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SeaLetter Cruise Quiz
Cruise Quiz


by Alan Walker

A whole heap of Sealetter readers complained that the quiz questions were harder than the second half of the questions on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", but the prizes on that show don't compare with those offered on Sealetter. In any event, we've found our readers to be so travel-smart that we need to employ a whole team of academics, and Bob Jackson, to create tough questions.

Warren Young of Mississuaga, Ontario; "Commodore" Dave Beers of Athens, AL; Lee Sauer of Sacramento, CA; and Mike Court of London, U.K., led the way with the most correct answers. Excellent results were also achieved by Steven Meyerson of Howell, NJ; Jeannine O'Hagan of Greeley,CO; Dirk van Heiningen of Watsontown, PA; William Carpi of Las Vegas, NV; John Foster of Stockton, CA; Kate McWilliams of Long Beach, CA; Susie from Elk Grove, CA; Andrew Cruz (!) from Safety Harbor, FL; Judy Lofland of Timonium, MD; Reint van Dijk, of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Lamar Cherry, another Elk Grover; and Sandy Richardson of Wilson, NC. Bunched up in the middle were Susan Hofer of Wheaton, IL; Patty from Miami, FL; Bob Walker (great name) from Chesterton, IN; Bob Hardwick of Pleasanton, CA; Lisa from Milwaukee, WI; Dan McNerney from Vero Beach, FL; Saul "Mario Lanza" Levine from San Jose, CA; Michael Nixon of DeKalb, IL; Diana Petisca from Houston, TX; Jacques Latour from Brossard, Quebec (hi Jacques!); Len Murry of Herndon, VA; Michael Weaver of Colorado Springs, CO; Ed Rivera of Humacao, PR; Mary Ellen Walsh of Monongahela, PA; Kathleen McMullen of Stafford, VA; Shelly Nichols of Plano, TX; and Michelle of Cleveland, OH.

Sorry if your name wasn't mentioned because of our publishing deadline, or because of the incompetence of the quiz marker.

So, if that's your final answer, here are the correct answers:

1. Which one is the embarkation port for cruises that are advertised as "leaving from Los Angeles?"

(a) San Pedro**
(b) Long Beach
(c) San Jose
(d) Great Dismal Swamp
(e) San Wrap

San Pedro is the awkwardly-placed cruise port for Los Angeles - the best part of an hour taxi ride south from LA's airport. Nearby Long Beach (the former cruise port), is a convenient and attractive place to stay overnight prior to a cruise, and it's an easy taxi ride to the San Pedro cruise terminal, You might take advantage while in Long Beach of touring the permanently-docked Queen Mary, a classic ocean liner.

2. The name "Cozumel" comes from a Mayan expression for:

(a) Land of the Swallows**
(b) Land of the Swallowed Too Much
(c) Land of the Giant Tortoises
(d) Land of the Persistent Vendor

"Land of the Tortoises" was the name given by Columbus to Grand Cayman, but the name "Cozumel" comes from the Mayan expression "Land of the Swallows."

3. The Titanic was built in:

(a) Liverpool, England
(b) Dublin, Ireland
(c) Southampton, England
(d) Belfast, Northern Ireland**
(e) Newport News, Virginia, USA

Southampton wasn't a bad guess as some of the final finishing work for the Titanic took place there, and Southampton was the original point of embarkation for Titanic's one and only cruise. Although the owner of the Titanic, the White Star Line, was an English firm, the ship was primarily built in Belfast.

4. Which of these is not an island in Hawaii?

(a) Hawaii
(b) Maui
(c) Kahoolawe
(d) Lahaina**
(e) Molokai

This was a tough one as many people, including me until I looked at an atlas - didn't realize that Kahoolawe was one of the Hawaiian islands. Poor Kahoolawe was used as a bomb testing range and target for many years by the US Military, and unexploded bombs are still being removed. To make matters worse, a wild goat population has destroyed much of the vegetation on this island. Probably wise to give this island a miss at the moment. Lahaina, as many readers knew, is a delightful cruise port on the island of Maui.

5. Which of the following is a resort area of France (often visited by cruise ships):

(a) the Cote d'Azur**
(b) Costa Blanca
(c) Costa del Sol
(d) Tuscany
(e) Amalfi Coast

The Cote d'Azur is the resort coastal area of France which includes the great cruise ports of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo. Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol are seaside resort areas in Spain. Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast are resort areas in Italy.

