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The Best Cruising Do's and Don'ts

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Side of Cruise ship
Side of cruise ship

If you are anything like me, you love cruises. I have done plenty, and not just Caribbean, I've done Transatlantic and Alaska cruises too. Here are some of the best do's and don'ts to keep in mind when cruising, and if you ever have any questions reach out to me on


Cruise ship in the bay
Cruise ship in the bay
  • Research your cruise line and ship before booking. This is a must, if you can't do the research get a travel agent or me to do it for you. If you have never done one, or even if you have, there are things you need to be aware of that are different between cruise lines.

  • Book shore excursions in advance to ensure availability. Book them early. You can wait till you get on the ship to book, but for some that is too late. Especially popular excursions. I waited once to book after I got on board for a snorkel excursion and by the time, I got around to book it, it was too late. So, if possible, book early. Most cruise ships now use websites while on board you can use your phone to purchase excursions or book reservations to restaurants. That way if you didn't book early using your cell phone to book it might save you time waiting in line.

  • Pack comfortable clothing and shoes for both onboard and onshore activities. Of course, you might want some fancy clothes for special dinners on the ship and that fine. But there is plenty of walking on and off the ship when you do cruises, so pack comfortable shoes and clothing.

cruise ship
cruise ship
  • Follow safety instructions and participate in any emergency drills. Doing the lifeboat drill is mandatory on the first day before the cruise ship leaves the port. Pay attention to it in case you need to remember it for the future. All cruise ships after the pandemic have changed their protocol on this. Usually, you just need to check in by an electronic device (cell phone) to their ship's website when you first get on the ship. It makes it so much easier, and that way you are not waiting around all day for people to show up at their designated area.

  • Tip the crew members who provide exceptional service. Tipping is important, the employees work really hard and you can see that when cruising. They go out of your way to help. Another thing you can do in addition to tips, leave glowing comment cards on the cruise team members that help you the most. For example, on my transatlantic cruise, "Joyce was the choice." She was the bartender I visited every day. She made great drinks, smiled and made me laugh. She was such a pleasure.

Escargot (Snails)
Escargot (Snails)
  • Try new foods and experiences offered onboard. From buffets, dining rooms and specialty restaurants, there is something somewhere that would be considered new and exotic to you. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised. The first time I tried Escargot (Snails) was on a cruise and it was the best. You can make reservations while on the cruise at guest services or by using the cruise lines website to avoid waiting in line. Electronic devices on board have defiantly improved over the years.

  • Be prepared for sea sickness, some people are totally fine, but me on the other hand. I have to take it 1 days before and 2 days after I cruise. It's not that I get sick, it's that I get sea legs feeling when I walk. Trust me you will understand what I talk about. The best pill for this is called Bonnie. Buy them, they are over the counter and available at any Walgreens, CVS or even Walmart.

Friends I made on cruise critic during a transatlantic cruise
Friends I made on Cruise Critic during a transatlantic cruise
  • Mingle with other people on board. Meeting people on cruise ships is the best. I am still friends with some I have meet aboard many years later (I am trying to count the number of years that have passed since 1 of my cruises I made a great friend on it must be 12 or 13 years ago now. Another great way to meet people is to join a roll call for your ship on Cruise Critic. I love doing this, sometimes they even plan extra activities onboard like slot pulls, or a bar hop. In fact, you can even help plan things to do there also.

  • Be respectful of other passengers and their personal space.


Friends on a cruise leaving from Miami
Friends on a cruise leaving from Miami
  • Don't bring prohibited items such as weapons, drugs, or fireworks. Some cruises leave from states or countries where marijuana is legal. But it is not legal as of right now for marijuana on cruise ships.

  • Don't overpack or bring lots of valuables for a cruise. There is a safe in the room, and it is the best to use for valuables, but still, it is never a good idea to bring expensive jewelry or whatever on a cruise. You could pack an over the door hanging organizer to help set up your room if you are a pack rat, or if 4 people are sharing a room. But still please try and limit yourself with packing.

walking on the deck of a cruise ship
walking on the deck of a cruise ship
  • Leave valuables unattended in public areas or onshore. Always an issue when you go onshore, only bring what is needed especially if you are heading to a beach or beach resort on shore. Theft is pretty common at a beach, and you will not be by your chair all the time to guard your valuables because you will be in the water.

  • Ignore onboard rules and regulations. They are there for a reason and should be followed.

cruise ship picture from an island
cruise ship picture from an island
  • Smoke in non-designated areas. Some cruise ships have gone smoke free or limited their area to smoke in even more than just a few years ago. Do follow those rules.

  • Be loud or disruptive in public areas or after hours. There is nothing worse than to be woken up by a noisy neighbor at 3 AM because they are drunk and fighting with their spouse. (Yes, it was me, I had a very noisy neighbor once.)

  • Forget to bring necessary travel documents, such as passports or visas. You have to have these items to get on the ship or even get off the ship in some cases. If you don't bring them, they will not allow you to board the ship. This is by far one of the best pieces of advice I can give. Don't forget it.

Remember to always be courteous and considerate of others while aboard a cruise ship. Following this best list of do's and don'ts can help ensure a safe and the best vacation for you and your fellow passengers. So now let's go cruising!!!!!

Cruise Critic
Crystal Travel

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very informative!! I have cruised many times and enjoyed each and every one.

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