Cruise ships sail far and wide, from European destinations such as France and Germany to more exotic locations like the Caribbean. Cruises these days offer a host of luxuries, including onboard zip lining and water parks. But no matter how big or how opulent a cruise ship is, things can still go wrong. Brandon Presser served as a cruise director for a week, and during his time he picked a number of key codes crew members use onboard in emergencies, such as a fire.
He told Bloomberg in the event of a fire, the codeword they use is ‘Bravo’.
Other codewords used, using the NATO phonetic alphabet, are ‘Alpha’, used in a medical emergency, and ‘Kilo’, which is a request for all personnel to report to their emergency posts.
Presser said this can occur in the event of an evacuation.
He added: “It’s crucial for the staff to have code words so that passengers don’t get freaked out if something goes wrong.
“A ’30-30′ means the crew is asking maintenance to clean up a mess; three times during my stint I called in a ‘PVI’ (public vomiting incident).”
But the codewords to be most wary of are ’Echo’ and ‘Oscar’.
He said: “Be wary of ‘Echo’, which is called if the ship is starting to drift, or ‘Oscar’, which means someone’s gone overboard. A crew member told me he’s had only four or five ‘Oscars’ in 10 years of cruising.”
Another codeword which could be used by crew members on a ship is ‘Sierra’, which means ‘call for a stretcher’.
If someone dies on a cruise ship the announcement ‘Operation Bright Star’ is made, which alerts the crew to the death of a passenger.
Tina Molson, 52, from Cleethorpes, who worked in an onboard duty-free shop from 2002 to 2010, has explained that deaths aren’t that rare.
“Many of the older passengers go on cruise ships for months because it’s cheaper for them than living at home. Some even go to sea to die,” Tina told The Sun.
“There was often a death on board. On one ship we had a shop store room next to the freezer room where the bodies were stored. We called it the ‘coffin locker.’”
But cruises aren’t all doom and gloom – cruise ships were recently put under the spotlight by consumer watchdog Which? and a new firm has scooped the title ‘best cruise line’.
The result was based on customer feedback, with a total of 25,000 people answering questions about cabin space, onboard facilities, WiFi service and overall value.
Viking received an average customer satisfaction of 88 per cent.