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Top 10 Cruise Etiquette Rules

Remembering which time zone you’re in, respecting cultural differences and not wearing your bedclothes in public areas are just some of the key etiquette points to remember when you’re on a cruise, according to an expert.

Grant Harrold, former royal butler to King Charles III and regular host on cruise ships, has offered up his advice on the crucial ways to behave when you’re enjoying a holiday on the high seas.

While some rules may be applicable on land too, the unique environment of the cruise ship means there are a few things to consider that may not immediately spring to mind. Speaking on behalf of Genting Casino, Grant has provided 10 top tips to point cruise-goers in the right direction.



“If you’re late to your cruise, you’re not getting on that ship, they do not wait for anybody. I’ve even heard of guests that get there late and the ship still leaves. What they’ve got to do is let the guests know where the ship is going next to try and get them to the next place to join. Because fees are incurred if the ship is late to leave, they can’t hang around. If you’re late the ship won’t wait!”

Planning Ahead

“The other reason timings are important is because if you are on one of these big ships and you arrange to meet someone for dinner in a certain restaurant at a certain time, you’re either going to be late because you’ve got miles to walk or you haven’t planned it. You have to plan ahead otherwise you will not get to your location on time. 

“Another thing is because you are across different time zones, you’ve always got to make sure which one you’re in. People may not think to change their watches and up being late, always check your location so you’re there on time. There’s no such thing as being fashionably late on a cruise ship because if you get the timings wrong it is monumental.” 

Cultural Differences

“You have to respect the guests on the cruise ship because there will be people there from across the globe. There are different cultures and traditions and you’ve got to be so aware of them and always respectful. Not just in a conversation, you’ve just got to understand that for instance you may be placed on a table and think those at the one next to you are being rude because they’re loud, or doing this or that but they aren’t, it’s just their tradition, it’s their culture. 

“You have got to be like a UN Ambassador or a world peacekeeper because you’re dealing with other cultures and you shouldn’t misunderstand conversations or situations as you’re amongst such a diverse group of people.”


“Reserving sun loungers is also a big no-no. You do get people first thing in the morning who will run down with their towel, but there are only so many sun loungers and it should be first come first served. It’s one thing to get up to get something to eat or drink but it’s another to go and set a towel down like a little reservation card on a dining table and expect people to leave it before you come back two hours later. You really shouldn’t.” 

Dress codes

“This is really important, it’s making sure you’re dressed in the right outfit in the right area. You might see yourself as Liberace or Elton John, thinking you can go around in your fluffy slippers and dressing gown into the public areas but unfortunately the rest of us see it as being lazy. The best thing is to put on something that’s appropriate and certainly do not go around in your pyjamas because it is a cruise not a pyjama party. 

“On a lot of the big ships you will be given notice of formal evenings or casual evenings, so casual evenings can be anything from jeans and t-shirts to smart shirts, jackets and chinos to the formal evenings where it’s going to be black tie or national dress and officers wear their uniforms. The dress codes really should be adhered to, I think it’s inconsiderate if you’re advised to wear something and you go the other way, you should always try to follow them.”

Do Not Disturb

“Don’t bang doors or talk loudly in the corridors outside the rooms, especially at night. You might want to continue your soiree in corridors but you have to be aware of noise because there will be people trying to relax. When you’re in the cabin you must be respectful of others next door as well, the same with the corridors. No slamming or banging doors either, even if you’ve had an argument with your loved one, you must close the door quietly.”

Overseas Etiquette

“You’re in different countries, you’ve got to remember there are etiquette protocols to be adhered to in other countries. They are not expecting you to read up on every single protocol but there are things in certain countries, for example, ladies being expected to wear headwear, not showing the soles of your feet. 

“There are different rules you must notice, so read up on where you’re going to, not just on the best beaches and restaurants, but the etiquette and protocol that is to be adhered to.” 

Smoking And Vaping

“There are designated areas to smoke and vape on cruise ships, but obviously not in your bedroom as you will set off alarms. You must go to designated areas on the ship and even then you should make sure you’re not too near other people as it may upset them.” 


“You have to be respectful toward the staff, if you’re rude to them they won’t thank you obviously and you don’t want to get reputation for being a guest that’s always complaining and being rude to staff which does happen. Always please and thank you, treat them the same as you do other guests, obviously they are there to look after you but you have to remember they are human beings, be disrespectful to guests and staff.” 


“There are dangers on cruise ships of bugs and viruses, so remember to wash hands regularly. When you go to have meals they do encourage you to wash your hands. Cleanliness is next to godliness and hygiene is really important, especially as you are in close proximity with people.”




Genting Casino is a leading global casino brand. We provide a premium online casino experience with our huge selection of online slots and live casino games. Genting has been recognized many times for its work in creating fun, safe gaming experiences winning multiple industry awards during its 50 years in business


V: 1.37.0 All rights reserved. August 2021