By Teresa Mills
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Teresa Mills/Life Experiences Publishing
PO Box 53
Bluff City, TN 37618
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A Little About Cruise Ships
How Big is a Cruise Ship?
How Does a Cruise Ship Float?
The Cruise Ship Captain’s Job
The Engine Control Room
Where Does the Cruise Ship Crew Live?
Broadway Quality Shows
Food on a Cruise Ship
The Pools and Waterslides
Outdoor Giant Screen
Ship Games: Giant Chess Set
Ship Games: Mini Golf
Ship Games: Kids Activities
The Towel Animals
Cruise Ship Cams
Cruise Ship Trackers
About The Author
My family and I have cruised many times. Exploring the ship and learning about it are always on our agenda.
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit a Cruise Ship is written as a fun fact guide about cruise ships and how they operate, the jobs that the staff have, facts about the food served and the activities for kids on board. The book can easily be shared with younger children as well with assisted reading.
I have a free gift for you – to help in planning your family vacations.
Other Books in the Hey Kids! Let’s Visit Series
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit Washington DC
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit New York City
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit London England
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit San Francisco
A cruise ship is a giant floating city. Really!
There is a ship captain – like the mayor.
There are ship officers – like the city council.
There are crew members and guests – like the people who live in the city.
A Celebrity Cruise Ship
There are restaurants, barber shops, gift shops, show theaters (even outdoor large screen theaters), children’s camps, swimming pools, water slides, miniature golf, basketball courts, climbing walls (on some ships), coffee shops, and just about anything you can think of that you would need to be able to enjoy your time on the ship.
There are kitchens, large food storage freezers, laundry rooms, the bridge and engine control room and a garbage room. There are cabins where the crew sleep, and cabins for the guests. There are many lounge chairs on the decks for relaxing.
And, with all of that, and then people on board, how in the world does a cruise ship stay afloat?
What happens to all the leftover food? What about all the garbage?
What happens if the store manager runs out of Coke?
Well, we are going to find out! Let’s Visit a Cruise Ship!!!
At this writing, the largest cruise ship is almost 1200 feet long (3 1/3 football fields including end zones). I happen to have a photo of the Carnival Splendor (952 ft. long) that I edited giving a rough idea of the length of this ship (I know the angle is off a little, but it gives you a rough idea).
A Cruise Ship size comparison
This particular ship has a draft (the amount of the ship that is below the water) of 27 feet.
Most cruise ships are somewhere around 200 – 230 feet above the water.
Here’s the short answer – Buoyancy and Dis-placement.
Buoyancy: The power of a fluid to put an up-ward force on a body placed in it. (The buoyancy of seawater.)
Displacement: The volume or weight of a fluid (such as water) displaced by a floating body (such as a ship) of equal weight.
Cruise ships are designed to displace an amount of water equal to their mass. This keeps the ship afloat.
Large ships have a rounded hull and are wide enough to displace the same amount of water equal to the mass of the ship. Then the force of the sea water pushes back up on the ship to create the buoyancy that keeps it afloat.
As new cruise ships are designed to be taller, they will also be designed to be wider to displace the correct amount of water.
The bridge is where the captain and the officers command the ship. Everything from maneuvering (steering) the ship, to keeping lookout, to keeping an eye on the radar happens on the bridge.
The bridge on a cruise ship is a very spacious room and allows for a nearly 360 degree view of the entire ship.
Do you notice in the picture that the bridge ex-tends out past the sides of the ship? It’s wider than the ship. This is to help the quartermaster maneuver the ship to the dock. There is a window on the floor of the bridge at that point so that he / she can see the dock through the window.
The Bridge of a Cruise Ship
The bridge is manned 24 hours per day by at least three officers. It’s usually the first officer, the second officer, and the quartermaster. The captain and others are on the bridge during maneuvering.
The maneuvering of the ship is commanded by the captain, with the quartermaster steering the ship from the steering station on either side of the ship’s bridge.
