Off-The-Wall Questions about Cruising
- Do the elevators go to the front of the ship?
- Does the ship make its own electricity?
- What do they do with ice sculptures when they melt?
- Does the crew sleep on board?
- Is this island completely surrounded by water?
- Is it salt water in the toilets?
- What elevation are we at?
- What time is the Midnight Buffet?
- Do you have cruises to Las Vegas?
- The photographer snapped my picture. Which ones are mine?
- If it's raining, will I get wet in an outside cabin?
- Can you water ski off the back of the ship? Fish off the side of the ship?
- Do ships have male escorts?
- What's the difference between a boat and a ship?
Do the elevators go to the front and back of the ship?
What most folks mean when they ask this question is "Are there elevators at the front and the back of the ship?" The answer is "Yes." Many of today's newest cruise ships are over three football fields long and over 14 stories tall. Elevators are conveniently located at the front, back and middle of the ship to accommodate all guests on board. Most elevators are wide enough to accommodate both wheelchairs and children's strollers.
But to answer the question literally, elevators, by definition, are platforms or enclosures to raise or lower people or freight in a vertical shaft. So "no" the elevators do not take you to the front and back. However, on certain Princess cruise ships, there is a moving sidewalk that will take you to the disco, which is located at the back of the ship.
Does the ship make its own electricity?
If the ship did not make its own electricity, then it would need a very long extension cord to keep the lights on all day.
Cruise ships are not only floating resorts, they are floating cities. And like any small city, today's cruise ships carry their own power plants that generate enough electricity to accommodate the electrical and air-conditioning needs for as many as 5,500 passengers and crew in total on any particular sailing.
What do they do with the beautiful ice sculptures when they melt?
Almost every cruise has a live demonstration on the Art of Ice Carving. This activity is a passenger favorite and should not be missed. The demonstration is usually done on the pool deck during a day at sea. Starting with a large block of ice weighing hundreds of pounds, the artist chips with his chisels until he creates a beautiful ice sculpture. If the kitchen team is fast, they will move the completed ice sculpture off the pool deck and into a freezer to use later at dinner, a cocktail party or the midnight buffet. If not, then the melting sculpture is a fantastic way to cool the pool down.
Does the crew sleep on board?
Yes, the crew does sleep on board the ship. Sometimes we wonder if the crew sleeps at all. You always seem to see the same crew members at breakfast, lunch, dinner and the midnight buffet. But despite their superhuman abilities to serve their guests, the crew needs their rest as well and they most certainly sleep on board.
The ship's crew typically occupies the decks below the lowest passenger deck. With accommodations similar to those of the lower inside and outside categories, most crew members share accommodations with one other crew member. Officers and higher-ranking staff have their own private staterooms. Not only does the ship's crew sleep onboard, they play and eat onboard as well. Today's new modern ships have their own restaurants, crew bars, crew discos, and Crew Activity Directors. These fine people work over 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and they are among the most valuable assets of the cruise line. Keeping their morale up by offering comfortable accommodations and living conditions is a very high priority.
Is this island completely surrounded by water?
Yes, islands are completely surrounded by water. And when you're in a Caribbean port of call, almost every destination is an island including Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Aruba, and more. The only exceptions are select ports in Mexico.
What confuses people most is that some of these islands are so big; it doesn't seem like they are on an island at all. With beaches on one side and an endless range of mountains on the other, it's very easy to understand how someone could be momentarily confused enough to ask this question in the first place.
Is it salt water in the toilets?
Not that we've ever tasted the water to be sure, but the water in the toilets is fresh water. Today's modern cruise ships create their own fresh water through a desalination process onboard. Due to the corrosive nature of salt water, it is necessary to use fresh water in the toilets to protect the plumbing system from rust and corrosion.
While you can take great relief in knowing that your toilet water is fresh, the same cannot be said of all swimming pools on all cruise ships. Many ships today still fill their pools with seawater. The good news is that the hot tubs are fresh.
What elevation are we at?
