37 Interesting Cruise Ship Facts that Will Surprise You

Cruise Ship Facts You Never Knew

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If you’re new to cruising, or even if you’re a little more seasoned, you may be surprised to find out some of these interesting and fun cruise ship facts. Cruise ships are more than a floating resort. In fact, many cruise ships run like small cities.

In this post, you’ll find 37 things about cruising that are pretty awesome, and in some cases even a bit strange.

Fun, Interesting and Strange Cruise Ship Facts

Optional Cruise Trivia

These facts, figures and tidbits of information about cruise ships make great cruise trivia. Why not test your knowledge and give yourself 1 point for each cruise fact you know?

At the end, if you’re playing, calculate your score and write in the comments below.

cruise trivia

Cruise Ship Trivia Quiz (1 point each)

1. Cruise ships have a morgue on board

Perhaps this cruise ship fact isn’t a fun one, but it’s true. Many people wonder if cruise ships have a morgue on board, and they do.

This isn’t something cruise lines publicize, but of course people can die anywhere, even on a cruise vacation. So, all cruise ships sail with a morgue, usually located on the lowest decks away from passengers.

2. There’s no dentist on board

On your cruise ship, there will be a medical staff (usually a ship doctor and nurse). However, should you have a dental emergency, you’re kind of stuck. You’ll have to wait until you arrive at your next port to go see a dentist.

37 Surprising Cruise Ship Facts you never knew
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3. There’s a water filtration plant on your ship

Seriously, I just find this amazing! On my first cruise, it surprised me how a cruise ship runs like a small city, with a water filtration plant right on board. Water is 100% safe to drink on a cruise ship. The process is pretty incredible.

4. Waste disposal on the ship

Now, while some cruise ships have gotten into some trouble with this over the years, overall they do a pretty good job at handling lots of waste disposal on a big cruise ship. It’s pretty surprising! They actually have an entire waste disposal facility right on board.

5. Each week a large cruise ship goes through 20,000 ice cream cones!

Despite most cruise lines doing away with the midnight buffet a few years ago, there is still sooooo much food being served and eaten on a cruise ship!

During a 7 day cruise, a large ship will use over 45000 eggs, 1800 pounds of coffee and 9000 pounds of lettuce! I can only imagine how much pizza they go through!

6. The average cruiser gains a pound a day

cruise food Celebrity cruises cafe al bacio

You’ve probably heard that the cruise food is amazing, and in turn many people gain as much as a pound a day on a cruise. I will say from experience that this is probably true. Some cruisers will say it’s even more!

The reality is that on a cruise, we do eat and drink differently than at home. While many people do gain weight on a cruise, there are ways to avoid doing major damage. Taking the stairs, using the gym and the jogging track can help, otherwise it could be even more!

7. The crew have their own bars and buffet on the crew decks

Although the crew works so hard, they definitely have a good time while working on a ship. Cruise ship staff tell us they’ve got a pretty fun and active life on the lower decks, with some fun crew parties. Keep in mind, this area is off limits for cruise passengers.

8. Deck 13 is missing

Due to cruise ship superstitions, some cruise ships don’t have a deck 13. It’s a bit funny to be in the elevator and see numbers 11, 12, 14, 15 ect. Funny enough, while many cruise ships skip deck 13, MSC Cruises, doesn’t have a deck 17 due to a similar Italian superstition.

celebrity cruise

9. There’s a naughty room

That’s what many passengers call it when they are called down to a special room when the ship’s crew has found something “naughty”  in the luggage that has to be confiscated. It might be alcohol that you’re not permitted, an iron or something else.

It’s actually not the end of the world, but if you’d rather not end up there, best not to try to sneak in any alcohol on (which seems to be the most common reason).

10. There is a cruise ship jail or brig

This is a true fact. Cruise ships have a sort of lock-up room, just in case they need to keep someone who is unruly or is suspected to have committed a crime until they arrive at the next port.

11. Cruise cabin walls are metal

This cruise ship fact surprises many cruisers – yes, cruise cabin walls and doors are usually metal. Cruise cabin walls are metal for numerous safety reasons, including fire safety.

However, there are advantages to metal walls. A genius cruise cabin hack is to bring magnet hooks and clips to add extra storage to your stateroom.

Read more: 50 Must-have Amazon Cruise Essentials

cruise cabin

12. You can’t bring an iron or steamer on board

While experienced cruisers know this, many first time cruisers ask about bringing an iron or steamer on board. Of course, cruise lines take fire safety very seriously, which is why you can’t bring this item onto the ship.

Cruise tip: If you’re concerned about having wrinkled clothing on a cruise, one of my favorite cruise packing tips is to bring along a travel size Downy Wrinkle Release.

