Cruise Etiquette – How to have happiness on the high waters

It’s “Wave Season,” the annual time when many cruise vacation discounts traditionally are offered, and  you’ve booked your voyage and are ready for a little excitement at sea. But don’t forget that a cruise ship often houses thousands of people and where space is limited, patience may also be limited. Don’t let that reality equate to limited courtesy. Here are some pointers on cruise ship etiquette.

Spatial awareness: Given the throngs of passengers aboard many ships, remember to show common courtesy. There’s no harm in taking the stairs if there’s a long line at the elevator. If you’re at a large table with a small group of people, make sure passersby are aware you’re willing to share the space.

Deck chair reservations: Enjoying the sun is fine, but don’t be a deck-chair hog. Don’t leave your belongings on a chair in an attempt to reserve it all day. And, certainly, clear space for someone else if you’ve been in the sun awhile and the deck is crowded.

Keep kids under control: Don’t let your kids run wild. A cruise vacation is not an excuse to stop parenting.1

Talk quietly: Slamming cabin doors and echoing voices can be heard up and down hallways in close, sometimes cramped quarters. Keep your voice down and don’t let your door slam on the way out – especially if it’s early in the day or late at night.

Follow dress codes: Many cruises have a dress code for special dinners or events. Don’t be “that guy” who shows up wearing shorts and a t-shirt without a care in the world. Be sure you read the itinerary and show up dressed accordingly.

Avoid saving seats: If you are traveling with a large group of people and you are the person who shows up early at a cruise event, don’t save 10 seats around you so your party can sit together. Either plan with your companions to show up at the same time or be okay with sitting separately.1

Don’t complain: People on vacation want to enjoy themselves. The last thing they care to listen to is someone complaining. If your day didn’t start the way you were hoping, keep that fact to yourself. If you have a legitimate complaint, make your request known to the cruise staff; they may be able to assist you.


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