The Simple Tip That Will Make Your Cruise Experience Even Better

While many travelers already enjoy the perks of cruises, there's a simple yet often overlooked tip to enhance your experience even more: Crew members may be your number one resource on the ship, so be courteous and kind to them. They have likely been working on the ship for months, so they know the ins and outs of the ship better than anyone else. While these individuals may offer you insider tips and share their expertise, be mindful not to cross any professional boundaries.

Befriending crew members can positively impact your trip, but you shouldn't expect them to give you special treatment. Cruise ship etiquette is similar to any vacation destination. Employees must abide by a code of conduct that limits their interactions with passengers beyond their duties. Some passengers may make lasting friendships with crew members. Still, beyond discreetly exchanging information and keeping in touch, it's important to remember that crew members can be reprimanded for fraternizing with passengers during the cruise.

Learning their names, interacting with them, and showing appreciation to build rapport is appropriate, but most crew members would rather you respect their time and avoid crossing boundaries. Questions about their personal lives, relationships, and other controversial topics should be off-limits. For instance, according to Insider, one former cruise ship employee shares that some passengers may talk about their culture and background, but they recommend passengers "avoid political topics" when talking to cruise ship staff. However, asking for recommendations, port advice, and showing gratitude are all welcome. 

Insider info can enhance your cruise experience

Appropriately utilizing crew members as resources can enhance your cruise experience. Whether there's a safety issue, something important goes missing, or you forget to pack something for the cruise, crew members are there to assist you. According to the crew member on Insider, crew members have stated that treating them with kindness does increase their willingness to go "above and beyond" for you. While you shouldn't expect preferential treatment, showing kindness to travel industry professionals is always a good idea. 

Crew members can also offer helpful tips and advice for navigating on and off the ship in ports of call, as they are familiar with the area and have likely visited multiple times. If you're looking for recommendations on popular restaurants in ports of call or the best spots for swimming, ask a cruise director, hotel director, or concierge. They have likely been to several ports, experienced various excursions, and know the ship like the back of their hand. That said, their answers may be a bit "pamphlet-ready."

However, crew members may offer a wealth of information about less-known places to visit, hidden attractions, and local secrets at each port. You can get invaluable tips on what to do, where to eat, and how to make the most of your time ashore. This firsthand knowledge helps you avoid tourist traps and ensures memorable shore excursions, especially if this is your first time on a cruise.