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Cruise Faux Pas

15 August 2019

Man in flip flops

If you’ve never been on a cruise before, there may seem like a lot of information to take onboard. Cruise holidays are actually the simplest way to holiday around, though there are still some golden rules to keep in mind. Keep reading to find out how to ensure your first cruise is smooth and faux pas free!


Dining is one of the highlights of being onboard a cruise. You can choose from casual buffet restaurants that appeal to all ages, to high-end speciality dining inspired by destinations around the world. Whichever you decide to choose, there are still some rules to follow…

The approach to dining etiquette on cruises is often quite traditional. Think waiters in smart jackets, topping up your water before it’s even half empty and pulling out your chair for you. It’s important to remember that it’s polite to follow this etiquette. Let your server place your napkin on your lap. Allow the ladies at the table to place their orders first, and wait for your turn. If you skip a course, wait patiently until the rest of the table has finished. Finally, remember to thank your wait staff for the service they have provided.

Even if you’re opting for a casual lunch at the buffet, it’s important to remember that many cruise lines prohibit wearing shorts, vests and sandals to dine in. Some restaurants adopt a ‘smart casual’ approach, while others require full formal wear. Be sure to check out the FAQs to find out what your cruise line allows as standard.

Queen Mary 2 Grill
Queen Grill

In port

When visiting new destinations it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and be a bit forgetful. Seasoned cruisers will be ready and waiting to get onshore, so make sure you’re ready to go with these top tips…

Preparation is key to getting onshore as soon as possible! Don’t get to the front of the line and realise you’ve left your passport and identification in your cabin. Pack this the night before and keep it with you at all times. You won’t get very far without it onshore, and if you become stranded, having identification will help you out massively.

It’s one of the biggest worries of every avid cruiser. Getting left behind in port would put a real spanner in the works of your cruise holiday, so keeping an eye on the time is essential. If your excursion is not with the cruise line, be sure to book your transport in advance with plenty of time to spare. If you’re running late, call the cruise ship – the captain will wait for fifteen minutes, but it’s polite to your fellow passengers to be on time!

Running late on holiday
Couple Running Late


Although you’re embarking on a cruise to relax, unwind and enjoy the entertainment, there are golden rules to follow in order to be mindful of fellow passengers. Seasoned cruisers might just get a bit bristly unless you follow these…

On a hot sea day the pool area may become busier than normal. It’s tempting to get up early to claim a sun lounger with your belongings, but many cruise lines will not allow you to leave these unattended for more than thirty minutes out of courtesy to others. If you’re going to have lunch, vacate the lounger for someone else to use.

Following on from the above, it’s easy to simply nip to the buffet after a dip in the pool but dripping water everywhere is not the way to make cruise friends! Avoid leaving a wet seat or causing an accident by rinsing off, towelling dry and changing into a spare set of clothes. Whether you’re just popping in for a snack or here to fill up on some delicious cuisine, be courteous to others using the buffet.

See more info here on our blog - what to wear on a cruise!

A luxury spa treatment is the ultimate way to wind down after a long day onshore. For you and many other guests, this may well be one of the highlights of your cruise- don’t spoil the ambience by having your alarm go off! Leave your phone behind in your cabin safe for an hour or two, and simply enjoy being pampered.

Relaxing by the pool
Couple Relaxing

Of course, it’s important to check the guidelines of your chosen cruise line for specific requirements. While some may have a more laidback approach to attire, dining and etiquette, others will uphold a more traditional set of rules so there’s something for everyone. Families will love a chilled-out cruise line like Norwegian, while couples may enjoy something more formal like Cunard. If you’re feeling a bit lost, don’t forget to get in touch with our experts for more advice.

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