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Being out on the open sea, the different sights and sounds at each new port of call, exciting onshore excursions, and culinary delights both onboard and in port make cruising one of the easiest ways to vacation. Just like with any other vacation, knowing what not to do on a cruise is just as important as knowing what to do.

Cruise travel is different from other forms of seeing the world. Your accommodations travel with you, eliminating the need for booking multiple hotels, hurrying to catch that last train, or finding tour providers. For many travelers, a cruise simplifies the decision-making process while allowing you to maximize relaxation.

Follow these tips to learn the things not to do on a cruise.

1: Don’t choose just any itinerary.

Couple inside a helicopter for glacier sightseeing in Denali

Denali, Alaska

Dreaming of unwinding on a white-sand beach in a tropical location? Do you want to venture to far-off lands full of ancient landmarks and stunning natural wonders? Maybe you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure to the glaciers of Alaska or the icy landscapes of Antarctica.

Before you book your cruise, consider the type of vacation you’re looking for, then research itineraries that visit those destinations.

Couple on a catamaran in Bermuda


You’ll also want to consider how long the itinerary is. If it’s your first time cruising or you have limited vacation time, you might want to start with a three-day cruise. If you have a more flexible schedule, a longer cruise might be your best bet.

2: Don’t skip out on shore excursions.

Couple hiking to a waterfall in Norway

Geiranger, Norway

A major part of the cruise experience is the shore excursions that are available at each port of call. Activities can range from hiking to a waterfall through rugged, mountainous terrain to taking a leisurely private motorcoach through a city’s most important landmarks.

Booking an excursion is an easy way to immerse yourself in each destination without the hassle of planning transportation and tours yourself. Not only that, but when you book an excursion, you’re guaranteed to get back to the ship before it sails to the next port.

3: Don’t pack the wrong outfits.

Packing the wrong clothing is one of the most important things not to do on a cruise. What you pack for your cruise will vary based on your destination, the time of year you sail, the local weather, and what you plan to do while in port.

Couple sightseeing from lush Highland Park in Barbados

Highland Park in Bridgetown, Barbados

If you’re planning on active adventures, bring a pair of sneakers, even if you’re cruising to the Caribbean. Bring something to cover your knees and shoulders if you are planning to visit religious sites. For Evening Chic nights, bring something dressier to wear to dinner. Packing a light jacket or cardigan is always a good idea when you’re outside at night or in air conditioning.

4: Don’t forget your essentials.

Woman hiking in Croatia

Paklenica National Park in Zadar, Croatia

Make you sure you have everything you will need for your carry-on, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, medications and water. A hat is also a great idea for sunny destinations.

5: Don’t leave your passport at home.

Woman holding a passport

(Or anywhere else.) It’s a good practice to always know where your passport is both at home and during your vacation. Each cruise stateroom comes equipped with a safe where you can store valuables.

Read: Do You Need a Passport for a Cruise?

6: Don’t forget about pictures.

Woman on a boat holding her camera up to take pictures


Capturing videos, photos, and memories is a critical part of the travel experience. Make sure to bring your favorite camera and all the accessories you’ll need to record those special moments.

When you want a shot of the whole group or want to leave your travel photos in the hands of an expert, our onboard photography team is there to help.

7: Don’t show up late or lose track of time.

Family on a boat ride inside a cave with other guests

San Jose Caves in Valencia, Spain

You want to get the most out of your experience. Show up early to maximize your time, and be mindful of how long you have to complete your activity. Remember: fellow passengers all rely on one another to make the cruise experience the best it can be. Plus, your guide is committed to making sure everyone gets back to the ship safely and on time.

8: Don’t be the last one onboard.

Guests on a boat ride going back to Celebrity cruise ship


Missing your ship is the worst-case scenario (and can feel really embarrassing), but you also don’t want to be the last one onboard. Be mindful of which time zone the port is in.

Often the ship’s time will differ from the port’s if it is in a different time zone. Setting a timer on your cell phone if you’re on a self-guided tour of a destination or exploring solo is a good way to keep track of time.

9: Don’t just go to one restaurant or bar the whole time.

People eating dinner inside Tuscan Grille, Celebrity

Tuscan Grille

Variety is the spice of life, and your entire dining experience is an influential part of your vacation. Foodies and picky eaters alike will find plenty of delicious options on their cruise.

There are multiple complementary and specialty restaurants on board where you can sample different styles of cuisine.

Delicious cheeseburger and fries on a wooden platter

Mast Grill

Taste delicious sashimi, head to the raw bar, or indulge in comfort classics like burgers and pizza. Why stick with just one thing you love?

