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12 Things You Never Thought You’d Hear on an Expedition Cruise

We’ve all heard about the funny questions cruise passengers ask on big ships. “Do the crewmembers sleep onboard?” Or “What time’s the midnight buffet?” And so on. But what about the more rugged independent traveler types who favour small expedition ships? Let me tell you, the ask-before-you-think mentality is just the same. Here are some gems picked up on a recent expedition cruise.

12. Passenger to guide while embarking on hike from the beach: “Do I need to wear my life jacket for the walk?”

11. Passenger to naturalist guide on bird-watching hike: “I can’t believe you didn’t tell us to bring our binoculars.”

10. Passenger on crowded Zodiac on leaving the ship for a hike: “Should I extend my retractable walking poles now or shall I wait till we’re ashore?” Bear in mind that a) retractable walking poles have a spike on the end and b) Zodiacs are inflatable.

9. Man to officer as the small ship spins gently around its anchor chain in a secluded but windy bay: “Are you deliberately making it do this? Is it to make it shake off the barnacles or something?”

8. Man to marine biologist on snorkel expedition, having surfaced and waved his arm: “Hey! What’s this fish down here?” (Marine biologist, quietly, through gritted teeth, from some distance away: “There are hundreds of fish ‘down there.’”)

7. Passenger to crewmember as we head for an uninhabited island with a broad sweep of empty beach: “Will there be bathrooms when we get ashore?”

6. Passenger to crewmember on viewing a pod of hundreds of dolphins surrounding the ship: “Exactly how many are there?”

5. On leaving the ship for a donkey trek across a remote and uninhabited area: “Will I need ID for the donkey ride?”

4. Passenger to naturalist: “If we drive the ship (all 1,200 tons of it) at those three dozing sea lions floating in the water over there, will they wake up?”

3. On boarding a fishing boat to go whale watching: “How wet am I going to get?”

2. A puzzling one while on the whale watching boat: “Is the whale under the water?”

1. And perhaps my favorite, again, from passenger to hapless naturalist: “Is that the same whale we saw earlier?”

We all ask foolish questions from time to time — what are your funniest stories about silly travel questions? Submit them in the comments below.

— written by Sue Bryant

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