Jump to content

Religious services on TAs and TPs?


Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

We've been on many transatlantic and one transpacific cruise over the years and enjoyed the various nondenomination services and groups the cruise lines allowed to have room. Some were packed with standing room only, while others had perhaps twelve people who came only on sea days.

 

We asked on our last two Celebrity cruises, and they didn't allow any religious gatherings, nor would they post any information about religious gatherings. However, they allowed a Muslim prayer gathering in a meeting room last May on the Constellation and had two Shabat services for Jewish people on this past sailing on the Apex. They provided challah bread, prayer books, glasses, and wine! It was self-led. 


I wrote a comment about this to the staff and was contacted several times by phone with a response. No acceptable answer just a response.

 

After several others also inquired, the Apex relented and posted that there would be a mass at 8:00 in the Club on Sunday morning, our last Sunday onboard. Although not Catholic, I dropped in, only to discover a very nice man inviting me to stay for the non-denominational gathering. It wasn't a Catholic mass at all because there was no priest. The man said the staff was confused and put in the wrong information. So, any Catholic would have been disappointed, and most interested Protestants wouldn't have attempted to go. 

 

The staff phoned me several times- the first at MIDNIGHT to let me know a Catholic mass was happening the next day. They kept calling, thinking I would be so very happy about this. After several more calls from them, I thanked them and told them to NOT call me again with apologies.

 

This has been our experience lately on longer sailings. Are other cruise lines equally resistant?  We had an RCL entertainer join us for one sailing about eight years ago and he preached the Sunday service. James was amazing!

 

I am aware that HAL often provides a priest for Roman Catholics, especially for Alaska cruises.  Any good, recent experiences?

Edited by Markanddonna
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Holland America always has a Catholic priest on board.  In my experience, most of the priests offer daily Mass in addition to weekend Mass.  We recently completed a 73 day cruise and Mass was offered every day.  That's one of the reasons that HAL is our preferred line.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure what exactly it is that you want? Do you expect every ship on every cruiseline to have a full time Protestant minister, Catholic Priest, Rabbi, Imam (not to mention Buddhist or Shinto, or Orthodox priests) on board to provide for every type of service? Or only some of the above? If so, which ones, and why only those?

 

If you are Catholic, you know that only a priest can say Mass. But anyone can have a prayer service. You may not be aware of this, but there is actually a shortage of priests and deacons in North America. I'm not sure too many diosces would be willing to hire their priests out to a cruise line while their churches go without. However, I know from speaking with our parish priest that many who take a vacation cruise will volunteer to say a Mass. But how HAL can guarantee a priest for every sailing, I don't know. I've never heard of that on any other line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, mom says said:

Not sure what exactly it is that you want? Do you expect every ship on every cruiseline to have a full time Protestant minister, Catholic Priest, Rabbi, Imam (not to mention Buddhist or Shinto, or Orthodox priests) on board to provide for every type of service? Or only some of the above? If so, which ones, and why only those?

 

If you are Catholic, you know that only a priest can say Mass. But anyone can have a prayer service. You may not be aware of this, but there is actually a shortage of priests and deacons in North America. I'm not sure too many diosces would be willing to hire their priests out to a cruise line while their churches go without. However, I know from speaking with our parish priest that many who take a vacation cruise will volunteer to say a Mass. But how HAL can guarantee a priest for every sailing, I don't know. I've never heard of that on any other line.

What was requested was simply the use of a room based on the ship's availability. No priest, no food or supplies. Just a room.

 

Non-denominational services used to be a common offering and often came together when a person, usually a layman, requested it. Sometimes they were posted in a daily or app, sometimes not. I understand why a cruise line would not want to pay for a priest to perform Roman Catholic mass on a cruise. A non-denominational service costs the ship nothing. I am not a Catholic, but am well aware of the shortage of priests in the USA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Markanddonna said:

We've been on many transatlantic and one transpacific cruise over the years and enjoyed the various nondenomination services and groups the cruise lines allowed to have room. Some were packed with standing room only, while others had perhaps twelve people who came only on sea days.

 

We asked on our last two Celebrity cruises, and they didn't allow any religious gatherings, nor would they post any information about religious gatherings. However, they allowed a Muslim prayer gathering in a meeting room last May on the Constellation and had two Shabat services for Jewish people on this past sailing on the Apex. They provided challah bread, prayer books, glasses, and wine! It was self-led. 


I wrote a comment about this to the staff and was contacted several times by phone with a response. No acceptable answer just a response.

 

After several others also inquired, the Apex relented and posted that there would be a mass at 8:00 in the Club on Sunday morning, our last Sunday onboard. Although not Catholic, I dropped in, only to discover a very nice man inviting me to stay for the non-denominational gathering. It wasn't a Catholic mass at all because there was no priest. The man said the staff was confused and put in the wrong information. So, any Catholic would have been disappointed, and most interested Protestants wouldn't have attempted to go. 

