Wine Etiquette



Will be a first time cruiser on Millenium in November and would like to know the wine etiquette. My wife and I requested being seated at a table for 8.

When ordering wine, does the table usually agree to order wine(s) then share or do the waitstaff serve the we ordered to just us even if others ordered wine?

Obviously, one bottle won't serve potentially 8 people. Your comments would be appreciated.


My wife and I share our bottle of wine. The waiter will only serve you your bottle of wine unless you tell them to pour for the table, which I have never seen done in my ten cruises. It surprises me how few people drink wine with their dinner in the main dining room.


We usually order our own wine - it seems everyone has different tastes.
If you are not able to finish the bottle in one night, the sommelier will label your bottle and save it for the next night.


Hi Henry,

BP and days at sea have the basics, and wine service is much the same on most ships. Most cruise lines will offer wine by the glass in addition to bottles. Over a number of cruises we have had about 30% of our tablemates that will have a glass of wine. My wife doesn't drink but I enjoy an occasional glass or two of wine with dinner. On one of our first few cruises two couples traveling together ordered wine with dinner and offered us a glass. We accepted the offer and the sharing of the wine served as an axcellent ice breaker. Interestingly one of the men in that party was an aerospace engineer that I had worked with 25 years before but didn't recognize until we began discussing our personal information. Of course we reciprocated with a selected bottle at a later dinners. I've never seen a group get together to order wine and I would think that tastes and prices might make it difficult to make a selection agreeable to all.

If no one else at the table accepts a glass of wine after I have made the offer I will finish the bottle the next night, and then order by the glass at later dinners. The main thing is to know that there are no expectations and to do what is comfortable for you.



I agree with the above posts. it seems that you just can't generalize when it comes to doing this at a table with a group of strangers. We drink wine, we always sit at a table of 6 plus..... whom we never know. It's a hit and miss proposition and sometimes people will not even reciprocate. So now i don't expect it to happen and if it doesn't thats fine. Just adjust your ordering for next time. The wine guy will look after you if you order. Tell him the number of glasses for tonight will be....(x) and the others will fend for themselves. As Petert says though be comfortable, be yourself .........and don't sweat the small stuff.


Henry, I agree with Peter and seabob, pick the wine of your choice and offer a glass to your tablemates at the beginning of the cruise. If they decline, there is no need to offer again. If they accept, proper etiquette is that they do reciprocate, but don't fret if it doesn't happen. You may be a more experienced cruiser or wine drinker than your tablemates. We pre-order wine on-line so it will be available for our first night, etc. If it doesn't show up at the table, just remind the Sommalier, who will check on the order. The wine list on board Millie is much larger than what you can purchase on-line. Don't miss the wine tasting, too.
Bon Voyage


On our first cruise (honeymoon) my husband and I somehow wound up at the Captain's table. It was grand--he was the perfect picture of a sea captain with a short salt and pepper beard and loads of charm. He ordered wine for the entire table which we thought was amazingly nice. Not being experienced cruisers (or experienced at anything much at the time) we just assumed this was a one time matter. Until the next night when the captain graciously handed the wine list off to his left and those passengers ordered wine for the table. We watched as each couple bought wine and so learned that to be gracious, we should buy wine, too. Since then, we have offered on the first night to share with the table (always declined) and then just share our bottle. It is not necessary to share, but we always reciprocate if others share with us. And we remember (if someone does not reciprocate) how unsure we once were.


We were on a cruise that we ordered wine the first night. Of course to be hospitable we asked the other 2 couples (table of 6) if they were like to have a glass and one couple said sure.

The second night ditto. We paid.

The third night I was waiting for the couple next to us to say,, "we will get the wine tonight" but it didnt happen.... My wife and I are accustom to drinking a glass at dinner so even tho I did not feel like providing charity to this couple I ordered again and said this is my third bottle of wine at $33 a bottle ($99 plus tip) and if you guys want to partake, the next three night are on you with the same grade of wine.


Well,, as expected, we never became penpals......

Moral is,,, share the wine among yourselves, dont offer,,, could cause bad feeling amongst parties.

Now, We just order by the glass..... Much easier AND much cheaper....


On our transatlantic on the Millenium last fall, we had a table for 10 that turned out to be for 12. There were six different wines at the table, some by the glass and most by the bottle. Each of us had different tastes. And all of us who ordered bottles tended to save them for the next day. Most of the wines that we enjoy are not available by the glass and getting a bottle actually turns out to be cheaper than paying for individual glasses. Since the bottle can be labeled and brought out the next day, think about getting that wine that you enjoy that is not available by the glass. And don't feel bad about not sharing. - on our last 6 cruises no one shared wine at the table.


On the South Pacific leg of the QE2 cruise last year, my travelling companion and I each were gfited with a magnum of champagne when we boarded. We took one bottle to the dining room and shared with our tablemates. Great way to get acquainted!

Next night we took the other bottle.

On following nights they reciprocated with wine for the table. Then we talked about it, and from then one, we each arranged for our wine - if we wanted it. sometimes some of us did, and sometimes some of us did not. We did not feel obligated.

They were a great bunch, and we still e-mail each other a couple of times a month!
Wine is a great icebreaker.

Spender Nui

idssms , I think you're correct in your actions. Also, I'd prefer to order my own wine. I wouldn't want to do it for the whole table for the entire cruise. If someone did relent and order some it might be a wine that I really didn't want and I'd have the dilema of whether or not to take some and not drink it or do without (which I'd rather not do). I vote for getting your own wine.


We have generally asked our tablemates if they want to share. We have always ended up with our own bottles (hubby is red, I am white) which are saved from meal to meal. On my last cruise atrt a table for 8 we had 4 different bottles on the table most nites. We mostly had very different tastes in wine. Most of the group drank far sweeter wines than daughter & I like.


Henry...You will LOVE the Millie. Got me totally won over to Celebrity.

You generally order by cabin. However, if you become fast friends with your
tablemates, several can buy a bottle one night and then the next night others can.
I find it MUCH easier to stay out of who has bought what for whom. And there are generally several people at the table who order mixed drinks or don't drink at all.
Also, if you don't finish a bottle (never happened to me!), your waiter will be happy to cork it and serve it to you the next night.

Have a great trip!