Day at the Pool Ruined for Thousands of Cruise Passengers

It's perhaps the worst thing that can happen onboard a cruise ship. A day by the pool was ruined for thousands of guests due to a "code brown."

Spending the day by the pool onboard a cruise ship can have its own set of unique challenges one has to deal with. While chair hoggers, those who put their towels out to reserve deckchairs, are an irritation for many, worse things can happen. Something that guests onboard a P&O Australia cruise ship found out firsthand.

Guests had anticipated a delightful day by the pool, but their plans were unexpectedly derailed after the infamous “Code Brown” closed the pool for an entire Sunday. It raises the age-old question of pool etiquette and the challenges of traveling with young children on cruise ships.

Unforeseen Incident at the Pool

On a recent P&O Australia cruise, thousands of guests had envisioned a nice, quiet day basking in the sun by the pool. Unfortunately, their hopes were dashed by an unfortunate “code brown” situation. This is the industry term for an incident where fecal matter is found in the swimming pool. 

One guest who witnessed the situation stated: “The incident happened Saturday night, so the pool was drained and then closed for all of Sunday as well.” A photo shared online shows the pool closed with a net and a diaper prominently displayed on a sunchair.”

As usual, onboard a cruise ship, several children were playing around the pool area on the day, having fun and enjoying themselves. However, there are rules in place for kids, especially the young ones who still need to be potty trained.

Diaper on Cruise Ship Lounge Chair
Diaper on Cruise Ship Lounge Chair

In a message on its website, P&O Australia stated the following: “Children are always welcome to use our family-friendly pools, but we do ask that those in nappies, swim nappies, pull-ups, or those who are not fully toilet trained only use the designated pools.”

It seems that one child ignored the rules and decided to take a swim with a dirty diaper, ensuring the pool would remain closed for all guests onboard for at least the following day. It’s unclear which of P&O Australia’s cruise ships the incident happened on. 

P&O Australia operates three cruise ships: the 108,865 gross tons, 2,636-guest Pacific Adventure, the 108,865 gross tons, 2,600-guest Pacific Encounter, and the 77,441 gross tons, 1,998-guest Pacific Explorer. All three ships sail on cruises ranging in length from three to ten days. 

Rules, Regulations, and Guest Responsibilities

The incident on the P&O Australia cruise ship raises the age-old question of pool etiquette, particularly concerning children on cruise ships and their use of public amenities. 

P&O Cruises mandates that a parent or guardian should supervise any child accessing the pools. More critically, for health and safety reasons, children who have not yet been toilet-trained and those wearing diapers are forbidden from using the main swimming pools and spas onboard.

P&O Australia Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Wozzie / Shutterstock

Cruise ships often have splash pools and smaller pools for the youngest guests, designed to be easily cleanable when an accident happens. Something that is harder to do with a pool that holds thousands of gallons of water.

Going on a cruise with young children has its unique set of challenges. However, by choosing ships that are more oriented towards accommodating young guests, parents can ensure a smoother sailing experience. 

It remains important for all guests to be informed and respectful of the ship’s policies and to be respectful towards those who want to enjoy their day in the pool without the occasional code brown.


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