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SeaLetter Cruise Quiz
Cruise Quiz


by Alan Walker

SeaLetter readers came through once again with incredibly inventive answers to the General Cruise quiz. Many of you asked that we publish the answers now, before you forget what you answered. The SeaLetter Hall of Fame is now overflowing, and we've had to ask for a government grant to provide portable toilets outside the doors until we can process everybody. And now for the winners . . . .

TOP scorers were Dale Stevens from Pocomoke City MD and Stephen Sykes of Ft. Lauderdale FL. Joining Dale and Stephen in the "if-I-met-you-on-a-cruise-I'd-want-to-be-on-YOUR-trivia-team" category are David Walker of Salisbury NC, D. Hamill of Lisburn N. Ireland, Nancy Tharp of Joliet IL, Mary of Jersey NJ, William Carpi of Las Vegas NV, David Blaisdell of Oakland CA, James Tagliani of San Francisco CA, Thomas Opdyke of Brewster NY, leading seaman Dave Beers of Athens AL, Chris M. of Daytona Beach FL, Andy Taylor of Arlington VA, Rein Ende of Hamilton ON (love that Hamilton!), Mike Wesley of Newark OH, Ken Levin of Chapel Hill NC, Kevin Fernie of Boston MA, Frank Bushakra of Lagrande OR, Timothy Croker of Toronto ON, Dirk van Heiningen of Watsontown PA, Mike Horn of Martinez CA, David Stern of Bronx NY, Hondu Wiltshire of Arlington TX (where's Sharen's entry?), fellow Vancouverite J. Spanza, Marc Benz from Zurich Switzerland, Mark Luhman from Flower Mound TX, George Howarth of Monessen PA, Keith Harner of York PA, Father John Foster of Stockton CA, J. Carrick of Saugus MA and Kathy Hewston of Deep River CT.

And in the "if-I-met-you-on-a-cruise-I'd-want-you-to-be-on-MY-trivia team" are Bernard Soltz from Port Richey FL, Thad from NYC, Kathy Winslow from Peekskill NY, Anne Enderby of Denver CO, Marc Sigal from Yardley PA, Steve Bland from Cecilia KY, Randy from Washington DC, Len Murry from Herndon VA, Reint van Dijk from Amsterdam Netherlands, Colleen Cervero from the wonderful Wallingford CT, Jeff Terrell from Conroe TX (thanks Jeff), Art Conner from Wabash IN, Keri Bruegger from Bryan TX, Pam from Depoe Bay OR, Elizabeth Atkinson from that great state of British Columbia, Joseph Gamoran of East Brunswick NJ, Cindy Clouther of Nashua NH, Billy J. Baker of Burtonsville MD, Christpher Wethers of Columbia MD, Connie Corrigan from Etters PA, Laura Richards of Wilmington MA, Dale Matejowsky of Sacramento CA, Celeste Pasquariello of Conshohocken PA, Marlene Volz of Urbandale IA, Dave Dworak of Frederick MD, David Herschler, newly of Brookeville MD, Caron of Agincourt ON, Linda Traylor of Mableton GA, and Gary Cummings of Redding CA.

Excellent entries were also received from Jeremy Lawrence of Forth Worth TX, Donna Freudenberger of New Hartford NY, Debbie Carlsen of Bloomingdale IL, Denise Tingey of Eugene OR, VeAnn Davis of Oklahoma City OK, Aaron Soowal of Philadelphia PA, Ed Rivera of Humacao PR, Larry Gruber from Edison NJ, Denna Helton of Plana TX, Vickie Brown of super-friendly Maple Ridge BC, Calvin of Roswell GA, Ken of Weehwken NJ, violinist Mary Lou Zurawski of Chicago IL, M. Pitts of Kansas City MO, Debbie Carlsen of Bloomingdale IL, Steve Wallace of Monroe LA, Paulette King of Yuba City CA, Marty of Missoula MT, Sharon Hite of Mebane NC, Sharon Roberts of Monument Beach MA, Nancy M from Halifax NS, Robert van Hengel from Troy MI, Terri Lombardo from Ijamsville MD, Susan Steichen from Rockford IL, Barbara Rogers from Bayside NY, Karen Senecal of Lake Placid NY, Debra Schomaker of New Baden IL, Donna Engels of Sterling IL, Eileen Ryan of Tobyhanna PA, Loree of Tecumseh NE, Florence Accardi of Cleveland OH, Sandi Rushing of Lufkin TX, Mary of Munhall PA, Lauretta Camardelli of Middletown NY, Noni (sassysocks) Gubbels of Randolph NE, P. Dinsmore of Akron MI, Joanne Coppola of Oakdale NY, and Karen of Sacramento CA.

