CruiseThe Carnival Triumph docked in Mobile, Ala. after thousands of passengers were stranded for a week in the Gulf of Mexico. Satan was plaguing the seas that week. An unforeseen engine-room fire transformed the four-day escape into a hellish experience complete with floating sewage and a shortage of snacks.

The stranding of the Carnival Triumph will cause a drastic decline in cruise travel, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. Cruising to exotic locales is heaven for a black American girl with a passport and a hectic schedule, so I will be hitting the ocean again soon and I encourage others to partake as well.

This recent incident highlights a need to embrace passenger etiquette standards. There are certain tips we should all adhere to before setting sail. Here are seven of them.

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  • AnnT

    “We all have friends we can’t travel with. Learn who those people are and leave them out of this adventure. The decision may seem harsh, but it’s worth it. It is senseless to spend so much and travel so far and have a horrible trip because a select few are miserable.”

    Everyone knows “that person” who cuts up in a restaurant and gives the staff high Holy Hell for not giving them crushed ice, snapping there fingers at them, or just being an all around jackwagon when you go out to eat.
    Whatever bad behavior the exhibit around food is amped up 1000x on a boat and they will make you miserable.

    • angel

      Girl, I have very close family members like this. I vowed the last time we went out to never do that again. I felt obligated to leave a huge tip to the poor waitress that serviced our party (praying that she did not spit in my food). And when I tried to jokingly/gingerly ask them to chill a bit, I get the “I’m paying money for this THEYARE SUPPOSED to get things how I want them!!”. Really. 0_0 $14.99 for an entree is not enough to justify all that. Sorry I had to vent.

    • AnnT

      I feel the same way!

  • cookiechica

    These are very good general tips to follow for cruising, however there are some that were left off that need to be said. It’s always smart to read up on the desired cruise line(both at their own and independent travel websites, as well as travel magazines), look at their wardrobe suggestions(some lines have formal nights, others don’t) and see what their tipping/gratuity guidelines are. Having cash is important for both tipping and spending off the ship, as almost all cruise lines work on a cashless system, any purchases on board(bars, duty free shops, boutiques) are done with the card that serves as both ID and room key(an account is set up either using cash or a credit or debit card). As for packing extra, be careful; if flying to a cruise port, it’s possible to get slammed by the airlines for overweight luggage(as much as $75 for 7 pounds over maximum weight!), so while an extra dress or lingerie may not weigh a lot, shoes do(that and cruise ship staterooms are small and closet/drawer space is modest). I’m a fairly experienced cruise traveler, and I’m always learning new tips and tricks from extremely seasoned cruisers. Don’t be shy in asking questions of both fellow passengers and the crew(they usually know where the best local hangouts are, the free wi-fi, and the bargains, at the ports of call).

    • RenJennM

      I’m about to go on a cruise in June. Do you have any tips in terms of what people should bring on a cruise? Like I know one thing people bring is a wristband that prevents seasickness. Is there anything else you’d suggest I bring?

    • cookiechica

      It all depends on where you’re going. One tip I can give you is to try on everything BEFORE you pack(it sounds like a “duh, no-brainer”, but I’ve heard so many times from people that they’ve forgotten items, or found something was ripped or stained, and they forgot and packed it)! That way, you know if you need to make repairs, buy a replacement, and/or that it fits before packing instead of on the cruise and getting an unpleasant surprise. A travel sewing kit comes in handy too, as does a mini first aid kit(pack it in your checked luggage if you’re flying). I’ve needed a safety pin and have been saved by that kit a few times. I brought some really cute, colorful tote bags that folded into their own pouch and used them as purses. I put any purchases in it, and had my wallet, sunglasses and sunscreen, and didn’t have to worry about juggling a whole bunch of bags and a purse and worrying about wrecking a bag at the beach. If you’re worried about leaving money and cards at the beach towel while swimming, some folks swear by waterproof pouches that go around the neck, so you can forgo the tote bag and just carry your towel(amazon sells them, type “waterproof pouch” in the search). The cruise line tells you that you need a passport, but also carry your driver’s license or state issued ID too, some ports only need your cruise issued key card and a photo ID to get back on the ship. You can often leave your passport in the safe in your room for most ports and you’ll need it to board the ship and at US Customs when you get home.

  • talaktochoba

    clearly the best way to cruise is to come prepared to be stranded, either aboard ship, in what ever flotation devices may be available (please mind the sharks, they always follow cruise ships like wolves do a wounded deer) or on some unsuspected shore;

    pack flashlights, batts, a device that can recharge them via sunlight, safety flares, a good knife and machete or two good knives, a compass, poncho raincoats, NASA blankets and instructions on starting fires if you don’t know how–and all of it should be packed in a neat carryall that can be grabbed in one lunge when time comes to abandon ship, or retreat to some remote unpolluted corner of it;

    when it comes to survival, remember this rule–if you can’t wear it, eat it or bear it, you don’t need it;