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Once again, here we are, listing a number of things you may not have known about cruise ships, their operation and the people behind it. Sit tight and enjoy the read!
Every cruise ship has a kind of crew highway that allows us to move through the ship without going through guest areas. That allows us to move around in our regular clothes and to transport food or anything else without being seen in the guest hallways. This highway is commonly referred to as the I-95. Surprisingly I-95 is also the name of a landing permit every non American crew member receives, in order to be able to go out in US ports. And no, this does not cause confusion, as one may think. Incidentally, this kind of highway dates back to very old ships. One fascinating example is the SS Nomadic, next to the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This ship was used as a tender for most of the Titanic passengers and during the visit, which I extremely recommend, you can see an I-95 which is about 4 feet high, where crew members had to crawl through.
No, it’s not a myth. Cruise ships do actually have jails. They are not commonly used, to be honest, however, from time to time it is necessary to hold a misbehaving guest captive. I’m sorry to ruin the illusion, but it looks exactly like an inside guest cabin, except it’s locked on the outside, and continuously monitored when occupied.
I’ve known a few people who are triggered by others leaving food on the plate, especially if it’s a big quantity. Heck, I’ve even met crew members with such a pet peeve. However, let me put your mind at ease once and for all. All the food that is left on plates, or otherwise uneaten, is ground into legally sized pieces, and thrown into the ocean when the ship reaches the correct amount of miles away from shore. This of course feeds the fishes, and they will ideally later become food themselves. Did someone say the circle of life? So no, no food is ACTUALLY wasted on board.
While there are guns or weapons of a similar kind on board, Security Officers do not carry them. They are generally equipped with a radio and handcuffs, which is generally more than they will need when patrolling even the wildest nights. Weapons would generally be used in case of emergency situations, like piracy or any similar threat. Also, this would be heavily discussed and supervised by the Captain and the Staff Captain.
Guest Entertainers and Cast
Unlike guest entertainers, like singers, hypnotists, magicians and comedians, who come on board for a few voyages at a time or even fractions of a voyage, the Production Show Cast members are actually hired and employed by the cruise line, generally in groups, with each member in charge of a specific part of the show. Most of them will join, and leave on the same date, and be replaced by a new set of cast members typically with a weeklong overlap, also called install. Also, they will have a Cast Captain in charge of restructuring the show, should one or more members not be able to perform.
If you’ve never actually seen it in person, imagine the machinery necessary to do the laundry of up to 8,000 people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now multiply the size of that machine in your head times 10, and you might get close. If you ever have the chance to visit the laundry facilities of a cruise ship, I strongly recommend it and assure you you will be amazed. These machines are so big, that the ship is in fact built around them, as they would not fit through any opening. All I can say is, the sheet and towel folding machine is simply hypnotizing.
Captain / Pilot
While we would always imagine the Captain giving the orders to dock a ship or to take it away from the port, the reality is that in every port in the world, a pilot will jump from their boat onto the cruise ship and be in charge of the actual docking process, NOT the Captain. Pilots are experts in their own ports and the depth of the water in different areas, and they will do this as the ship leaves as well. However, the Captain does have to approve every instruction the pilot gives. Pilots are also licensed Captains, just in a different role. If you ever have the chance to look outside the ship on either side a few minutes after leaving port, you might catch the pilot jumping back onto his boat.
It really is amazing what goes on behind the scenes to make a floating resort work 24/7 to make sure your dream cruise vacation is all you hoped it would be! – ThatGuy (onboard)
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