You’ve made it to
the ship, through the check in process, and are on board.
It’s somewhat like a hotel, but it moves.
What can you expect in this new, yet vaguely familiar,
expected of you?
1. Lifeboat Drill (or muster) is a mandatory
participation event. On occasion I’ve seen nice couples looking
over the rail at those of us dutifully wrapped in our orange
jackets. Chuckling to themselves, they’re oblivious to the fact
that they are breaking the strict policy of proper adherence to the Mandatory
Coast Guard Lifeboat Drill. Many lines actually
check cabins and most even check off names and cabin numbers at muster
stations during the drill. Absentees are eventually
scooped up by crewmembers who are roaming the ship in search of
drill skippers. In the meantime, everyone else stands patiently,
waiting in discomfort for the stragglers!
2. Tablemates can make or break a cruise for you. I happen to
like meeting new people and have been very fortunate to have some
wonderful tablemates through the years. But the worst can happen and
you could be paired up with some folks that just aren't going to
make it for you. In such a case there is salvation. If it’s really
necessary, see the Maître'd and quietly request a different table
3. In many
ways, a cruise ship operates like a hotel and, therefore, has a very
distinct pecking order. Bars have a Bar Manager. Cabin services
answer to a Head Steward. Dining rooms have a headwaiter and Maître'd.
Find these people to correct a problem if you encounter one in their
respective domains. When all else fails, there is one officer who
bears ultimate responsibility and has the authority to insure
passenger comfort and happiness. Every ship has a Hotel Manager. His
or her authority is almost comparable to the Captain’s. When all
else fails, seek the Hotel Manager for satisfaction.
4. Like me, many people suffer seasickness easily if they
don’t take precautions. My personal remedy of preference is Bonine,
an over the counter Dramamine type drug. The point that I can’t
stress strongly enough is that it’s not what you use to counteract
seasickness, but that it must be used before
you encounter symptoms. Bonine or an equivalent is also usually
available free of charge at the Pursers Desk or the ship’s Medical
5. If you plan to tip with cash, it’s often wise to make up
gratuity packets at home. Most cruise lines suggest tipping
guidelines in your documentation and getting it together at home
relieves you of the task on the last day of your cruise when
everyone else just thought of it. It also assures that you have tip
money available after
a week in the Casino and souvenir shopping, etc. You can always add
or delete a few bucks if one or the other staff member has greatly
pleased you or ticked you off.
your next cruise, you’ll be a veteran cruise diva.
© 2000 George Hall
Edited by Linda Coffman
Hints for New Cruisers ~ Part 1 by