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Cruise Ship Secrets: Code Words

Did you know the crew have their own secret code words used to signal events on a cruise ship? These words are often used to avoid causing panic with unaffected passengers. We look at some of the more common words to take the mystery out of those crew announcements…

The day to day running of a cruise ship has one unpredictable element that ensures the crew never quite know what they will be presented with next… These are known as the guests! Vomiting, spilt food and even the odd fight over a sun lounger, the crew are there to clean up and fix the problem. The reality is emergency’s do happen, ranging from belligerent people, superficial injuries to fire and worse. Some of you will have witnessed these things but the majority of crisis are kept under your radar purely because you aren’t down with the crew lingo. Oh yes there’s more to it than knowing the difference between aft and forward, starboard and port side. For the inquisitive, geeky or those of you who just like to be in the know, here is a list of words commonly used between the crew members when problems arise:

  • 30 – 30 – There is a mess that needs cleaning up
  • Alpha – is a medical emergency
  • Bravo – is a fire
  • Code Red – a illness has broken out, often norovirus. Code Yellow and Green are used for less severe medical issues
  • Delta – damage to the ship
  • Echo – the ship is drifting, often caused by strong winds
  • Kilo – is a request for all personnel to report to their emergency posts
  • Mr Mob – may also be used to indicate a passenger or crew member has fallen overboard
  • Operation Bright Star – used to indicate a medical emergency on some cruise lines
  • Operation Rising Star – a passenger has died onboard
  • Oscar – is reference to someone falling overboard
  • Papa – oil spill or pollution
  • Priority 2 – the ship as sprung a leak
  • PVI – public vomiting incident
  • Red Parties – Potential fire onboard
  • Sierra – a stretcher is required for a medical emergency
Can you think of anymore? Let us know in the comments section below and we will add them. Hopefully you will never hear any of these announcements during your cruise (who wants a PVI after all?) but if you do, you will be one of the few passengers in the know.

Hey! I'm Matt, owner and curator of CruiseOholics, a blog dedicated to Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines across the industry.