The captain is completely in charge of every aspect of the ship. The captain is responsible for the safe operation of the ship, the safety of all of the crew and passengers, the navigation, and cargo. The captain is also responsible for ensuring that the vessel complies with local and inter-national laws.
When the ship approaches a port, the harbor pi-lot will come aboard the ship before the ship docks. Even though the harbor pilot is in charge of the port, the Captain remains in charge of the ship.
The captain must also make sure that:
• The ship’s charts, documents, and certifications are up to date.
• All safety equipment such as lifeboats, life rafts, watertight doors, splash doors, fire doors, sprinkler systems etc. are in proper working condition.
Each member of the crew is assigned an emergency duty – The captain has to make sure that each crew member knows their responsibility in case there is an emergency.
The captain also has a social responsibility to appear at any welcome aboard cocktail parties and receptions for repeat cruisers. (Those who travel regularly on the cruise line.)
The chief engineer of the cruise ship has a large team of engineers and is in charge of maintaining the ship’s engines and electrical system. You can think of the engine control room like a large electric company. The ship’s diesel generators generate electricity for the electric engines as well as for the entire ship. It’s a pretty amazing operation!
In addition to the engines and generators, the chief engineer and control room staff are responsible for the cruise ship fuel for the diesel engines and generators. A diesel engine can burn up to two tons of fuel per hour, so there has to be a lot of fuel stored on board the ship!
Guess what else the engine control room staff is in charge of?
That’s right – they control the sewerage of the ship. When the ship is out to sea, the sewage is treated and dumped at sea. While in port, it is contained on the ship.
The crew of the ship live in an area below the passenger cabins. Generally there are two decks dedicated to the crew.
The upper crew deck would be for staff members including the officers, the entertainment staff, and the hotel staff. The staff often get a room to themselves.
The lower crew deck has cabins for the remainder of the crew members. There are two crew members to a cabin and they are usually from different departments. The crew cabins are small, but functional. Couple cabins are available for married couples.
The upper crew deck also has a crew gym and a crew lounge, which is open 24×7. There are laundry facilities on the upper crew deck for crew members to use.
The crew dining halls are on this level as well. There are five dining rooms (called mess halls) for crew members – crew mess, staff mess, petty officer mess, officer mess and captain’s dining room.
Somewhere on the ship, there will be a crew only open deck with hot tubs and lounge chairs and possibly a pool.
The Crew Level on a Cruise Ship
Did you know that on a cruise ship there are per-formers and show technicians who present Broadway quality shows?
The shows preformed on the cruise ships are de-signed for and purchased by the cruise lines. Each show will run for five to seven years. And… because the shows are so expensive to have created, it is less expensive for the cruise line to move a ship to a new location, for a new audience, than to have a new show created.
I think it is interesting to learn about the cast of the shows – Did you know that…
• When they come on the ship to be a per-former, they have six weeks to learn the entire show?
• The performers usually stay onboard with the show for eight months?
• After their contract, they generally move on to another ship?
• The performers do their own laundry?
• The performers create their own costume?
The technicians required to produce a show are…
• A lighting technician – pyrotechnics and lasers
• A sound technician
• A floor moving / painting technician
• An automation technician – who does all of the drops and flying
There are additional technicians for set movement. And, think about it – all of this is happening on a moving ship. So, everything has to be secured.
Laundry on a cruise ship is another major operation. Think about it! There are sheets, towels, beach towels, table cloths, all of the crew’s uniforms, and probably some that I have completely forgotten.
All of the sheets, tablecloths, napkins, and things like that must also be pressed and folded.
In the laundry area of a cruise ship, there are monstrous washing machines. Each machine is electronic and programmable. When washing a particular type of laundry, the technician selects the right code on the machine, and the correct type and amount of soap is automatically used.
The laundry operation on a cruise ship is a 24×7 operation, and can end up doing up to 9000 pounds of laundry per day – even more on larger ships.
