While cruise ships have a polished veneer, it seems that beneath the shiny surface, the reality isn’t quite as glamorous. Former cruise ship workers have revealed what goes on behind the scenes in the boundless sea, with some shocking and hilarious stories emerging.
Speaking anonymously, two former female cruise ship crew members who have sailed on ships around the world from Aruba to Antarctica say they have fond memories of their time at sea.
But there were some less exciting aspects to life on a cruise, with some of their memories including multiple deaths at sea, hot crew encounters and cockroaches swarming among the passengers, according to the DailyMail.
What actually happens on a cruise ship
On average, two hundred deaths occur on cruise ships a year, according to Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP. Most deaths are the result of natural causes, and heart attacks are also common.
Another cause of death is falling overboard, and law firm Ehline reports that between 2000 and 2016, there were 270 cases of falling overboard reported by cruise lines, with 2015 having the highest number of overboard cases, 27.
Commenting on this subject, one employee recalls, “Sometimes there were three or four d
this ecese on the cruise. In just two weeks”.
“It never happened on my ships, but I remember a passenger falling overboard on another ship after drinking too much. The body was never recovered,” says another employee.
Have you ever wondered why the chocolate cake on the dessert menu was suddenly changed to ice cream? According to our former crew members, if the ship doesn’t have a morgue, bodies are often stored in food freezers and whatever’s inside must be eaten immediately.
One crew member recalled, “I worked on smaller ships: you always knew if someone died because there would be ice cream on the menu that day. Basically, we didn’t have a dedicated morgue, so we had to use the freezer to store the bodies. That meant getting rid of all the frozen goods to make room. Most of it was ice cream.”
Another employee also said, “Vomiting is part of life at sea,” but the former crew member remembers one passenger taking a dump at the ship’s main entrance.
Sailing in bad weather is not for the faint of stomach, and sea sickness is a real challenge. Workers say that “vomiting is part of life at sea,” so they got used to seeing people throw up often.
Along with seasickness, norovirus is also a big problem,” and this is spreading very quickly. According to the CDC, norovirus is “highly contagious” and causes vomiting and diarrhea. The virus can be caught by direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting dirty hands in the mouth.
Food scraps and human waste would be thrown overboard. Cruise ships are known for their rich food offerings, with several all-you-can-eat restaurants and buffets.
But what happens to all the food that remains? According to cruise ship workers, there was a lot of food waste and simply not enough space to store it all on board. The same was true for human waste.
So, it seems that on cruise ships it’s not all as rosy and pretty as it’s presented to you in travel agency offers. You need to consider these issues if you want to book a trip to explore the world by sea or ocean.