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From what I understand this is up to the Captain, there are no set rules. Some like to change the clock at noon others overnight (1 or 2 am usually). As long as ships time matches "actual" time when you dock anywhere thats all that matters. (certainly this is the case on P&O ships, and i would presume others).
My experience has been that each day when you get the ships newsletter, they'll advise when to put clocks forward or back, but as far as I remember, they say to do it just before you go to bed.
MV Bolero - Iberian Cruise - November 1999
RCCL Legend of the Seas - Canaries Cruise - October 2006
RCCL Independence of the Seas - West Med Cruise - August 2008
P&O Ventura - Baltics and St. Petersburg - May 2009
RCCL Majesty of Seas - Cococay/Nassau - November 2009
Most ships time changes are done to confuse people as little as possible.
When you leave Southampton they will normally change the time on night 2 - it is always on the compass and normally a separate note as well. Time changes are always at night with the exception of Eastbound transatlantics which are usually done at mid-day. This is to aid the crew as losing an hour 5 or 6 days in a row would make their lives very difficult.
The cruise director will also remind guests of time changes during the show at night.
Pete & Carol
__________________ First cruise May 7th 2005 375 days at sea.
Vision-4, Rhapsody-1, Radiance-1, Jewel-1, Brilliance-4, Liberty-3, Independence-1, Mariner-3, Explorer-3, Voyager-1, Adventure-6. Legend 2, NCL Jade-1, NCL Getaway-1, Carnival Splendour-1