You don’t need a Miss Manners at sea to know there are some basic, common sense rules of etiquette for cruising. No, there is no handbook on it, but the key words here are “common sense.” For some less thoughtful folks onboard, taking a vacation means taking a break from using their brains. Picture a cruise ship like a floating village or small town at sea. As with any unfamiliar place you go to, you should get to know the lay of the land, so to speak. No one is going to be just like you; people from all over the world, from different cultures and religions are sharing the same floating space as you are. Everyone should learn how to live in harmony for this short stay so that all of you will have the best vacation possible. Some cruisers have been to their share of ports and know what to do. However, newbie’s need to pay some attention to their surroundings. Read the literature about the ship’s activities. And if there is any doubt about something, ask a member of the cruise ship’s personnel. Now, let’s talk about some of those unspoken shipboard “rules:” Cool it with the complaints – You are on vacation! Nothing is more unattractive than a grown-up whining like a child over something like waiting in line. You know that saying “When in Rome?” Well, it is your vacation. No worries, no deadlines, no being late to anything … you’re on a ship and nothing on board is going anywhere. Say hi to the people next to you; challenge someone to a game of paper, scissors, rock to break up the monotony. Respect the Dress Code Guidelines – Cruise ships will often post some clothing guidelines for dinner or live entertainment for that day. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you will not be thrown off the ship. However, you would feel mighty uncomfortable wearing your Bermuda shorts and flip flops to a semi-formal dinner or dance. Say so long to the seat savers and line cutters- It is a bit exasperating to take the time to arrive at a decent hour to catch the next lounge act only to have a sea of coats draped over chairs and no bodies in the seats. And line cutters, shame on you. It is one thing for you to stand in line and have your spouse join you after a quick trip to the rest room. It is a whole new ballgame letting in your twenty new found friends from the poker tables cut in line. No hogging of the gym equipment/hot tub/lounge chairs/computers, etc. – There are possibly several thousand other people who at some point want to use stationary bike or hot tub privileges. Be mindful of others who are discreetly waiting without complaint for their turn. Designated smoking areas – There are specific areas just for smokers on board. Do not be selfish and light up at the dining room table while others are eating. Here’s a big clue: if you see ash trays, you can light up. These unspoken rules sound perfectly logical don’t they? Yet, some cruisers forget themselves in their quest for a good time and other people suffer for it. If you are unsure of something, ask. Let your common sense rule. And don’t worry, it won’t get in the way of your good time.