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:
⇒ Holland America Cruise Lines: all sailings (placed by AOS-USA)
⇒ Crystal Cruises..currently not operating…new cruises are scheduled to begin in 2023.
A Catholic priest on certain cruises:
⇒ Azamara Cruises: Christmas, Easter (placed by Compass).
⇒ Celebrity Cruises: Christmas & all Holy Land (placed by Compass).
⇒ 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).
As of April 2022 Royal Caribbean has stated that it is their intention to have priests on the Christmas, Easter & the crossings, it is not a guarantee. There have been many challenges filling all the ships’ needs due to travel restrictions put on many priests by their parishes.
⇒ 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
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 will be doing something wonderful for them.
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.
And, of course, there is always the option of getting a few members of your parish or prayer group together and pay for a cruise for your priest. He will get a needed break and you will get daily Mass……and the crew will as well.
Note: many of these cruise lines offer same-sex weddings on board, which is certainly a conflict with Church teaching.
Photos courtesy of Apostleship of the Sea.
Planning to buy travel insurance for you cruise? Read this:
We suggest you buy travel insurance directly from the insurance company. Most policies offered through the cruise line tend to be more expensive and offer less coverage than travel insurance you buy directly from a travel insurance provider. You can compare policies here to get the best deal.
23 thoughts on “Will There Be a Catholic Priest on My Cruise?”
We only cruise on Holland America because they always have daily Mass (unless the priest has a travel problem and misses the boat). We are at an age now that we want to cruise on smaller, more luxurious ships and I am trying to find one that has a Catholic priest on board as a matter of policy as does Holland America. Does anyone know of a smaller ship that always has a priest? Very willing to pay more to have daily Mass! That is the “activity” we want most. And will definitely not cruise without a priest.
Try Select International Tours and Cruises….always a priest and great spiritual leaders as well.
I have had great experiences on Holland America Cruises.The AOS Priest each time was wonderful(it didn’t hurt being a BC Nursing Alum! I always put on my surveys how much it means to have a Priest on Board.I also let the Customer Service desk know as well. A few of us even went with Father after Mass for coffee& it was a wonderful experience sharing with others who are Catholic.
Thanks for letting the cruise line know…..we need more like you!
After reading this I am not happy to hear Princess does not have a priest on board will be sailing with them Ruby Princess over Christmas. I thought all ships had a priest onboard. I have been spoiled by Holland America. This will be my last princess cruise!!!!’
Same here. I’m on the Ruby at Easter because those dates were the only ones my sister and cruise mate could get. So FAR from ideal to have zero access to Mass during Holy Week. I would never choose this except for live of my sister who has no other options.
This is also very important for my husband and me. We only cruise on HAL because of Sunday Mass being important to us,
Thank you so much for this information. I’ve just turned down a really wonderful deal with MSC simply because I won’t be able to go to Mass and services over Easter. It really helps to know that there are companies who take it seriously.
I am happy to know we could help…..please feel free to comment any time.
Do Viking Cruises have a catholic priest onboard?
I do not think they do, although perhaps on Christmas and Easter cruises. Have you checked with them?
I used to cruise with Costa for their Catholic Chapel, priest on all cruises, and great italian food. They no longer carry a priest onboard and I will no longer be sailing with them. So sad. However, my first cruise on Holland America will be in April 2019. I am assured there is a priest and daily Mass. this is a transatlantic cruise from FL to Rome…Lent and Holy Week….so happy to know my obligations and my devotions will be taken care of. Thank you HAL! God bless you, your crew and passengers.
Please let us know how things work out….would love to share this with our readers.
As we have pointed out, a re-positioning cruise is a great bargain.
Just completed. a 4 day cruise w/ Holland America in Alaska. Very appreciative there was a Catholic priest on board. Was able to attend Sunday mass, as well as weekday mass. Thank you for this opportunity to praise God for the blessing of our vacation and cruise!!
Thanks so much for letting everyone know…..Holland America does a great service by having a Catholic priest on all their cruises.
Hello I am going on royal Caribbeans ovation of the seas from Sydney to Singapore starting March 26 2018. Will there be Easter services. I am Catholic Thanks for your help.
Royal Caribbean promises to have a Catholic priest on all its’ Easter cruises. You might check with their customer service to be sure.
Will be on a Royal Caribbean cruise from Mar.18-25. March 25 is Palm Sunday. Where can I find out if there will be a Catholic Mass onboard on that day or on the 24th.
What city will you be sailing from and which ship? I doubt that there will be a priest on that cruise….they do promise to have one on Easter cruises. We will try to find out for you.
Thank you qm2 . We have on three transatlantic sailings all with.
Chuck and Anne melby
We are going on our first Holland America cruise because they offer mass every day. We will no longer be using Carnival or Princess simply because it is very important to us to attend mass every day. Thank you Holland America!
I love to cruise but I love the Mass even more and I don’t like missing Mass on Sundays. A eight day cruise should have a Mass ! I always go to Mass when I’m on vacation. This is my third cruise (3) years in a row but it’s my first 8 day 7 nights cruise ! I will not cruise on a ship if it doesn’t offer Mass. Some other cruises offer Mass that’s where I will be!
The other option to do is if you dock on Saturday or Sunday and a church is nearby the dock and the ship does not live till late you can go the church there attend the mass and then walk back to the ship-that is what we did once- I went to the church in Cabos Mexico-although it was supposed to be an english speaking mass when we went-they did a spanish one instead but still catholic church. It was also a nice church but a little different in Mexico than USA (the 50 state) – in mexico the presider which is the priest does not stay after mass to greet the parishoners unlike in the United States where priests stay after mass if possible to greet or say Hi to the parishoners and vistors of that church.