Saturday, May 11, 2013

Synchronize your watches

When on vacation, you might think "who cares?" when considering what time it is.  After all, you've been a bit of a slave to a clock for the weeks (or in our case, months) leading up to some well-deserved time off.  But for some vacations, it is important to not only know what time it is, but to know what time is the right time!

When cruising, there is what is known as "local time" and "ship time" and it's important to know if there is a distinction.  Some cruise ships, particularly those that sail in the Caribbean, don't adjust their clocks as they criss-cross time zones every week, while others may have you adjusting your timepieces every day by an hour or more. 

Ship time is the time that the ship considers its official time. That's the time that the ship will use when calling for all aboard when leaving a port. That's the time passengers will use to know when to go to dinner or to attend a performance in the main theater.  That's the time the passengers will use when setting curfews for their teens and tweens to be back from the youth program activities.

Local time is the time that you'll find in the ports, so when you're out all day and ask someone on the street for the time, local time is what time they'll tell you it is.  It's important to know if your ship adjusts to local time or if they maintain their own time so that you'll know how much time you have before you risk missing the ship.

In our experience on ships that adjust their times to coincide with the ports, our stateroom host will leave us a notecard each evening telling us to turn our clocks forward or backwards and by how many hours.  We can set our clocks and watches so that when we wake in the morning, we're on current port time. The tv in the stateroom has a channel that gives information from the bridge including the current time that the ship is using so we can synchronize our watches.  And before we disembark for the day, we verify the time to be back on board so we aren't an hour late.

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