Follow the dress code
Dress codes vary between cruise lines, so check what’s expected when booking. Generally, shorts, swimwear and bare feet are not permitted in formal dining areas. Some lines expect men to wear a jacket, and possibly tie, in the main dining room, but there is usually at least one less-formal dining venue where a shirt and casual pants are acceptable. Smart casual is usually the standard for women. Some lines allow jeans, others don’t, so check before packing. At the other end of the scale, many ships have at least one black-tie dinner per cruise, allowing passengers to go all out in designer eveningwear, dinner jackets and even tails.
Be on time
Ships run on tight schedules so make sure you are back on board in plenty of time after days ashore. In some ports, passengers are taken ashore by tender, so it’s important to be ready to depart on time, otherwise you might miss out.
Keep it down
Remember you’re travelling with lots of other people in close quarters, and not everyone keeps the same hours. If you are up early or out late, consider your neighbours who may be sleeping. Don’t slam cabin doors, shout or stand around having loud conversations in the passenger deck corridors.
Fun for all ages
If you are travelling with children, respect the areas and onboard events designated adults only. If you want to join in, sign the kids up for a kids’ club or arrange a babysitter. By the same token, if you book a cruise on a ship with a kids’ club and lots of activities for children, don’t complain if there are hoards of lively children dashing about and having fun.
Policies on tipping vary between cruise lines. Many lines add a set per-day gratuity to the bill at the end of the cruise and guest can add more if they wish. Some lines include gratuities in their upfront all-inclusive fares. It is customary to give a gratuity to dining room waiters, cabin stewards and butlers on the last night of the cruise and lines often supply envelopes for this purpose.