From buffets to boarding, there are a few unspoken rules when it comes to cruise etiquette. Whether it’s hogging a lounger by the pool or snacking on buffet food at lunch, there are a few things passengers can do that could upset other guests. Yasmin Pekel, CEO of Blue Cruise, explained which rules guests should follow onboard the ship.
Yasmin said: “While jeans may be appropriate for the smart casual night that some cruises offer, when worn with a nice t-shirt or top, they are not suitable for the formal evening.
“This is the opportunity for guests to dress in their best, with women wearing evening dresses or formal gowns, while many men opt for tuxedos. As such, wearing jeans could look out of place.
“Some cruise lines may be more lax, so check in advance, but always bring smart trousers or similar as a backup.”
Cruise lines will usually share the ship’s dress code on their website or guests can contact customer service before their sailing.
While not every cruise holiday will include a formal night, many itineraries do have a few themed nights.
Guests might not be able to wear shorts, jeans or flip flops on formal night and could even be stopped from entering the ship’s restaurants.
The ship’s buffet is often the scene of the onboard drama, whether it’s two passengers fighting over the last pancake or a queue jumper. However, some passengers upset other guests and crew by packing a lunch box from the buffet.
Some local residents get upset that guests don’t spend any money at the destinations, if they bring their lunch from the ship.
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Yasmin said some ships might allow passengers to take food from the buffet for a day out, but there are a few things to consider.
She said: “You can ask ahead of your cruise by ringing the company or asking onboard – in most cases, politely asking a member of staff is likely to get the go ahead.
“Some ships will also let you take snacks with you when embarking, which could be particularly important for those with a medical condition, such as diabetes, or those travelling with young children that might get hungry.
“However, remember that it is important to check the rules of your destination, as some countries may not allow fresh food, such as fruit or dairy. This could lead to items being confiscated, so make sure to do your research.”
In some destinations, guests won’t be able to take fresh food off the boat and could be fined for attempting to do so. In a recent incident, a cruise guest was heavily fined after trying to take several banned items into Australia.
Chair hogging, or saving chairs for hours using towels, is very controversial. While it’s commonly seen at package holiday hotels, cruise guests have also reported seeing chair hogging by the ship’s pool.
As cruise ships are under strict space limitations, there often aren’t enough chairs for the number of guests.
Yasmin said: “If you notice someone chair hogging, the best thing to do is to notify a member of staff.
“Most cruise lines will consider saving chairs to be breaking their rules, as this could ruin the experience of other guests, so they will be able to handle the situation.
“Never engage directly in conversation with the person saving the chairs yourself, as this could lead to confrontation.
“If you can’t see a member of staff, you should either wait for some new seats to appear, or consider relaxing in a different area of the pool or ship.”
Some ships have rules against chair hogging and staff will remove items that have been left for over an hour.
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