Seafarers Steering The Future Of The Cruise Industry


  • Marco Fantasia, VP Safety and Compliance at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), acknowledges the deep-rooted traditions within the cruise industry.
  • However, he notes a subtle yet impactful shift driven by a new generation of digitally-minded seafarers.
  • Young crew members bring fresh perspectives, questioning traditional practices and advocating for digital solutions.

The cruise sector responds to evolving expectations by fostering innovation. The influx of digitally-inclined seafarers, shaped by experiences like distance learning during the COVID era, prompts a transformation in training methodologies. Fantasia underscores the importance of aligning training approaches with the preferences of younger crew members, leveraging social media-inspired methods to impart safety culture.

Balancing Expectations and Realities

While the allure of global travel attracts young talent to cruise ship careers, Fantasia emphasizes the need to manage expectations. The industry maintains high standards and rigorous regulations, challenging crew members to uphold stringent requirements. Despite offering unique opportunities, life at sea entails responsibilities and demands that may surprise younger recruits.

Investment in Training and Development

NCLH prioritizes comprehensive training programs to equip seafarers with necessary skills. Collaborating with DNV, the company enhances its training systems to cater to diverse learning styles and preferences. Practical, hands-on learning remains indispensable, complementing online courses and remote classes.

Leadership and Cultural Dynamics

Enhanced leadership skills become essential as crew dynamics evolve. Fantasia underscores the importance of effective communication and cultural sensitivity, particularly in a multi-national environment. Collaborating with different nationalities necessitates adaptability and understanding, reflecting the changing landscape of maritime leadership.

Sustainability and Proactive Engagement

Addressing sustainability concerns, particularly among younger crew members, emerges as a priority. Fantasia highlights proactive initiatives and engagement from seafarers in embracing sustainability measures. NCLH emphasizes environmental stewardship through dedicated training programs and onboard practices, aligning with evolving societal expectations.

Cultivating a Supportive Environment

Beyond formal training, NCLH fosters a supportive culture through mentorship and camaraderie. The “shadowing” concept enables knowledge transfer between experienced and novice crew members, ensuring continuity and skill development. Additionally, leisure activities and social events enrich crew experiences, fostering a cohesive onboard community.

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Source: DNV