Most tattoos have some kind of meaning to the wearer and seafarers are no exception. Back in the day, a sailor would have a tattoo of a pig on one foot and a chicken on the other, which was supposed to ward off drowning; pigs and chickens were carried on ships in wooden crates which would theoretically float with the currents in the event of a shipwreck. On the other hand, a sailor sporting a tattoo of a swallow or a sparrow has sailed 5,000 miles (not such a big deal in these days of world voyages and transatlantic crossings). A Neptune or turtle tat means the wearer has crossed the equator or international dateline on a ship.
But how do you interpret a Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor tattooed onto an ankle? As the ultimate sign of customer loyalty, of course. Cruise Critic member Wolfcathorse and her husband started the trend with matching ankle art as a sign of lifelong devotion to their favourite cruise line.
They’re not alone; member Cruising_addict also sports a Royal Caribbean logo, saying “I love Royal so much I had to show it. It is not huge and is at the bottom of my leg above my ankle. I have had people ask on the ship if I work there.” JaxieWaxie proudly sports one on her foot, saying, “Funny thing is, when cruising, everyone on the ship assumes it’s a fake!”
Member Cupcrazy also confesses to a discreet bit of ankle adornment, while RcclMiami was given the Christmas gift of a tattoo on the calf by his wife. “It took almost a year for me to get up the nerve to get it,” he confesses. Member BC604 adds: “Me and the wife have C&A [Crown & Anchor] tattoos on the tops of our feet. We like to show them off poolside.
It’s not just Royal Caribbean fans. Carnival diehard Billy Ray Crane had a Carnival smokestack emblazoned on his arm in celebration of his 10th cruise with the line, according to cruise director John Heald’s blog. On the QE2 Story forum, a site for fans of the old Cunarder, member Marty 552 shows off an arm festooned with Cunard ship names (adding one every time the line builds a new ship), while a Star Clippers fan posting on the line’s blog has a tall ship, logo and all, in full sail on his arm.
What next, a P&O tattoo, or maybe a little Fred. Olsen on the shoulder, tantalisingly revealed in a strappy number on formal night? What would your cruise-themed tattoo be? Let us know.
– Sue Bryant
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