You may be on vacation but remember this is your host's home and lifestyle.
Remember to have a flexible schedule whenever possible due to weather. You dont want to put pressure on the captain to meet time constraints that will place everyone in a risky situation.
If you'd like to bring a gift, forget the knickknacks and decorative items. (It may have been hard enough for your hosts to decide what little they could bring from their house to begin with.) Some nice wine or gourmet food items that will keep well will always be appreciated.
Of course, only bring a duffel (one bag per person); dont expect drawers or closets. Naturally, bring soft-soled shoes only, and remember this is the casual cruising life: No need for fancy dress-up clothes.
Most cruisers go to bed early (even at 8 pm). After a night or two of staying up late with you, expect them to retire early. Bring along a good book for yourself.
To give your hosts some privacy, insist on going ashore or off in the dinghy on your own for a while each day. This will make everyone's time spent together more enjoyable.
Ask if there are any maintenance or special projects you can do. Since maintenance is a daily occurrence on a boat, offer to polish the stainless or scrub the deck for your host. This will be genuinely appreciated, and may ensure a return invitation.
Expect to share the cooking and cleaning duties.
Offer to share expenses of the trip (food, fuel, dockage, etc.).
Obviously, communication with the outside world may be impossible at times (your cell phone may be out of range and there may be no phones where you anchor), so dont expect it.
Don't even consider asking if you can bring your pet along. And if you're allergic to cats or dogs, check and see if your hosts have such pets on board. (Sue's sister slept on deck for a week due to her allergy to our cats.)
- - S.H. and L.H.
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