Originally Posted by You
I will have finished my Chaplain training by the time I sail on may next cruise. Is there away to notify the ship that I would be honored to serve as a volunteer chaplain on my cruise if a need arose?
Unfortunately, most cruise lines are not very eager to have volunteer chaplains to lead services, etc., because they have had problems with major passenger dissatisfaction in the past. The typical scenario is that some hard-core fundamentalist or somebody from a pseudo-Christian cult volunteers and then unleashes a preach at what's supposed to be an interdenominational service that's totally out of the mainstream or even contrary to the understanding of the majority of those present. Though exact policies vary, most cruise lines will accept only chaplains who have formal endorsements or credentials issued by agencies of recognized denominations, and they typically insist upon training in a seminary rather than a "bible college" or other non-seminary program.
>> Most cruise lines have chaplains onboard only for major religious holy days, such as Chistmas and Easter for Christian denominations.
>> For many years, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Lines obtained Roman Catholic chaplains coordinated through the Stella Maris
maritime apostolate for all of their cruises, but the arrangement stipulated that the Catholic chaplains would lead an interdonominational Christian service on Sundays in addition to celebrating eucharist (mass/divine liturgy) according to the Roman Rite for Catholic and Orthodox Christians. These chaplains also would provide their services to both passengers and crew in case of major injury, major illness, or bereavement.
If you wish to do anything, you probably would need to arrange it through the leadership of your denomination.
There is, however, one other option. If you arrange some sort of group program ("retreat at sea" or, if there's a suitable itinerary, a pilgrimmage cruise) aboard the ship, you could notify the cruise line that you are willing to open your group's services to other passengers who wish to participate. In that case, the ship might put them into the daily programs distributed to all passengers.