“But not all cruise ships do. MSC Cruises for example, omits the 17th deck for the exact same reason and in China you won’t find a Deck 4.”
MSC Cruises, which was founded in Naples in 1989, excludes the 17th deck and the number 17 is considered an unlucky number in Italy. The reason behind this is when written in Roman numerals – XVII is an anagram of VIXI which in Latin translates to ‘I have lived’ – implying death.
In Chinese numerology, the number 4 is considered unlucky and is also seen as similar to the word ‘death’. Like Western culture and its fear of the number 13, In Chinese tradition, they omit floors and room numbers containing 4.
The mystery surrounding the 13th deck isn’t the only superstition at sea. It’s also considered bad luck to bring a banana on board due to the many disappearing ships carrying bananas as cargo in the 1970s, and it’s bad luck to whistle on board as it could result in bad weather conditions during a voyage.