There are almost three thousand passengers on this ship and one thousand crew members. You might think it would feel crowded, but it really doesn’t. However, there are times when you bump against strangers; and this is handled with certain protocols.
For example, crew members always say “Good morning, Ma’am” or “Good afternoon, Sir” if they meet you in the corridors. It doesn’t matter how tired they are, they rise to the occasion. It’s a great example to follow.
In the various dining rooms and at the Trough you sometimes have to share a table. If someone is sitting alone at a table for six, you approach and say, “May we share your table?” and you’ll never be refused. This isn’t part of American culture, but people on the other side of the Atlantic are fine with it.
From there it’s only a matter of time before one of you asks “Where are you from?” or “Is this your first cruise?” These are the two standard conversation starters guaranteed to elicit at least a one word response. Usually they elicit a lot more, especially the second question. People who are regulars are very proud of the number of cruises they’ve taken and will let you know they’ve been to both Borneo and Bora Bora.
On this specific cruise, we were to have visited the beaches at Normandy where the troops landed on D-Day sixty-nine years ago. However, because of the hurricane that port was skipped, so many passengers tell you what their connection to Normandy was and why they are so disappointed that we couldn’t stop. You’re also apt to hear how the high waves and winds have kept them awake.
So, unless you’re the commiserating sort, I suggest you open any conversation with an inquiry into where your new best friends come from. The answers will be more varied.