Sorry if your name wasn't mentioned because of our publishing deadline or because of the ineptitude of the cruise columnist. So, here are the questions again, and the answers:

1. All current Carnival Cruise ships have names that end in "y", "n" or "e":

(a) True
(b) False
(c) neither (a) nor (b)

(a) is correct at the moment for Carnival's 13 ships, but in July of this year the Carnival Triumph (ends in "h"!), a sister ship to the Carnival Destiny, will debut. In 2000, the Carnival Victory arrives, and in 2002, the Carnival Conquest (ends in "t"!) will join the fleet. The Carnival Glory is scheduled for service in 2003. All of these ships are 102,000 tons.

2. The name of the first Carnival ship was:

(a) Party Animals
(b) Carnivale
(c) Mardi Gras
(d) The Fun Ship
(e) Lesser Cornstalk Borer

Mardi Gras was the correct answer. Is it just me or has Carnival got more boring in ship's names since the Mardi Gras days? Most ship's names are so wishy washy nowadays that it's hard to remember them - they're all nature (Sea, Ocean, Sky) or feelings (Sensation, Elation, Ecstasy) or abstract (Legend, Splendour, Dream) or royal (Princess, Sovereign, Majesty). I like the memorable names that some of the smaller cruise lines use to honor famous people like the Marco Polo, the Paul Gaugin or my most favorite, the Galileo Galilei (although a bit of a mouthful). If I had my own cruise line, I'd call my flagship "The Lesser Cornstalk Borer" - that would truly be memorable. Shutup Alan, and get back to the quiz. OK, but one last comment. How do SeaLetter readers like the recently announced name of one of the new Royal Caribbean ships, The Brilliance of the Seas? Is that brilliant or what? ("What" is the correct answer).

3. On the first cruise of the correct ship in question 2:

(a) the ship was impounded by Cuban authorities
(b) the ship went aground
(c) there was a riot during the napkin-folding class
(d) the "hairy chest" competition was open to both men and women

The Mardi Gras did run aground on its first cruise (near the tip of Miami Beach), so (b) was the correct answer. People laughed at the fledgling Carnival Cruise Line at the time. Who's laughing now when the founder and his son are two of the top one hundred richest people in the world?

4. Which is incorrect?

(a) Carnival owns Holland America
(b) P&O owns Princess
(c) Celebrity owns Royal Caribbean
(d) Nippon Yusen Kaisha owns Crystal
(e) Carnival owns Cunard

Answer (c) was incorrect because Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity, not the other way around. The owners of Crystal are usually known just as "NYK". They're a huge shipping company even though there are only two Crystal cruise ships at the moment.

5. P&O stands for:

(a) a vulgar abbreviation for telling someone to get lost
(b) Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company
(c) Princess & Oriana Cruise Line
(d) Perfectly Ordinary Cruise Line

(b) is correct. And while "steam" seems an old-fashioned word in the name of a modern shipping company, P&O is proud of its heritage dating from 1837, almost from the time of the world's first true steamship. P&O today is a large conglomerate, not just a shipping line.

6. Which day of the week did superstitious sailors believe was an unlucky day for the start of an ocean voyage?

(a) Monday
(b) Wednesday
(c) Friday
(d) Sunday

Sailors used to believe that Friday, the day that Jesus Christ was said to be crucified, was an unlucky sailing day. In the 19th century, the British Navy tried to dispel this superstition. The keel of a new ship was laid on a Friday, it was named the H.M.S. Friday, launched on a Friday, and finally sent out to sea on a Friday. Neither the ship nor the crew were heard from again.

