Porthole’s Five Faves
Unwritten Laws of the Sea
The muster drill won’t cover these cruise rules, but for the sake of your fun — and the fun of everyone else — they’re just as important.
Universities from all corners of the globe offer programs to educate minds and develop leaders in the field of maritime law. Graduates leave these schools prepared to use that master’s knowledge and résumé line for global good, but neither of those means a hill of buffet baked beans when it comes to knowing (and respecting) the unwritten laws of the sea.
These are unspoken rules that only cruisers with real onboard experience could possibly know, yet even seasoned veterans don’t always follow. Just head to that buffet right after boarding and you’ll see all sorts of crimes against humanity before the ship has even set sail. If education and experience aren’t governing the seas, then Porthole is more than happy to try to regulate. Here are but five unwritten laws all should follow at sea. Please feel free to share any laws you’d propose for a cruise constitution in the comments below.
Respect the buffet lines.
Particularly on embarkation day, when every hungry stomach that just boarded is rumbling in unison. This is the time to set the tone as being the lady or gentleman you’d hope to encounter the rest of the cruise, so practice order and common courtesy whenever a hardship (like, for instance, having to wait 10 seconds for a spoon) is presented. If blood-sugar levels will not allow for decency, consult a complimentary piece of fruit before venturing further.
Call only the deck chair that you are within visual distance of at all times.
This is extreme, but in the matter of callously leaving a towel on a chair first thing in the morning so you have something to recline on sometime after breakfast (or whatever the distant activity is), extremity is necessary. If you plan on leaving a towel unattended to mark your territory, nothing more than a dip in the nearest pool or a drink at the nearest bar should be tolerated.
Don’t share your seasick-est stories.
You have a remedy suggestion? We’re all ears! But don’t reinforce our ill feeling by telling your choppiest stories or describing your all-time worst symptoms. Unless, of course, you want a new all-time worst anecdote to tell, one which involves both your gruesome TMI details and your now-christened sandals.
Don’t use the cashless system as an excuse to shaft those helping you.
No matter what the gracious person providing you the exemplary service says, tips are always appreciated for serving your drinks, delivering your food, fulfilling your requests, and making your vacation special.
Above all, treat everyone else’s vacation as special as your own — and understand that others may not be so enlightened.
This Golden-ish Rule can be applied not only to all of the previous laws, but to most encounters you’ll have on board. And in port. And, well, in life. So many of the at-sea horror stories we hear revolve around human-nature incidents that would have been minor, quickly forgotten bummers on land, but feel like complete derailments because they happened during vacation. People are going to show up late or underdressed to set dining times. Accept it when it happens, and move on quickly. The best you can hope for is that your prompt, code-abiding arrival will be noted and appreciated; the worst you can do is let others somehow dampen your own fun.
— Rico Bronte
Photos: Ingram Image, RF