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Good manners from port to starboard

Don’t forget your manners, even on vacation

Posted: November 20, 2008 9:13 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2008 4:30 a.m.
 

Have you cruised lately? It appears that people who enjoy cruising also like using good manners. Maybe it's because everyone is so relaxed, happy and feeling good about life. If you want to be around people who use good manners, take a cruise.

Many cruise ships have more than one pool - and you can access them from either the port or the starboard side - because they are the width of the ship. This is a very popular gathering place for many passengers.

It's nice to see poolsiders being considerate about claiming their territory with chaise lounges around the ship's swimming pool. Some people go to the pool early in the morning, mark their chairs with a towel and then come back later to use them.

One Ask Louise question is: How long should you hold a poolside chair? That depends. If you go to the pool at 6 a.m. to claim your spot and the crowds are not gathering there until 9 a.m., those three hours are different than holding a chair for three hours during peak pool hours.

A considerate amount of time to hold a chair during peak pool time would be one hour. Plus, there is a good manner on both sides of this coin: If you are the one looking for a chair, and you find it is taken with a towel - should you honor that? Yes, you should.

If after an hour you notice that no one is sitting on that toweled chair, you could ask the chair neighbors if they know if someone has been using it and when they are expected to return.

On the other hand, if there is a book and a pair of sunglasses and maybe a hat placed on that chair, it's polite not touch or move these items and just begin hunting for another vacant chaise.

If you want some added exercise and calorie-burning activity on board the ship, you'll find there is a gym room for your workout. Sign-up sheets are always posted, and people are usually very courteous to observe the times they've reserved.

Ask Louise: If someone is on your assigned machine and they have lost track of time, is it OK to make them aware of this? Yes, it's OK - and actually you'll be doing a favor to everyone in the subsequent line-up of reservations. Doing so with a kind and patient voice will fit right into the vacation-friendly atmosphere.

Usually you will find that there are wiping-towels or disinfectant wipes available in the gym, and people are very good about cleaning off the handles of the equipment they were using once finished with their exercise. Not only is it considerate to leave the equipment sweat-free, but you're also helping with germ-free issues as well.

Long, tall, cold drinks, iced tea, and other refreshing beverages are as much a part of cruising as anything imaginable. What if some of these tall drinks need stirring?

Ask Louise: What should you do if you cannot find a long-handled iced tea spoon for your tall, cold drink? Should you use your long-handled knife?

No, please leave the knives alone. (I once watched a man use his knife to stir his drink, then lick the knife, and I wondered how close he may have come to nicking his tongue!)

Be cool and ask for an iced tea spoon. If they do not have one for you then try using a soup spoon - they customarily have longer handles.

Evenings on board a cruise liner are fun-filled.

There is great entertainment each night in a main theater and in other smaller lounges.

These lovely carpeted rooms are not like our local movie shows at home, where we leave popcorn boxes, candy wrappers and soda cups on a sticky floor. Who does the clean-up? Notice how civilized cruise-goers are: They either don't take food into these classy theaters, or they discreetly take the "rubbish" out with them at the close of the program.

One of the social highlights on board is the Captain's dinner, where the preferred dress is formal. Many travelers like to take this time to wear their finest clothes. Tuxedos and dark suits are worn by the men, and cocktail dresses by the ladies.

Ask Louise: What if I don't want to go all out for this dressy occasion?

Honor the evening by wearing something just a little extra special that says "unique evening."

For ladies, just adding some glitzy or dressier earrings, necklace and bracelets can set a dressier tone.
For men, put on a jacket made of a smooth finish, with a silk shirt or a sharp-looking tie and you'll be good to go.

Looking festive, toasting the evening with a glass of champagne while the music is playing and having a great time with new and old friends makes for a vacation you won't forget.

If by the end of the cruise, you're still not sure where the port or starboard side of the ship is - you're not alone. Just keep cruising along, and know that in all the nooks and crannies of the ocean liner, great manners are vacationing with you, and will garner a five-star salute.

Louise Elerding, is a personal appearance coach, and the author of "You've Got Manners!" a series of children's books on manners. For information on manners classes and to submit questions for the "Ask Louise' column, call 1-800-326-8953 or e-mail MannersA2Z@aol.com.

Web site: www.youvegotmanners.com.

 

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