Bizarre Cruising Traditions

Captain Neptune

Since the early 19th century, cruising has provided a method of travel that enables you to see the world. From the tall ship sailing origins, to the steamships of the 20th century and overcoming the competition of passenger aircraft – cruising remains one of the most popular great value holiday options. Today, Pullmantur leads the way in terms of great value on board, with packages that are inclusive of meals, drinks, gratuities, flights and overseas transfers.

Despite the modern features and amenities of 21st century cruise ships, many historical maritime traditions have been maintained. Some of these traditions may be considered bizarre by today’s understanding of international travel, but undoubtedly add a flavour to the proceedings. Pullmantur takes a closer look at a few of the traditions you may be able to experience for yourself.

Baked Alaska

It is not uncommon to experience the Baked Alaska parade on board your cruise, which usually takes place on the penultimate night of a particular itinerary. Several plates of freezing cold ice cream, surrounded by baked or flambéed meringue, are paraded around the room whilst onlooking passengers either watch with amazement or swing napkins above their heads.

This tradition is thought to have originated from the early 20th century, when cruise ships first acquired refrigerators. Staff at the time decided to make a song and dance about the prospect and used Baked Alaska, as it requires solid freezing prior to going in the oven.

Crab Racing

If you’re looking for an alternative activity during your time in the Caribbean, you may be interested at the prospect of crab racing. Select a hermit crab and watch as your crustacean either scuttles towards the finishing line or remains stationary. This activity is quite often organised by cruise lines, and provides passengers with a greater understanding of the local environment.

Crossing the Equator

This one is a little more obscure, and is only likely to be encountered by passengers embarking on transatlantic sailings from the Mediterranean to South America or vice versa. Nevertheless, the crossing the equator ceremony, as the name suggests, takes place on board when sailing across the zero-degree latitude line.

If you are a shellback, you have crossed the equator before. If you haven’t crossed the equator before, you are a pollywog and are subsequently invited to King Neptune’s ceremony. The captain or entertainment director will dress up as King Neptune and watch over the pool dipping proceedings. Bizarre doesn’t quite sum it up.


During the 18th century, when sea exploration was still in its infancy, witnessing a vessel depart from a port was considered a real honour. The event involved much waving from those on the ship and those onshore, as well as plenty of horn sounding. Witnessing a cruise ship in a coastal city is a common occurrence in the 21st century, and so the ceremony is not as prestigious as it once was. That said, the grand sailaway event will mark the beginning of your all-inclusive cruise with Pullmantur. All that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy!

Pullmantur cruises can take you to a range of beautiful destinations such as Iberia, the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Norwegian fjords and Scandinavia. Whether you want to participate in the maritime traditions, or soak up the sun on top deck – our all-inclusive cruise options will not disappoint.

For more about our all-inclusive cruise offers, contact us via the Online Form or Request a Call Back.