In 2015, a record-setting 23 million passengers boarded cruise ships, and just over half of them were from the U.S. and Canada (and we anticipate the final number was higher in 2016).
Wherever you go, you’re likely to meet other cruise enthusiasts. To help you dazzle them with a repertoire of fun facts about cruising, we’ve collected some of the most fascinating tidbits of information right here.
Fun Cruise Facts
Get your Jeopardy buzzer ready, you’re about to become a cruise nut just like us.
The first modern cruise ship. The Prinzessin Victoria Luise – launched January 5, 1901, from Hamburg, Germany – is considered to be the first modern cruise ship because it was built with passenger comfort in mind.
Unfortunately, she had a brief career. Not quite five years after the ship launched, the captain made a mistake and ran the ship up on rocks off the shore of Jamaica. In despair, the captain went to his cabin and shot himself. The passengers were all rescued, but the ship was a total loss.
Room for everyone. Today, there are more than 250 sea-going cruise ships in the world; together, they can accommodate more than 480,000 passengers per day.
Size is relative. A majority of the ships that are in service for the major cruise lines are at least twice the size of the Titanic. This graphic from Blue Line compares the original to a replica they are hoping to complete in 2018.Thar she sails. No one knows why ships (and not just cruise ships) are referred to as “she,” but it’s been that way for centuries. A common theory is that ships are feminine because they were once dedicated to goddesses.
Life’s a lido. We do know the origin of the name “Lido Deck!” Lido is an Italian word for “beach.” So, the deck that includes the ship’s pool (and often the open-air buffet) is commonly called the Lido Deck.
The blessing of godmothers. New ships have been christened and blessed since ancient times, but for the past 100 years or so, cruise ships have been assigned their own godmothers. The godmothers are thought to bestow ships with good fortune (as well as a bit of good publicity). There are also a few cruise ship godfathers out there.Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Christens Royal Princess in 2013.
Champagne for smooth sailing. According to legend, the spilling of water, alcohol or blood promises good fortune and prosperity. Blood is really out of the question, and water is great for babies but not very exciting for a ship – so, most ship christenings involve breaking a bottle of wine or spirits over the bow. Sometime in the late 1800s, Champagne became the ship-christening wine of choice, perhaps because of its popularity and elegance.
Green apples for mal de mer. For some people, seasickness is an unfortunate, if temporary, side effect of cruising. There are lots of over-the-counter and prescription preventives and remedies, but a drug-free remedy widely recommended by crew members is eating green apples. Ask room service to deliver a plate of green apple slices and crackers to your stateroom, and you may be feeling better in no time at all.
Sea legs are a good thing. Having your sea legs means you can handle the movement of a ship on the water without holding on to a rail or becoming seasick. When you step off the ship and still feel that motion, that’s called “dock rock.”
Do not pass the muster. Maritime law requires every cruise ship passenger to attend a pre-embarkation lesson on where to go and what to do in the case of an emergency. This is called a muster drill (not “mustard drill”) simply because the word “muster” means “to gather.” Muster drills are essential to passenger safety: you may not skip the mustard, but not this drill.
Say bon voyage in Florida. Florida is a lovely place to visit, and a lot of people go there to board a cruise ship. About half of all cruise passengers embark from one of three Florida ports: the Port of Miami, Port Canaveral (Titusville), or Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale).Diverse ports round out the top 10. After those three, the world’s busiest cruise ports (by passenger count) are quite diverse. They are: Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Barcelona, Spain; Civitavecchia, Italy (for Rome); Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Venice, Italy.
Pepper your vacation-related conversations with a few of these, and your reputation as a cruise aficionado can grow! Of course, the best way to pick up more fun facts is to take a cruise.
Talk to a Cruise Specialists about planning your next voyage.