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Worship Services Aboard Ship

Discussion in 'Know Before You Go' started by randy, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. randy

    randy Well-Known Member

    Hello, all-
    We're long-time Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruisers and noted something that may be just a perception, or perhaps a trend. I'd appreciate learning of your experiences.

    Celebrity has a priest on every sailing to conduct Masses. Royal Caribbean, on the two Easter cruises we've taken (most recent one just ended) likewise has a priest to conduct daily and Easter Mass. Jewish passengers are afforded a venue in which to conduct Sabbath services. However, everyone else is lumped into the "nondenominational" category, and I have experienced (with one exception, noted below) no services of any kind--even on Easter, the highlight of the Christian calendar. On our most recent Easter cruise, there was a note in the daily Cruise Compass that read, "Nondenominational Easter Service on channel 27 from 8:30-11:00." It turned out to be an endless loop of a 30-minute Joel Osteen presentation mostly hyping his new book, and in no way talking about Easter.

    The one exception to the lack of worship services for the non-Catholic, non-Jewish cruisers was a service conducted by John and Katrina Blair (cruise director and activity director, respectively) on the Enchantment some years ago. Has anyone else either experienced an opportunity afloat to worship, or noticed what seems to be some institutional apathy towards the majority of Christian believers?
    I'd be curious what your experiences are.
     
  2. MisterD21

    MisterD21 If you take me serious, it's your problem

    i think for cruiselines to offer a venue for those who worship is enough. i mean even god rested on the seventh day.... being that he is a forgiving god i am certain he will accept your offering of a simple prayer for a week or two while you are on vacation.... i realize that the fellowship is not for god, but rather an opportunity for believers to reaffirm their faith through fellowship. I also realize the lack of space on cruise ships to accommodate more than a small chapel. then there is also the cost involved in hiring a priest, rabbi,pastor,imam,monks,etc.... because as a brand you do not want to show favoritism to one religion over another.... especially when you are a global brand where there are many different faiths.

    personally, i gave up structured religion years ago. i see religion for what it is and have no use for it. this is not to say i do not believe in "god" or a higher consciousness, it just means that for me i do not feel a need to sit for several hours listening to some windbag drone on about how i need to be a better believer, how i can be a better believer, and how that by giving my money to them makes me a better believer. thank you but no thank you. i grew up in the church from infancy to young adulthood. what i learned from that experience was hypocrisy within the church as well as within the followers. i found over the years that it just wasn't for me.

    don't get me wrong, if you DO believe in religion great, good for you. i can understand where you are coming from, especially in a time when christianity is being persecuted. Unfortunately i can also see where a cruise line would take a neutral stance on religion. placing costs aside for a moment, it just isn't possible to set aside space for each of the multitude of religions. Hey... but for what it's worth, most chapels i've visited on cruise ships usually display the cross in some form or another, and that is definitely a christian symbol.. i have yet to see a torah, minorah, quoran, etc... or other decoration of other religions in the chapels. so that's a wink in favor of christianity i suppose... i mean imagine being islamic and having to pray in an obviously christian decorated chapel......
     
  3. BruinSteve

    BruinSteve Well-Known Member

    IIRC, Royal Caribbean/Celebrity actually discontinued their official sponsorship of onboard clergy a couple of years back...except for on major holidays...
    They left it up to the Catholic Church, for example, to pay their own way onboard if they so desired...

    It's fairly clear that religious services onboard ships are fairly poorly attended...

    But ANY group can request space and hold a meeting...including any religious denomination...

    The reason you see protestant services, if any, lumped together is simple...Just far too many different denominations. Picture setting up different services for Lutherans, Presbyterians, Epicopalians, Unitarians, Methodists, Baptists, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Calvinists, Pentacostals, Calvary, LDS...and on and on and on...You'd maybe have zero to one person attend each service...

    Occasionally, a clergyman just happens to be onboard and will lead a service...but, chances are, for most groups, it's self-led...Someone among the passengers would have to step up and organize...

    I have a friend who is a Rabbi who cruises often and he once told me how, on one cruise, a group of protestants onboard--with no protestant clergyman on the ship--asked him if he would speak to the group on Sunday morning...and he obliged...gave a sermon on a relevant chapter of the Old Testament...and he said he never received so many compliments on a sermon before...

    But, seriously, for me...I really don't think you need to have ANY religious services onboard the ship...First, often the ship will find itself in a port on whichever Sabbath you observe and you are always free to find an appropriate house of worship in port and spend your port time there if that is important to you..
    Other than that, I truly believe that, if one believes in God, it is absolutely not necessary to have a set-aside time and place to pray...The entire cruise experience can be a far more powerful religious or spiritual experience...Just go out to your balcony or up to the uppermost deck and stand by the rail and look out over the vastness and beauty of the ocean...and commune directly with your God...Do it whenever you'd like and take as much time or as little time as you want...
     

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