I used to be a senior officer for Carnival, and here are a few things that may help:
1 - Sail with your age group. If it's cold, they're old. Alaskan cruises typically have an older crowd and in general, the longer cruises have older passengers. Any cruise that is longer than seven days will typically have an older crowd. Younger passengers usually can't afford longer cruises nor do they have vacation time to take them. Three and four day cruises are party cruises and typically have a younger crowd, especially in the Caribbean. Two day cruises to nowhere are especially popular with the party crowd. If you are looking for an older more relaxed crowd, look for longer voyages especially in colder climates. If you want to party with a younger crowd, look for shorter voyages in warmer climates.
2 - If you have assigned seating in the dining rooms, then the secret about the people you sit with is that they are likely very similar to you. The Maitre'd intentionally seats similar people together. Couples with couples, singles with singles, seniors with seniors. Realize that these people may become your new best friends on the cruise.
3 - Remember to set your watch to “ship time” which may or may not change when you cross time zones.
4 - Don't be late. The ship will only wait about fifteen minutes after its scheduled sailing time. Each cruise line has a port agent that can help if you do miss the ship. Most people fly to the next port to meet the ship there, but you'll pay for all extra expenses.
5 - Bring ear plugs. They make sleeping on the airplane easier. They also allow you to sleep through all the noise that happens in the corridors and from the neighboring cabins. If you plan to be loud, bring some to distribute to your neighbors.
6 - Remember that the captain has the authority to kick you off the ship if he thinks you're a danger to his crew or the other passengers.
7 - To strike up conversation with a crewmember, don't ask lame questions like,
“Do you live on the ship?”
"How long is your contract?"
“Can you get off in port?”
Crewmembers get these questions everyday and they get sick of hearing it. The crew do live on the ship. Contracts are typically six months followed by six weeks of vacation and they can get off in port. Remember that the first question or comment that comes to mind is usually one that countless others have already asked or said. So go deeper and ask these kinds of questions:
"How long have you worked on ships?"
"What do you like most about working on the ship?"
"How well do you get along with your roommate?"
"What food do you miss the most from back home?"
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