Head of Vessel Operations (M/F/D)

COLUMBIA Cruise Services GmbH & Co. KG (CCS), affiliated to the COLUMBIA Group, is a Hamburg-based company founded in 2014. The Cypriot predecessor, the “COLUMBIA Cruise Group” looks back on a history of 30 years within the maritime leisure industry. Due to our continuous fleet expansion, we are looking for the right individual to strengthen and complement our Hamburg based Team.

The Head of Vessel Operations is responsible for overseeing the operations and management of a fleet of cruise ships. He ensures the smooth functioning of the ships, adherence to safety regulations, and efficient use of resources. This role involves working closely with various departments, including operations, technical, marine, commercial and crewing to ensure the fleet’s overall operational success. The Head of Operations will be the client`s point of contact for all operational matters.
Vessel Managers who are responsible for the technical and operational matters of their assigned vessels and have budget responsibilities for such assigned vessels will report to the Head of Vessel Operations.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Overall responsibility for the operational management of the managed fleet.
  • Manages the Operations Department, including Vessel Managers
  • Develops and implements operational strategies to ensure continuous operations of the fleet, resolving any operational issues with the Head of Technical and the Head of Marine and Port Operations and ensuring regulatory compliance.
  • Collaborates with the Head of Technical and Head of Marine and Port Operations to ensure effective coordination between technical and operational functions.
  • Monitors industry trends, market dynamics, and customer feedback to drive continuous improvement in operational performance.
  • Approve and manages fleet operational budgets, forecasts, and cost control measures in collaboration with vessel manager and Commercial Department
  • Implements and maintains operational policies, procedures, and standards as per company safety management system.
  • Staff Management and Training:
  • Recruit, train, and manage a diverse team of onshore personnel.
  • Monitor ship schedules, itineraries, and port activities to ensure efficient operations as applicable.
  • Monitor and manage fuel consumption to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Provide leadership, guidance, and support to the shipboard management teams.
  • Conduct performance evaluations, address concerns, and motivate the team
  • Develop and implement training programs to enhance employee skills and knowledge.
  • Prepare and manage budgets for fleet operations, maintenance, and crewing in collaboration with the Head of Departments.
  • Monitor operational and capital expenses, to ensure budget targets are met
  • Identify cost-saving opportunities and implement strategies to improve profitability.
  • Stay up to date with international maritime regulations and industry standards.
  • Ensure compliance with safety, security, and environmental regulations.
  • Implement corrective actions and continuously improve safety and compliance standards.
  • Emergency response team leader during emergency response cases and active part of the emergency response team
  • Qualifications and Requirements:
  • Bachelor’s degree in maritime studies, business administration, logistics, or a related field (preferred).
  • Experience out at sea to a level of Master Mariner or Chief Engineer
  • Proven experience in fleet management, preferably in the cruise ship industry.
  • In-depth knowledge of international maritime regulations and industry best practices.
  • Strong leadership and managerial skills with the ability to motivate and inspire teams.
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Proficient in data analysis and budgeting.
  • Familiarity with ship maintenance and technical operations is advantageous.
  • Willingness to travel and work in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.
  • Ability to handle emergency situations and make quick decisions


If you meet the criteria outlined above and believe you are the right individual to join our team, please send your application by e-mail stating your salary expectations and earliest possible starting date to: shorejobs@csm-d.com