Will there be a Catholic priest on my cruise?
If being able to attend Mass while on your cruise is important to you, then naturally you will want to know that the priest on your ship is a Catholic priest in good standing.
In the past there was a company called….believe it or not…..”Rent A Priest” and, in many cases, these were not priests in good standing for various reasons. Fortunately they are no longer in business, but others may be.
There are only two sources providing Catholic priests to cruise lines that we consider 100% reliable.
1. Apostleship of the Sea (AOS), which is an Apostolate of the Catholic Church
2. A private company, Compass Speakers and Entertainment Inc. provides priests for several cruise lines listed below and has a very thorough screening process.
A Catholic Priest on every cruise:
> Crystal Cruises all sailings, space available* (placed by Compass)
> Holland America Cruise Lines: all sailings (placed by AOS-USA)
*Crystal gives 30 day notice in case they will not have a priest on board, but according to Compass, this rarely happens.
A Catholic priest on certain cruises:
> Azamara Cruises: Christmas, Easter (placed by Compass).
> Celebrity Cruises: Christmas, Ash Wed., Lent & all Holy Land (placed by Compass). Note: Celebrity also offers same-sex weddings, so that is certainly a conflict with Church teaching.
> Cunard: QM2 every sailing; QE & QV only Easter, Christmas (placed by Compass).
> Norwegian Cruise Line: Christmas & Easter (placed by AOS-USA).
> P&O Cruises: Christmas & Easter (placed by AOS Great Britain).
> Royal Caribbean: Christmas, Easter and re-positioning cruises, (placed by AOS-USA).
> Seabourn: Christmas, Easter and world cruises (placed by AOS-USA).
> Silversea: Christmas & Easter (placed by Compass).
Click here to learn more about Apostleship of the Sea
You can also check out or give us your cruise reviews on our forum. And, if you are going on a cruise that has a priest, be sure to let the cruise line know that you appreciate it. If all Catholic cruisers did this, then we could have more opportunities to attend Mass while on vacation.
And, perhaps more importantly, you are helping the many Catholic crew members, who are often gone for months at a time without the opportunity to attend Mass. This is a real blessing for them, and by considering this one of the factors when booking, you are helping in the New Evangelization..
And, if your cruise line does not offer a priest on board, contact them and let them know that this will enter into your decision in the future. They are in business to make a profit, they may not put a priest on board because it is the right thing to do, but they may do so if they think it will bring in more business. With some effort on our part we can help to motivate the cruise lines to include priests on their cruises. An example would be Princess Cruises, who no longer place a Catholic priest on their cruises, even at Christmas and Easter. Perhaps they may re-consider in the future if enough people request it.
Photos courtesy of Apostleship of the Sea.