As a journalist covering the cruise industry I try to be as thorough as possible in providing tips and advice on taking a cruise. However, it's inevitable that I'll overlook some actions that, in hindsight, should have been covered earlier and then be surprised at the stupidity of some people when heightened with alcohol. Most of these can be covered in a short list of what not to do during your vacation.
1. Don't wreck the ship: Cruise ship staff have no problem with well behaved drunks but do frown on highly inebriated passengers who try to damage the ship. A ship's captain once told me how surprised a group of New York City fire fighters and cops were when he booted them all off the ship at the first port because while drunk, they ran around the ship pulling fire alarms.
2. Don't try to sink the ship: You may have read about the drunken passenger who went into a restricted area and released the the Ryndam's anchor. Since the ship was under sail this action could have sunken the vessel. As it was, passengers were woken up and had to go to muster stations with life jackets. The guy could get up to 20 years in prison.
3. Don't try to have thrill-seeking sex in a lifeboat: Nothing you do on the deck of a cruise ship is private because cameras are everywhere. But let's say you beat officers racing to grab you (you'll later be tossed off the ship). The chances are very good you will fall in the ocean.
4. Don't jump in the pool when there's a net over it: Most often, a net over the pool means there's no water in it. So when you take a flying leap you will get tangled in the net and it will be a very big deal for staff to get you out of this situation, not to mention embarrassing when passengers surrounding the pool laugh their heads off at your stupidity.
5. Don't get into fights with other passengers or tell them to go f-ck themselves in public areas: In October we posted a story about an elderly couple who did just that and were tossed off a Cunard vessel.
6. Don't climb over the railing: In January, 2001 a 19-year-old Carnival Sensation passenger climbed over the railing and threatened to kill himself after an argument. After his girlfriend pleaded with him to climb to safety, he complied, but slipped and fell. He did not survive.
7. Don't bring drugs aboard ship: I've heard Carnival's famed cruise director, John Heald, telling passengers that if they bought drugs in port, to get rid of them before arriving in the home port, Miami. But invariably a passenger will ignore the warning, put pot in his/her suitcase and get busted the moment they disembark the ship. The DEA's dogs, which sniff suitcases on the pier, will find the drugs.
Anne Campbell is editor of ShipCritic Blog and Cruising From New York