Most cruise holidaymakers are polite and respectful but it only takes a minority to spoil what should be the holiday of a lifetime. Think before you act and take note of our handy tips on cruise travel etiquette.

•    Poolside loungers are “first come first served”. There is nothing more annoying than getting up early to relax by the pool and finding rows of vacant loungers “reserved” with towels over them.

•    Smoking is strictly regulated on cruise ships. If you smoke, make sure you familiarise yourself with the ship’s policies for the comfort and safety of those around you.

•    Be on time for dinner and for group sessions or appointments of any kind. A lengthy delay will impact on the enjoyment of other passengers as well as making it difficult for staff to do their job.

•    Mind your volume when talking in hallways. Cabin walls are not soundproof and standing outside doors chatting late at night will disturb other passengers. Keep it to a whisper or go back into a public area.

•    Dress well for dinner. Cruise ships have a reputation for formal evening attire and too much exposed flesh or casual clothing is not well received.

•    Finally, always observe tipping etiquette. The cruise ship staff will be there to look after you for your entire trip so it is worth looking after them if they do a good job.

Cruise Restaurant

Picture: Steve Douglas

One of the highlights of a cruise is the food, and served all day and night to satisfy hundreds of hungry holidaymakers, it has to be appetising as well as tasty.

Cruise operators, always keen to enhance the cruise experience for passengers, have raised the standard of their menus consulting with some of the world’s top chefs on the best menus to serve on ships.  The result is cruise liners are serving food that would not be out of place in the best restaurants.

Holidaymakers have a choice of restaurants on cruise ships and so even the fussiest eater or anyone with a special requirement can easily be catered for.  Meals can be sit-down formal affairs while buffets are great for kids or for diners who just like to pick bits and pieces for themselves.

As well as the main meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner cruise ships offer snacks, cakes and sundaes throughout the day.  And if anyone is still feeling peckish after all the day’s food, then head to the midnight buffet.

Yes, cruise ships really do serve food nearly 24/7 so that holidaymakers never go hungry.

Cruise Restaurant

Picture: Steve Douglas

Taking a cruise on the Baltic Sea is one of the best ways to enjoy most of the countries in Northern Europe without booking separate trips.  This cruise is also ideal for UK travellers who do not want to fly since they can set sail directly from Southampton.  Baltic cruises are only in operation between May and September.

A Baltic cruise provides an opportunity to take in and enjoy the best of Scandinavia with ports of call in various countries.  There are many fascinating cities to explore including Oslo, Helsinki, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen.

The biggest attraction on this cruise is St. Petersburg.  This city has so much to offer travellers, from unique domed buildings to captivating art galleries, that most cruise ships dock here for two days.  Other cities on the itinerary are equally as interesting.

An on-shore excursion in Tallinn, Estonia, gives visitors a chance to view the grand domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral, while a jaunt around Helsinki allows them to buy souvenirs from the large handicraft market there.  A trip to Stockholm and Copenhagen reveals restaurant and bar-lined streets dotted here and there with fashionable shops.

A huge advantage of a Baltic cruise is the fact that English is widely spoken in most of the countries, except for Russia.  However, the different currencies in use in these countries pose a challenge to travellers.  One way around this is to buy the local currency at the first port of call then exchange whatever is left over at the next port.

Cruise Baltic

Picture: 16g

Cruise holidays are becoming a popular and fun-filled way of spending one’s holiday. Cruises offer comfortable accommodation, fine dining options, exciting activities while aboard the ship, as well as fun onshore excursions that enable you to explore the various ports of call. The advantage of cruises is that they can cater for all age-groups, meaning you can choose to travel with your whole family and be sure that everyone will enjoy the experience. It is also possible to buy a cruise that comes as a package deal where the bulk of the services and activities are offered on an all-inclusive basis.


