Every cruise director has a collection of dumb questions from passengers who have difficulty grasping the basics of a cruise ship, or indeed life itself.
Here’s my favourite dozen, to keep you amused as Christmas approaches.
1. How far above sea level are we?
Well take a look, it’s all around you.
2. Does the ship generate its own electricity?
If it didn’t, it would need an awfully long extension cable.
3. What time is the midnight buffet?
Take a guess . . . though to be fair, this is not such a dumb question. The buffet usually starts before the witching hour, though some ships have abandoned them altogether now they have food available 24 hours a day.
4. Do these stairs go up or down?
Actually, they go diagonally.
5. Is this island completely surrounded by sea?
No, part of it is surrounded by sand, but that’s the bit with the sun loungers and parasols.
6. (To the ship’s photographers): How will we know which pictures are ours?
Look for the people who look totally clueless; that will be you.
7. (To the Captain, when introduced at the welcome cocktail party): If you’re back here, who’s driving the ship?
Commodore Bernard Warner, of the Queen Mary 2, says this is the question he gets asked more often than any other. Earlier this month, when I was sitting down to dinner with Commodore Steve Burgoine on the Ventura, a passenger at the next table did actually ask the question. His reply, delivered with a broad smile, was a distinctly salty invitation for her to go away.
8. What happens to the ice sculptures when they have melted?
The smart answer is that they re-freeze them to use as ice cubes in drinks.
9. Is the water in the swimming pool fresh water or sea water?
One passenger, when told it was sea water, responded “That explains why it’s so rough in there.