Have you ever thought about all of the garbage that is created on a cruise ship? Have you wondered what they do with all of it?
There is an entire section of the ship reserved for garbage. All garbage is collected and separated.
• Paper and cardboard can be burned once the ship is twelve nautical miles from shore
• Food and water is discharged from the ship
• All other garbage is off loaded when the ship is in port
It’s hard to believe, but crime doesn’t stop while at sea. So, on every cruise ship, there is a jail (commonly called the brig).
On some smaller cruise ships, the jail is a spare cabin that will be used to hold the prisoners until the ship docks.
On newer ships, there is a special jail set up – usually on the crew deck.
There is food everywhere on a cruise ship! Seriously, I mean everywhere! There is not a single minute of the day that you can’t find food avail-able on a cruise ship!
Most cruise ships offer a 24 hour pizza bar. There are foods of different varieties available in buffet lines and dining rooms where you can enjoy a sit down dinner. There is also usually a five star steak house dining experience available…. Oh, and ice cream!
Here’s the 24 hour pizza bar on the Carnival Dream!
24 hour pizza bar
Each cruise ship usually has some sort of chocolate extravaganza on one of the days when the ship does not stop at a port (commonly called sea days). Here is just a small portion of what we have seen. You might see a chocolate fountain with the cut up fruit to drizzle with chocolate. Or you might see chocolate covered strawberries!
Chocolate desserts on a cruise ship
One cruise ship I traveled on had an outdoor barbeque as well. So, for two or three hours, crew members grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken for sandwiches, and ribs. Just walk up and fill your plate – what do you think about that?
Okay – that’s all great, but consider these questions…
• Where is all that food stored and pre-pared?
• What happens to all the leftover food?
• When and where do the crew eat?
• How much food is served on a cruise ship?
Far below the passenger decks is the store room and the meat freezers. Yes, I said freezers. There is one for red meat, one for chicken and one for fish. And there is a main galley.
In the store room, you will find all the cans of soda, bottles of water, and all of the dry food items like cereal boxes, flour, sugar, and things like that. The store room has enough food and drinks for everyone on the ship for the duration of the cruise, plus three additional days just in case.
The freezers are near the store room. The freezer manager has to work closely with the chefs in the kitchen because the meat takes 72 hours to thaw once removed from the freezers. So, the chef has to let the food manager know how much to re-move to prepare for meals three days ahead of time.
The galley (kitchen) is where the food is prepared and cooked. There are sections in the galley for carving and salads, steaming, pastries and desserts, and preparing the meat. It is quite an operation!
So, what about leftover food?
All of the leftover food is collected and the crew makes sure that there is no paper or plastic in it. It is cut into very small pieces and then dis-charged into the sea. Yep! They feed the fish the leftover food!
When and where do the crew eat?
The crew eat in the mess halls on the upper crew only deck. Since the crew have varied schedules, service in the crew mess halls includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, and midnight.
How much food is served on a cruise ship?
Here are some fun food facts from a tour I had on a 7 day cruise. So, in one week, guests were served:
• 10,000 pounds of chicken
• 4,000 steaks
• 5,600 hot dogs
• 7,350 hamburgers
• 65,000 eggs
• 50,000 slices of bacon
• 10,000 individual boxes of cereal
• 22,500 slices of bread
• 5,200 pancakes
• 6,950 bananas
There is a never-ending list of things that you can do on a cruise other than eating.
Do you enjoy spending time in the water? The number of pools and hot tubs varies depending on the size of the ship, but there are usually two or three pools on a cruise ship. In addition, there is usually a water slide of some variety.
This is a water play place especially for the younger kids.
Little kids Water Park
This is a pretty cool set up with a pool and a couple of hot tubs together.
Pool and hot tubs together
This is a pool and a couple of hot tubs at the rear of a ship.
Pool and hot tubs at the rear of the ship
And, here is a waterslide and pool on another ship.
