Cruise Ship Facts That Are Rarely Talked About

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For some people, cruises are the ultimate getaway when planning their travels. They are a floating ecosystem and it’s almost like being in a whole new world where everything you might need is located all in one place. But they also come with their own set of rules and realities. Whether you’re a luxury cruise line expert or a novice thinking about taking your first trip, you’ll want to know these cruise secrets before hopping on board. From secret amenities to things crew members know but never tell the guests, these fun facts will shed new light on the whole experience.

A Morgue Lurks Within Every Cruise Ship

Cruises are supposed to be about letting loose and having fun but there is often a dark side to cruises that passengers don’t really see. Because a large portion of cruise goers usually tend to be older it’s actually not uncommon for people to pass away while on ship.

Source: Youtube

One former crew estimated that around three people pass away every month on a cruise. Due to this, all cruise ships are required to have a morgue on board and usually has room for around three to six bodies.

It Might Sound Creepy but Crew Members Keep Record of Everything That Guests Do

The requirement that crew members be as hospitable and nice as possible to passengers, they don’t usually get a chance to say everything they’d like to say. For this reason, cruise ships keep a log where they write down everything that happens while on a trip. These logs keep everything from something as big as a fire or injury to something as minimal as a comment a guest made.

Source: WestPandi/James Oliver

It sounds weird but all of that information helps an incoming crew best prepare and spot potential hazards and how to manage them best. This log can also be used as a venting outlet for crew.

The Eerie Hidden Pools of Cruise Ships

If you have ever seen pictures from a cruise you will have noted that the pools are often the most crowded areas on the ship. Even though the ship is floating on water, people just gravitate toward the pools anyway. It turns out that most cruise ships have “secret” pools reserved for their staff only. Because these pools are dedicated to staff they are often much less crowded.

Source: Wikimedia/Jason M. C., Han

Guests can however be invited and of course, a guest would have to make quite the impression on the crew in order to be invited to the secret pool. The invite is actually harder to secure than you would think, considering some of the rules on board.

The Crew Speaks in Code to Keep Guests in the Dark

Passenger safety on board is paramount and maintaining that safety is not an easy task. Crew are sometimes forced to speak in code, so they don’t incite panic while still being able to act quickly during an emergency. Some of these codes are used for dealing with medical emergencies, reacting to a fire, or responding if someone falls overboard. If you ever wondered about what code word is usually used for someone falling overboard, then it’s “oscar.”

Source: Instagram/cruise_crew_ani

This really makes a lot of sense since the last thing you really want is to terrify your passengers or cause a panic making it harder to do your job.

Gambling Rules on Board Aren’t as Legal as You Think

Many cruise ships have casinos on board, and since most of the time you are traveling through international waters, it’s completely legal. This also means that the cruise ship isn’t necessarily subject to a single area’s laws concerning gambling. The rules onboard will occasionally change depending on whatever country is closest.

Source: Todoiure

Cruise ships might switch up the number of decks they use for blackjack, etc. and your odds of winning can change dramatically depending on where you are. Just be aware that the rules governing their games aren’t set in stone, and can change.

Even Cruise Ships Are Vulnerable to Mysterious Accidents

The buck stops with the Captain at all times while on board which is a fantastic system when it works, and it typically does. It makes sense that one person with experience should calling the shots during an emergency. The last thing you would want is two or more people wasting time arguing over a decision in a crisis. That being said, even captains make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can be disastrous for a ship or its passengers.

Source: Wikimedia/Wikiphilip

It’s not often that it happens which is why when it does it usually makes headlines. A few cruise ships have even been sunk due to a captain’s decisions.

Sometimes Passengers Go Missing at Sea

Strange things happen while at sea, and one of those things is when people go missing. It sounds weird but people really do go missing on ships. Approximately 165 people reportedly went missing while on a cruise from 1995 to 2011.

Source: Twitter/KPRC 2 Houston

There is speculation that the number is possibly higher. This is separate from passengers that fall overboard. We’re talking about people who have just disappeared without a trace and were never seen again.

“I’m the Captain Now” – There’s a Risk of Pirates Coming Onboard

On occasion you will hear about pirates taking over cargo ships or something like that but you don’t often hear about cruise ships being boarded. Still, it does happen, and because of that the crew is trained for it.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Navy photo 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky

In 2005 a cruise ship was targeted, and the crew used some kind of acoustic weapon to assault the pirates’ eardrums. The attack was thwarted, and everyone on board went about enjoying their vacations.

No Fraternization With Guests

Where there are often hookups between crew members, they are strictly forbidden to fraternize with passengers while on board. This rule is mainly in place to protect the crew from being accused of anything inappropriate but it is also to protect the cruise company from being sued by a passenger.

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The cruise company will have a much easier time cleaning up in-house than it would feilding a public lawsuit with a passenger.

You’re Under Arrest

You have surely heard of the brig before but did you know there is one on a cruise ship and you don’t have to be military to be thrown in it. It’s a sort of jail cell on a ship, and it’s reserved for passengers that break the law’ get a bit too rowdy or in any way threaten the safety of other passengers or crew.

Source: Cruise Hive/Haiyan Ma

There is no judge or jury on a ship so if you’re thrown in the brig, you’ll most likely spend the rest of your vacation there or until the ship makes port and can offload you to the authorities. Sometimes this leaves you in a different country than the one you sailed from.

