Cruise Etiquette when on Vacation

Author: Cynthia Andrews
Published: 2008/12/28 - Updated: 2010/06/28
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
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Synopsis: Information on cruise ship etiquette and how to enjoy a pleasant cruise and vacation. A cruise is a unique vacation experience, because you share it with a small, distinct group of people - everyone else on the cruise.


Main Digest

A cruise is a unique vacation experience, because you share it with a small, distinct group of people - everyone else on the cruise.

Because quarters are somewhat close, depending on the size of the ship, it is usually encouraged for guests to meet one another and form friendships.

Some cruise ships even arrange mixers, seat you at dinner tables with other guests, and run activities meant to spark conversation between guests. While on a cruise, though, it can be difficult to understand the lines of etiquette. If you are planning a cruise as your next vacation, here are a few suggestions to make the most of the social opportunities presented to you while still practicing good etiquette.

First of all, on a cruise, unless you go on a special family-friendly cruise where alcohol is banned, there will be plenty of opportunities to drink. On some cruises you do not have to pay for drinks, while on others all bars are cash only. Regardless, when you are on a cruise, it is important to show discretion with how much you drink. No one likes someone who has had too much to drink, and it can be a very dangerous as well. Keep in mind that no matter how comfortable you feel with the people you have meant, you should stop drinking as soon as you start to feel it.

It is important to know your limits with food just as with alcohol.

On a cruise, dinners are often buffet-style, meaning that you can eat as much as you want. However, remember that you are on a ship and it can be easy to get sick. If you are ill because you have eaten too much, you will not be able to enjoy the social life on the ship, and you will bring down the mood of the others you have met. At least until you know how you will stomach the sea, refrain from eating too much!

To go along with dinner etiquette, remember to tip.

Many cruises are "all-inclusive," meaning that you do not have to pay for food or activities. However, unless there are specific signs that ask you not to tip, you should leave at least 15% for your waitress. If you do not tip, you are not only insulting the staff, but you will also make things awkward with your dinner company.

When on a cruise, remember to stay positive.

It is natural to chat with those around you, especially if you are placed at a dinner table with others or go to events. The one thing that everyone has in common is that you are all on the cruise together and you are all traveling. It is really tempting to share your life story, including all the ups and downs, but keep in mind that this is a vacation when you should be having fun! No one likes complaining or whining, so unless your story is about a funny mishap or has a happy ending, try not to be negative in your conversation.

Speaking of conversation, what should you talk about

Almost anything goes, but try to avoid topics that are too personal. While it might be nice to exchange information about where you are from, for example, stick to general areas, like "southern Florida" or "near Boston." Use the same caution here as you would online - do not give out personal information or ask other to share. Also stay away from conversations over things that are highly controversial, like politics or religion. Although some people enjoy debates, you do not want things to get heated. Instead, stick to positive, fun topics. If you cannot think of a topic, try talking about positive things relating to the cruise, like the food you have enjoyed, the activities you are planning to try, or your travel plans following the cruise.

Remember, you will not get along with everyone you meet on a cruise.

Try to be patient with others, and realize that the ship is big. Most cruises have thousands of people on board, and there are no rules that say you have to hang out with the people you meet your first night on board. If you are not having a good time, politely excuse yourself and meet other people!

Keep in mind that not everyone is on a cruise to meet other people.

Sometimes, people on cruises simply want to spend time with their families or by themselves. Although you should be friendly and polite, if someone seems a bit unreceptive to your conversation, realize that they may rather not get to know you - and that is not a personal attack on you, they would just rather be alone. While on a cruise, the most important point of etiquette for your social interactions is to give others their space, at least as much as possible on a ship.

Reference: Cynthia Andrews is freelance writers who writes about the singles scene and also travel vacations and packages for young people. Ms. Andrews also frequently discusses specific kinds of vacations such as cruises.


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Cite This Page (APA): Cynthia Andrews. (2008, December 28). Cruise Etiquette when on Vacation. Disabled World. Retrieved December 1, 2023 from

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