OK, campers, it's quiz time. Sure, you bought your tickets, invested in a sarong, picked out a new carry-on bag, and asked the neighbor to feed your cats, but are you really ready for your recharge-your-batteries-and-let-it-all-hang-out super cruise vacation?

Well, yeah, you probably are. But that doesn't mean you can't have some fun making sure, and that's why I've created this three-part quiz. Study up, and you'll amaze your dinner companions with your knowledge of the various arcana you'll probably encounter your first day aboard the cruise ship.

Part 1: Physics & Fizzy Drinks

By going to sea for fun, you're proving your capacity for trust. After all, there are so many variables that will be out of your control. For instance, what if the captain gets lost? Are you going to lean out at the next island and ask for directions? Which leads us to the first question:

How is it that today's giant, super-heavy cruise ships are able to float at all?

A. Their weight is equal to or less than the weight of the water they displace.

B. Half their weight is made up of beer, wine, and liquor, which balance the seawater and keep them upright.

C. They don't; they actually roll on tracks set into the ocean floor.

Though it's the least fun of the three, the correct answer is "A." As the Greek scientist Archimedes discovered in the second century BC, a floating object is buoyed by a force equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. Big cruise ships displace a lot of water, but they're also essentially hollow and bottom-heavy, and thus floatable.

Unfortunately, the Archimedes principle doesn't apply to cruise passengers who overindulge in the demon drink of option B, which can buoy their spirits but often prevents them from remaining upright and stable. This can be a problem at sea, where tipsy passengers may also encounter what's known as pitch and roll.

What is pitch and roll?

A. A golf-like sport popularized by Elvis Presley

B. What investment bankers did to the U.S. economy

C. The front-to-back and side-to-side motion of a ship in heavy seas

If you answered "C," you clearly haven't yet had enough to drink. Move on to the next question.

Which of the following is not a Caribbean rum cocktail?

A. The Painkiller

B. The Mojito

C. The Mae West

The Painkiller -- a combination of dark rum, pineapple and orange juice, cream of coconut, nutmeg, and cinnamon -- is most definitely a Caribbean rum cocktail, with a taste that conjures up tradewinds and beach bars. For its part, the Mojito -- made from light rum, lime juice, club soda, mint leaves, and sugar -- conjures up casinos and balmy nights in pre-Castro Havana.

The correct answer, then, is "C," the Mae West. In the nautical world, a Mae West is a PFD or "personal floatation device," otherwise known as a life jacket. During World War II, soldiers and sailors in the Pacific theater noticed that their inflatable life jackets made them look a lot like the famously saucy actress -- or more particularly, like the top digit of her redoubtable 38-24-38 figure. Today's cruise ships carry thousands of life jackets, some near the lifeboats, others in their staterooms. Strap one on when you get aboard. See? Mae West.

Part 2: Signals & Sizzling Steaks

Now imagine you're aboard ship. You've checked in, found your stateroom, decompressed, and are ready to head out and explore. But now wait, what's that sound? It's the ship's whistle (a happy little name for what's actually an ear-splittingly loud alarm), and it's blowing a sequence of seven short blasts followed by one long blast.

What could the whistle mean?

A. Another ship has cut yours off, and the captain is pissed

B. It's Titanic time; grab your Mae West and head for the lifeboats

C. Hotel Sierra Tango

The correct answer is "B," though it's much more likely that the signal is announcing a lifeboat drill rather than an actual emergency. International law requires passenger ships to conduct these drills within 24 hours of sailing, but don't expect anything too harrowing: In most cases, all you need to do is sit in a comfortable lounge and listen to a little talk about the right way to use your Mae West. Biggest inconvenience? You can't bring your Painkiller or Mojito. (Option C, in case you're curious, is just a little Morse code phonetic alphabet joke: four dots for "H," three dots for "S," and a single dash for "T" -- none of which has anything to do with anything, 'cause the general alarm signal really just means "Oy! Trouble!")

The lifeboat drill is pretty much the only job you'll be required to do while on board -- after that, it's just a matter of picking your fun. The great thing about cruises, of course, is that to a greater or lesser degree, their costs are all-inclusive.

But what does the term "all-inclusive" really mean?

A. Three squares and a cot

B. One price covers everything

C. One price covers everything except the really cool stuff

Except aboard a few of the high-end luxury and specialty lines, option B has never really been the case. Cruisers have always had to deal with some extra costs, from bar and spa bills to the cost of shore activities. But over the past decade, the cruise lines have introduced so many new specialty restaurants and paid entertainment choices that option C is now pretty much the rule.

So there you are aboard ship. The lifeboat drill is over, the sun is dipping toward the horizon, and your stomach is starting to growl. You could head to dinner at the ship's main restaurant and then catch the free show … but doesn't that specialty steakhouse sound good? Or that sushi bar, wine-pairing feast, or circus-style dinner show? And really, is \$15 or \$25 a pop too much to shell out? You're on vacation, after all.

And thus, the floodgates open …

Part 3: Catching Some Zs on the High Seas

Tummy full, head slightly abuzz from Mojitos, and high on life, you end your first day on board with a leisurely walk around the promenade deck, taking in the sea breezes and starry skies. But it's late, and you have a big day in port tomorrow, so you make your way back to your stateroom and slip your keycard into the slot.

What do you find nestled on your pillow?

A. A tiny piece of chocolate

B. An animal made from creatively folded bath towels

C. Mae West

Most likely answer? Options A or B, though C would be more fun. Now, if the cruise lines really wanted to be helpful, they'd forego the chocolates and leave each passenger a little packet of Alka-Seltzer, which (trust me here) works a lot better if you take if before you go to bed. The next morning, those Mojitos will be a distant, happy memory as you head to the gangway to start your first day in port.

Like the great Mae said, too much of a good thing … can be wonderful.

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