Read more: 10 Things NOT to pack for a cruise

13. Cruise ship Internet isn’t like internet on land

This may go without saying for seasoned cruisers, but this fact might surprise you if you’re cruising for the first time. Internet on a cruise just isn’t the same as at a land resort.

Wifi has been limited, slow and pretty expensive for years. However, this is changing. We’re now seeing that cruise ship internet is making strides, and is faster and less expensive than in the past. An example of this is the innovative Princess Cruises Ocean Medallion, which has the fast and affordable MedallionNet.

14. There’s a dog kennel on some cruise ships

Awe, can you imagine bringing your family pet on your cruise? While it’s actually an ocean liner, you’re able to bring your dog on a cruise, or trans-atlantic crossing of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. The QM2 has a kennel on board with limited space for small and large dogs.

queen mary 2 kennel

15. Some people retire on a cruise ship

Oh, in my dream life, this will be me! All joking aside, there are a few people who have actually retired on a cruise ship, and claim that it’s more affordable than a quality senior’s residence.

16. Most cabins don’t really have queen or king size beds

Cruise cabins aren’t equipped with a queen or king bed. Instead, twin beds are usually pushed together those who want to sleep in a larger bed. So, the same cabin with two twins, will “convert” to a King.

Cruise tip: Cruise ships do have “egg-crates” or mattress covers available to make it more comfortable, however I suggest requesting this from your cabin steward as soon as possible.

17. Just who is Bill W. and Dorothy, and why do they have friends on every cruise?

Have you ever noticed in the daily planner or perhaps written on a billboard, that there may be a meeting or gathering for “friends of Bill W” or “Friends of  Dorothy”? Absolutely no judgement, but I wondered on my first few cruises just what that was about, so I figure some of you do too.

Friends of Bill W is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Friends of Dorothy are gatherings for those that are gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual.

18. Cabin door decorations may be sending a message

Cabin cabin door decorating on cruises is a thing to do, on some cruise ships more than others.

Being honest, I already over pack and just don’t need to bring more stuff. So my cabin door is as plain as can be. However, many attest to giving this thought and preparing stateroom door decorations which they bring on board.

Well, I recently found out that pineapples on a door actually have a meaning!! Who knew? Well, apparently other people lol. I’ll let you google that ;-).

Read more: Cruise Cabin Door Decorations: The Ultimate Guide for Cruisers

pineapple party decorations

19. Not all cruises have “formal” nights

As much as some people love the idea of getting dressed up on a cruise for formal nights, some don’t. They may even hesitate to book a cruise, worrying they’ve got to be dressed to the nines.

While there are cruises where you can really get fancy (tuxes and gowns if that’s your thing), many cruise lines are maintaining tradition while easing cruise line dress codes.

Examples of more relaxed dress codes include Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle dress code and Celebrity Cruises modern Evening Chic dress code.

Cruise tip: Consider chatting with a travel agent who can go over your options and help to find the best cruise line for you.

Read more: What to Wear on a Cruise Formal Night (and frequently asked questions)

20. The cruise ship pools are filled with sea water

I’m not sure why this surprises people, after all, the ship is at “sea” and it only makes sense that water is abundant. However, I had to add this as people ask about this frequently.

Sea water is used to fill cruise ship pools, however it does go through a filtering process to remove sand and other unwanted stuff. Some cruise lines also use a desalination process which gives a feeling of a freshwater pool.

cruise ship pool deck

21. Cruise ship iced tea is unsweetened

Now this cruise fact surprises many cruisers. As you take a sip of your iced tea, commonly served as an included beverage on a cruise, you may be shocked to find that it is unsweetened.

I was really surprised on my first cruise, but found that adding a lemon wedge and a packet of sweetener made it just perfect. If you prefer real sugar, this won’t dissolve in cold water so you’re out of luck if you prefer sweet tea.

Of course, you can always get hot tea and a glass of ice and make it the old fashioned way.

22. Cruise ships have God-Mothers

As tradition would have it, cruise ships are Christened and each has a God-mother.

Some pretty famous ones are Princess Kate for Royal Princess, Oprah Winfrey for Nieuw Statendam, Reba McEntire for Norwegian Epic, Sophie Loren for MSC Divina, Malala Yousafzai for Celebrity Edge, and Jennifer Hudson for Disney Dream… just to name a few!

Did you see this already? If you did, go ahead and give yourself a bonus point!

23. There are ice skating rinks on cruise ships

Although I would be exaggerating if I made it seem as though this is common, several of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships have actual indoor skating rinks where you can see a fantastic show. You can even “rent” skates and try it for yourself during certain hours.

In addition to this, there are many cool things on a cruise, including zip lines and ropes courses!

