Cruise etiquette 101

Well, you’ve done it. You’ve finally decided to plan a cruise. Now, what kind of behavior is expected on a cruise? There are great variety of cruises from which to choose from, but here are some etiquette tips you’ll want to know, no matter which cruise you have chosen. You’ll find these tips useful on your perfect cruise.

<--break->You’ve met with your travel consultant, you have discussed your options, and have chosen a wonderful cruise, possibly to the Caribbean or Mexico. Now make the most of it by getting a firm handle on cruise etiquette. Your fellow passengers will be glad you did and you’ll end up enjoying yourself even more as well.


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  • use hand sanitizer and wash hands often
  • dress appropriately
  • remove your hat in restaurants
  • budget for tips and gratuities

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  • dash into an elevator without letting anyone out
  • reserve a ton of seats in a theater
  • reserve your chair for so long
  • grumble and complain

M. Ann Cappa, A.C.C., D.S.‘s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do use hand sanitizer and wash hands often

Use hand sanitizer before entering the restaurants and cafes, and keep your hands out of the buffet food. Follow the CDC’s recommendation and wash your hands with hot water and soap before and after eating and smoking, after touching your face, after using the restroom, and whenever your hands are dirty. This helps prevent germs from spreading. Norovirus can spread rapidly and this greatly minimizes this danger.

Do dress appropriately

Stick to the dress code. Your daily program will advise you of the dress code for the day. Casual is most often the code, and absolutely no shorts in the dining room. Cruises vary widely on their dress codes, so take note of the dress code for your perfect cruise, and pack accordingly.

Do remove your hat in restaurants

Removing your hat in restaurants is particularly important on a cruise ship. Plan on removing baseball caps and cowboy hats in the dining room. It is part of the etiquette they enforce on a cruise ship.

Do budget for tips and gratuities

Tip appropriately to your room steward and wait staff. Gratuities are a critical part of their income. The staff members do their best to provide good service while working very long hours. Familiarize yourself with the tipping standards and procedures on your chosen cruise.

M. Ann Cappa, A.C.C., D.S.‘s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not dash into an elevator without letting anyone out

It’s common sense, but entering the elevator before people exit isn’t courteous to your fellow passengers. Always step aside and let each person off the elevator before you enter.

Do not reserve a ton of seats in a theater

Don’t save a row of seats in the theater for your entire group. If they want to sit with you at the show, have them come with you. You never know how long it’ll take everyone to show up, and in the meantime it can be very frustrating for other passengers who have actually shown up and are trying to find a suitable seat.

Do not reserve your chair for so long

Definitely refrain from reserving your pool lounge or chair all day. Saving seats for unreasonable amounts of time has gotten out of hand on cruises, particularly by the pool. In fact, many cruise lines have started limiting the amount of time people can save seats. Vacationers, looking for a spot in the sun, want to relax and enjoy a much-needed getaway without staring at your reserved chair for an hour (or more), wondering if you will actually ever return to use it.

Do not grumble and complain

Please don’t whine while waiting in line; the people behind you will probably hear you, and they don’t have the option to leave or they’ll lose their place in line, so refrain from whining. While a cruise is almost perfect, nothing is always perfect, and people don’t want to listen to you complain.


Cruising is an amazing vacation. You pack and unpack once while traveling to many ports of call. You can make it even more wonderful for everyone by following these cruise travel tips. Good etiquette helps everyone to more pleasantly relax while floating to the next destination. By remembering this advice – maintaining clean hands, keeping a positive attitude, tipping appropriately, and being considerate of your fellow passengers and staff – you and everyone else can enjoy the cruise even more. Have a wonderful time.

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