I work on cruises – there’s a secret code you never want to hear on a ship

A CRUISE lawyer has revealed the phrase you never want to hear on board – because it means a passenger has gone overboard.

Spencer Aronfeld (@cruiseshiplawyer) is an expert in cruise ship law and knows a thing or two about protocol on board.

Spencer revealed how people would announce if there was a man overboard


Spencer revealed how people would announce if there was a man overboardCredit: Tiktok/cruiseshiplawyer

He explained in a video on Tiktok why you never want to hear the crew announce a “code Oscar”.

That means a passenger is missing and presumed to have gone overboard, something that he said happens more frequently than you would expect.

He said: “Here’s a secret most cruise lines don’t want you to know – about one to two passengers a month are reported missing, or man overboard, on major cruise lines.

“If you’re on a cruise and you hear the code announced ‘code Oscar,’ that’s how you know that passenger has been reported as having gone overboard.”

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Sometimes there are false alarms, with larger items mistaken for people.

However, for anyone who does end up going overboard, Spencer said the likelihood of them being found alive is very slim.

He continued: “There are certain types of technology that are available to major cruise lines, such as radar and infrared cameras that will alert the bridge that an object has gone over the side of the ship.

“But there are plenty of false alarms because people throw garbage, luggage and even deckchairs off the sides of the ship, sending false alarms all the time.

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“The truth is that by the time a passenger is reported missing and has gone overboard, there’s likely no chance that that person will survive and no chance that the ship will ever find them.”

The video has been viewed more than 15,000 times since it was shared, with some people scared by what they had heard.

One wrote: “New fear unlocked. I’m just gonna stay in my cabin if I ever go.”

A second added: “That’s it! No cruise ever for me.”

There are other secret words used on board to keep passengers in the dark about what’s going on on board.

Travel expert Brandon Presser revealed some of the phrases to listen out for – and their hidden meanings – to Bloomberg .

He said:  “A ‘30-30’ means the crew is asking maintenance to clean up a mess.

“Three times during my stint [as cruise director on a large ship] I called in a “PVI” (public vomiting incident).”

“An ‘Alpha’ is a medical emergency,  a Bravo’ is a fire, and ‘Kilo’ is a request for all personnel to report to their emergency posts – in the event of, say, a necessary evacuation.”

Meanwhile “Echo” is slightly scary – as it means the ship is “starting to drift”.

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Meanwhile, this cruise ship guest revealed the sign that means the ship is expecting rough weather.

And this is how passengers can avoid sickness on board cruises.

A 'code Oscar' means a passenger is missing and has gone overboard on a cruise


A ‘code Oscar’ means a passenger is missing and has gone overboard on a cruiseCredit: AP

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