 

The staff phoned me several times- the first at MIDNIGHT to let me know a Catholic mass was happening the next day. They kept calling, thinking I would be so very happy about this. After several more calls from them, I thanked them and told them to NOT call me again with apologies.

 

This has been our experience lately on longer sailings. Are other cruise lines equally resistant?  We had an RCL entertainer join us for one sailing about eight years ago and he preached the Sunday service. James was amazing!

 

I am aware that HAL often provides a priest for Roman Catholics, especially for Alaska cruises.  Any good, recent experiences?

In my experience HAL and Cunard both have Catholic priests on board on all sailings.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

In my experience HAL and Cunard both have Catholic priests on board on all sailings.  

 

Is the priest being given free passage or paid by the cruise line so that they can perform masses on board.  If so I would find this totally unacceptable since this would mean that my cruise fare is being used to provide a religious service that I do not believe in.  This ignores the many people on board who do not believe in catholicism and whose faiths have been treated very badly in the past by the catholic church.  Except for allowing space on board for layperson passengers the cruise lines have no business supporting any religion including mine.

 

DON

Edited by donaldsc
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our Indian crew used to come to the bridge at prayer time to get the bearing of Mecca relative to the ships heading. They used to face Mecca when they prayed on deck ... no private rooms required.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

Is the priest being given free passage or paid by the cruise line so that they can perform masses on board.  If so I would find this totally unacceptable since this would mean that my cruise fare is being used to provide a religious service that I do not believe in.  This ignores the many people on board who do not believe in catholicism and whose faiths have been treated very badly in the past by the catholic church.  Except for allowing space on board for layperson passengers the cruise lines have no business supporting any religion including mine.

 

DON

Once again, I am not Catholic. Celebrity SAID there was going to be a Catholic mass but got it all wrong. There was no priest. I have been on a number of past sailings with other cruise lines and they gave the priest a free cabin. I believe there is a Catholic organization based in Seattle who organizes priests for cruises. If I were Catholic, I would be very unhappy with this, considering the short of priests, but most are retired who do the cruises. All we requested was a room. My husband and I have led Sunday services twice onboard. Once, we were given the theater and another was a meeting room.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Markanddonna said:

Once again, I am not Catholic. Celebrity SAID there was going to be a Catholic mass but got it all wrong. There was no priest. I have been on a number of past sailings with other cruise lines and they gave the priest a free cabin. I believe there is a Catholic organization based in Seattle who organizes priests for cruises. If I were Catholic, I would be very unhappy with this, considering the short of priests, but most are retired who do the cruises. All we requested was a room. My husband and I have led Sunday services twice onboard. Once, we were given the theater and another was a meeting room.

 

 

 

Do they offer free cabins to officiants of every religion that request them.  Again - I have absolutely no problem with providing space in the theater or in a meeting room to a member of the crew or to a passenger to do a service but I have a very big problem to providing a free cabin to an officiant.  I do wonder if an officiant from a small religion or an unpopular one would be accorded the same privileges accorded to a large religion such as catholics or a large protestant sect.  

 

I really think that cruise lines should just stay out of the religion business and stick to the cruising business.  It would make it much easier for them.

 

DON

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the website that provides Catholic priests. It is the Apostles at Sea Program.

 

I find it interesting that the ships often assume that Protestants would be okay with a priest conducting their service. On one cruise, a member of the entertainment staff gave the message during a joint service onboard. He was phenomenal and quite dynamic. I felt sorry for the priest who had to co-officiate with them.

 

Summary: A Sunday mass would require a priest to officiate, and there is some cost involved for the cruise line. Protestant services cost nothing except the use of a room.

 

 https://www.aos-usa.org/store/pg/40-About-the-Cruise-Ship-Priest-Program-clone.aspx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

We've never cruised with HAL so have never attend a religious service on their ships, but we have attended Christian worship service on Princess and Celebrity.  The service on Princess was several years ago, so probably not relevant except for the fact that its arrangement was exactly the same as our more recent experience on Celebrity this past November.  In both cases,  a pastor on board as a guest arranged for the use of a meeting room for Sunday service. Also, in both cases,  we learned of it by word of mouth because it wasn't in the daily planner or on the app.  On our most recent cruise, with Celebrity, the service was posted on the LED events display next to the Guest Services desk.  

 

I'm surprised and sorry to hear that your experience with Celebrity was that of resistance. A meeting room for regular Sunday service was arranged for both Sundays we were onboard.  Not only did we have the use of a meeting room and a listing on the LED events board, but when my husband approached the pastor about providing audio-visual assistance for the following Sunday, Celebrity gave us permission to use the equipment (screen, projector) in the room.  Also, since no one had booked the adjoining room, and it was apparent that the second service was going to draw a bigger crowd, they opened up the partition for us and set up more chairs.  Further more, the Jewish people on board also had services with a Kiddush. At least on this ship and on this sailing, Celebrity was hospitable and accommodating. 

