Have you ever been on a cruise ship? It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind vacation. And, no matter if you like to be active even when resting or if you’re more of a lounge beside the pool” type of traveler, cruise ships offer you the chance to experience a different kind of vacation.
Cruise vacations allow you to see the world while staying at a resort. Most cruise lines sail between the most popular ports, and the average cruise lasts around seven days. That’s plenty of time to experience something new (even if it isn’t a theme cruise)!
The most famous world cruises are the Symphony of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. Both cruise ships are a part of the Royal Caribbean fleet. The Symphony of the Seas is officially the biggest ship in the world, so if you want the biggest and the best experience, booking a cabin on this particular ship might be worth considering.
But other than knowing which world cruise ship is the biggest, how much do you know about cruises themselves? Let’s check out some fun and disturbing facts about cruise ships together, shall we?
The Chances of Ships Sinking Are Low
When boarding cruises, you’ll often hear cruise passengers talking about the probability of the ship sinking. That’s a natural human fear. When you’re in the open water, you’re bound to think about whether or not your feet will ever touch firm land again.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that much.
Cruise ships don’t get their licenses willy-nilly. There are many safety tests and proceedings, as well as conditions all cruise ships have to meet to be able to set sail. A cruise vacation is actually the safest vacation you can take. According to diligent research done by the New York Times, in the last 40 or so years, only 16 cruise ships have sunk.
The odds of you dying on a cruise ship due to the ship sinking are around 1 in 6.25 million. That means that you have a higher chance of falling down the stairs at your own home (1 in 1,814) or getting hit by a car (1 in 4,292). Since there are probably several million cars in your hometown, going on a cruise ship seems safer, right?
We joke, but cruises are pretty safe. Of course, when tragedy strikes, it’s horrible and memorable.
When Tragedy Strikes
Around 30 million passengers board cruise ships every year. Out of them, about 200 die. People who pass away on cruises mostly lose their lives to natural causes or accidents. However, sometimes tragedy strikes.
The most memorable (and deadly) cruises were:
- Carnival Triumph and Carnival Splendor both sank due to engine fires. Although no passengers died, they were stranded on the sea for days.
- Costa Concordia ran into a reef and tipped over in 2021. It was the most publicized cruise ship accident in recent years, mainly because 32 people lost their lives, and 64 were injured.
- Seabourn Spirits was famously attacked by pirates back in 2005. Luckily, no passengers were injured or killed.
The Majority of Cruise Ships Impact the Environment Negatively
Although they are fun and an exciting experience, cruise ships aren’t that good for you. Well, more specifically, they aren’t good for your carbon footprint.
Cruises and the maritime industry, in general, are huge environmental issues. It seems that cruises come with substantial ecological baggage.
The worst part is that cruise passengers usually aren’t aware of just how bad cruises are for our environment. Every cruise ship produces gallons of sewage every day. Do you know where that goes? Straight into the sea! But that’s not the only issue.
Cruise ships are enormous, and they have all the amenities you could ask for. From free wi-fi to indoor pools and tennis courts — they have everything. But that means that the ships are massive and need a lot of fuel to sail. Ships mostly use bunker fuel, which is responsible for more harmful emissions than regular fuel.
They also make a lot of noise which disturbs marine life. The impact of cruise ships is all-pervading. Cruise critics will be the first to tell you that cruises are much worse for the environment than cars ever will be.
A Jail, a Medical Unit, and a Morgue Are All Provided
While we’re dealing with such cheerful subjects, let’s circle back to death for a moment. It’s an indispensable part of life. It happens no matter what we do or how much we try to stop it.
As mentioned, most cruise deaths that occur are either caused by natural causes or accidents. They are rare, but they do happen, which is why every cruise ship has a morgue. If someone dies on a cruise, the ship doesn’t just turn around. That’s not how the cruise industry works.
Instead, the show goes on, and the medical unit doctors take care of the dead person by processing and recording the death and then putting them in the morgue.
Aside from the morgue, every cruise ship also has a jail. People can get unruly, especially when there’s an open bar, so having a jail is a high necessity.
The Missing Number 13 and the Superstition Behind It
There are no crews more supersitious than sailors. The proof of that is that you’ll never find anything with the number 13 on a cruise ship.
So, there won’t be a deck thirteen or a room thirteen anywhere on the ship. That has a bit to do with the superstition of the companies (and the crew) and more to do with the fact that cruises are quite accommodating to all. And because the belief that the number thirteen is unlucky is widespread, cruise ships have preemptively accommodated their superstitious guests by removing it.
Friends of Bill W and Friends of Dorothy
If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, you probably noticed that there are plenty of things on the itinerary. You can partake in lots of activities with other passengers — dancing, sports, board games, etc., are all available to you practically day and night. But, if you looked at the activities list a bit more carefully, you might have noticed a few meetings that you don’t quite understand.
One of those is a meeting of Friends of Bill W. Another is a meeting of Friends of Dorothy. If you have no idea who BIll or Dorothy are, that’s OK. The meetings probably aren’t for you anyway.
Friends of Bill W is a euphemism for AA meetings, while Friends of Dorothy refers to people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community. These euphemisms aren’t that obscure. What’s more, cruise ships aren’t the only ones that use them. However, they do reflect the industry’s devotion to discretion and the desire to do anything to accommodate the passengers.