Rescuing Passengers Who Went Overboard Is Complicated

It’s never good when someone goes overboard but on a cruise ship it can be especially complicated to initiate a rescue. If a passenger goes overboard during a cruise, you may see crew members throwing stuff over the side in order to mark where they are in the water.

Source: ABC News/Eva Frisnes

There aren’t any landmarks in the ocean, meaning your brain doesn’t have anything to refer to when trying to locate an overboard passenger from the top of a very high cruise ship.

Crew Members Are Drinking All Day on Cruises

If you have ever noticed your crew is especially happy or chatty it may be because they have had a couple of drinks themselves. Crew members get great discounts on alcohol and although most cruise lines say they randomly test their employees to ensure that they’re not drinking while on the job, they still manage to sneak a few drinks here and there.

Source: Instagram

According to former crew members, it happens more than from time to time. Some former crew members have also come out and said that drinking among crew members is much more common than some cruise companies would have their passengers believe.

Disease Outbreaks Are More Common Than You Think

We all heard about outbreaks onboard cruise ships curing the 2020 pandemic. They got big news coverage as essentially floating petri dishes. Due to thousands of people situated together in a tight space the outbreaks seem to spread faster.

Source: Shutterstock/MagicVova

Even before the pandemic there were plenty of outbreaks. For example in 2014, around eight cruise ships and many of their passengers were hit with the norovirus. As a result there have been strict procedures and rules to limit the spread of sickness during an outbreak but the risk is always going to be there.

Crew Members Are Mostly From Outside of the USA

There are a lot of reasons that cruise lines don’t tend to hire American workers and one of the reasons is that Americans wouldn’t put up with the long hours required on a cruise ship. The typical work week in America is around 40 hours, compared to the sometimes 100-hour long work week on a cruise ship.

Source: LinkedIn/WISTAGermany

Together with different and less generous overtime rules as well as lower pay, it’s not hard to see why there aren’t as many Americans in the cruise industry.

Medical Care Can Be Spotty

Cruise ships aren’t really required to operate to the same standards as other companies located on land in the U.S. and because of that the medical care available to passengers can sometimes be hit or miss.

Source: Wikimedia/Otto Domes

It’s common for cruise ships to hire doctors from countries with lower medical standards than in the U.S. and also have the facilities on board a cruise ship to be not quite as great as you’d find on land. Together with the fact that doctors on cruise ships basically can’t be sued for malpractice, it leaves something lacking in the care like on a lot of cruise ships.

Where Does All The Waste Go?

Where does all the human waste go when you’re on a ship and out at the ocean? It goes exactly where you might expect it to go, in the ocean. Cruise ships simply dump waste when they are around 12 miles from shore. They are required to treat it first but it still isn’t great for the environment and it’s quite gross.

Source: Twitter/Daniel Schneider

Not all countries have the same laws either and this means that sometimes cruise ships will discharge waste when they’re closer to shore in a country with more lax laws like recently when Canadians complained about U.S. cruise ships dumping near British Columbia.

Tight Quarters for the Crew

It goes without saying that rooms for crew members are much different than the rooms for guests on cruise ships. Crew quarters are very cramped in comparison and for the most part rooms are shared by multiple crew members.

Source: CrewCenter

That being said, crew members do have their own break areas and even have crew-only events, classes, and a pool for staff only. On the downside they don’t really get to enjoy all of that stuff very often because they work such long hours.

Cruise Ships Wait For No One

You would think there would be some kind of system making sure every guest is accounted for when they cruise pulls away from port but there isn’t. The cruise is not going to wait at port for a couple of passengers who failed to get back in time. If you’re late getting back to the ship there is a good chance you will be watching from shore as your ship sails away.

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That’s why it’s important that you always remember to get back to the ship well before it’s scheduled departure. It’s also a good idea to carry your documents and passport with you just in case you’re left behind in a foreign country.

Preparing the Kitchen Is Done With Military Precision

To keep things running smoothly while feeding thousands of guests, it’s no surprise that most cruise ship kitchens run their operations with military-like precision. With that many mouths to feed they have to ensure that they have enough food on board for everyone and stay within a budget working hard to eliminate waste.

Source: YouTube/Bonnie K Hunter

Some kitchens are so precise that they can predict consumption down to a margin of two meals for a week. Sometimes crews even change up how much they order based on the nationality of their guests. For example, a ship with many Americans might order more ketchup than one with a majority of other nationalities.

Hiding Drinks Isn’t Easy

Alcohol is always the most expensive part of any trip for good reason. There are really good margins for alcohol sales so it makes sense that there would be strict rules regarding their biggest money maker. Cruise lines force you to use the bars on the ship and for this reason, people have figured out how to smuggle their own booze onto cruises.

Source: Wikimedia/Jagwire

For these reasons guests get really inventive with the way they smuggle on alcohol. One way of sneaking alcohol on board a cruise ship involves filling a plastic bladder with booze in an effort to evade x-ray detection. People have also resorted to filling mouthwash bottles with alcohol and adding food coloring to dye them a specific color.

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Ben Miller

Written by Ben Miller

Ben is known for his talent in producing viral articles which resonate with current trends. With a keen eye for trending topics and a gift for crafting engaging narratives, Ben has become a prominent figure in the world of online content creation.

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