The case of the Perth passenger thrown off a P&O ship in Bali for flicking his cigarette butt over the side highlights the need for rules around what you can and can’t do onboard a ship.

Even those with private balconies are not immune from the regulations that ensure safety and decorum.

It’s called balcony etiquette and all cruisers should brush up on their manners before they lounge on their verandah.


Many cruise lines ban smoking on the balcony because it’s dangerous. A half-burning cigarette butt tossed overboard may be blown back into a neighbouring balcony and start a fire. Also the wafting smoke is a dead giveaway and your neighbours will not appreciate the smell of cigarettes.


It may look private but balconies on cruise ships are well within earshot of your neighbours. If you do not want to hear neighbours having a row then, keep the volume of your discussions with your partner, low so that your conversations are not overheard.

By the same token, keep the volume of your rap or classical music at a reasonable level.

Nude sunbathing

Just because you have a private verandah, it does not mean you can sun-bathe naked. In some cruise ships, balconies are tiered and the ones above yours may have a view of yours. It’s also a question of decorum especially if your ship is in port and what you do on your balcony can easily by seen by workmen.

 Having sex

It may surprise you, but some couples think it is kinky to get intimate under the stars on the balcony. But wait a minute, coupling on the balcony may not only be visible from other balconies but also dangerous. Almost a decade ago, a man allegedly jumped off his balcony to rescue his partner after she was knocked over during their rather energetic lovemaking. They both survived but you might not be so fortunate.

Stand or climb on the railings

While you should enjoy your balcony, make sure you never climb or stand on the railings or stand on the verandah furniture. This is particularly important if you are travelling with children – keep a close eye on them, shut the balcony door if the verandah is not in use.

Don’t throw things overboard

No matter how tempting it is to toss out a message in a beer bottle or an orange peel, just don’t do it. All cruise ships have strict regulations against throwing anything overboard. It is dangerous and environmentally unfriendly.

Don’t dry clothes

If you are travelling quad share, it is often difficult to dry your bathers on the in-shower clothesline as all four guests may want to dry their swimmers too. Draping your bikini on the balcony furniture, may be a tempting solution but often the humid sea air does little to dry the swimming suit and if there’s a strong gust of wind, you may well find yourself with a one piece bikini.

Don’t leave the balcony door open

If it is a hot and humid day, leaving the balcony door ajar seems like a good idea, especially if you are not a big air-conditioned fan. Gusty sea breezes will cause havoc to all your newspapers and daily program pamplets.

Light a candle

Anything involving an open flame is a fire hazard. Burning of candles or incense is against regulations and should not be done.

Leave the balcony light on

If your verandah has outdoor lighting, do turn it off when you are not using it. It saves electricity and will not drown out the stunning view of the night sky and stars.