Flirty Passengers and Beating Seasickness—The Life of a Cruise Ship Captain


It’s good to be the captain. (Photo: Celebrity Summit)

People often dream of leaving it all behind and finding a job in the travel industry. At Yahoo Travel we are profiling people who work in all fields of the travel industry — small jobs, big jobs, any jobs. This week we talked to Dimitrios Kafetzis, captain of the Celebrity Summit cruise ship.

Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis carries a picture of his stunning wife in the pocket of his morning uniform and will show it to almost anyone who asks, particularly female passengers who think he is handsome. He misses his wife and his two daughters every day, but his dream has always been to be at the helm of a big ship. Born and raised in the port city of Piraeus, Greece, Kafetzis always imagined that he would one day rule the seas as a captain. We sat down with Captain Kafetzis during dinner at the captain’s table (so fancy!) to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of his dream job.

Yahoo Travel: What is your daily schedule like?
Kafetzis:My daily schedule consists of arriving at or departing from the port, replying to emails, walk-arounds and inspections, meetings, teleconferences, and social responsibilities (captain’s dinners, weddings, meet-and-greets).

Yahoo Travel: How many weddings have you performed on board?
afetzis:50 weddings

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Yahoo Travel: You are away from your own family so often. Is it tough?
Kafetzis:It’s hard on a marriage. My wife lived with me until my daughter had to go to school. 

Yahoo Travel: Does every woman on the ship flirt with you?
Kafetzis: When I was single, I had a woman officer pretending to be with me because it is really uncomfortable when women flirt with you and they have a husband. I’m not the typical captain. I’m not a bon vivant or a womanizer. I want to be home. My wife says, “If I didn’t know your values, I would never trust you to be on the ship, because I see all these married women hit on you.”

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Yahoo Travel: Do you ever get seasick?
Kafetzis: I think I don’t.

Yahoo Travel: Do you worry about your passengers getting seasick?
Kafetzis: Yes! We want our guests to have a great time. After all, our cruise ship is a journey to a vacation experience.

Yahoo Travel: What are the captain’s quarters like?
Kafetzis: Really cool. We have one bedroom, two bathrooms, a big living room and an office. I always say there are two ways to see the captain’s quarters — you have to be one or marry one.

Yahoo Travel: What did you do before you became a captain?
Kafetzis: For almost 14 years I was trying to become one. I spent four years in college, two years serving in the Greek navy, three years of sea service. Then I went back to school for a semester for my chief officer’s diploma. Then I had another four years of sea service and went back to school for a semester for my captain’s diploma.

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Yahoo Travel:  What is the scariest thing that ever happened at sea?
Kafetzis: We ran out of coffee and I had to face some seriously coffee-thirsty guests.

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