24. The Church of Scientology has a cruise ship

If you cruise to Aruba or Curacao, there’s a good chance you’ll come upon what looks like a small luxury cruise ship called Freewinds. This is the Church of Scientology ship and it makes some short cruise runs in the Southern Caribbean. I believe they are conferences, but truthfully haven’t looked into it.

I warn you, if you google it, you’ll go own a rabbit hole. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

church of Scientology ship

25. Passenger hallway carpets are there to help you

Did you know that many cruise ships have different colored or patterned carpets on the port side (left) and starboard side (right) of the passenger decks? This is so helpful as a cruise passenger when trying to find your cabin, especially in those early days of the cruise.

Read more: The Ultimate Cruise Lingo Glossary: 85 Terms You Need to Know

26. The largest cruise ship in the world

The largest cruise ship in the world is Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, with a gross tonnage of over 228,000 tons, the massive cruise ship has 7 distinct neighborhoods. With surf simulators, a zipline, a 10 story slide, the Ultimate Abyss, water slides and laser tag, this cruise ship is anything but boring!

27. Cruise ships travel about 20 knots per hour

Cruise ships aren’t especially fast, which actually surprised me to find out. In fact, the average speed that a cruise ship travels is about 20 knots. Since 1 knot is equal to 1.15 miles, this is about 23 miles an hour.

Cruise ships can go faster, reaching about 30 knots an hour. An interesting fact is that cruise ships will slow down when seas are choppy or speed up when trying to outrun storms and rough seas.

37 Things You Never Knew About Cruise Ships
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28. Royal Caribbean is now the largest cruise line in the world

For many years, Carnival Cruise Line held the record for the largest fleet of cruise ships. In fact, in 2019 Carnival had 27 cruise ships and Royal Caribbean had 26. However during the pandemic of 2020, each cruise line sold off some older cruise ships, reducing the fleets to 24 each.

In 2021, Royal Caribbean took delivery of the Odyssey of the Seas. With 25 cruise ships, Royal Caribbean now boasts the title of “largest cruise line in the world“.

29. Princess Cruises sets romantic world record

Cruise ship fact - princess cruise sets world record for group vow renewal
Princess Cruises is a Guinness World Record Holder!

On February 11, 2020 Princess Cruises set a Guinness World Record’s title for the largest multi-location vow renewal. 1443 couples renewed their vows during simultaneous ceremonies onboard three Princess Cruise ships; Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Crown Princess.

Read more: Princess Cruises: 15 First Time Cruise Tips

30. Miami is the “Cruise Capital of the World”

While Florida boasts 4 cruise embarkation ports, none hosts more cruise ships and passengers than PortMiami. The sheer volume of cruise ships and cruise terminals have earned Miami the title of “Cruise Capital of the World”. Miami is also an amazing and diverse city to visit before of after your cruise.

Read more: 16 Awesome Things to Do in Miami Before or after your cruise

31. Cruise ships have robot bartenders

Can you be served by a robot bartender on a cruise? You sure can, but only on a few cruise ships. While a bit of a novelty, some Royal Caribbean ships have the Bionic Bar, where you can be served by robot bartenders. This includes the Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

While Royal Caribbean ships have robot bartender “arms”, in 2021 MSC Cruises went a step further. The MSC Virtuosa has Rob, the first Humanoid bartender. This robot bartender not only makes drinks, but makes jokes with the guests on the ship.

32. The world’s first roller coaster at sea

If theme parks and roller coasters are your thing, you may want to book the Carnival Mardi Gras. This ship has the world’s first roller coaster at sea, a seacoaster! With several fun and amazing features, this new cruise ship definitely debunks the cruise myth that cruises are boring.

Read more: 10 Best New Cruise Ships 2021 (features and details)

33. MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately owned cruise line

In a time where most cruise lines are publicly traded and owned by parent companies, MSC has a different story. MSC Cruises is privately owned by the Aponte family, an Italian family of ship owners. MSC Cruises is part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, a large container shipping operator. MSC is now the the 4th largest cruise company and the world’s largest privately owned cruise line.

34. You can literally travel the world by cruise ship

While Caribbean cruises might be the most popular cruises, a World Cruise is on many avid cruiser’s bucket list. World cruises are typically around 100 days or more and can be booked in segments if you can’t commit to the full voyage. In January 2022, the Oceania Insignia offers a 180 day world cruise. 

35. Princess Cruises’ Stanley the Bear mascot is named after a real person

Princess Cruises Stanley the Bear Cruise Fact
Stanley the Bear is Princess Cruises’ Mascot

If you’re a Princess Cruise fan, you may own a stuffed Stanley the Bear or have taken a picture with the famous cruise mascot. However it might surprise you to know it’s origin.

Stanley the Bear was named after the founder of Princess Cruises, Stanley B. McDonald. The bear mascot also made it’s debut on Princess Alaska cruises, where bear sightings were one of the most highly anticipated experiences. 