7. The word "posh" is said to have been created from the acronym P.O.S.H., meaning:

(a) Port Out, Starboard Home
(b) Pee On Staying Home
(c) Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Holdings
(d) Put On Some Hashbrowns

"Port Out, Starboard Home" (your choice of where you cabin was located), and its abbreviation "POSH", were supposedly a term for the cooler accommodations on ships sailing between Britain and India starting in the mid-nineteenth century (presumably, if you lived in India and were travelling to Britain you'd ask for a SOPH (starboard out, port home) cabin (grin). Cute as the origin of the word seems to be, others have pointed out that there is no record of the word in English prior to 1918 and the explanation of the acronym didn't appear in writing until 1935. Well, I'm sure that's more than you wanted to know (grin).

8. And now for the Wheel of Fortune question: what is the name of this Royal Caribbean ship?

SP******* of the Seas

(a) Spendthrift of the Seas
(b) Splendor of the Seas
(c) Spatula of the Seas
(d) Spaghetti of the Seas
(e) Splendour of the Seas
(f) Specimen of the Seas

This was a bit of a trick question because the correct answer is (e), not (b). Despite the fact that Royal Caribbean is a US-based company, it used the English spelling when naming the ship (so we needed to buy a "U" from Vanna).

9. The nautical term "port" means:

(a) the left, as you look towards the bow
(b) the left, as you look towards the stern
(c) the right as you look out to sea
(d) the left when looking in the direction that the ship is moving
(e) a fortified wine

The correct answer was (a), and not many went wrong on that one. Those who picked (d) would find that port and starboard were reversed when the ship was going backwards (grin).

10. Here are some nautical terms with explanations. Which one is wrong?

(a) aft - back or stern
(b) bow - the forward part of a ship
(c) brig - jail
(d) head - toilet
(e) avast - very big
(f) scuppers - an opening to drain water

"Avast" was the wrong one - it means "to stop or cease". It seems to me I've only heard the expression in "Avast me hearties", which doesn't make a lot of sense. I doubt that you'll ever hear a modern cruise captain saying "avast".

11. These ships are shown with their former name (or one of their former names) on the left, with the current name on the right. Which one is wrongly matched?

(a) Rotterdam V - Rembrandt
(b) Dreamward - Norwegian Dream
(c) France - Norway
(d) Empress of Canada - Mardi Gras
(e) Annie Hall - CostaAllegra
(f) Sea Venture - Pacific Princess

The CostaAllegra used to be called the Annie Johnson, so (e) was wrongly matched. Anybody know who Annie Johnson is - or was? Some ships seem to love to change names: the current Universe Explorer has been variously known as the Queen of Bermuda, Canada Star, Liberte, Island Sun, Volendam, Monarch Sun and the Brazil!

12. A traditional dish on a cruise ship which is often served on the second-last or last night of a cruise is:

(a) Baked Alaska
(b) Baked Hawaii
(c) Baked Beans
(d) Half-Baked

It was hard to fool anybody on this one. Baked Alaska was the correct answer. Our SeaLetter publisher, Sharon Jackson, finds that the worst part of cruising is when she is served the Baked Alaska half-melted (from all the waiters parading around with the Alaskas on top of their heads), AND she always gets the hated strawberry portion instead of chocolate. (I hope she doesn't fire me for letting you in on this highly-confidential secret).

13. The "caller" at bingo on cruise ships often gives the same silly comment or sound when a certain number is called. What is usually said after the number 22 is called?

(a) eyes of blue
(b) blackjack
(c) honk honk
(d) quack quack
(e) hiss hiss

I know that some of you won't be at all embarrassed that you didn't know the proper answer to this bingo question (grin). Hey, I was on a cruise where the bingo jackpot was $18,000 and you couldn't find a passenger anywhere other than in the bingo lounge. "Quack quack" is the correct answer because 22 is supposed to look like two ducks (it looks more like two geese or swans to me).

14. On a cruise ship, "stabilizers" are:

(a) a glass of water and two Tylenol
(b) gym devices to measure the equilibrium of your inner ear
(c) extendible underwater "wings" from the bow and the stern
(d) extendible underwater wings from midships on either side
(e) a drink composed of half beer, half tomato juice

Most SeaLetter readers knew that stabilizers were underwater wings, but some got mixed up where they were. They stick out from the sides of the ship, not from the bow and the stern.

