Zombie Combat

Zombie Combat: Cruise Ship

Zombie Combat – Batten down the hatches

Previously on Zombie Combat

We looked at what to do if you are attacked by a zombie while riding a public bus. Thanks to the members of r/zombiesurvivaltactics for the feedback. The proposed tactic of ‘shove another human being’ at the zombie in order to escape was controversial and raised the most ire. Some questioned if their own humanity would be lost if they sacrificed another human to save their own life. Others obdurately argued that fighting, not escaping the bus, was the best option.

Metaphysical questions on the loss of humanity are beyond the scope of the article. However, one comment made a good point; If you sacrifice another human to save yourself, you will have two zombies to kill later instead on one. In effect, you have doubled the amount of your threats. This is not a winning strategy in the long run.

Inherit in the public bus scenario was the limitless space to run and hide. For this Zombie Combat post we’ll look at a possible zombie attack contained in a confined space. In this case, one which the option of engaging in melee combat or evasion might hold more weight in the long run, it will be important to consider both recourses carefully. Let’s go for a sea cruise!


It’s a bright sunny day onboard a 102,000 tonne modern cruise ship. The seas are calm and you are at a minimum of one hundred nautical miles from the nearest dry land. Calypso bands are playing steel pan drums on deck and bikini clad girls are sunning themselves next to the pool. It’s a great day.

Going practically unnoticed earlier on, you heard a call on the ship’s public announcement system, “Attention. Attention. Bravo Team. Code Blue.” Not thinking much about it, you continue relaxing on the main tourist deck near the midship area. Beneath you are 3-5 crew only decks and 7-10 decks are above you. There are life boats two decks above you and on the top of the ship. You have no weapons.

Looking up from your book, you sense a hushed disturbance off to your side. Suddenly, there is a loud peel for HELP! The crowd that had conglomerated begins to rapidly disperse, many of them running past you in sheer terror. Wiping the disbelief from your eyes you see a group of undead staggering towards you. Ship security guards with bloody wounds and senior citizen zombies are closing in on you with slaughter as their driving primal instinct.

What do you do?


Without being able to rely on outside assistance for evacuation, the best ship to be on is the one you are currently on. That means you’ll have to choose a defensive position and fight, and fightin’ means killin’. Launching modern lifeboats requires a trained team of individuals. Even self-launching survival rafts are complicated to the layperson. Not counting, that you have no first hand knowledge of what awaits you should successfully survive a harrowing rescue craft trip to land. You may have already nearly escaped the dawn of the dead back on land as far as you know.

Short term survival – Assuming you already know the Romero rules of killing zombies, you will need to arm yourself at once. Forget about finding any high damage dealer type of weapons onboard the ship. There won’t be a handy Katana blade within your reach. You need to get creative.

Any sturdy blunt striking object will be the best item you can get. Cruise ships are designed to minimize falling objects should the vessel hit rough seas, and to further complicate matters, many items are securely fastened to prevent such an occurrence. Whatever you grab, start swinging and take out the closest zombie to you. If they can’t reach you, don’t move towards them. Strike only when there is a mortal threat to you, and keep moving.

Do not go below to any decks that are beneath the water line or you’re a dead man. Make your way to the ship’s main entertainment theater. The backstage area is usually able to be locked and secured due to the need for limited access to the area. The front of the theatre gives you a long range of view in case you are able to secure projectile weapons. There are catwalks that are high above floor, that could be utilized for hiding spaces. More importantly, the theaters often have doors that lead directly outdoors for evacuation in case of an emergency. Which leads us to the next part…

Long term strategy – One thing cruise ships have taught us is that they dump millions of tones of garbage into the ocean. Why not dispose of the zombies into the sea? This doesn’t have to be an overly complicated plan. Let’s look at a simple mousetrap design. Create a gauntlet that leads the zombie into a predicated path. Have a reward at the end of the trap to create incentive, then as the zombie walks towards the edge of the ship, release the trigger. Let gravity and the ocean do the rest.

cruise ship zombies, mouse trap, walk the plank
This simple ‘walk the plank’ mouse trap could be the inspiration for cleansing a cruise ship from a horde of zombies.

Historical precedent

As recent history has shown us, when the Costa Concordia sank in 2012, mounting any effective and orderly evacuation is a pipe dream. Officers will and do abandon ship faster than passengers and crew. While the notion of ‘women and children’ sounds noble, in the real world it doesn’t work that way. During the mass evacuation of the sinking ship utter chaos reigned. Studies after the distaster showed the crew wasn’t effectively trained and simple things, for example crew members attempting to give each other directions in their native languages (as opposed to a unified English) caused even more stress.

However, that doesn’t mean there have been some success stories when maritime disasters occur. For example, there was the sinking of the cruise ship Oceanos from 1991. Continuing the trend of spineless officers abandoning ship while leaving behind passengers, it was up to people to take of themselves. In one such incident, the onboard musicians bravely helped to evacuate many of the ship’s passengers.

Odds of Survival

The open ocean is one of the most hostile places mankind can attempt to survive. Survival at sea is almost impossible in the best conditions. If you had to abandon ship amidst an attacking zombie horde, it would be stroke of luck if you lived to fight again another day. Then it would only be how long you could fend off the odds.

If you were able to, by possessing command posture, rally enough capable survivors, choose a suitable location for defense and arm yourself with weapons that could inflict enough damage, you could make a stand. Your time would be limited and with every new zombie counter attack you expose yourself to the risk of infection.

Zombie Combat is a series that investigates hypothetical situations involving the undead in melee combat.  Will you fight, run, or hide?  Have a suggestion for Zombie Combat? Leave a comment below or email JohnjRambeaux@Yahoo.com.


Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win!

6 comments on “Zombie Combat: Cruise Ship

  1. Pingback: Zombie Combat: Cruise Ship — THE DEAD WALK: Your Source For Horror, Cult, & Exploitation Cinema! – Scott Collinson

  2. Never been a fan of zombies, so heaven only knows why I joined in a zombie run in an abandoned brickworks a few years back. Those actors took their roles a bit too seriously for my liking! Would I survive a zombie attack? Hell, no!

    Liked by 1 person

    • John J. Rambeaux

      Hi Jane. Thanks for adding your comment. The fact that you are training for ‘cardio’ give you an advantage already. Hope you enjoyed the article and others on TDW. #zombie

      Liked by 3 people

    • That run sounds like fun! Try a zombie crawl next time. More theatrical than cardio based but still a hoot! Thanks for checking us out!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: Zombie Combat – Zombie Stomp – THE DEAD WALK: Your Source For Horror, Cult, & Exploitation Cinema!

  4. Pingback: Zombie Combat – Remember the Undead Alamo – THE DEAD WALK: Your Source For Horror, Cult, & Exploitation Cinema!

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