Pool and slide on a cruise ship
This water slide is pretty cool.
Large water slide on a cruise ship
And, this larger ship has an entire water park.
Entire waterpark on a cruise ship
Do you enjoy watching movies? Well, imagine watching your favorite movie on a giant screen!
Giant outdoor cinema screen
Most ships have a giant screen on the main deck. During the day they show scenes like above and at night show popular movies.
Outdoor screen on a Carnival Ship
This is a pretty awesome way to spend the evening after dinner!
A lot of cruise ships have a giant chess board somewhere on the ship. You can spend an after-noon with a buddy playing chess.
Giant chess set on cruise ship
Most ships now have a mini golf course on one of the tops decks. There is no charge – just pick up your golf club and golf ball and spend some time golfing.
All cruise lines have some sort of organized activities for kids from age 2 to age 18. The kids and the activities are split into different age groups so you will be with kids your own age.
Depending on the length of time for the cruise, the kids’ groups may even take a shore excursion (An activity at one of the ship’s destinations.) together.
Some of the cool kid activities on the ship include:
• Scavenger hunts around the ship
• Late night pizza and movie
• Video game night
• Dinner together with your group
• A special hang out area on the ship just for your group
• Dance parties
One of the most fun things about a cruise are the towel animals awaiting you in your cabin after dinner.
Towel Animal with sunglasses
Towel animal with hat and sunglasses
And, if you are lucky, you will see towel animals in other places on the cruise ship.
A towel crab
Towel octopus on the pool deck
A towel couple
http://kid-friendly-family-vacations.com/acs_shipcams for a link to web cams on board most ships! It’s really cool to take a look!
There are also links to some cruise port cams on this page.
Another great way to keep track of and follow cruise ships is through the cruise ship tracker.
This page has a map that shows the location of each cruise ship that is being tracked as well as a search function that lets you follow any ship you are interested in.
Thank you for purchasing and taking the time to read this book.
This is the second in the “Hey Kids! Let’s Visit” series of book for children.
If you and your children enjoyed the book or have any comments, I would love for you to re-view it on amazon!
Check out the other books in the series:
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit Washington DC
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit New York City
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit London England
Hey Kids! Let’s Visit San Francisco
To keep in touch and be notified of the next books in the series, please join us
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Proof-reading/Editing – Marcia Reagan
All photos in the book are our personal photos from family vacations.
Teresa Mills is the best selling author of the “Hey Kids! Let’s Visit…” Book Series for Kids!
She is an active mother of four and Mimi to three. She and her family love traveling, in the USA and internationally too! They love exploring new places, eating cool foods, and having yet another adventure as a family! In this family, it’s all about traveling as a family.
In addition to traveling, Teresa enjoys reading and tinkering with new website technologies.
Join in the fun at kid-friendly-family-vacations.com
Fun and Exciting Facts about a Cruise Ship - great photos! Hey Kids! Do you know... •How a Cruise Ship Floats? •What does the Cruise Ship Captain do? •Just how big is a cruise ship actually is? •Where does the cruise ship crew live? •Where does the poop go? •How much food is served on a cruise ship? •What are the cruise ship games on board? We will discover the answers to all of these questions as we virtually visit a cruise ship! Full of cruise ship photos, this cruise ship book for kids explores the ship's operation and all of the fun things for kids to do on a cruise ship! Join us on this cruise ship vacations tour! Teresa Mills is the bestselling author of the Hey Kids! Let's Visit Series of children's books With this edition to the series, she brings alive the behind the scenes fun of cruise ship travel! Scroll back to the top and visit a cruise ship with us! AFTER YOUR PURCHASE PLEASE LOOK UP OUR OTHER TITLES YOU MIGHT LIKE: Hey Kids! Let's Visit Washington DC Hey Kids! Let's Visit New York City Hey Kids! Let's Visit London England Hey Kids! Let's Visit San Francisco