Cruises offer activities such as health spas, swimming facilities, ice skating rinks, cinemas and kids’ play areas. There are also personal enrichment classes and lectures by guest speakers. The dining experience can be quite memorable on most cruise ships, while evening entertainment includes high quality musical performances. Some cruise lines also offer casino gaming activities. On arrival at each port of call, there will be an onshore excursion organised by the cruise line for the passengers, enabling them to visit some of the destination’s major attractions as well as possibly doing some shopping.

Selecting a cruise package

In order to choose a cruise package, the traveller needs first to choose a cruise line. There is a wide range of cruises to choose from from luxury to more contemporary cruises; the traveller needs to look at the activities offered as well as his or her personal preference and budget. There is also a choice of stateroom or cabin, with or without a balcony or ocean view. Finally the traveller needs to choose the destination and length of cruise, depending once again on time available and budget.

Going on a cruise can take you to many different places all over the world, from India to America, England to France, Jamaica to the Dominican Republic. There are thousands of different cruises out there, waiting for you.

Planning your cruise

Choosing your destination can be a troublesome, time-consuming challenge, but if you have some guidelines as to how you would like it to be, then choosing your cruise becomes a lot easier.

Firstly, you should take into account when you want to go and how much you are willing to spend, as these two factors are closely connected.  The best time to book is from the beginning of January to the end of March.  The reason for this is that most cruise lines have offers on during this time and you will get more value for money.  The latest cruise deals will cost you around £500 per person, or £1,000 per room.  You should aim to book your holiday six to twelve months in advance, especially if you are going on one of the more exotic cruises, so that you give yourself ample time to get any visas, passports or plane tickets arranged.  Looking for late cruise deals will find you inexpensive cruises that have dramatically dropped in price.

Next, you should start to consider where you are going.  Many cruises offer the chance to see places in a new perspective, and even to take part in special activities.  If you are the outdoors type, then you might want to take a holiday in Canada and go on a mountaineering cruise.  Perhaps you would simply enjoy the solitude of a cruise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Once you have found the particular cruise you are looking for, you should call the cruise line or check online with a quote checker and see if you can get yourself any discounts or offers that you would not have achieved otherwise.

Cruises are a popular alternative to the traditional package holiday.  They can be as short as a few days or last for several weeks and the cruise holidaymaker can take in scenery as diverse as the Norwegian fjords and the Hawaiian Islands.  Those wishing to spend more than a few hours at a port of call may combine a cruise with a hotel stay.

The modern cruise ship is a self-contained hotel and entertainment centre that caters for the cruiser’s every need with a range of restaurants, bars and other leisure activities.  On deck, the scenery changes constantly, in contrast to the static view seen from the window of a hotel room.

With cheap cruises and luxury cruises available, there is something to suit everyone’s budget. Although it is advisable to plan a cruise holiday, late cruise deals are available.  Departures in the UK are from a range of ports, such as Belfast, Edinburgh and Southampton.  River cruises are a popular alternative for those who prefer a more relaxed setting than that offered by a large vessel.

A cruise ship is the perfect setting for an exclusive, once in a lifetime experience of picturesque scenery and personalised service with attention to every detail.

What is a luxury cruise?

On a luxury cruise, the cruiser stays in a spacious, well-appointed cabin, and receives the highest quality service from crew members on a ship that is staffed to provide a high ratio of crew to passengers.  Gourmet food and drink are offered, as well as specialist lectures and plush libraries. Some luxury cruises offer butler service.

Luxury experiences can be enjoyed on standard cruise ships by booking the best suites in the exclusive areas but some ships offer a purely luxury cruise.  These are called six star ships and are the ideal place to enjoy packages comprising all-inclusive dining, drinks and gratuities (most cruises require tips to be paid to staff).

Choosing a ship

As with a hotel, bigger does not necessarily mean better.  Small to medium sized ships generally offer more personal service and are able to enter smaller ports more easily.  Some include extra luxury items, such as water sports toys and mountain bikes.  Whatever the size of ship, there are plenty of facilities available.


A luxury cruise can be enjoyed anywhere in the world.  Cruisers do not need to venture far from the UK, since trips aboard luxury vessels are available on the Mediterranean.  One such cruise starts at Monte Carlo and stops off at Cannes and St Tropez, before arriving in Barcelona.

