When you're embarking on your cruise vacation abroad, there are some things you just shouldn't do. From planning the details of your cruise to adhering to local customs in port, it's important to have an understanding of what is and what is not expected of you as a traveler.
And while some customs may seem strange to you, these differences in cultures are probably why you're traveling to begin with: to discover new things by exploring the world! Let's take a look at these 6 Things Not to Do When Cruising Abroad.
6 Things Not to Do When Cruising Abroad
1. Don't Forget to Adhere to Local Food Customs
As the saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." The same applies here: when you're cruising abroad, take the time to really savor the cuisine and don't order any fast food. Instead, embrace the local flavors, which will only enhance your overall traveling experience.
Certain countries adhere to certain mannerisms such as with Chile, where it's rude to eat anything with your hands, or in Italy, where it's extremely impolite to turn down food or drink if it's offered to you. And be sure to only order cappuccino for breakfast!
2. Don't Dress Inappropriately
The rule of thumb when traveling abroad is to be conservative. Don't display a wallet full of cash, and don't wear your expensive jewelry. Don't wear any type of camouflage print clothing in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica or St. Kitts as it is against the law.
When visiting temples, be prepared to cover up with a scarf and/or a sarong as you wont be able to enter otherwise, the same goes for removing your shoes before entering a temple in Japan. In Vietnam, it is not polite to wear shorts, except for on the beach. And in New Zealand, it's common for people not to wear shoes or shirts, even when visiting public places such as restaurants and shops.
3. Don't Disrespect the Culture
It's important to respect the local cultures when you're cruising abroad. Don't make any inappropriate remarks about Buddha or any members of the royal family while in Thailand, and surely don't try to touch a monk if you're a female.
Don't use your forefinger to point at things in Malaysia (use your thumb instead), and never make the "okay" sign with your thumb and forefinger while in Turkey (it's considered obscene), where it's also impolite to use a toothpick or blow your nose in public. Don't stare at the nude people on the beaches of Norway, and don't tip anyone for anything in Japan.
4. Don't Forget to Obey Local Laws
Besides not wearing camo in the Caribbean, a trip abroad means you could potentially get fined for several things unknowingly, especially in Singapore, where smoking, spitting and feeding the birds, along with eating/drinking on public transit can earn you a fine.
Don't travel with a small pocketknife in your suitcase, as while it may seem innocent to you, some countries may not be as understanding. And although it is not the actual law, locals in Amsterdam frown if you walk in their bicycle lanes. Don't take photographs of security-type buildings, including airports, without first asking permission.
5. Don't Talk Politics & Don't Confuse Nationalities
Getting back to the royal families, don't criticize the monarchy of any country, especially in Russia. Don't make casual comparisons between neighboring countries, as in comparing Australians to New Zealanders, and do not imitate the Nazi salute in Germany, as chances are, you'll be arrested for doing so.
6. Don't Forget to Plan for Your Cruise Abroad
Besides making copies of your passport and credit cards, as well as having them accessible online, make sure you've got adequate travel insurance before you depart. It's also a good idea to let your credit card company know you're traveling so they won't refuse any charges while you're abroad. But, don't rely on credit cards alone, especially when in Russia as many businesses won't accept them, and always grab some local currency when you're at the airport.
Check out your international cell phone limitations before you leave in order to avoid any expensive data roaming fees. Never arrive abroad on the same day that your ship is sailing - always, always give yourself a day or two leeway in case of unforeseen incidents. Don't over pack (see What to Pack for Your Cruise) and be sure to do your homework on the ports of call you'll be visiting. It goes a long way if you learn a few common phrases in a local language.
And above all, don't try and do it all. There's another Norwegian Cruise Line vacation abroad on the horizon!
To learn more about rules and customs for traveling abroad, visit Norwegian Cruise Line's FAQ's page.