Common Cruise Ship Courtesy

CruiseMates readers comprise some of the most experienced and cultured cruisers in the world. So who could be better to ask for suggestions on common cruise ship courtesy? After all, we consider cruise ships to be some of the last and best representative bastions of the finest in human couresy and culture. You find more refined customs, formal dress and honor of tradition on cruise ships than you do in most other places in the world. We happen to think this is an extreme source of pride for the cruise industry and we hope to preserve this style of living for as long as possible.

Our readers came up with a number of great recommendations for to make the cruise experience nicer and safer for everyone onboard - and here they are:

  1. Remember that people may be sleeping at any given time so be quiet in the hallways. Do not shout out to your spouse at the other end of the ship when in passenger cabin areas. Do not leave your cabin door open while having guests over for parties. Do not talk loudly late at night when walking back to your stateroom. Don't slam your cabin door shut, especially late in the evening or early in the morning.
  2. When you are done eating in the buffet area during peak breakfast, lunch and dinner times kindly leave the table when you are finished. During the peak times tables can be hard to find and there are plenty of other places on the ship for you to go and just sit down and relax.
  3. It is against the policy of all cruise lines to reserve deck chairs by the pools. People often leave items on the chairs even when they are not really planning to use the chair, such as when they are just swimming. If you are swimming only, then put all of your towels in one place on a chair away from the pool and retrieve them when you get out.
  4. One of the biggest complaints concerns people who arrive in the early morning and place a towel on a prime deck chair which they do not intend to use for several hours. This is not allowed. Another common occurrence is that people will leave a deck chair but forget to remove their towel - and it appears to be taken even when it is in fact open. Always remember to take your towel with you when you are done lounging.
  5. If someone has a legitimate reason for saving a seat then respect that. The CruiseMates rule is 15 minutes. If a person does not reclaim a seat after 15 minutes you may take it. If you think you may need longer but you really need that seat then ask someone to watch it for you.
  6. Everyone should respect the ships "no seat reservation" policy in the theaters and the lounge chairs by the pool. The theaters can fill up very quickly and it is not fair to others to reserve several seats for a long period of time when someone else would like to sit there. We consider all right to save on seat for a spouse assuming you know they will be arriving before the show starts. Putting a jacket or other item on the seat signals it is taken.
  7. On cruise ships it is still a common courtesy to invite someone to sit down with you. Especially if you are alone and the restaurant is crowded. It is not impolite for a person looking for an empty seat to ask "do you mind if I join you?" when it is especially crowded.
  8. What is the proper way to ask someone in the buffet if they would care to join you? In a manner where they won't feel obligated if they don't feel like eating at your table. Saying "you are welcome to sit here if you'd like" takes the obligatory edge from the offer. It is better than, "would you like to sit with me?"
  9. It is still common to share tables with other cruisers on cruises every night on some ships. If you ever plan on not being there one night you should tell your table mates or the wait staff ahead of time that you will not be there that night. This won't hold them back from ordering which could potentially cause them to miss a show or have to change some other plans. By the same token, if you have plans and your tablemates are running late, it is considered acceptable to order before they arrive and even request expedited service just for yourself and the people sharing your plans - but not the whole table.
  10. When standing in a buffet line waiting for an omelet or something else to cook - stand aside and let people pass by you. Better yet, figure out a way to start a separate line just for omelets. We cannot tell you how common it is to see an entire breakfast buffet line backed up because one person is waiting for eggs to cook.
  11. On a related note, if there is a line for anything, wait your turn like everyone else. For example, in the buffet line for the carving station, if a line has formed wait your turn! This is equally true at the shore excursion or pursers desk. "We just have one short question" is a common excuse for cutting in. There may be many people with just "one short question" in line, so the least you can do is ask people if they mind if you ask you one short question - do not butt in.
  12. Don't crowd people who are standing in lines; especially for trains or busses. That vehicle is not going anywhere until everyone is onboard anyway - so stand back. In line it is rude to stand next to someone when you should be behind them. It makes some people very nervous.
  13. Wash Your Hands! Especially if you are about to go to the buffet. We all use the same handles, etc. It is far too easy to share germs. If you use any restroom please wash your hands, or just make a habit of doing it before you go to the buffet. The provided gel sanitizers are better than nothing but they don't really do as much as soap and water because when you wash your hands it has been shown that most of the germs are left on the towel. And if you are in line in a buffet and have to sneeze - get out of line to do it. People will let you back in.
  14. Always remember to let the people leaving the elevator to get out before you step in. If someone has special needs, especially in an wheelchair, get out and make room for them, and wait for the next car. If you see kids pressing all the buttons, let them know this is not acceptable; people are waiting for the car. Hold the door for those that you see coming.
  15. If you're using the ship's self serve laundry, get your clothes out of the washer and the dryer when they're done. The required times for washing and drying are listed in the laundry area. Come back a few minutes early. Also, please clean out the dryer filter when you're done.
  16. As you pass staff in the walkways who are servicing a cabin smile say Hello. After all paid or not they still are picking up after you for how many days? Slow down and stand back and let other pass ahead of you if they seem to be in a hurry!
  17. When announcers say "no flash photography" at an entertainment venue they have good reasons for insisting guests comply. Many shows involve an element of risk for the performers, such as the divers in the Oasis Of Dreams show, the aerial acts, and the ice skaters. A flash can momentarily blind them or disrupt their concentration and cause them to fall or worse.
  18. When in the gym do not drop the weights on the ground. There are people in the cabins underneath the gym. Do not start jogging on an outside deck before 8:00 morning at the earliest.
  19. Parents, keep your "little stinkers" in diapers, OUT of the pool and hot tub! This is a very serious health risk that is actually against the law in public places. No child who is not potty trained should be in a public pool or hot tub (especially a hot tub).
  20. If you are unsure if you want to buy your photo from the cruise line and may want to buy it later, put it back in an empty spot on the rack. Don't put your photos in front of someone elses pictures so they can't see their own photos. If you have no intention of buying a photo, then take it off the rack and hand it into the personnel so they don't have to keep putting it up.
  21. Be courteous to tour operators and other lecturers. Oftentimes people who are close to a tour group that is listening to a guide in another language does not seem to realize people are trying to listen to that guide and they will speak loudly, often right next to the group. Please remember that even though you cannot understand what they are saying, other people are trying to listen. Always respect tour guides leading groups.
  22. Understand and respect the culture of the country you are visiting. Don't just assume they should do things the American/Canadian way. If you are in a port of call and plan to visit a house of worship, show respect by bringing the proper dress. Never talk loudly or take flash photographs where locals are worshipping.

That is our list for now. If you have additional ideas please contribute them here: Common Cruise Ship Courtesy Suggestions.

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