Your Guess is as Good as Mine: Finding Your Way on Board a Cruise Ship

Main Article Content

Julia Fallon
Paul Symonds
Valeria Lo Iacono


Wayfinding on board a large cruise ship might be mistakenly thought to be easy and straightforward and this may well account for the absence of literature on this topic. This paper will address this gap by exploring and exposing the influencers in shaping our everyday practices whilst cruising, itself a moving experience carrying us by consent across the seas to distant shores.
There is reporting upon wayfinding elsewhere however, in which there are accounts that examine other large spaces, where it is more readily acknowledged that people may need help for example in care homes (see Caspi 2014) or where they may be in a hurry, like airports (see Symonds 2017). Such literature will be drawn upon here and supplemented with the cruising context.

Article Details



Anderson, L. 2006. Analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35(4), 373-95.
Anim-Addo, A., Hasty, W., & Peters, K. (2014). The mobilities of ships and shipped mobilities. Mobilities, 9(3), 337-349.
Bartling, H. (2006). Tourism as everyday life: An inquiry into The Villages, Florida. Tourism Geographies, 8(4), 380-402.
Berger, A.A. (2004). Ocean travel and cruising: A cultural analysis. New York: The Haworth Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1993). Concluding remarks: For a sociogenetic understanding of intellectual works. In C. Calhoun, E. LiPuma, & M. Postone (Eds.), Bourdieu: Critical perspectives, (263–275). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Bourdieu, P. & Wacquant, L.J. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Caspi, E. (2014). Wayfinding difficulties among elders with dementia in an assisted living residence. Dementia, 13(4), 429–450.
Chang, H.-H. (2013). Wayfinding strategies and tourist anxiety in unfamiliar destinations. Tourism Geographies, 15(3), 529–550. doi: 10.1080/14616688.2012.726270.
Chin, C.B.N. (2008). Cruising in the global economy: Profits, pleasure and work at sea. Hampshire, England: Ashgate.
Cresswell, J.W. (2010). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Crouch, D. (2000). Places around us. Leisure Studies, 19(1), 63-76.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). (2019). 2019 global passenger report. Retrieved from
Culler, J.D. (1988). Framing the sign: Criticism and its institutions. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Douglas, N. & Douglas, N. 2004. Cruise ship passenger spending patterns in Pacific Island ports. International Journal of Tourism Research, 6(4), 251-261.
Dowling, R.K. (2006). Cruise ship tourism. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI.
Farr, A.C., Kleinschmidt, T., Yarlagadda, P., & Mengersen, K. (2012). Wayfinding: A simple concept, a complex process. Transport Reviews, 32(6), 715–743.
Farr, A.C., Kleinschmidt, T., Johnson, S., Yarlagadda, P., & Mengersen, K. (2014). Investigating effective wayfinding in airports: A Bayesian network approach. Transport, 29(1), 90–99.
Fewings, R. (2001). Wayfinding and airport terminal design. Journal of Navigation, 54(2), 177–184.
Foster, G.M. (1986). South seas cruise a case study of a short-lived society. Annals of Tourism Research, 13(2), 215–238.
Gibson, P. (2006). Cruise operations management. Oxford, England: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Gladwin, T. (1974). East is a big bird: Navigation and logic on Puluwat Atoll. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Goh, D.P.S. (2014). Walking the global city: The politics of rhythm and memory in Singapore. Space and Culture, 17(1), 16–28. doi: 10.1177/1206331212451686.
Goodwin, D., Pope, C., Mort, M. & Smith, A. (2003). Ethics and ethnography: An experiential account. Qualitative Health Research, 13(4), 567-577.
Gottdiener, M. (2000). Life in the air: Surviving the new culture of air travel. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Gray, S. (2016). The mobilities of ships; The Mariner’s Mirror. The International Quarterly Journal of the Society for Nautical Research, 102(1), 114-116.
Haldrup, M. (2004). Laid-back mobilities: Second-home holidays in time and space. Tourism Geographies, 6(4), 434–454. doi: 10.1080/1461668042000280228.
Hannam, K., Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2006). Editorial: Mobilities, immobilities and moorings. Mobilities, 1(1), 1-22.
Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of postmodernity: An Enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Ingold, T. (2011). Being alive: Essays on movement, knowledge and description. London: Routledge.
Jaaksen, R. (2004). Beyond the tourist bubble: Cruise ship passengers in port. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(1), 44-60.
Kauffman, S.A. (2002). Investigations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Klein, A.M. (1993). Little big men: Bodybuilding subculture and gender construction. Albany, NY: Suny Press.
Löfgren, O. (1999). On holiday: A history of vacationing. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Lloyd, N., Henry, J., & Thyne, M. (2011). Do passengers listen to their crew? The use of word-of-mouth recommendations on board a cruise ship. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 18(1), 88-94.
Lynch, K. (1960). The image of the city. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Mancini, M. (2000). Cruising: A guide to the cruise line industry. Albany, NY: Delmar.
Papathanassis, A., Lukovic, T., Vogel, M. (Eds.). (2012). Cruise Tourism and Society. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Passini, R. (1996). Wayfinding design: Logic, application and some thoughts on universality. Design Studies, 17(3), 319–331.
Pearce, P.L. (2011). The study of tourism: Foundations from psychology. Tourism Social Science Series Volume 15. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Peters, K. (2010). Future Promises for Contemporary Social and Cultural Geographies of the Sea. Geography Compass 4(9), 1260–1272.
Peters K. (2014). Tracking (Im)mobilities at sea: Ships, boats and surveillance strategies. Mobilities, 9(3), 414-431.
Richardson, L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6(2), 253–255. doi: 10.1177/107780040000600207.
Ritzer, G., (2000). The McDonaldization of Society 5 (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
Robertson, G. (2004). Cruise ship tourism. (See Gibson.)
Schep, S., van Beukering, P., Brander, L., & Wolfs, E. (2012). IVM Institute for Environmental Studies: The tourism value of nature on Bonaire. Amsterdam: VU University of Amsterdam.
Sparkes, A. (2002). Telling tales in sport and physical activity: A qualitative journey. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Sparkes, A.C. & Smith, B. (2014). Qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health: From process to product. New York: Routledge.
Symes, C. (2012). All at sea: An autoethnography of a slowed community, on a container ship. Annals of Leisure Research, 15(1), 55-68.
Symonds, P. (2017). Wayfinding signage considerations in international airports. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 1(2), 60–80.
Valencak, V. (2014). Lost on board: Enhancing User experience on cruise ships through wayfinding improvements. Unpublished MA Industrial and Strategic Design thesis, Aarhus University. Retrieved from
Van Bets, L.K.J., Lamers, M.A.J., & Van Tatenhove, J.P.M. (2017). Governing cruise tourism at Bonaire: a networks and flows approach. Mobilities, 12(5), 778-793.
Walther, M. (2014). Repatriation to France and Germany: A comparative study based on Bourdieu’s theory of practice. Germany: Springer Gabler.
Weaver, A. (2005a). Spaces of containment and revenue capture: Super-sized cruise ships as mobile tourism enclaves. Tourism Geographies, 79(2), 165-184.
Weaver, A., (2005b). The Mcdonaldization thesis and cruise tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 32, 346–366. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2004.07.005
Weeden, C. (2015). Cruise tourism. In C. Cater, B. Garrod, & T. Low (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Sustainable Tourism, (146). Low Oxfordshire, England: CABI.
Weeden, C., Lester, J.A., & Thyne, M. (2011). Cruise tourism: Emerging issues and implications for a maturing industry. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 18(1), 26-29.
Wood, R.E. (2004). Cruise ships: Deterritorialized destinations. In L. Lumsdon & S.L. Page (Eds.), Tourism and transport: Issues and agenda for the new millennium, (13345). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Yarnal, C.M. (2004). Missing the boat? A playfully serious look at a group cruise tour experience. Leisure Sciences, 26, 349-372.