10: Don’t be afraid to go solo.

Woman enjoying the view inside Celebrity suite

Iconic Suite

Booking a solo cruise or trying out a shore excursion on your own can be a really empowering experience. There are thousands of new people to meet on a cruise, from your neighbors on your stateroom deck to the crew, which leads us to the next point.

11: Don’t be shy!

People hanging out at the bar counter of Martini Bar on Celebrity

Martini Bar

Meeting new people is part of the fun of traveling. On a cruise, you can meet up with new friends for meals or cocktails onboard, join your group for games or entertainment, or go on shore excursions together.

It’s easy to strike up a conversation when you’re all traveling to the same incredible destinations on a cruise ship. Share your ideas for the next day’s itinerary, or reminisce about your favorite travel experience to date.

12: Don’t fill up on the bread basket.

With complimentary dining, you can choose multiple appetizers or entrees to sample for your table. Take the opportunity to try dishes you wouldn’t normally order back home instead of filling up on the bread basket before dinner even arrives.

Family eating inside Le Petit Chef on Celebrity

Le Petit Chef

With a dozen specialty restaurants on board, each transports you to a different part of the world. Sushi and sashimi in Japan. An Italian trattoria at sea. A French boulangerie or a Paris bistro. Try exquisite dishes at Luminae, or watch as your interactive tabletop brings dishes to life with the help of a tiny, animated chef at Le Petit Chef.

13: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Couple signing up at the shore excursion counter

Shore excursion concierge

The crew onboard your cruise ship is there to help. No matter how big or small your question is, they’ll have an answer. Want to know more about the destinations you’re visiting? Need a shore excursion recommendation or help making a restaurant reservation?

Tap into the knowledge of expert destination concierges, shore excursion specialists, maître d’s, stateroom attendants, and other crew members who are dedicated to making your vacation the best it can be.

14: Don’t forget about your friendly crew.

Crew serving guests by the pool

Pool area

The onboard crew works tirelessly to make sure your cruise experience is everything you hoped it would be and more. They are often working behind the scenes, are usually unfailingly polite, and will honor whatever requests you might have (within reason, of course).

A smile and “hello” or “good morning” to a crew member goes a long way in showing your appreciation for the hard work they do to make your vacation enjoyable. If you want to go even further, you can always tip members of the crew.

15: Don’t miss the evening entertainment.

Entertainers dancing on Celebrity onboard theater

Onboard entertainment on Celebrity

Onboard entertainment has become somewhat of a hallmark for the cruise industry. Many ships now include state-of-the-art, full-sized theatres onboard, making you feel as if you’re in the opera in Milan or watching a show on Broadway in New York City.

Entertainment includes mainstage comedy shows, intimate acoustic performances, and Broadway-style shows featuring world-class entertainers.

16: Don’t take elevators if you don’t have to.

Couple walking on Celebrity roofdeck

Celebrity Flora

Elevators can get crowded on cruise ships. If you only have to go up a deck or two, consider taking the stairs instead.

Waiting for the elevators can take more time than walking to the next deck, and there are people on the ship who actually need the elevators for getting around.

17: Don’t forget to exchange currency.

Couple eating inside a small restaurant in Naples

Naples, Italy

If you’re cruising to different countries, find out what currency they use before you travel. It’s good practice to bring some local currency with you, as some smaller shops, taxi drivers, and restaurants may not accept credit cards.

18: Don’t forget about beverage packages.

People drinking cocktails on a cruise

Sunset Bar

Adding a beverage package onto your cruise is a hassle-free way to enjoy yourself without worrying about an unexpected bill at the end of your vacation.

Different cruise drink packages cater to different needs, whether you’re planning to enjoy craft beers and cocktails, want premium coffee in the morning, or enjoy a soda with lunch.

19: Don’t pick the wrong cruise line.

Celebrity cruising on water

Celebrity Eclipse

Before you book a cruise with a particular cruise line, decide what’s most important to you. Are you looking for a premium vacation? Do you expect a certain level of service? Are you a foodie looking for a world-class dining experience?

When you cruise with Celebrity, there’s a distinct difference. You can expect unforgettable destinations, intuitive service, premium accommodations, and culinary excellence on every cruise, every time.

Browse cruise itineraries on our website and explore all of the remarkable destinations we sail to around the world, or call one of our vacation specialists at 1-800-852-8086 for help planning your dream vacation.

Free Vacation Planning Services

Free Vacation Planning Services