know I’ll need to go through training and education and I’ll start out below that level obviously but as amazing as I find this line of work I don’t know if it’s even a possibility for me especially with Covid decimating the industry. So I just wanted to know if this is even a possibility or just another pipe dream. What do you think? Thanks and best of luck in whatever you are doing currently!

USCG vision standards for credentialed deck officers are listed here:

Be aware that most cruise ship officers are foreign nationals who obtain their credentials from other countries.

it’s a rough slog, even if your physical gets the go ahead. The best way is via a school where you could board as a 3rd mate I believe. Otherwise get aboard a ship where you gets lotsa sea time. You’ll have to get STCW to start … if you’re serious about this you’ll pick up how to go about it pretty quick … start with national maritime center … check in now and then, tell us what’s happening with this.

As Lee_Shore said, excluding Pride of America, most cruise ship officers are foreign mariners. From what I’ve seen, cruise ship companies shy away from hiring entry-level officers and instead hire their thirds from a pool of folks who have held third or second mate positions on cargo ships first. And once any U.S. officer sees the pay cut they would have to take to jump from third or second on a US flag ship to a foreign-flagged cruise ship third job, they quickly give up on that idea. This is of course assuming you are a US citizen.

It is possible if anyone is interested. Quite popular with Canadian cadet programs. Via marines schools. So American marine schools probably would be acceptable.

Unfortunately. As a new entrant.
I think your eye issues will prevent you being able to pursue a career on deck.
I do know one Capt who lost an eye. He was already in the industry. He was able to get a restricted medical for domestic vessels only.

Back in the 70’s, I worked with a very capable captain that got licensed with one eye from a childhood injury. The rules these days do not accommodate that. Not sure about the engineering side.

I,m 40 and about to finish a lot of my school to make a life on deck. I was told and now i’m telling you.

It’s never to late until you’re in the ground

1 Like

Assuming the NVIC Enclosure @Lee_Shore posted is up to date the rules these days do accommodate that. Section d. covers Waiver requirements for monocular vision. It’s not a given, and he won’t be a pilot, but it’s not a hard no.

Good point, about how up to date it is. If my future was riding on it, I’d make sure those standards are current. I couldn’t find one with an effective date.

For the vision issue, check with the USCG, as for working on a cruise ship, there are the smaller companies, like UnCruise Adventures, but for anyone wanting to enter the industry, I would strongly recommend not being set on any one type of vessel, look into every thing.

Like David said, uncruise adventures has smaller cruise ships. Most under 100 grt. There is also linblad expeditions and another company (don’t recall their name) thats similair.
However, thats all a moot point at this time. Covid has the cruise ships shut down, and i don’t think anyone’s crystal ball will tell if/when the cruise industry is allowed to do business again.

At this point just worry about getting seatime anywhere you can, and get some credentials when you are eligible. 31 is still young! Lots of guys start out in this industry a decade or two older. Its far from a job seekers market these days, so it will be a tough road.