Edited by Silent Penguin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/25/2024 at 10:02 AM, Markanddonna said:

Once again, I am not Catholic. Celebrity SAID there was going to be a Catholic mass but got it all wrong. There was no priest. I have been on a number of past sailings with other cruise lines and they gave the priest a free cabin. I believe there is a Catholic organization based in Seattle who organizes priests for cruises. If I were Catholic, I would be very unhappy with this, considering the short of priests, but most are retired who do the cruises. All we requested was a room. My husband and I have led Sunday services twice onboard. Once, we were given the theater and another was a meeting room.

 

 

So even though you are not catholic, you are upset Celebrity made a mistake and said there was a catholic service ?

I wouldn’t let it bother you so much and just enjoy your cruise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/24/2024 at 9:53 PM, navybankerteacher said:

In my experience HAL and Cunard both have Catholic priests on board on all sailings.  

Not any longer. This past week HAL changed their practice, now limiting the catholic priests to grand/legendary and long voyages.  Specifically not in Alaska, Caribbean, and several other regions. I've never understood why they provided priests in the past yet ignored all the other religions, and since I gave up the whole catholic thing as a teenager I never attended. I did however think it was unfair to the jews, protestants, muslim, hindu, southern baptist, etc. No religion should take preference over another, and since clearly you can't have them all catered to the best approach is to let the faithful practice their religion privately vs as a ship-sponsored activity. I know many disagree.

 

Sue/WDW1972

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I overheard a conversation last year on my TA. A preacher wanted to hold services, the NCL staff offered him a space. Well he insisted it be announced and posted around the ship, they said the could not. The couple tried putting up a fuss but they did not succeed. Honestly from what I heard and saw from them it would not have been a service welcoming to everyone. NCL threaded the needle well on that one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, SoloAlaska said:

I overheard a conversation last year on my TA. A preacher wanted to hold services, the NCL staff offered him a space. Well he insisted it be announced and posted around the ship, they said the could not. The couple tried putting up a fuss but they did not succeed. Honestly from what I heard and saw from them it would not have been a service welcoming to everyone. NCL threaded the needle well on that one.

I cannot understand why the ship wouldn't post a notice in the daily. Once again, the Jewish self-led Shabbat services are posted. I understand the frustration of some clergyperson who offers. They are giving up their vacation time and the room will be empty because on one knows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

A retired priest friend went on HAL several times as a chaplain.  He was never paid anything; the only thing he received was a free inside room for daily Mass and two on Sunday.  He was expected to care for everyone which a few months ago on Rotterdam crossing to Rotterdam had an attendance of around 250 on weekends and 50 on weekdays.  An ordained priest is required for Mass. I asked a staff member and they said the interdenominational service led I think by the entertainment director/cruise director and announced in the ship’s bulletin at least one Sunday got about 50-75 people.  Generally Catholics regard these as Protestant services requiring no special ordained leader.   Jewish service are never omitted although they can be led by anyone as I understand it. You probably know Ronan Catholics are by far the largest Christian community; I believe second is non practicing Catholic.  I had a feeling that the days were numbered due to protests from other small denominations 

 

Another major cruise line is going to begin priest led Masses.  I don’t think I should mention it in case a rumor.  Mike

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should have stated that since the topic is longer cruises apparently HAL has committed to try to have a priest on these   It is the short cruises that are affected.   Mike

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, bobby3334 said:

 I asked a staff member and they said the interdenominational service led I think by the entertainment director/cruise director and announced in the ship’s bulletin at least one Sunday got about 50-75 people.  Generally Catholics regard these as Protestant services requiring no special ordained leader.  

I have never seen a service led by the cruise director. I doubt I would attend that unless I knew his/her background. Protestant services don't require anything from the cruise line. One ship required that the Protestant leader be ordained clergy which only the mainline denominations consider as important.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Markanddonna said:

I have never seen a service led by the cruise director. I doubt I would attend that unless I knew his/her background. Protestant services don't require anything from the cruise line. One ship required that the Protestant leader be ordained clergy which only the mainline denominations consider as important.

I am only going by what a staff member told me.  I did attend a couple several years ago on another line when there was no Mass and it was led by the cruise director with about 50 attendees.  The most important requirement for anything on a ship is the room.  I believe the Catholic Mass on sea days was at 8am and on port days was 5pm after departure. Most were eating or preparing to eat.  I was thinking of non Christians asking for space with growing number of Moslems etc requesting space and publicity.  I assume HAL ships must already have minimal requirements for Mass: altar breads and book and vestments.  We know they have wine!  I believe it took one staff member to put up and take down the table and chairs     We know Catholics and mainline Christians are declining in US and Europe 

Edited by bobby3334
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • Special Event: Q&A with Laura Hodges Bethge, President Celebrity Cruises
      • Hurricane Zone 2024
      • Cruise Insurance Q&A w/ Steve Dasseos of Tripinsurancestore.com Summer 2024
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...