greetings, fr. daniel, from fr. doug. to my knowledge cruise lines don't hire chaplains directly; they are independently contracted through something called the apostolate of the seas. an arm of the nccb. i registered with them about ten months ago and $60 fee; i have yet to hear from them. supposedly, cruise lines contact them and they contact their list of registered priests to check who is available. used to be, for hal at least,, there was a priest in san francisco who did most of the bookings for hal; it was simple, he sent you a list of cruises, you selected the ones you wanted or could find time for, and voila,, you were on unless a group showed up with their own priest outside of six months from sailing; i did a chaplaincy on hal's ms amsterdam. things became more complicated, it seems, when some non-priests posed as priests in order to get free passage -- so the nccb cracked down, hence the red tape as our beloved mother church is so noted for. when i registered with the apostolate -- i believe you can access them on the internet directly or by going to the nccb web site -- i had to provide a letter from my archbiship stating i was/am a priest in good standing, pay the fee, and fill out a brief questionnare. where it went from there, i haven't the faintest idea. but suffice to say my understanding is that in most, maybe all, cases the lines 'contract' priests just like they contract entertainers, etc. -- through agencies, in our case the apostolate of the seas. please, brother, if you find out differently or have some information i probably don't have, please let me know. on these boards i am known as 'hombre' and i do have private message access. good luck and God bless.
ps: i carry the archbishop's letter in my passport folder, because even though i most often cruise as a non-chaplain, if there is no chaplain or one is needed i make myself available, and cruise lines will not let you practice your vocation without proof you are a priest. further evidence they have been 'burned.'
pps: i do presume you are a roman catholic priest; if not obviously the above information is not valid.
Blessing on you for making yourself available when there is not a chaplain on board.
One of my best cruise experiences was a HAL cruise for 14 days that encompassed the entire week of Hannuka. If I spelled thar wrong, please, no one get mad at me. A Jewish friend says that they can't even agree on proper spelling! And, I am not Jewish....plus I'm blonde, as in "dunb blonde".
Anyway, HAL had an Orthodox rabbi on board to do evening services and, while I did not attend the services, he also had discussion groups on the Lido in afternoons at sea. I met him and his wife on a tour, then went to one of the afternoon chats. A great learning experience. Toward the end of the cruise, he asked if I had enjoyed the talks, to please put it on my comment card, because apparently, they will bring specific religious leaders back based on popularity. I even wrote a letter to HAL. Popularity may not be a good basis for anything religious, but this man tried to answer every question that came up to the best of his ability. He told us that anyone of faith has questions and that, since we would probably never see each other again, why not ask the ones that we were not totally comfortable going to our religious leaders at home with. No canned responses from him and we got a great discussion going.
Okay, really rambling here, but you brought back some good memories.