Cruise Ship Bridge Tour

On my recent ship visit to Sapphire Princess, I was treated to a cruise ship bridge tour.  This is where the Captain and Officers spend most of their time whilst on duty and particularly when a cruise ship is getting ready to dock in a port.  

I visited the Bridge of a cruise ship when I was a child on my first cruise on Canberra. 28 years later I finally made it back to fully appreciate the tour. 

Cruise ship bridge tour
Aged six on the Bridge of Canberra

How to get on a Cruise Ship Bridge Tour

This area is generally off limits to cruisers but you can have a sneak peak of the Bridge if you book a Princess Cruises Ultimate Ship Tour.  The ship tour is not advertised in the daily Princess Patter newsletter and is only available to book at Guest Services.  For the best chance of securing a place on this tour, I’d recommend going to Guest Services when you first embark the ship.  The tour is $150 per person and also includes behind-the-scenes access to the Theatre, Laundry and Galley. You can take a look at my galley tour on Regal Princess.

view from the bridge
The view from the Bridge, from here you can see the crew-only area that has a pool and hot tubs
cruise ship bridge
At the front of the Bridge are huge windows

Interestingly, the Captain and Officers seemed to enjoy a spot of gardening as in front of the windows were a small selection of plants, including a tomato plant! This was something I was not expecting to find on the ship’s Bridge.

cruise ship bridge garden
The Bridge is a perfect spot for gardening it turns out

Cruise ship Bridge features

I was surprised about the amount of space on the Bridge either side of the main controls situated in the middle of the room.  For security reasons, I wasn’t able to take any photos of the controls.

cruise ship bridge tour
Officers at work on the Bridge
Officers at work on the Bridge
Sapphire Princess bridge
The Captain’s chair (left)

I couldn’t resist sitting in the captain’s chair for a few moments, just to see what it must be like!  I still cannot believe how small the controls are for such a big cruise ship. The Captain has a huge responsibility to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.

cruise ship bridge tour Captain's chair

Behind the control section I was drawn to a wall of pigeon holes that held numerous flags.  These flags are held on the Bridge so that they can be flown when the ship docks in different countries.  I’d never really thought about it before my visit, but a cruise ship needs a lot of flags.

Flags for all the destinations

Cruise ship bell

Next to the flags was a bell, which was originally used to mark the time that Officers were on watch.  All cruise ships have a bell like this with the name of the ship and year it entered service.

Sapphire Princess Bell
Sapphire Princess Bell


I was so thrilled to be able to visit the Bridge during my ship tour of Sapphire Princess.  It was very interesting and I would certainly recommend a tour if you ever get the opportunity.  As previously mentioned, you can visit the Bridge on an Ultimate Ship Tour. This can be booked at Guest Services on embarkation but you can actually do a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship’s galley and theatre for free.  These tours usually take place on a sea day and will be advertised in the daily Princess Patter.  I visited the galley on Regal Princess and the theatre on Sapphire and Royal.  These are very interesting tours, especially when you realise how much work and dedication goes into ensuring your cruise goes so smoothly!

Happy cruising!

What happens on the Bridge?  I took a cruise ship bridge tour on Sapphire Princess, which is included in the Princess Cruises Ultimate Ship Tour.
The Bridge is the control centre of a cruise ship. Find out what happens on the Bridge and how to get a tour during your cruise with Princess Cruises.
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Laura is a UK cruise blogger based in Cornwall, UK. She founded Cruise Lifestyle in 2016 to share useful advice about cruising, destinations and food.
Last port visited: Bridgetown, Barbados
Next port of call: unknown, but she can’t wait for cruising to resume safely!

Find me on: Twitter



  1. Rachelle Gordon
    November 29, 2018 / 5:10 pm

    What a neat experience! I had no idea that the Bridge was so roomy. I always pictured cramped quarters, but somehow seeing these pictures makes way more sense. I guess we never really have to think about the various flags, so that’s pretty cool to see the cubby holes!

  2. Ashley Thacker
    November 30, 2018 / 1:06 am

    Man, this is expensive for a tour! I did like the flags, and the bell! How cool you got to see a place where the magic happens! I have never been on a cruise, so I am unfamiliar with how the bridge works, it seems like a good thing to do if you are interested in how the ship is run!

  3. Amar Singh
    November 30, 2018 / 10:56 am

    Wow what an experience and one I would love to taste on a large Cruise ship on the captains deck. The huge glass windows giving the captain that view is amazing. Interesting to see the pigeon hole with the numerous flags from all the different places. Seems you had a great time specially sitting on the captains chair. I iICaptain.

    • cruiselifestyle
      November 30, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      Yes couldn’t resist sitting in his chair whilst he wasn’t around! Will be a memory I remember for ever!

  4. Soumya Gayatri
    December 1, 2018 / 2:41 am

    Wow! Seems like you had a great experience too. I would love to visit this place with my kid. I especially like the wall of flags. How wonderful having the whole world on one single wall and then being able to find where each country was when the need arose. I admire the job that the Captain and the officers do. Remarkable!

  5. December 1, 2018 / 3:26 am

    How fascinating to see the Bridge. I always wondered what it would have been like and now with this virtual tour, am raring to see it for myself. The whole cubby setting with all the flags is so cool. Wondering if India;s flag is there 😀

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 1, 2018 / 8:22 am

      India’s flag will definitely be there as the ship cruises the Mediterranean in the summer and Far East in the winter so repositions twice a year.

  6. December 2, 2018 / 12:04 am

    Wow! This is indeed an awesome experience. First of all, hats off to your parents to getting their 6 yr old in the Bridge! Indeed they’ve fed you with the taste of travel! I hope I’d be able to give my little gal to such experiences!

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 2, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      I have my parents to thank for teaching me the value of visiting other countries. They saved every year to take me away on holiday and as an adult it’s still something very important in my life.

  7. December 2, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    I’m always so interested in learning how things work, so this sounds like the ideal tour for me! It brings me such joy knowing that you were able to relive this experience as an adult that you had as a child, that’s very rare and special. Great details about the Bridge, I hope to experience this one day myself!

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 2, 2018 / 8:25 pm

      Yes I was so lucky to visit the Bridge again as an adult to really take everything in. I really hope I come across the old photos some day!

  8. December 3, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    I am reminded of my stint in the Naval wing of National Cadet Corps of India. It indeed is an honour to be sitting in the captain’s deck on the bridge. Lucky that you managed to visit the area. That tomato sapling looks cute and so quirky from the overall decor of the ship!

  9. December 3, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I have always wanted to check out the bridge but I thought it was off limits. I will definitely check with Guest Services during our next trip. It would be a unique and fun experience to be able to do this.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 3, 2018 / 7:53 pm

      Yes definitely worth asking at Guest Services!

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