6. If you were on Christmas Island, you could look at:

(a) the south Pacific Ocean
(b) the Indian Ocean
(c) Mongolia
(d) either (a) or (b)**
(e) The Sea of Japan

Those readers who have tried my quizzes before know that I like trick questions, and this was one of them. There are TWO Christmas Islands, one a remote dependency of Australia, south of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean; the other, also known as Kiritimati, is part of the Pacific island republic of Kirabati - sometimes a cruise port for cruises between Tahiti and Hawaii, and sometimes a necessary stop for cruise ships doing a Hawaii cruise because of having to comply with the Jones (Passenger Services) Act.

7. Which of these places is the furthest south:

(a) Nassau, Bahamas
(b) Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands
(c) Port of Spain, Trinidad**
(d) Oranjestad, Aruba
(e) St. George's, Grenada

While it's easy to think of Grenada or Aruba as being the furthest south of the Caribbean islands, less-visited Port of Spain in Trinidad is quite a bit further south. In fact, the southern tip of Trinidad is actually further south than Caracas, Venezuela.

8. If you were cruising near the 5th largest continent, you would be cruising near:

(a) Antarctica**
(b) Australia
(c) South America
(d) Madagascar
(e) Mama Cass

I think a lot of us are unaware of how big Antarctica really is: 5.1 million square miles, making it larger than Australia (about 3 million), and Europe (about 4 million). Some 5,000 cruise passengers managed to visit Antarctica last year, but there were many complaints about the lack of souvenir shops. Fellow columnist, Doug Terhune, went ashore on formal night and was lost among the penguins. By the way, there was an error in the original question (which, unfortunately, I must take full credit for), and if you answered the quiz before the correction was made, you were marked as correct whatever answer you gave.

9. Which of these cruise ports is not a Greek island:

(a) Rodhos (Rhodes)
(b) Mykonos
(c) Lesbos
(d) Volos**
(e) Santorini

Another really tough question. I spent a day in Volos when I was on a cruise, and didn't realize (until I'd prepared this quiz), that it's on the mainland, not an island. Lesbos is the origin of word in English, but I can't think what it is at the moment - something to do with dams or dikes.

10. San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is:

(a) on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica
(b) on the Atlantic (Gulf of Mexico) coast of Costa Rica
(c) south of Panama
(d) none of the above**

Those Costa Ricans carefully placed their capital (and most interesting city) in the middle of their country, thereby ensuring that cruise passengers landing from the oceans on either side would have a bus ride into town with 40/40 air conditioning (40 miles an hour, 40 open windows).

11. Bermuda is approximately the same latitude as:

(a) Atlanta**
(b) New York
(c) Miami
(d) San Juan
(e) Peoria**

It's easy to think of Bermuda as being somewhere off the coast from New York because of all the Bermuda cruises that leave from the Big Apple. It's also easy to mix up Bermuda with the Caribbean islands, and think it's further south. "Atlanta" was the answer I was looking for until I checked my atlas and found out that Peoria, ARIZONA, (but not the better known Peoria in Illinois) is about the same latitude as Atlanta and Bermuda. So...if you answered "Peoria", you were marked as correct even if you were thinking of the town referred to in the old vaudeville expression "Will it play in Peoria?" I have given the quiz author a failing grade for this confusing question, and have had his bust (and other parts of his body), removed from the Sealetter Hall of Fame.

12. Of the following Mexican towns, which one is not a cruise port?

(a) Cabo San Lucas
(b) Zihuatanejo (for no extra points, please pronounce this name)
(c) Guadalajara**
(d) Mazatlan
(e) Acapulco

Guadalajara is Mexico's second-largest city, but it's inland. I'm not sure that Spanish speakers would agree, but I pronounce Zihuatanejo as "Zee What An Eh Ho". However you say it, it's a fun place to visit on a cruise.

13. Some major ports are located upriver from the ocean. Which of these cruise ports is approximately 1,000 miles upriver from the ocean?

(a) Portland, Oregon
(b) Portland, Maine
(c) Manaus, Brazil**
(d) Montreal, Canada
(e) Venice, Italy

Manaus, the usual port for starting or ending an Amazon cruise, is about a thousand miles up the Amazon, but even at Manaus the river is more than ten miles wide. Montreal is a long way from the "open" ocean, but much of the distance is in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, rather than the St. Lawrence River itself.

