Scroll to Top
Win a luxury 2-night sparkling Sussex break with Pride of Britain Hotels

Get clued up on your cruise holiday etiquette

Cruises are an ideal and popular way to wind down, enjoy a summer holiday and soak up the summer sun. They also offer a huge range of locations, activities and cuisines to choose from. It’s therefore no surprise that cruise holidays are becoming so popular with more inventive and intriguing cruises entering the market. But with so many different people occupying one ship for extended periods of time, there is a certain level of etiquette expected from guests to keep things ship shape.

If you’ve never taken to the seas before it can sometimes be difficult to know how to act and behave, leaving you feeling stressed whilst on your holiday. So, just how can you ensure your cruise ship experience is as hassle free and fun as possible? These are some top tips for fantastic cruise ship etiquette.

cruise ship
Cruises are an ideal and popular way to wind down, enjoy a summer holiday and soak up the summer sun

Know how to dress

One of the biggest questions that crosses people’s minds when embarking on a cruise adventure is the dress code. Should you focus on casual swimwear? Will you need an evening gown? Are flip flops ok? It is important to recognise that this will vary depending on the type of cruise you have booked. An adventure or fun cruise may have a more relaxed dress code whereas more typical cruise packages may hold formal dinners, theatre nights and even balls. Additionally, a lot of cruises will specify the dress code for a particular dinner or night, so pay attention to the ship’s suggestions for evening attire as this can save you from being turned away from formal restaurants or appearing out of place. Before you leave, it is worth checking the cruise package you have booked to check for formal nights and restaurants that require certain dress codes.

Buffet Behaviour

When it comes to holidayers and food buffets, basic manners and politeness often go straight out the window as hungry customers scramble over piled plates and buffet dishes. But whether you are being served or serving yourself, basic manners should be at the forefront of behaviour, particularly on a ship where you are likely to run into the same people at dinner. Firstly, never skip the queue as this will almost certainly ruffle some feathers. If someone in front is being particularly slow, just wait politely, the food isn’t going anywhere! If you are really eager to move ahead, then just politely ask the person in front if it is ok if you pass them – being respectful is key. Also, make sure your hands are clean before going to the buffet as there is nothing more than touching tongs when the person in front lacks basic cleanliness. It is also important to watch children during this time to ensure they don’t touch food, knock into people carrying plates or skip the queue. So, always accompany children under 10 to ensure their buffet behaviour is also ship shape.

Cruises offer a huge range of locations, activities and cuisines to choose from

To tip or not to tip

In any walk of life, any country and any cuisine, tipping can often be a precarious and confusing matter. With tipping standards changing across the globe, this is an issue that many holidayers confront each year – and this doesn’t change when it comes to cruises. Luckily, cruises are often easier than standard holidaying as most cruises will outline tipping requirements to passengers before embarking on the voyage. Most of time, cruises will automatically factor tipping costs into the overall cruise price so tipping in the main restaurants during your stay is not necessary. However, it is worth checking the requirements for specialty restaurants onboard as well as bringing extra tip money for restaurants explored whilst docked.

Always be on time

If there is one thing that will be sure to frustrate fellow passengers, it is rocking up late for departure times. Every cruise goer knows the feeling, the cruise is behind schedule and everybody is held up and eager to move forwards with the trip and one couple or family has failed to make it back to the boat on time. So, don’t be that person! To avoid turning up late for the cruise departure, try printing off an itinerary with the time schedules, locations and days activities to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

There’s nothing like cruise holidays for a bit of adventure and exploration in plenty of fascinating spots

Be ship safe

All holiday locations are likely to have some sort of safety measures or restrictions in place, such as don’t go in the pool between certain hours, no diving or don’t climb on balonys. These safety measures are even more important on a cruise as guests are surrounded by water and are on board a large and complex vessel. It is therefore important to follow protocol at all times for your own safety and the safety of other guests. This means not going into restricted areas, and staying away from the edge where there are barriers in place. Whilst you might want to get a better view, there might be a risk of falling overboard, so follow the rules at all times. Restrictions on pool opening times and other facilities are also designed to protect guests as facilities are not supervised with the correct amount of attendants or staff at all times, equipment or areas may also be faulty or under maintenance. Whilst precautions are put in place to avoid injury, there are also likely to be some cases where accident claims are unavoidable, such as slipping on a wet deck. If you are from the UK suffer an injury that you feel is the fault of the cruise company, it is worth speaking to a lawyer who can advise you further. Head over to for more information.