BSc (Hons) Cruise Management - Course overview
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Cruise ship at sunset c/o


If you want more out of life than a nine-to-five office job, then take a closer look at our degree. Created in collaboration with the industry's finest cruise companies, our course will help to cultivate your professional hospitality management skills, either in cruise operations. You will emerge confident and eager for the responsibility of managing these sophisticated floating resorts.


A vocational qualification with both choice and flexibility within a growing industry. Plymouth University is a leading provider of education for this sector. The Hospitality and Tourism provision received 23 out of 24 in the recent subject review. This course is supported by P&O Cruises and Carnival UK. There are only 30 places available for this degree course and all applicants will be interviewed.
Emma Thicks Cruise Management student


“Since staring my course at Plymouth University I have been encouraged by all of my tutors to strive to do my very best so I can pursue a successful career within this industry. I am now looking forward to a prosperous career within the industry, and I hope to return to cruise ships as an assistant manager after I graduate."
Third year student Emma Thicks was recently selected for the Young Guns competition after impressing course leaders and representatives at P&O Cruises, with whom she undertook a successful work placement.
Young Guns recognises students who have excelled in their placement year, and gives them a platform to share ideas with people of all levels via a forum which meets through the year. The idea is to come together to discuss and debate issues in the field and offer the opportunity to network with other people in the business.
During her placement Emma travelled around the Mediterranean, Norway and the Caribbean. While on the ‘floating hotel’ she covered everything from reception to laundry and the galley to the bar. Her manager and course leaders were so impressed with how she embraced her internship they nominated her for the Young Guns competition.
Emma Thicks, Cruise Management recent graduate
Four generations of Cruise Management graduates at P&O


Students have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the UK or abroad as part of a year-long placement programme, and there is an exchange scheme with the University of Applied Science in Bremerhaven, Germany. Students also have the opportunity to learn another language during their studies.
The P&O Cruises ship, Ventura, is currently home to four generations of Plymouth Business School students who are studying on the BSc (Hons) Cruise Management course.
Six students, past and present, have taken up placement roles on one of the largest cruise ships in the P&O Cruises fleet (pictured above). Craig Hubbard, Matthew Kemp, Paul Clifton, Emma Thicks, Jennifer Swift, Victoria Morgan all joined the ship at different stages and are undertaking such roles as Assistant Food and Beverage Manger, Hotel Cadet, Supernumerary Assistant Manager, Assistant Front of House Manager.
Paul Clifton, who will graduate in 2012 and is completing his final two months on board as a Hotel Cadet, said: “"I am so pleased I chose to take my placement year with P&O Cruises  - as well as learning so many new skills, I have met some amazing people, visited some fantastic places and through all the experience gained, have developed the skills to be confident in what I want to do for my future career.”


As part of this programme students are encouraged to create their own websites about the course and what it entails. Here are some examples of this:

Gemma Waterfield's website

Richard Jenkins' website

Victoria Fletcher's website

Prof. Philip Gibson


Professor Philip Gibson has extensive service industry management experience in hotels, in-flight catering, cruise ships, ferry travel and licensed retail and has considerable lecturing experience in a range of subjects. His research interests include the cruise industry and strategic management in relation to hospitality, pricing and the Internet. Philip says the course is "unique, exciting and rewarding. The ONLY one in the country where young graduates can expect responsible jobs on board today's largest cruise ships. 


The optional third year is normally spent in paid employment with a cruise or hospitality organisation. Many students follow a specialist training programme agreed with the employer or join a cruise company for a specific job opportunityand are supervised by a member of the academic staff throughout the year. We have close links with international cruise companies which means succesful students will benefit from industry expertise.


Top cruise companies eagerly seek out our sociable, forward-thinking and competent graduate managers to help further their businesses. Our students can look forward to choosing from an interesting array of management and operational job opportunities aboard the world's most exciting cruise ships.


The Guardian University Guide 2009 ranks Plymouth University in fourth place for tourism courses in the UK.
Former student working on P&O cruise liner


GCSE: Maths and English Language grade C plus A level/AS level: 240 points (including a minimum of 140 points from two A levels or a double award). 14-19 Diplomas: accepted – please enquire. Other combinations and non-A level qualifications considered. Only 30 places are available and applicants will be interviewed.If you do not have English as a first language you will be required to achieve an IELTS score of 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in listening, reading, speaking and writing).
For further information visit the course entry requirements page 
Students on a visit to a cruise liner
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Cruise passengers