Last word: Do you speak cruise?

While you’re ly­ing on your sun lounger at the pool deck, keep your ears open and you’ll dis­cover the se­cret dra­mas un­fold­ing through­out the ship. Peter Lynch tells you how.

Cruise Passenger - - PUBLISHER’S LETTER -

You may not have no­ticed – in­deed, you’re not sup­posed to, but the crew aboard your cruise ship has a lan­guage all of its own. It’s a lit­tle bit Star Ship En­ter­prise, a lit­tle bit in­fra dig and some­times down­right funny.

It’s de­signed to deal with those emer­gen­cies, or rather un­savoury in­ci­dents, that hap­pen at sea when you’ve gath­ered to­gether thou­sands of hol­i­day­ing strangers.

Like the death of a pas­sen­ger, known in crew speak rather eu­phemisti­cally as “Op­er­a­tion Ris­ing Star”. You may hear an an­nounce­ment for “Op­er­a­tion Bright Star” Þrst, which de­notes a se­ri­ous med­i­cal emer­gency re­quir­ing im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

“PVI” is a lit­tle more ob­vi­ous. It stands for “pub­lic vom­it­ing in­ci­dent”. And “3030” is an ap­peal for crew mem­bers to help clean up the mess.

Per­haps the most dreaded of all an­nounce­ments is “Code Red”. It means there is a case of norovirus on board. It’s hated by crew and pas­sen­gers alike.

For the crew, it means a deep cleans­ing of the ship, of­ten us­ing steam hoses while wear­ing sealed med­i­cal suits and masks.

For pas­sen­gers, it means a step­ping up of the crew’s ur­gent en­treaties to use the sani­tis­ers and wash their hands.

Al­most ev­ery ship has a de­tailed OPP, Out­break Preven­tion Plan. There is a scale of out­break, each stage with swift con­se­quences. Royal Caribbean, for in­stance, main­tains OPP1 and moves to OPP2 if there’s a “6 in 6” – six pas­sen­gers are di­ag­nosed in six hours. When they reach OPP3, pas­sen­gers will not be al­lowed to serve them­selves or han­dle their own food. You’ll no­tice some odd new wait­ers serv­ing you at the buf­fet – many re­cruited from the en­ter­tain­ment teams. Cabin sheets and tow­els are put in red bio­haz­ard bags.

“While “Red Par­ties” sounds like fun, the code words ac­tu­ally refer to a fire on board.”

There are some codes you never want to hear. “Char­lie, Char­lie, Char­lie” means there is a se­cu­rity threat, while “Echo” means the ship is on a col­li­sion course. And while “Red Par­ties” sounds like fun, the code words ac­tu­ally refer to a Þre on board. “Sierra” is a call for a stretcher.

We’re grate­ful to Bran­don Presser, a cruise guide and au­thor, for some fas­ci­nat­ing, at times telling, in­sights from his time as a cruise di­rec­tor with Royal Caribbean.

Like this one: “Ac­cord­ing to the ship’s se­nior doc­tor, the big­gest is­sue in­volv­ing al­co­hol is when the ship is docked in Cozumel, Mex­ico. Mix an af­ter­noon of un­reg­u­lated drink­ing on land at Señor Frogs with trop­i­cal heat and a few glasses of Mex­i­can tap wa­ter, and you’ve got your­self a guar­an­teed PVI.”

Or this: “Dru Pavlov, vet­eran cruise di­rec­tor and my men­tor dur­ing this Royal Caribbean stint, keeps a hal­lowed book of stupid com­ments and ques­tions; passed down from one cruise di­rec­tor to the next as a rite of pas­sage, it makes great vamp­ing ma­te­rial for event em­cees.

“The book Pavlov be­queathed to me in­cluded such doozies as: ‘Where’s the el­e­va­tor to get to the front of the ship?’ Others in­clude, ‘Is the toi­let wa­ter drink­able?’ and ‘How long does it take the crew to get home ev­ery night?’

“My favourite con­tri­bu­tion came three days into my ten­ure, when a pas­sen­ger stopped me to com­plain that she could no longer Þnd her cabin.

“The ship had been parked back­wards, she claimed.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.