36. Norwegian Cruise Line has 1 Ship Flagged in the USA

The Pride of America sails round trip from Honolulu, Hawaii and is the Norwegian Cruise Line‘s only US flagged ship. Most cruise ships fly under foreign flags, for a variety of reasons. However, when they do they’re subject to the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which requires ships to stop in a foreign port.

By being a US flagged ship, the Pride of America is able to offer 7 day round trip itineraries in Hawaii, something other cruise lines aren’t able to do.

37. Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady has a surprisingly small pool

While Virgin Voyages Scarlet lady is highly anticipated, it hasn’t been without controversy. Some people will love this cruise ship, while many cruise traditionalists may not. However, what seems to surprise everyone is the fact that the main pool on Scarlet Lady is very small.

It will be interesting to see what regular passengers, or “sailors” as Virgin Voyages calls them, have to say as the ship finally sails in 2021.

Read more: 10 Best New Cruise Ships 2021 (features and details)

38. You can go on a “Friends” themed cruise

You may be aware of theme cruises, which is when a cruise ship that has been chartered and there are special themed activities onboard. A new themed cruise that I have NEVER seen before is a “Friends” themed cruise. Yes, that “Friends” (Ross, Chandler, Joey,Rachel, Monica, Phoebe).

It’s actually on a Celebrity cruise ship, the Celebrity Equinox on May 22, 2022. If you’re a huge “Friends” tv show fan, you’ll love the activities, trivia and more.

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Final thoughts: 37 Interesting and Fun Cruise Ship Facts

We went through 37 interesting cruise ship facts and figures, and fun things you may not have known about cruises. Cruises are not only great vacations, but are amazing floating resorts with so much going on behind the scenes!

How did you do with your cruise trivia? Were there any cruise facts that surprised you? Please share any cool things you know about cruise ships in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!

Ilana

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8 Comments

  1. Marlene Carter
    August 26, 2020 / 1:05 am

    I’ve been on lots of cruises, and LOVE cruising. Being at sea is a freeing experience. I do have a complaint about a recent change I’ve noticed…I no longer have a cabin or even a stateroom, just a room. And the pursers desk is now the information desk. Don’t the cruise lines know that we cruise because we like the nautical experience of getting from here to there.

    • September 10, 2020 / 2:16 pm

      Hi Marlene,

      I do love the nautical terms as well. I also remember the “pursers desk”. I haven’t heard cabins referred to as rooms, I don’t like that either. Rooms are in hotels, staterooms are on ships 😉

      Thanks for taking the time to comment,

      Ilana

  2. Deborah Wright
    September 23, 2020 / 5:45 pm

    Hi Ilana

    I got 23 out of 25 correct. I got # 14 wrong as I was not thinking of the trans-cruises that would have kennels for pets. The other one about the tea being unsweetened I just didn’t know, but am happy to find out as I drink unsweetened tea. By the what I watch all you tips and know how’s on your videos. (big fan lol)

    • September 29, 2020 / 12:02 am

      Hi Deborah,

      I know right? I think I’d visit the dogs on the TA trip!! They even have a fire hydrant – too cute!

      Thanks so much for your kids words! I’m thrilled you watch my videos and read my blog posts :-)!

      Keep a lookout for LIVES on YouTube which I’ll be starting hopefully next month. I’d love to catch you there.

      Ilana

  3. Kate
    December 16, 2020 / 1:20 pm

    I did not know about the Godmothers or the Scientology cruise ship. Very interesting stuff. Can’t imagine confining my dog TA. Wouldn’t a plane ride be faster/easier for the furry family member? Lol.
    Thanks for the interesting information. Nice to see something different.

    • December 21, 2020 / 7:49 pm

      Hi Kate,

      Glad you enjoyed this. The TA is interesting, because the dogs actually get outdoor time and are in fairly spacious kennels. Owners can hang out and visit. Seems popular with those who are relocating to England. Interesting huh? You’re right though, perhaps a plane is more speedy.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Ilana

  4. June 5, 2021 / 11:00 am

    That’s some interesting insights and facts about cruise ships. I am amazed and fascinated with so many to them. Facts such as a morgue on board, No. 13 is missing deck, and the fact that cruise ships are Christened and have God Mothers were quite intriguing. ’Friends of Bill W’ or ‘Friends of Dorothy’ was fun to know as so does pineapples on a door! Ice skating rinks on cruise ships, roller coaster on a cruise are some facts remotely unknown to me. You post has ample information on cruises and so delighted to read through. The fact that Cruises has advanced to such great heights and offers so much more, one being a robot bartender is surprising, besides you can learn something as well while on a cruise. Awe-struck!

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