Cruise secrets: Former cruise ship worker reveals code word for alarming & vile incident

Cruises see holidaymakers enjoy their stay onboard in floating hotels. There is always plenty to do onboard the cruise ship and there are various stops at ports of call. There is a cruise to suit nearly every budget and demand making sure travellers’ needs are always met.


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However, it’s a very different lifestyle onboard for those who work on the ships. Crew have to put in long hours and live on the vessels for long periods of time. spoke to one former cruise crew member about life onboard cruises.

Paul – who did not wish to divulge his surname – revealed the code words they would use.

Utilising codes means the crew can communicate without worrying the passengers if they hear the conversation.

One unofficial code word, in particular, meant something very unpleasant indeed had happened.

Paul shared what happened when a child did a poo in one of the swimming pools.

“We made one up, Code Brown – it was for when kids took a dump in the pool,” he told

The ex cruise worker explained that the ensuing hours were pretty ghastly for the staff.

“Four hours of clean up for that. Glad I didn’t have to do the cleaning,” said Paul.

Other code words are used for even greater emergencies.

“The safety ones are pretty universal [across cruise lines],” Paul explained.

“Bravo Bravo for man overboard, Alpha for fire etc.”

Certain cruise lines also use the term Red Parties if there is a fire, he added.

Some terms were used between staff in a more humorous vein.

Paul revealed they had one very unusual code word for guests.


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“Cones was the term we used for guests,” he said. “Not sure why though.”

The unusual code word is also referenced by former senior cruise ship office Jay Herring in his book The Truth About Cruise Ships.

He shared some insight into why “cones” came about to refer to passengers.

Herring also explained that sexual relations between crew and passengers were referred to as “coning” when he worked on board.

“Even though it was company policy not to sleep with the passengers, it happened so often that we had a nickname for it,” he wrote.

“It was called ‘coning,’ from the infinitive ‘to cone.’ Passengers were referred to as ‘cones.’

“Some say it’s because, during boat drill, the passengers look like the neon orange traffic cones.

“But others say it’s from the 1993 movie Coneheads where, just like the aliens in the movie, passengers ate everything in sight.”

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