15. Where do the crew sleep on a cruise ship?

(a) in cabins below the passenger decks
(b) on a barge towed behind the cruise ship
(c) ashore
(d) with selected passengers
(e) in the galleys

Those who answered (d) will be investigated by a Ken Starr Grand Jury. Of course, the crew sleep in cabins below the passenger decks but the crew decks are so well hidden, it's easy to forget that they're there. You'll hear Cruise Directors swear that some passengers have asked them "where do the crew sleep?".

16. A "purser" on a cruise ship is:

(a) in charge of the passengers' comfort and welfare
(b) a boutique that sells handbags
(c) one who puckers
(d) in charge of the bowling alley

(a) was correct. Some readers commented that the Hotel Manager is more in charge of passengers' comfort and welfare today than the purser - true. But the original definition of "purser" is as noted above, and is still the role of a purser on a smaller cruise ship. The "purser" name is disappearing it seems - on Celebrity ships they now call it the "Guest Relations Desk". I guess I'm old fashioned - I still like being called a passenger.

17. Which one is presently the largest cruise ship afloat?

(a) the Grand Princess
(b) the Carnival Destiny
(c) the Norway
(d) the QE2
(e) the Queen Mary
(f) the Voyager of the Seas

I don't know the correct answer to this question (do I hear screams that you shouldn't ask a trivia question unless you know the answer?) Well, it's like this: the Grand Princess is the largest cruise ship IN SERVICE at the moment at 109,000 tons. Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas is afloat, but decks are still being added to it. Since a ship's "size" is a measure of its enclosed volume, the Voyager, at quiz time, may or may not have surpassed the Grand Princess in size. When finished, the Voyager will easily be the largest at 142,000 tons. Not to worry, if you answered Grand Princess or Voyager of the Seas, you were marked as correct. Thanks for not rioting.

18. Here is a list of cruise lines and the year that each was founded. Which one has the wrong date?

(a) Holland America - 1973
(b) Princess - 1965
(c) Royal Caribbean - 1969
(d) Carnival - 1972
(e) Crystal - 1988

I don't expect that even the senior executives of most cruise lines could tell you the exact year when the other major cruise lines were founded. However, any cruiser who has had the slightest connection with Holland America Line will likely know that it's a VERY old cruise line - in fact, the date I gave was a hundred years out: Holland America was founded in 1873. That doesn't make HAL the oldest cruise line, however. As indicated in question 5, P&O Line was founded in 1837 and, in addition to owning Princess Cruises as a subsidiary company, P&O has its own cruise ships including the Oriana, the Victoria and the Arcadia (the former Star Princess).

19. A ship's speed is measured in knots, being one nautical mile per hour. A nautical mile is:

(a) about 15% longer than a land mile
(b) about 15% shorter than a land mile
(c) the same measurement in Britain and the U.S.
(d) a badly behaved mile

A nautical mile is 15% longer than a land mile, so you've cruised further than you may think (grin). A British nautical mile is about 4 feet longer than a US one because the British eat fish and chips, or for some other reason.

20. Carnival's new absolutely-no-smoking ship is named:

(a) Stinkfree
(b) Camel of the Seas
(c) Puffless Princess
(d) Paradise
(e) Costa Nonsmoka
(f) Paralyse
(g) Norwegian Grass

It's paradise to be on Carnival's non-smoking Paradise according to most passengers who have tried it. The exception might be the dozen or so passengers who have been kicked off the ship so far for having been caught lighting up.

21. The word "Monrovia" can be seen on the stern of a number of cruise ships and sometimes on the life preservers. Monrovia is:

(a) the capital of the country where the ship is registered
(b) the name of the Italian company which built the ship
(c) the motto of Costa Cruise Lines
(d) I think I'll pass on this one

Cruise ships are often officially registered in countries where there are easy-going rules, and Liberia is one of those countries. Monrovia, named after US president James Monroe, is the capital of Liberia.

