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Cruise Ship Etiquette
Cruise ship etiquette

Stake out your Lido Deck space, but don't be a Chaise Hog

Consideration, Courtesy & Civility

by Linda Coffman

Of course it's your vacation and of course you deserve to have the best time ever on your long-awaited cruise. But do you really want it to be at the expense of others? When it comes to our fellow passengers, it sometimes seems that way.

Cruise ships, particularly the ones in the mega-ship size range, are cities at sea. Like any land-bound city, a cruise ship is inhabited by a diverse population. Passengers and crewmembers come from all corners of the globe and from varying cultural backgrounds. The thing most guests have in common is the desire to have a satisfying vacation—to explore new places, to relax and revitalize, to spend time with family and friends, or to just have some carefree fun.

It seems that some passengers get a bit carried away in terms of carefree and forget to pack one of life's little treasures—the good manners we practice at home and in our everyday lives.

Cruise Diva's Guide to Good Manners

Adhere to the Dress Code—The ship's daily program will indicate the appropriate attire for every evening of your cruise, generally beginning at 6pm. It is inconsiderate to ignore the guidelines and do as you please. Sitting next to someone wearing sweaty exercise clothing in the show lounge or casino is nothing short of unpleasant.

Do Not Be a Chaise Hog—Every morning an invisible cadre of passengers piles towels and personal belongings on chaise loungers by the pool to "save" them for later. This is extremely selfish behavior. If you aren't using a lounger, it should be available for others.

Do Not Save Seats—Go ahead and set aside a seat for a spouse or traveling companion who is joining you. But do not be thoughtless and try to "save" entire rows of seats in the show lounge or complete tables in the casual dining area. Again, make room for others.

Control Your Children—For their safety, and the safety of others, parents shouldn't allow their children to freely roam about the ship, run at the pool, splash water on other passengers, cavort in the hot tubs, or play in the elevators. Some parents are in total denial when it comes to the unruly actions of their children... the "bad" kids can't be theirs! Yes, it's their vacation and they just want to have fun, but don't allow their good time to interfere with that of others.

Be a Considerate Smoker—Those who smoke should only light up their cigarettes, cigars, and pipes in the areas which are clearly marked for that purpose.

Do Not Jog Before Daybreak—It should be obvious that if there are cabins located below the deck where jogging is permitted, then passengers are probably still asleep in them before the sun comes up. Only run on deck during the hours indicated in the daily program.

Be Mindful of Others in the Spa & Gym—Wear appropriate work-out attire and wipe down the equipment when you are finished using it. Take your turn in a reasonable amount of time, especially when others are waiting.

Turn Down the Sound—Portable electronics are wonderful gadgets, but not everyone has the same taste in music. In public areas, devices with sound should be used with headphones. In cabins and on balconies, the volume should be kept at a reasonable level. The same goes for televisions, especially late at night.

Use Your "Indoor" Voice—It goes without saying that unless you're cheering for your favorite team in the pool games or participating in an activity that calls for it, there's no need for shouting under normal conversational circumstances.

Await Your Turn—Events and activities are scheduled in a certain way for a purpose. For instance, the orderly filling of shore tenders and the ship's debarkation procedure at the end of the cruise. Don't be in such a hurry that you compromise the safety of others.

Do Not Complain While You Wait—No one cares to listen to grumbling and whining. It's a vacation so lighten up and go with the flow. Instead of complaining, try to strike up a conversation with someone in line. You can meet interesting people while you wait to book a tour or cash a traveler's check. 

Listen and Follow Instructions—This is no more important than during the muster drill! Listening cuts down the need to ask questions and can insure your safety in case of an emergency.

Don't Forget the Three "C's" at Sea
Let Consideration, Courtesy & Civility be your guideposts. And don't forget to bring along...

  • A pleasant attitude
  • Your sunniest smile
  • Good manners
Royal Caribbean International offers more tips to make your cruise more satisfying in Etiquette At Sea, Mind Your Cruise Vacation Ps and Qs..

Bon Voyage!

Related Information:

  • Cruise Lifestyles Cruises fall into loose categories. Here's what distinguishes Mainstream, Premium, and Luxury cruise lines from one another.
  • Cruise Line Profiles Descriptions of all the major cruise lines. It's what you need to know to choose a cruise vacation.
  • Safety Onboard The muster drill and beyond; crews take safety and security seriously.
  • Ship Happens -- Bad weather, mechanical problems, and political unrest can set your itinerary and plans adrift.
  • Cruise Wear Cracking cruise line dress codes... what to wear and when to wear it.
  • Passenger Rights & Wrongs What recourse do you have if the cruise on your Dream Ship becomes a Nightmare? An interview with James Walker, a top maritime attorney.

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