cruise ship code words

No one wants to encounter an emergency while on their cruise. And most of the major cruise lines have their own set of internal code words to use to alert staff and others on board of an emergency or other urgent situation occurring on the ship. As a cruise ship passenger, it helps to be aware of what these code words are, in the event an emergency does occur while onboard.

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie

The ship captain is not looking for someone named Charlie if you hear “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie!” Repeating this name three times means the captain is informing the crew that a security threat has occurred onboard. If you hear this phrase, stay calm and await instruction from the crew.

PVI or 30-30

If you hear the code words “PVI” or “30-30,” these two different phrases signify illness on the ship.  More specifically, “PVI” stands for public vomiting and that someone has vomited on the ship. Any other messes are communicated through the 30-30 code.


If you hear the word “kilo” announced, you may see cruise personnel rushing off to a certain area of the ship. “Kilo” means that the ship’s captain wants them to report to this designated post to handle an urgent matter.


“Bravo” indicates that a fire has occurred on the ship. Do not panic if you hear this announced, since reacting with panic will not help the situation. It is important, though, that you be aware and wait for instructions on what to do next.

Alpha or Sierra, and Operation Bright Star or Rising Star

Cruise passengers may hear a variety of different phrases to indicate that a medical emergency has occurred on the ship.  Certain code words are issued to inform crew members of what type of emergency protocols are necessary for different types of medical issues. For any general medical emergency that requires a stretcher, the captain will announce either “Alpha” or “Sierra.” If you hear the phrases “Operation Bright Star” or “Operation Rising Star” announced, these terms are meant to inform the crew that a severe medical emergency or even a death has occurred onboard.

All these terms allow crew members to discreetly handle serious issues without causing a panic onboard.  Now you know.


Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991.  We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits.  You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering.  Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529, 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.