22. A flag on a ship's mast which is half red, half white, represents the letter "H" and means:

(a) a pilot is on board
(b) a stewardess is on board
(c) there is a health hazard on board
(d) the ship is heeling
(e) Elvis is on board

A pilot is on board when the "H" flag shows. Don't ask me why it isn't the letter "P". The flag for the letter "P" is a white flag with a blue border and means "Report on Board; Vessel About to Sail". You often see this flag raised when the ladies are shopping in St. Thomas. Ships may also hoist two or three flags at the same time for more complicated messages. The flags representing the letters "MGF", for example, mean "Patient Has Cut Throat". I expect that this flag combination is rarely used - perhaps only after a bad karaoke night.

23. What's the name of the London-based company which runs most of the beauty salons and spas on board cruise ships?

(a) Steiner
(b) Spartan
(c) Seinfeld
(d) Beauty & the Beast
(e) Peddy Cure
(f) Blue Hair Holdings

Even our male readers didn't have any trouble in identifying Steiner as the correct answer. I liked (d) myself.

24. A cruise ship's "gross tonnage" is a measure of its:

(a) volume of enclosed space
(b) weight in drydock
(c) weight of water displacement
(d) passenger weight after the midnight buffet

This question proved tricky for quite a few, and not surprising because "gross tonnage" for a passenger ship is a measure of its internal volume, not its weight. A ton is 100 cubic feet. It's not unknown for competing ships to increase their tonnage by way of enclosing a part of an open deck. The French Line's Normandie did this in the 1930's so that it could beat out the Queen Mary as being the largest ship in the world.

25. The 1975 TV series "The Love Boat" has been shown on TV in how many countries (prior to the USSR disintegrating into 13 countries)?

(a) 13
(b) 33
(c) 93
(d) 133

This really wasn't a "cruise" question (but that's OK, I make the rules (grin)), and I expect that most readers made an educated guess as to the answer, unless you happened to remember this trivial statistic from a Princess Newsletter. 93 was the correct answer.

26. Which is not a movie about the ill-fated Titanic?

(a) Titanic 1953 (Clifton Webb)
(b) A Night to Remember 1958 (Kenneth More)
(c) S.O.S. Titanic 1979 (David Janssen)
(d) Iceberg Dead Ahead! 1962 (Jean Simmons)
(e) Titanic 1997 (Frances Fisher)

Wow, another not-a-real-cruise-question. Most picked out the great name that I had made up, "Iceberg Dead Ahead", but I confused a few by mentioning Frances Fisher as the star of the most recent Titanic instead of the more obvious Leo or Kate. Are you getting tired of Titanic stuff? If so, don't read on. The first movie about the Titanic drama was made only 6 months after the disaster. It was a half hour German movie and received some criticism when it was noted that the British officers on the Titanic were wearing German naval uniforms. Perhaps not a big budget feature. The Titanic's re-emergence began with the 1953 US-made movie "Titanic" although it was really Walter Lord's book "A Night To Remember" in 1955 which attracted the public's attention to the long ago drama. The British-made movie of the same name in 1958 is more factual in portraying the disaster as viewed by the ship's officers whereas the 1953 version focuses on a fictional passenger situation. Both movies however have great special effects, especially considering the technical limitations of 40 years ago and much smaller budgets, even taking into account inflation, than James Cameron's recent epic. I haven't seen the David Janssen made-for-TV version, but it is well-rated.

Quiz entries were marked by The SeaLetter Cruise Review Board, consisting of managing editor Bob Jackson, his bowling coach and his two cats, Lewis & Clark. Unfortunately, it turned out that Bob's bowling coach couldn't read, so Lewis & Clark did most of the reviewing. These were the ratings:

27 or more correct: Absolutely amazing (there were only 26 questions).

20 - 26 correct: Expert. You've cruised too much and have spent your children's inheritance.

10 - 19 correct: Novice. Time to try a cruise line other than Carnival.

0 - 9 correct. Dunderhead. You haven't cruised except for the Staten Island ferry. You have now been entered into the SeaLetter Hall of Infamy.

I'm pleased to report that nobody ended up in the SeaLetter Hall of Infamy.


Alan WalkerOriginally from Australia, Alan has for some time been permanently settled in Vancouver where he is a practicing Attorney. He has been a SeaLetter columnist, reviewer and our resident humorist for some time now.

To find all of Alan's SeaLetter columns, featured and humorous articles, and cruise and port reviews, visit our SeaLetter COLUMNISTS Index.

Alan loves email, and can be reached at: Alan@sealetter.com.

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