The 10 Commandments of Cruise Drinking

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On dry land, I’m not really much of a drinker, especially at home. But put me on a ship and… well, let’s just say that I’ve yet to meet the beverage package I didn’t get my money’s worth out of. When a friend recently asked me what it is about setting sail that triggers my inner partier, I claimed that the salt in the ocean air leaves me parched. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. And it was while enjoying a beverage or four while gazing out at the sea that I decided we cruise drinkers — a cousin of the day drinker — needed a set of guidelines which we could pass on to newbies. And thus, the 10 Commandments of Cruise Drinking was born.

1. Thou shalt tip your bartender.

I know, I know, if you have the alcohol package, gratuities are already included. But if there are two people on board I think deserve something extra, it’s the person who makes my bed better than mama ever did and the one who puts umbrellas in my cocktails.

2. Thou shalt partake of the drink of the day.

 On my first cruise, I spent the entire week sipping the same thing I do back home. Only on the last day to one of the people I’d met on board point out that as delicious as a bourbon and coke might be, there was a whole world of beverages just waiting to be explored. Now, no matter what the drink of the day might be, I give it a try.

3. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s drink.

Rather than be jealous of that red, white and blue concoction the person two barstools down is drinking, remember the most quotable line from When Harry Met Sally and simply say to the bartender, “I’ll have what she’s having!”

4. Thou shalt not consider olives a food group.

There’s nothing I love more than sitting at the bar, looking out at the ocean while chatting with whoever winds up sitting on the barstool next to me. But trust me: If you don’t occasionally wander over to the buffet and seek sustenance, you’ll eventually fall off that barstool. I’m not saying that I’m speaking from experience, but I am totally speaking from experience.

5. Thou shalt remember to hydrate.

Water, water everywhere… so make sure to have some to drink. You know how they say everything’s better on a cruise ship? Pretty sure hangovers might be the one thing that doesn’t apply to.

6. Thou shalt not sprawl.

While many passengers walk up to a bar, order their drink and walk away, others enjoy sitting for a spell. Since space at the bar can sometimes be at a premium, it’s just plain rude to put your towel on the barstool to your left and backpack on the barstool to your right. Besides, if you make room for someone to sit there, you might make a new friend. And more important, that new friend might buy you a drink.

7. Thou shalt not be rude to the bartender.

Quickest way to make sure you’re not at the top of a bartender’s list? Snap your fingers at them or shout “Hey, you!” Patience and a smile will get your further than demands and a snarl.

8. Thou shalt be ready to order.

When things are slow, it’s fun to talk to the bartender, see what he recommends, ask questions. But if there are others clamoring for his attention, don’t be that person who doesn’t know what they want to drink. My motto here: “When the bar’s a hoppin’, don’t make the tender be stoppin’.”

9. Thou shalt not smuggle booze on board.

I know a lot of folks will just ignore this one in much the same way many ignore the whole “honor thy mother and thy father” commandment on that other list (despite that one literally being carved in stone). But those same heathens will probably also skip out on tipping their bartender.

10. Thou shalt know when to say when.

You know that guy who is obnoxiously loud, stumbling down the halls and throwing up in the elevator? Yeah… don’t be that guy.

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