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8 cruise ship tips from a former employee

03 Sep 2020
Matt Hochberg

The crew on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship see a lot of things in their time onboard, including guests making mistakes along the way.

Former Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises employee Pippa Madden worked on a few different cruise ships for 8 years, and shared what she saw as important tips for guests when they go on a cruise.

Here are eight things to do, avoid, or simply be aware of, for your cruise vacation.

Be kind to the crew

This may seem obvious, but do not be rude to crew members.

The crew works incredibly hard and if there is a policy or rule you do not agree with, remember that crew member is not the person who created it.

As Pippa noted, "It's pretty straightforward, but it will get you way further than if you are rude or get angry. Be nice to them."

Tipping is important

There is a saying that "money makes the world go round", and it applies to life on a cruise ship too.

The crew onboard are there to work hard and service the guests who come aboard, and tipping when appropriate is not only a way to reward good service, it also goes a long way to making the crew happier.

"That's why the majority of people out there is for the money, so make sure you tip."

Pippa added that if you wish you can personalize your reward with a gift of some kind, if you wanted just the recipient to enjoy it individually. That is a well-appreciated option to give back to a crew member that went above and beyond for you. 

Avoid getting sunburned

If there is something that all crew members cringe, it is the cruise ship guest that sees someone dressed very nice on formal night along with a major sun burn.

Nothing ruins your beautiful cruise photos like a giant red sun burn, not to mention how painful it can be to the person who has it.

"I can't really recommend it enough, especially that first formal night, make sure we ladies have sun cream and do not get burnt."

Fill out the post-cruise survey

As soon as your cruise is over, Royal Caribbean sends guests a survey to get their thoughts on the sailing, and this is an incredibly critical tool for any crew member.

Pippa recommends taking a photo of your favorite crew member's name badges so it will be easier to remember their names (and how to spell it) for that survey.

The results of the survey go directly back to the manager of any crew member named in the survey, and this goes a long way towards promotions.

Guest etiquette

In terms of etiquette, Pippa noted a few questionable choices guests make on cruise ships that they probably would not do if at a land resort.

She started off by saying it is not a good look to wear your swimwear around the ship in public spaces, such as restaurants or the casino.

In addition, if you are a bar or lounge, do not put your feet up on the furniture.

"It's like, you wouldn't do that in normaly on land, like in a restaurant or casino."

Avoid Guest Services on the first or last day of the cruise

The two times you will find the longest lines at Guest Services are on the first and last day of the cruise, so avoid Guest Services on those days if you can.

Pippa recommends if it all possible, take care of any issues you have on other days of the cruise to minimize your waiting.

Don't lie to Adventure Ocean staff

Some guests will try to tell the Adventure Ocean staff that their child is about to turn a certain age in order to move them up to the next group, but these lies are silly considering the staff has every child's age in front of them.

"Do not tell white lies or fibs to Adventure Ocean staff, because they know the birth dates of the kids."

You can tip the casino dealer

Pippa worked a lot in the casinos on cruise ships, and tipping the dealer when you are winning is something you can and should do.

"So if you win, the dealer wins. And of course, the dealer wants you to win because then they will win."