Crew members internal communication on cruise ships

Mar 17, 2023

Crew members on the ship have an extremely interesting language of communication between themselves. Here is an attempt to explain everyday daily communication on ships worldwide. 

1. Mafia business. This popular term refers to some little gangs on the ship, people from the same country who will create a strong bond that will usually be translated into the job itself. For example, the chef from the galley on a formal night will give the lobster to some of the restaurant servers, he will store these lobsters in the pre-agreed pots covered with the napkin, and the servers will do some favor in exchange. Maybe a few cans of soda from the bar or something like that. It's called mafia business in the ship vocabulary. 

2. Paisano business could be related to mafia business, but it strictly involves people from the same country of origin. For example, the manager from India would promote a waiter from India, maybe someone else deserved that promotion, but the paisano got promoted for an obvious reason, so it's called the paisano business. The example could also be if the manager gives special treatment to his fellow countryman and shows inconsistency in terms of applying the rules that should be the same for everyone. We call it-paisano bussiness.

3. Babalu is an annoying person who is not really a good colleague, generally not an intelligent employee or someone who always creates trouble on the ship. 

4. Bomboclat is a bad word coming from the Jamaican language that is used in almost similar contexts like Babalu but a little different. When someone does a silly thing or for something not really smart, we just say," Bomboooclatttt. It could also be jargon or a reaction to something extreme that someone else is telling us. 

5. Caput. This one is used every day by millions of crew members worldwide. It could be used in the context of " I am too tired," " I am in big trouble," or " I am too busy, can't handle it." We just say, " Capuuuut, man."

6. Bombolon is a polite version of saying to someone that person is fat. It's like you are trying to squeeze the meaning of " fat " into the less offensive context, and you say, " You are bombolon big time." It is probably time to hit the gym when someone says it to you. Also, that is a secret language amount ourselves when we comment on some of our rude guests, who are happened to be oversized and rude. So we say, " This one babalu bombolon big time maaaan.

7. Hardtime sounds simple, but it describes much more than that. It's usually used in the context of " This guy gives me muchoooo hard time". That means somebody intentionally targets us for some reason and handpicks the hardest task when delegating the daily jobs. It's part of the job that we don't really expect; we call it a hard time. It means some extra duty given by the boss, supervisor, or even colleague. For example, if our colleague is late 20 minutes to replace us for the dinner break, we would say," You give me a hard time maaaan"

8. Disaster is a common word, but it does not necessarily simplify its true meaning. In the ship context, it means the reaction to some situation. Like, if you have an only 30-minute launch break and you come to the crew mess to eat quickly, but the line for food is sooo big, and its takes forever, we might just say, " Disaster maaan"

9. Basura means garbage in the direct translation, but in the ship vocabulary, it is a commonly used word the describe the person. On the ship, we use this word for the people who are always trying to put you in trouble, to have bad intentions with their colleagues or a person who tries to set you up with the manager. It can also be used for some bad manager giving too much hard time to the crew member, mainly for the bias, undeserved reasons. 

10. Taka taka. We say it " mucho taka taka". This refers to all the small conversations across the ship corridor, just the casual, informal conversation about any kind of topic. The managers on board the ship also use it; for example, when they are passing by next to the bars and the manager sees two bartenders talking to each other while being on duty, the bar manager would say," Mucho taka, ha?" That is sarcastic saying that those bartenders are just doing nothing and talking while they should be doing some job-related tasks.

11. Good life.  This one usually comes when the crew members talk about a colleague with a " good life." It means that a colleague probably has an easier schedule with not soo many things to do, and while someone else is a hard worker, other people have a " good life." It also refers to the paisano business protection from the managers giving easier schedules to their fellow countrymen. 

12.Sapo. This word is really common on the ship. It refers to the person who likes to talk behind others, especially the extended ears of the managers. Those employees would run to the manager and tell all the information about who was doing what, who was late for the job, who did not shave, and who did not complete the job properly. Sapo would usually try to get some extra points from the manager by giving the " behind the scene information about things that are usually kept between the colleagues.

13.Mucho Comida. This one refers to the person who likes to eat a lot on break; it's a joke between crew members. For example, when you are on your lunch break, your colleague would say," Mucho comidaaa maaan" while looking at your plate. That probably means you have enough food for five other people on your plate.

14. Mamagayoo is the laziest person on the team. That term is used to describe the person who does not have a sense of urgency, does not really want to work hard, and is just looking for a way to come late on the job and finish off early. 

15.Rambo style. This saying is popular on the cruise ship among the crew members, especially among the dining room staff, housekeeping, and bar staff. When someone says " Rambo style," it refers to a fast job, to get it done quickly with no attention to details. For example, the bartender would say," Let's go, Rambo style," when closing the bar. It means quickly putting down everything and closing the bar in a rush. Also, if the manager decided to inspect that bar the next morning, he would also say," The Rambo-style cleaning, I can see."

16. Barato. This is one of the most popular words among the ship crew members. It is the common word used to describe a person who is cheap, who never pays for the drinks in the crew bar, has a stingy personality, and does not like to share anything with friends or colleagues. This kind of crew member are bit extreme in their money-saving tactics, and usually, other people say about them," This guy barato, big time maaan"