An officer, waitress, hotel manager, cabin attendant and several bar staff (oh dear, there might be a bit of a common theme developing with that one) are among my cruise crew buddies on Facebook.
There’s no doubt the social networking site makes it easy to keep in touch and see what everyone’s been up to on the water or dry land. But social media has also opened up a modern-day social minefield when it comes to etiquette.
I didn’t think twice about adding my newfound floating friends to my page, and I reckon it was about 50:50 on who made the suggestion to link up online in the first place.
But some Cruise Critic members think that asking to befriend your waiter or waitress – or any other crewmember for that matter – on Facebook is variously weird, creepy and a bit stalker-ish – or simply a no go area.
The subject has now cropped up on the forums. You have a great server and get on like a house on fire. Should you make the effort to stay in touch or wave a final farewell at the dockside? Some think there’s no harm in asking – the worst that can happen is they don’t accept your request and leave a minor dent in your pride.
The more cynical say it’s their job to be nice and treat you like a long-lost friend, suggesting they might agree to be your Facebook friend onboard because they don’t want to offend you – or end up with a lower tip.
Golfb4cruzing points out: “Do you friend the waiters at your local restaurant? After an 18 hour day, the last thing I want is to talk with someone I had to wait on.”
But it’s good to see there’s some heart-warming stories too, such as the couple who have cruised for over 30 years and originally kept in touch with crew members as pen pals via snail mail. Now they are up to speed with email and social media, corresponding with stewards, cruise directors, executive chefs, photographers and officers.
Some of us are happy to take it further. I’ve met my cabin stewardess friend in Hungary and Holland and fate brings us together next month – she has been assigned to a new river vessel I’m cruising on. Meanwhile, forum member Melinda and her group of 13 cruisers collectively “fell in love” with their drink server.
“We all friended him on Facebook and visit with him frequently and cruise on his ships when we can. When his little girl is in high school, hopefully she can be an exchange student and spend an academic year with one of us!”
So tell us: Where do you draw the virtual line?