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Beware the ship-stalkers!

On a ship with hundreds or thousands of people, you’re bound to bump into a few duds. The stalker couple who are somehow ALWAYS EVERYWHERE you go. Don and Dorothy from Dullsville. The drunk, deluded bogan who thinks you’re his new best mate. The slurring, sloppy cougar. The racist, sexist pig who’s rude to all the waiters. The bragging wankers in the owner’s suite. That stalker couple AGAIN.

Nobody wants their holiday ruined by fellow travellers who just don’t get the hint. So, here are my 6 recommended ways to escape the cruisers from hell.

1. Fake seasickness
The beauty of cruising is that it gives you a free pass to interrupt someone mid-sentence and blame it on the ocean. It’s really quite simple. First, purse your lips, then place your hand over your mouth, put on your best anxiety face and whisper: “Excuse me, I suddenly don’t feel too well.”
Then walk, no RUN, away. Easy queasy.

Note: does not work on river cruises.

2. Fake a senior’s moment
Mature travellers, milk the benefits of your age! If you see someone you want to dodge, or they come up to you, act like you’ve never seen them in your life. Let them think you’ve got Alzheimer’s. Who cares! Just look at them blankly, smile meekly and shuffle away. Ham it up.


3. U-forgot U-turn
This is when you suddenly remember you forgot something and you do a U-turn back to your cabin. To be convincing, you must stop in your tracks, gasp, jaw dropped, possibly swear (an “oh no!” will do) and exclaim: “I forgot my sunglasses/hat/drink!”
Try not to say this while wearing your sunglasses/hat/drinking.

4. Invent an imaginary friend
When cruising solo, I have a completely non-existent travel companion called Cindy, so whenever Mr Wrong asks if he can join me for breakfast/lunch/happy hour, I tell him that I’m saving that seat for Cindy. (Please feel free to borrow Cindy at any time – she’s a lifesaver!)

5. Switch tables
If the seating is pre-organised at dinner, you might end up on a table of people you dislike. Grin and bear it for one night, but then go talk to the restaurant manager and ask to be placed with passengers who are younger/single/fun/gay/first-timers/Australian/Texan/whatever. You can also request a table for two (or whatever the size of your group). If you’re solo, ask to sit at a different table every night. Be polite about it. And/or tip.

6. Be the boring one
If you can’t beat them, BE them!! When you just can’t shake someone, make them want to avoid you. No need to be nasty; simply follow the lead of Don and Dorothy. (Then think back to that day you were stuck with Don and Dorothy and wonder if they had been faking dullness to get away from YOU!!)

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Louise Goldsbury

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In 2013 I was named Best Travel Writer at the National Travel Industry Awards. And until someone corrects me, I'm claiming to be the youngest cruise editor in the Southern Hemisphere. Editor of Cruise Weekly since 2009, I also contribute to Sydney's Sun Herald newspaper and various travel magazines and websites.

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