This actually isn't a stupid question. It's really a trick question with two answers. In general, when you're on a cruise, you're at sea level - which would be a zero elevation. But considering the size of some of today's cruise ships, you could be having a drink in an upper deck lounge or climbing a rock wall and be 150 feet above sea level. That's a higher elevation than all of South Florida!
What time is the Midnight Buffet?
You would think this would be a no-brainer, but it's really not anymore. The midnight buffet used to be at midnight, but with the competition of all the other activities on a ship, you may experience the buffet earlier than then.
Can I cruise to Las Vegas?
Believe it or not, we get this question frequently. The last time we checked Las Vegas was land-locked and there do not seem to be any immediate plans to change this; but if they do, we'll be glad to help you book a cruise to Las Vegas.
Now, that being said, there are actually Las Vegas cruises. Only minutes from the downtown glitz and glamour of the Vegas Casinos, you can take a Lake Mead Dinner Cruise or rent a houseboat and tour Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on your own. For more information, visit www.lakemeadcruises.com.
The ship's photographer snapped my picture. How do I know which photographs are mine?
There's nothing like the time-honored tradition of getting your picture snapped a hundred times during your weeklong cruise. The photographers are there as you board the ship, before dinner, during dinner, after dinner, on the beach, on the dock, by the pool, in your shower, under your bed, behind the curtains, etc., etc., etc. They are everywhere hoping to capture the one shot that will make you say, "Honey, I like this one."
Every ship has an area where the photographers post the photos for the day and the week. Each set of pictures is grouped by the activity of the day, making it much easier to find the pictures of the people that look exactly like you and your family. So, if you had your picture taken while you were snorkeling on the cruise line's private island, then look for the private island pictures. If you see a photo that has your face on it, then those are your pictures. Simply pick them up and take them to the register to pay for them. If you have no intention of buying the picture, pick it up and let the staff recycle the paper. Not only does it prevent waste, but it also makes it easier for others to find their pictures by not having to go through yours.
If it's raining, will I get wet in an outside cabin?
No, you will not get wet. Having an outside cabin does not mean that your cabin literally is outside. The term "outside cabin" means that you will have a window, porthole, or balcony that will give you a view of the outside. A better term for an "outside cabin" is an "oceanview cabin," which is like the term we use for resort hotel rooms that have an oceanview. An "oceanview" stateroom is better than a hotel "oceanview" because the view is always changing. One day you may be looking at the Atlantic Ocean and the next day, your view could be of the white roofs and pastel houses of Bermuda. This is much better than having inside cabins, which are located on the interiors of the ship and do not have windows at all.
Whichever type of cabin you select, you will not get wet unless you stand in the shower.
Can you water ski off the back of the ship?
For obvious safety reasons, the answer is simply "no." But other than that:
- Most cruise ships do not go over 24 miles per hour
- If you fell, it would take a half an hour to turn the ship around to come back and pick you up.
Do ships have male escorts?
Cruise ships do not have male escorts, but some cruise ships DO have Gentlemen Hosts. On a number of longer, more destination-oriented cruise itineraries that appeal to an older cruise customer, it's not uncommon for women passengers to greatly outnumber the number of men onboard. As a convenience to these ladies, many cruise lines have a number of designated Gentlemen Hosts, most of whom are retired from other careers, whose job is to attend every social function on board, host dinner tables, and hit the dance floor whenever the music starts to make sure the single women always have a dance partner.
The hosts are carefully screened as dancers and conversationalists before they are ever allowed to wear the dinner jackets and name tags that identify them. They never dance with the same partner twice in a row and are cautioned not to get too personal.
For a funny look at the Gentleman Host business, go rent "Out To Sea" with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, a story about two men and their experiences as Gentlemen Hosts.
What's the difference between a boat and a ship?
Not a stupid question, but a cute one. We get this question a lot and we never really gave a good answer until a 5-year-old girl asked the Captain of Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas this very question. His answer was simply this: "Young Lady, you can put a boat on a ship but you can't put a ship on a boat." Ships are much, much bigger than boats.