Cruising is a simple concept but if you’ve never set foot on a ship before the experience can feel rather daunting. You’re bound to feel excited and hope this might be the first of many world cruises, and perhaps a little apprehensive about fitting in with everyone else.
Let’s put the record straight by saying your fears are ungrounded and you’ll find passengers aboard luxury cruise ships just as friendly as anyone else you might meet when on vacation. They are people who share your passion for traveling and will want to strike up conversations and share their thoughts about the world just like you.
If you’re still feeling nervous, here are some tried-and-true ways to get to know your fellow passengers and fit in on your first luxury cruise.
Start by checking whether there is a cruise line dress code and then pack accordingly. If it’s the norm for guys to wear jackets, don’t be the only guy who’s not packed one. If there are formal events during the cruise, tuxedos and dark suits will likely be recommended. Women will be in line wearing sparkly sandals, jazzy accessories, statement jewelry, and beautiful shawls.
During the day, it’ll be OK to dress more casually, as long as you don’t look like a slob. If you’re on the pool deck, make sure you’ve got something to cover up with when you trek back to your suite.
On the first day onboard, relax and soak up the experience. Now is not the time to be worrying. Remember to be yourself and stay relaxed. Enjoy the experience of meeting new people.
If you encounter someone you’re not crazy about, move along to the next one. There are going to be lots of people eager to chat and you’ll find that very few judge you on first appearances. The ship has a marvelous way of leveling the playing field.
There are some cruise companies that include a pre-cruise hotel stay as part of the itinerary. Take advantage of this option and you get the opportunity to meet some of your fellow passengers before pulling up the anchor and heading out across the ocean.
It’s a great inaugural experience and a chance for you to bond with other newbies. You’ll also meet veteran cruisers who might have some tips to share.
This is a golden rule for embarkation day and applies whether you’re being transported from the airport to the port, in line at the cruise terminal, at the check-in desk, or enjoying your embarkation-day lunch.
This first day is an opportunity to meet people before they form into cliques. You might be feeling jet-lagged or a bit underdressed, but take advantage of it. People will remember your smiling face, friendly greeting, and upbeat conversation.
The ship’s crew has some of the best insider advice. From day one and throughout the cruise, go out of your way to be friendly and you’ll be rewarded with a more genuine, personalized service. Also, take the time to introduce yourself to the maitre d’ and the cruise director.
There will be plenty of onboard and sea-day activities you can participate in. They tend to be well-attended and are the perfect opportunity for making friends. One of the quickest ways to make onboard friends is to join a trivia team. Trivia sessions can get very competitive but are always a blast.
Other opportunities might include cooking or dancing classes, enrichment lectures, or afternoon tea. These are great places to meet like-minded people and enjoy interesting conversations.
Inviting people you like to dinner is customary on luxury cruises. If you enjoy a few laughs by the pool or at the bar or have an interesting conversation with someone, invite them to join you for a meal.
Don’t take it personally if they say no. Some people prefer to dine with their travel partner and no one else.
Remember to keep the conversation light and avoid controversial topics, particularly politics.
If one of your cruise goals is to meet others, sign up for shore excursions. They are great ways to interact with your fellow passengers. Strike up a conversation in the show lounge while waiting for the bus or chat during the tour.
Most passengers take advantage of free excursions, so make sure you follow suit and sign up, too.
There is one surefire way of ensuring you fit in on a luxury cruise. Bring your friends from home along for some fun. You’ll likely have more fun in a group, especially if you’re already comfortable in their company.