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Responses to Silly Cruise Questions

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For the record – I don’t personally think there are any “stupid cruise questions.”

Sometimes a person has certain information she really needs to know. But most of us in the industry are aware of a famous “stupid cruise questions” list that gets repeated on almost every cruise, mostly for the benefit of the people who have no cruise experience. But those of us who have heard them all 100 times find them to be no more amusing than the average knock-knock joke.

But the list of well-known “stupid cruise questions” is in the repertoire of most cruise directors and ship comedians so I hear them all the time, but for the record – out of a list of 30 “Stupid Cruise Questions” here are the only ones I think are truly funny in the sense that someone would actually ask them.

1. What time is the Midnight Buffet?
2. Who’s driving the ship (when they meet the captain)?
3. Why is my cabin is so much smaller than the pictures?
4. What is the best side of the ship for a cruise?
5. Does the ship generate its own electricity?
6. Does the crew live onboard?
7. How can I tell which pictures are ours?
8. Where is the ocean view I was promised (before the ship sets sail).
9. Can I buy a daily newspaper when the ship is at sea?
10. Where do you put the ice carvings after the buffet?

I will let you make up your own answers for the questions above, but some of my favorites include “Actually, your cabin is bigger than the pictures, but not by much.” And “Yes” to the “can I buy a daily newspaper when the ship is at sea?” At least that is true on some cruise lines today.

More Stupid Cruise Questions – Elevation?

One of the most commonly mentioned “stupid cruise question” was “What is our elevation?”

Obviously, a ship always floats at sea level – but if you mean “how far above the water line are we when standing on deck 12?” then your “elevation” is closer to 50 ft than sea level. That’s a perfectly valid question. At least I thought so when I asked it.

One crew member said he was in Glacier Bay, Alaska, when he was asked “what is our elevation?” I suppose many people confuse elevation with “latitude.” Surprisingly, Glacier Bay is only 58-degrees north – when the North Pole is 90% north. On European cruises north of Norway I have been above 80-degrees north.

I recently asked my readers to send me some original funny stories regarding cruise questions and incidents – and I did receive some clever jokes I hadn’t heard for a long time.

I received an email from a crewmember who was asked by an innocent passenger “Does this elevator stop at deck 11?” and he replied “Only if you want it to…” Okay – that is a perfectly valid question and the fact that someone would bother to send it to me as a “silly cruise question” only shows how far some people will overreach with this concept. To me that is more of stupid answer than a stupid question.

I received several emails citing “do these stairs go up?” as a hilariously stupid question. I never found this question to be that funny. Obviously the question is “how far do these stairs go up?” I once started to ask an officer if a set of stairs went up to deck 10 but he started laughing rather vigorously before I could finish the question; when I got to “Do these stairs go up…” he bust a gut. I wanted to “deck” that officer with a good gut-check of my own, to be honest with you.

Funny Cruise Stories

A little old lady is invited to dine at the captain’s table where she asks him, “Sir, do these magnificant ships sink very often?” The captain replies, “Only once, madam.” Once again, silly question or silly answer?

But this lady was no fool, and knew she had been made an object of ridicule. So she wrote a letter to the cruise line’s president complaining she was “forced to eat with the crew.”

Here is another funny story, possibly (or possibly not). Last April 11. 2012, was the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. Is 100 years still “too soon?” I will let you be the judge…

Just before he decided to jump into a life boat, Bruce Ismay, the President of the Titanic’s White Star Line, asked Captain Edward Smith how far it was to the nearest soil. “It’s about two miles,” the captain replied. “Straight down.”

Your Turn
If you have more somewhat original cruise jokes and stories please keep them coming, my email address is

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Comment from gharkness
Time September 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

One of life’s greatest pleasures is becoming an expert on cruising – because in order to be an expert, you have to have cruised a LOT!

I never laugh at a sincere question. I have heard a lot, but one of the strangest things I ever heard was a comment from a new cruiser (two weeks ago), who was exclaiming (on the first day of a cruise) how she was looking forward to the skeet shooting competition to be held off the back end of the ship!

I did gently explain to her about environmental regulations not allowing such, to mention nothing of loaded guns passed among the passengers. I **think** I convinced her it wasn’t going to happen!

Turns out, when I got home I did some research, only to find out that skeet shooting used to be a very popular event on cruise ships!

I am really glad I didn’t laugh at her, because I would truly have been ashamed when I did the research.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time September 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Oh yeah, I remember skeet shooting on cruise ships. As recent as the mid-90s it was common.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 15, 2012 at 4:54 am

For years comedians enlisted these same “silly” questions during their acts on ships. They never stop getting laughs as old as some of these be. Cruise directors often tell the same as warm ups to a singer etc…

Two areas that do provide silly questions or stories are the vacuum flush toilets – which replaced the tradtional flushers, and stories form the passenger laundry, or laundrette on British ships, where under wear or “smalls” are the butt of jokes,.

And there was a day when skeet shooting was a commmon diversion off the fan tail of nearly every cruise ship or liner well into the 1980’s. Some still provide shuffle board and those so called horse races.

Comment from Glenda
Time September 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Paul, I hope you can help me. I am a person with physical disabilities and I am scheduled to cruise with NCL from Barcelona to Italy in 2013. I understand that a person with my problems will be in bad shape as not many places have handicapped accessible streets, etc for people who are. I have even been asked by my family to reconsider this cruise. Can you give me some persons that I might contact who could assist me with my port and excursion issues. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time September 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I am sorry but I would never claim to be an expert in this area. The first and only thing I can suggest is that you consult with the tour department onboard. They sell the same tours week after week and they should have a good idea which ones do better for people in your situation. Just be clear about your specific needs and make sure you consult someone who really knows what the special issues may be.

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