Secret language cruise ship employees use – from Mamagayo to banana & what it all means | The Sun

A CRUISE ship employee has revealed some of the secret language used by staff in front of passengers.

Zlatko Simovski has been working on cruise ships for the last five years, and in that time he's picked up several code words.

The pool attendant, who works on cruise ships in eight month stints, has travelled to Italy, Bora Bora, Spain and Singapore.

During his long days outside tending to passengers' poolside needs, he talked to plenty of holidaymakers.

But in front of guests, Zlatko and his colleagues sometimes spoke in a secret language.

Zlatko told The Sun Online Travel: "The crew members on the ships use a whole set of slang, foreign, and coded words when talking to each other.

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"A future guest using some of them in conversation with crew members will surely make their day."


According to Zlatko, this is one of the most popular words in a cruise ship employee's vocab.

He explained: "Mamagayo is someone who spends time in the cabin or hiding somewhere while on duty."

Meanwhile Urban Dictionary have defined it as an employee who is "lazy" and trying to avoid their duties.

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Another common word used by cruise ship employees is "banana" – and it's not someone after a piece of fruit.

Zlatko said: "This is when a crew member does something wrong and gets lectured by their supervisor – we say that they got a banana."

Among different ships and crews "banana" can have several meanings, but it often refers to a "bad feeling" or having a "bad time."


While there are entertainers on cruise ships, the phrase "capo" doesn't refer to the small piece of equipment used by guitar players.

Zlatko explained: "This is when a crew member sees that their supervisor wants to be a gangster by walking and talking like one, so they're called capo."

Capo can be used to refer to the captain or a boss and is often used by staff onboard Italian cruise ships.

Chiki Chiki

According to the pool attendant, "sex is an extinct word among crew members, instead we use Chiki Chiki."

No rice no power

Grub for staff on cruise ships can depend on several factors including the type of company, contract, and employment level.

For Zlatko and his colleagues, it was often a plate of rice that kept the crew members well-fuelled.

He said: "The majority of the crew on the ships live on rice and eat three full plates of a rice a day."

If an employee doesn't get their helping of rice, they won't have enough energy for the rest of the day.

Other common words used on board include "Kaput" to mean tired.

While "company rich" is when a crew member accidentally breaks a piece of equipment but tries not to worry because the company will pay for the replacement.

Zlatko has detailed his time as a crew member in his book Diary of a Cruise Ship Employee, which is available to buy from Amazon for £8.39.

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Meanwhile cruise lawyer Spencer Aronfeld (@cruiseshiplawyer) has revealed why passengers never want to hear the phrase "code Oscar" onboard a ship.

There are other secret words used on board to keep passengers in the dark about what's going on on board.

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