A cruise vacation is a great opportunity to get away from it all, a
chance to relax and have fun in some exotic locales, surrounded by food,
fun and friends. Many people work hard to make a cruise as rewarding
as possible for passengers, and many passengers enjoy cruises at the
same time, with ship populations climbing as the cruise market gets
larger and larger. With all of these people involved, there are a few
smart things you as a cruise vacationer can do to ensure that the experience
is fun and rewarding for everyone.
One of the first things you may hear about cruise ships is that tipping
the staff is expected. This isn't as unusual as it may sound at first.
After all, you tip the wait staff at a restaurant, and the maids at
a hotel, right? How about the people who carry your luggage to your
rooms? Well, a cruise ship has all of these people and more, and tipping
them is a gesture of etiquette that is well appreciated. Too many staff
on cruise ships get stiffed by passengers who believe that, since they
paid a 'package price' for their vacation, they do not have to shell
out any more cash. But the staff on a cruise ship are there for the
same reasons staff in restaurants and hotels are there, and they deserve
the same compensation. So don't stiff the staff. They're there to enhance
your vacation, and they deserve an _expression of your gratitude.
Aside from the wait staff, it's also important to be courteous to your
fellow passengers on a cruise ship. Everyone is there for the same purpose-
to enjoy their vacation. Simple things, like quiet conversations in
crowded rooms, leaving the theater during shows if you need to talk,
and waiting your turn at buffet dinners, are obvious. Other forms of
etiquette that might be less obvious include things like the ship's
dress code: It's there for a reason. Many people argue that because
they are on vacation, they should not have to comply with a dress code;
but certainly they would not take that attitude at a fancy restaurant
on shore, and there's no reason to take it on a cruise ship. Several
meal options are offered, and those who don't wish to follow the simple
rules can easily eat in the informal restaurant or order room service.
It's a reasonable courtesy to your fellow passengers.
Finally, relax. It can be intimidating to be on a boat with several
hundred other strangers, all trying to enjoy their vacations. Use some
common sense and politeness. Being on a cruise ship with so many other
people is a lot like living in a city: Everyone is there for their own
reasons and to follow their own pursuits, and the best they can do for
each other is be kind, say please and thank you, and don't take things
too seriously. After all, this IS a vacation!
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