Boarding a cruise ship once again – or, for the very first time – will be exhilarating and exciting. But amid the joy, remember the time-honored rules of cruise etiquette that help make everyone’s time at sea more enjoyable.
Don’t reserve lounge chairs. A common breach of etiquette is the “reserving” of lounge chairs on deck; that is, spreading your belongings across several lounges so that you can your companions can sit together later in the day. This rude practice is so widespread that some cruise lines now have policies against it; if you try it, the crew may remove your belongings to the lost and found.
Don’t party too hard. Just as on land, drinking too much alcohol on a cruise can lower inhibitions and cause problems: being too noisy, hurting yourself or others, or setting the stage for a raging hangover that can cause you to miss the next day’s fun.
Don’t be late. Be on time for dinner, shows, spa treatments and other activities so you don’t inconvenience the crew or your fellow passengers. And when you leave the ship for a shoreside activity, you absolutely must return to the ship on time. If you’re late, the ship can – and will – sail without you.
Don’t let the kids get bored. If you’ll sail with children, think about how you’ll keep them occupied (and therefore, well-behaved). Take advantage of any onboard kids’ clubs and facilities, and bring a few small toys, books or games to help keep them entertained. Also, talk with them before you leave home about being considerate of other passengers and the crew.
Don’t skimp on tips. Tips for the crew are often built into your cruise fare or automatically charged to your onboard account, and while it’s possible to opt-out of tipping, don’t. Cruise ship workers depend on tips for a significant portion of their income and they work hard, often behind the scenes, to provide you with a wonderful voyage. If you do have a negative experience with any crew member, visit the guest services desk to talk with a manager about it; don’t punish the entire crew by withholding tips.
Don’t forget basic courtesy. Sure, you’re on vacation, but that’s no reason to skip the good manners. Saying “please” and “thank you,” holding a door open for those behind you, and saying “pardon me” instead of pushing past others will let everyone know how you would like to be treated while on board, too.
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