We Americans love our cruises! (Photo: ThinkStock)
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, Americans make up just over 51 percent of all cruise passengers worldwide. The percentages on specific cruises obviously vary depending on the port of departure. Americans become the minority on ships that sail from non-U.S. ports. But sail out of Galveston, Texas, and you had better learn to say “y’all” and eat nachos with your afternoon tea. Whatever the percentage is, Americans tend to stand out both on the ship and in ports of call. Here are the 10 ways to spot an American cruiser.
They pay for expensive tours.
Americans seem to think that a paid tour is a better way to see almost anything. They will shell out money at a gaudy “Beach Break” kiosk on the dock even if it is only 50 feet to an actual beach.
They brag about how many cruises they have taken.
On some ships, they even wear lapel pins proclaiming their frequent cruiser status. It’s just another form of vacation, people. It would be funny to see airline passengers adopt that attitude. Oh wait — those are the people in the “A” boarding group.
They think Anglo = American.
Anyone with fair skin and light hair should be speaking English, right? Funny how Americans switch to slow, loud speaking in the absence of an Anglo appearance. Even more amusing is their use of foreign languages in the wrong setting. Do you really think that the Italian shopkeeper will understand the Spanish you learned in high school?
They buy watches and junk jewelry everywhere.
There’s a reason local shops love seeing American tourists. (Photo: Martin Hendrikx/Flickr)
Only an American would jump at the chance to buy watches made in China while sailing on a ship in the Bahamas. Or how about those beautiful puka-shell necklaces on the beach in St. Thomas? It never occurs to them to ask where they came from.
They wear pashminas they bought on the ship.
But they come in so many colors! Of course, none of those colors matches the tote bags the cruise lines give out to their “best” passengers. Yet the combination of the tote-bag status symbol and the fuchsia pashmina is impossible to pass up for some American women. At least the gaudiness goes well with hubby’s Hawaiian shirt, bought in Jamaica.
They ask for extra cheese on everything.
Extra extra extra cheese. (Photo: Nemo’s Great Uncle/Flickr)
It is quite possible that cheese is the new chocolate for Americans. Cruise lines should consider replacing their chocolate buffets with huge carvings made of cheese. The line to get in would encircle the ship at any hour.
They think having a beer at Señor Frogs is hanging with the locals.
“It’s muy auténtico!” (Photo: Chad Henderson/Flickr)
You see the barflies in every port. They are never the first ones off the ship. They lag until a respectable hour of noonish, then while away the afternoon in a famous-name joint within stumbling distance of the ship. Back on board (assuming they make it) they brag about how many locals they drank under the table. Does it never occur to them that the only people they drank under the table were the passengers from the ship at the next dock?
They never stop at just one beer, anywhere.
Beer by the bucket can serve a dual purpose. (Photo: The.Rohit/Flickr)
There is a reason that cruise lines sell beer by the bucket — 51 percent of their passengers are American. On the other hand, maybe they have discovered that the empty bucket makes a handy puke pail, making it a little easier to keep the pool deck clean.
They will do and say anything under the influence of alcohol.
The cruise lines count on drunk Americans to provide free entertainment for the rest of the passengers. It’s how they get the funniest material for couple’s game shows and late-night team scavenger hunts, like Royal Caribbean’s The Quest.
They outweigh the foreigners.
Cheese chomping and beer swilling can only lead to one thing: tour-bus butt. Unfortunately, it all hangs out at the pool. Where’s that pashmina when you really need it?