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Cruise Chaplaincy

Apostleship of the Sea cruise chaplains provide cruise companies with a spiritual and pastoral service for both passengers and crew.

The emphasis however is on the welfare of the crew who work long and demanding hours, and go for months at a time without the sacraments. 

"For those who work long periods at sea, chaplains provide much needed support in the absence of friends and family.  They can comfort, reassure and offer spiritual guidance to those in need.” ~ Jo Utteridge, former dance captain and production manager on Costa cruise ships.

"I was on a cruise ship and it was such a joy to have a priest on board to celebrate Easter. I could see how much joy this brought not only to the crew but also to  the passengers." ~ Kevin Rigg, AoS supporter.

"What encapsulates my time on board was the love and joy of the crew showed in celebrating the Eucharist. At a time when they are far away from loved ones for nine months at a time in the Eucharist they were at one with their family and friends. I was made to feel very much at home and part of the crew family while I was on board, something I will cherish." ~ Fr David Gamble, AoS cruise chaplain. 

“I was very struck by the dignity & devotion of the Filipino crew and the reverence they showed me as a priest. It really brought home to me the significance & privilege of the priesthood and was profoundly humbling. I realised the simple power of priestly presence and the importance of being visible by wearing clericals in a way I hadn’t before. It was a really joyful experience for which I’m very thankful, one rich in possibilities and potential. Being at sea helped me to see what it is to be a Father!” ~ Fr Alex Austin OSB (Queen Mary 2 November 2016)

"The priest on board for us at Christmas is so special but for the crew he is more than special”. ~ Margaret Nicholls (passenger on P&O Arcadia 2017)

Apostleship of the Sea provides cruise chaplains to look after the welfare of cruise ship crew

Our chaplains' ministry

The cruise industry is booming, and more Britons are taking cruises. Yet for the staff on board life is not always so glamorous. Crew often work long hours and for relatively little pay. Many go without the sacraments for months at a time. For many crew, the presence of a priest on board brings great comfort.

  • AoS currently has a team of 40 cruise chaplains, mainly deployed at Christmas and Easter. 
  • Aos cruise chaplains are on board for the benefit of passengers and crew but their priority is the crew.
  • Our cruise chaplains are there to offer spiritual and pastoral support including hearing confession, celebrating Mass and offering prayers. Basically being a good friend to the crew.
  • Using AoS' network of global port chaplains, our cruise chaplains also provide a link to our port chaplains who can then assist should the need arise.

Cruise lines are realising that having a chaplain on board a ship can be of great benefit to both crew and passengers. Cruise chaplaincy is part of AoS’s broader work of supporting seafarers working on merchant and fishing vessels and also their families back home.

Our Cruise Chaplaincy News page gives examples of why our ministry with crew is so vital.

Who we work with

  • Carnival Cruises: P&O and Cunard

For enquiries please contact salvina@apostleshipofthesea.org.uk

To read our latest Cruise Chaplaincy Review then click here to download the pdf document.

Celebrating Mass on board the Britannia