My husband has been home for a few days while his aircraft carrier completes a short tiger cruise. Due to space constraints, some of the service members have to get off the ship during the cruise. He was able to get a good deal and return home for a few days. He will fly back to the carrier soon. It has been a really relaxing few days. As I type this, he’s making us chicken curry. He loves to cook and I love to eat, so our marriage works out pretty well 😉
You might be wondering what a tiger cruise is. Many aircraft carriers will, at some some point during a deployment, conduct a tiger cruise. During this short time period (usually no more then 4 days), the carrier will allow some friends and family members of service members stationed aboard the carrier to come abroad and, essentially, ride the boat in to the home port or next port. Every “tiger” must be sponsored by a service member, under-go a background check, and pay their own way to the location where they meet the boat to walk abroad. The carrier might conduct some flight operations and other special events abroad the ship, but, for most service members, this is just another day of deployment. All service members abroad the carrier will continue to work, and they may have to do extra work to accommodate the “tigers”. Spouses of service members are usually not allowed abroad the carrier for obvious reasons, and all “tigers” must bunk in a room among same-sex service members. So, if a man sponsors a woman, the male sponsor must find female service members that will sign-off on his guest bunking in their room. If a man sponsors another man, that male “tiger” bunks in his room. Cots are set-up and some may sleep in the beds of those service members who get off the boat at the start of tiger cruise.
Personally, I have 0 desire to ever go on a tiger cruise. I’ve been abroad an aircraft carrier for friends and family day, and that was enough gray metal in my life, thankyouverymuch. Also, I know how painful these tiger cruises can be for the service members who must stay aboard the carrier; thus, I don’t want to be someone’s burden or bother people because I want the experience of living on an aircraft carrier.
It’s probably a great experience for children (usually they must be over the age of 7 or 8, at least) or for people who are interested in learning more about the Navy, Naval aviation, and Naval surface warfare.