Numerous websites such as Imagine Cruising offer great cruise deals at great prices, you can choose from Mediterranean cruises, Caribbean cruises or world cruises, the choice is up to you.

The swirling sands of the desert meet the azure sea on an Arabian cruise, revealing lands rich in culture, tradition, and a history that goes back 40 centuries.  The Arabian Peninsula and Arabian coast of Africa is a dream cruise destination.  Arabian cruises can last anywhere from two weeks to as long as 35 days, depending on what cruise you choose to book. 

No Arabian cruise deals are complete without visiting the magnificent ruins in Egypt.  From the pyramids of Giza to the impressive temples at Abu Simbel and Luxor, the remains of one of the most powerful of the ancient civilizations are prominently on display.  Egypt is usually the halfway point on an Arabian voyage that may go from Istanbul, Turkey, or Greece in the west to Dubai or India in the east.  The Suez Canal – a marvel of modern engineering – is another highlight of an Arabian cruise. 

Longer cruises will extend the voyage to Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, making the cruise a 30 to 35 day holiday adventure.  For an extended holiday, Greece is a good option as a point of departure since many cruises leaving from Athens stop at cities in Greece, Crete, and Turkey in addition to the ports of call in Egypt, Oman, Jordan, and Dubai. 

Life aboard an Arabian cruise ship is never boring, with activities and entertainment always available for the duration of the cruise.  Exotic cuisines including Arabian delicacies pamper the palate while luxurious spa and massage treatments take away the effects of the Arabian sun. 

For Arabian deals and other cruise deals visit the Imagine Cruising website; wherever you want to cruise in a budget to suit you.

There are cruise travel deals available that are very reasonably price and that is arguably the main reason why cruise travel is becoming increasingly popular.  There are, however, people who still think that taking a cruise will cost an absolute fortune.  Admittedly, there are luxury cruises available that do cost a fortune, and for those who can afford them they are an excellent choice for a holiday, but when looking at 2013 cruise deals it is important to remember that no-one has to break the bank to enjoy a cruise.

Cruises are an excellent alternative to a resort-based holiday.  Passengers are able to enjoy top rate facilities on a luxury liner away from the cares of the everyday world.  A cruise is a wonderful experience for those who have never sailed before, or whose previous time at sea has been travelling only on ferries.

While the bulk of any cruise holiday is spent having a relaxing time on the ship, there are sightseeing opportunities when the vessel pulls into the various ports.  This gives an added dimension to the sea-based holiday.

For those seeking out 2013 Baltic cruise deals there is no shortage of choice.  There are different types of cruises from which to choose.

Themed cruises are proving particularly popular with holidaymakers.  These cruises are based on a particular topic that is popular with voyagers.  Events on the liner and the various stops at ports during the cruise will all be based on that particular topic.  One of the big advantages of these themed cruises is that they bring together groups of like-minded people.

For those who want to inject added romance into their relationships, there are romantic cruises. These cruises are ideal for honeymooners, couples celebrating wedding anniversaries or for people wanting to propose to their special one.  These cruises give people the opportunity to deepen their relationships in a romantic setting.

Cruises are an ideal way for families to get away for an extra special holiday.  They offer facilities and activities to suit both young and old.  The whole voyage is family-themed and that may include a nursery on board for the very young.

People do not have to join a cruise from a port here in the United Kingdom.  Fly cruises are where travellers fly out to a foreign port to meet up with the cruise ship.  Once the cruise is over, they then fly back home to the UK.

For those who have time for only a short break then a mini cruise is an excellent option.  These mini cruises sail from UK ports so, for those living inland, the embarkation point can be reached within a matter of hours.  Lasting just a few days, these cruises are ideal for stag or hen parties, or for those just wanting a short break.

Traditionally, cruises are associated with luxury and there are indeed ‘luxury cruises’.  Luxury cruises involve sailing to exotic locations, while the facilities on board are truly five-star.