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What Happens on a Cruise Ship Between Passengers?

Updated on July 9, 2014

Do You Know What it Takes To Make a Cruise Ship Work?

A cruise is probably my favorite way to travel. I love to sit back, be catered to, and enjoy the view of ocean as far as my eye can see. Also, I love visiting many different places throughout the week and still being able to sleep int eh same bed each night! I decided to research what happens in between my stay and the last guys...and I can safely say that it must be a mad panic for a few hours before between the cruise ship passengers.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you can find Port Everglades. On any given day, as many as 15 giant cruise liners stop there, dropping off 50,000 old passengers and picking up 50,000 new ones. For the passengers, this is the place that they start their relaxing vacation or get back to real life. However, for the workers, this is the place that they have to clean the ships and get them ready for the next set of passengers all in the span of a few hours.

Unloading The Cruise Ship

An average ship has about 3,000 passengers, so instead of trying to unload all the passengers at once, they are divided into groups, each with a specific time that they must leave the ship. Once the passengers are unloaded, the process of getting the ship ready for passengers who are next to board begins.

First, passenger’s bags are unloaded from the ship. Most passengers bring quite a few bags per person, and unloading passengers with their bags would cause too much of a headache and hold up. So instead, passengers leave their bags outside of their rooms and the bags are unloaded after the passengers are unloaded. All of the bags are taken to a loading deck and put into cages, and then forklifts remove the cages full of suitcases and take them to a designated area for the passengers to pick up.

Getting The Cruise Ship Ready For New Passengers

Next, the cleanup begins. There are around 1500 rooms to clean, 2 miles of corridor to vacuum, and 520,000 square feet of dirty carpets to clean. Rooms have to be dusted, wiped down, vacuumed, and then beds have to be made. All of this has to be done quickly and efficiently in order to meet the short time-span between guests.

At the same time as rooms are being cleaned, the kitchen needs to get rid of the trash that it has accumulated for the length of the previous cruise. The garbage is compressed and packed tightly for easier transportation off the ship.

Next, they take on several hundred tons of provisions that need to be moved to the refrigerator and storage. A ships refrigerator can be around 35,000 square feet. It is kept at a steady temperature to keep all of the food fresh.

The kitchen prepares up to 30,000 meals per day for passengers and another 4,000 for the ship’s crew. Therefore, they quickly begin chopping, peeling, and preparing food for the new guests that will be boarding.

Meanwhile, the outside of the ship is inspected for any signs of rust. A solution of phosphoric acid is painted onto any rust and converts it into a compound that can withstand the salt spray for another cruise.

At the same time, the ship is fueled up for the long journey ahead. Cruise ships get about 60 feet to a gallon of gas. It takes about a million gallons to fill up the tank. The people who have the job of making sure the nozzle does not come out during filling appear to have the most relaxed job on the ship during this time!

Soon the passengers begin to board, and the process starts all over again, but this time in reverse. The bags are brought up to the staterooms for the passengers. The food is prepared and ready to serve. In addition, the staff is ready to take care of your needs. Looking at the pleasant faces, you would never know the amount of work they had to put in the last few hours, but now you do!


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