14. Which of these is not true:

(a) If Sydney, Australia were located in the US, it would be about the second largest city in the US (by population)
(b) The original native inhabitants of Australia are the Maoris**
(c) The Great Barrier Reef is alongside the state of Queensland
(d) Ayers Rock is a monolith

The Australia question proved to be a tough one for many of our readers. Despite Australia's population being less than 10% of the population of the US, Australia has concentrated populations in its coastal cities ('cause much of the interior of the country is desert). Depending on what source you're looking at, Sydney has a population of 3.7 million, and Los Angeles 3.5 million (but, "Greater Los Angeles" - whatever that means, has a population almost greater than the whole of Australia). The Maoris are the original inhabitants of New Zealand, not Australia. European explorers named Australia's aboriginal population by the imaginative name of "Aborigines".

15. If you were cruising through the Panama Canal from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, the direction that your ship would generally sail would be:

(a) north-west
(b) south-west
(c) north-east
(d) south-east**

Another of the trick questions (although this is an old trick). The fact that the "western" end of the Panama Canal is further east than the "eastern" end is a fascinating piece of trivia. Many of us would think of Panama as being "vertical" like Florida, but it's actually more horizontal, and the Canal cuts through Panama like a back slash (\). The city of Colon on the Caribbean side of the Canal is further west than Panama City at the Pacific end. Here's a tip to help remember this mostly-useless fact: if "C" stands for the Canal, Colon (:) is at the Caribbean entrance to the Canal, and the direction of the Canal is a back slash, then C:\ sums it up. (I've seen others use this memory aid, but not as much in recent years).

16. British Columbia's capital is:

(a) Vancouver on Victoria Island
(b) Victoria on Vancouver Island**
(c) Vancouver on Vancouver Island
(d)Victoria on Victoria Island
(e) none of the above

England's Captain George Vancouver did explore much of the Pacific Northwest, but only after much of the European discovery of the future British Columbia was carried out by others - in fact, if Spain hadn't been pre-occupied by other matters, the western US could have had Spanish-speaking residents on the other side of both borders. But I digress. Causing endless confusion among tourists, our forefathers named the huge island off the coast of southern British Columbia "Vancouver", and named its main city (and now British Columbia's capital), after the English queen, Vicky. A small town on the mainland was also subsequently named "Vancouver", and that small town (presently, 1.5 million people), now dwarfs the capital city of Victoria (population 300,000).

17. Which is not true:

(a) Israel is in Asia
(b) Indonesia has about three times the coastline of the US
(c) Bali is the main town in Bora Bora**
(d) Bombay is now called "Mumbai"

It comes as a surprise to many, (including Saul Levine), that Israel is actually in Asia, and that remote and often forgotten Indonesia has three times the coastline of the US. James Michener's mythical Bali H'ai, set in the South Pacific, confuses many who haven't visited the island of Bali in Indonesia. As for the Indians re-naming Bombay as "Mumbai", well, I guess that's their business.

18. A "Carioca" is a nickname for a resident of:

(a) Rio de Janeiro**
(b) Caracas
(c) Peoria
(d) A karaoke lounge

If a resident of Rio de Janeiro is a "Carioca", shouldn't a resident of Caracas be a "Rio-Jano" or something? Carioca is an old Portuguese word for Rio's residents.

19. "Al-Qahirah" is the local name for:

(a) Alcatraz
(b) Al Gore
(c) Cairo**
(d) Alexandria

As always with my quizzes, the less obvious is often the answer, and Al-Qahirah is the Egyptian name for Cairo, not the port city of Alexandria.

20. The nearest point of the Republic of France to North America is approximately how far:

(a) 10 miles**
(b) 2,898 miles
(c) 702 miles
(d) 3,571 miles
(e) about that far

Please do not riot over this trick question. France has made most (if not all) of the residents of its former colonies full citizens of France, and doesn't have "dependencies", "commonwealths" "territories" or associate status" as do some other colonial powers including the US. The small islands of Miquelon and St. Pierre, just ten miles off the coast of Canada's Newfoundland, are legally part of France (just as much as the Hawaiian Islands are part of the US). Now you can spring this obscure knowledge on your friends. (I hope they're still friends after you give them the answer (grin)).

How do you think you did? Here are the ratings as published by the SeaLetter Ports & Places Quiz Review Board:

15 - 20 Genius, or else you live or have lived in every port and/or place in the world.

6 - 15 Excellent - you are now entitled to book a cruise to exotic ports of call.

0 - 5 Break out those geography books..

If you got just half the questions right in this quiz, you did very well. Our thanks to all who participated, and to the majority of you who have now become members of the exclusive but ill-paid Sealetter Hall of Fame.


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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