Should you dare to bare on board your cruise?

The discussion’s getting steamy today over on the First Time Cruisers section of the Cruise Critic message boards – in more ways than one.

When a new member called Beachbeeotch posted a query about how skimpy was too skimpy around the pool, she probably got more than she bargained for, from slightly angry-sounding ‘save-your-thongs-for-the-beach’ responses to veiled warnings along the lines of ‘Don’t distract the Dads who are meant to be supervising their kids in the pool’. Or the more amusing ‘Pictures would help decide the correct answer’.

How much is too much?

Whether or not this new member is simply having a laugh, the discussion throws up some interesting points.

Nobody is ever going to agree on what is and isn’t a vision of loveliness around the pool as beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.

We probably all agree, though, on the etiquette of covering up inside, and having been squished up in the pizza queue on an Italian ship against sweaty men in nothing but tiny Speedos, I would like to reiterate this plea.

Meanwhile, here are a few more thoughts for those of you pondering the issue of how much to bare on board. Feel free to add to the list!

  • As members on the thread correctly point out, NCL has ‘Freestyle’ decks at the highest points on its ships, where you can go topless.
  • Europeans tend to be more comfortable with nudity than Americans and cruisers on both MSC and Costa ships seem pretty relaxed about going topless.
  • Topless sunbathing on beaches in Europe is widely accepted, although it’s not always legal. Maybe the south of France, Paradise Beach in Mykonos or parts of Italy would be a better bet for Beachbeeotch than the relatively conservative Caribbean?
  • For the truly committed, there are clothing-optional cruises; ships of Carnival, Celebrity Cruises and Star Clippers have all been chartered for naturist cruises in 2011.
  • If you must mince around in a thong on board, beware of teens bearing technology. As member Pattakins points out: “I’m afraid that if my 12 year old son saw a good looking girl with a nice body in one [a thong], he would follow them around like a puppy dog and drool. And then all his prepubescent friends would get a picture of it sent to their phones…”
  • Finally, for those who consider the cabin’s balcony a safe spot in which to bare all in privacy: If you can see the bridge wing (the bit that sticks out over the side), they can see you! SJB
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