Carry On Cruising is the sixth Carry On film in the British film series, which created a milestone for being the first to be filmed in color. It starred regulars Sidney James, Kenneth Connor, Esma Cannon, Dilys Laye, Liz Fraser and Kenneth Williams, as well as an appearance from comedian Lance Percival.
This was the first Carry On to be based on holidays, inspired by the popularity of cruise holidays with the public in the early 1960s; there is an appearance of a P&O Cruise Ship, whose company was thanked in the opening credits, which is where the movie takes place. Like many Carry On movies to come, Cruising tells several subplots of many different people as they stay together in a packed space. In this case, on a cruise ship — based on some of the passengers and the cruise staff.
Captain Wellington Crowther (James) is in charge of the SS Happy Wanderer and is preparing to travel through the southern continents, but is angered to find out that most of his trusted ship staff are absent and have been replaced at the last minute with first-timers: most importantly, the slightly-snobby First Officer Majoribanks (Williams), the timid Dr Arthur Binn (Connor) and the always-trying chef Wilfred Haines, as well as a new bartender, head waiter and room service. This creates tension between Crowther and the newbies and he states that they have to show him that they'll be able to handle the jobs and not purposely sabotage.
Unfortunately, this might not be possible. The men'll have to deal with the likes of the flirtatious Gladys and Flo (Laye and Fraser) and the hyperactive elderly lady Bridget (Cannon), but even when they're in check, other things continue to go wrong. Crowther also becomes the victim of the group's shenanigans and the new ship's cook is seasick.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Bridget's shorts fall down in front of Crowther and another crew member. In the embarrassment of being showed up in front of the captain, Dr. Binn tries desperately to help Bridget fix her clothes. The other crew member starts to corpse at the situation, but catches Crowther's unimpressed look and excuses himself awkwardly. Crowther chuckles when no one's looking.
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In response to Crowther saying he's the captain, a drunken Bridget replies, "Yeah, and I'm Zsa Zsa Gabor".
- The Bartender: Sam Turner is the barman, who turns out to be a replacement as well.
- Belly Dancer: During the cruise's stop over at North Africa, Gladys and Flo end up purchasing belly dancer costumes as souvenirs and take a picture together, cosplaying as "harem girls of the Sultan".
- Bottle Episode: The entire movie is on the Happy Wanderer and not once does the movie switch from that location. When cruise stops at a country's port, we only see the passengers leave and come back with their souvenirs.
- Brief Accent Imitation: When the crew travel to Spain, Binn and Marjoribanks dress up as matadors and imitate Spanish accents. Crowther isn't impressed.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure:
- Binn and Marjoribanks when their tight trousers split open.
- Bridget, when jogging with Binn.
- Cool Old Lady: Bridget.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Wilfred Haines bakes a cake containing of spaghetti, Californian prunes and Chinese duck representing the captain's various voyages.
- Curse Cut Short: When Captain Crowther is chewing out the crew, we cut to the ship's foghorn.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Crowther is the best at this. Much of his memorable dialogue is snapping at someone for acting stupid.
- Marjoribanks has the occasional moment, mostly when he wants to sound wittier than everyone else. Crowther, the aforementioned king at this, shuts him down with a glare or telling Marjoribanks off like a child.
- Disapproving Look: Crowther often gives these, particularly when the crew starts goofing off.
- Drowning My Sorrows: A man Bridget meets in the ship's bar who wants to forget about a woman he never talks about.Man at bar: That's why I drink. To forget her.Dr A Binn: Forget who?Man at bar: Blessed if I can remember.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Sid James of all people is repulsed by the idea of a woman throwing herself at him.
- Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: The gym teacher that Glad and Flo fight over. The fact that he wears a white uniform (that seems to look brighter than it is from the cameras), doesn't help if you're sensitive to brightness.
- Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": The main staff are only referred to by their surnames throughout the picture. Marjoribanks' forename is Oliver, Binn's is Arthur, Haines' is Wilfred, and Crowther's is revealed to be Wellington.
- Fainting: Flo faints after a workout session with Mr. Jenkins, while Majorinbanks when the captain (whom he assumed was Drinking on Duty) enters the room.
- Gargle Blaster: Desperate to re-create the recipe for his favourite cocktail now that the bartender who created it has left the ship, Captain Crowther gathers numerous bottles of spirits and mixes them in various combinations (but without drinking them, unbeknownst to Marjoribanks, who thinks he is fall-down drunk and tries to assume command). Eventually, one of the combinations causes the glass to explode. A bemused Crowther says, "That one I should have drunk!"
- Incredibly Lame PunCaptain Crowther: Flo!! Ebb a bit.
- It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": First Officer Marjoribanks makes it quite clear how to pronounce his name ("Marshbanks").
- Laughing at Your Own Jokes: When getting to know Crowther, the replacements begin to crack terrible puns out of awkwardness when they explain where Crowther's original team is. Haines is the worst offender with this. Unfortunately for them, it makes Crowther assume that they'll never take anything seriously and decides to act even more strict towards them than he probably already would have.
- Lethal Chef: Haines makes a cake explode in his face. To say nothing of the ingredients he uses to make his "International Cake".
- Moment Killer: Crowther and a crew member accidentally walk into a room where a couple is about to embrace. They apologise and walk out, but a curious Crowther does a Double Take, discovering that the couple are kissing as if they hadn't been interrupted at all, and don't even notice that Crowther is back in the room.
- Mr. Fanservice: The gym teacher that Glad and Flo fall for.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Crowther physically tries to pull Flo off him during her swooning.
- No Sense of Humor: Crowther. Whenever someone tries to lighten the mood, he just gets angrier.
- Not So Above It All: Crowther often laughs at moments that his dim-witted crew laugh at, although he continuously promotes being focused on work.
- Not What It Looks Like: Dr. Binn collapsing on top of one his patients and being caught by Cpt Crowther.
- Only One Name: Practically the entire cast (although the main characters in the cruising staff's forenames are revealed in the movie) is only known by either their first name or surname.
- Painted-On Pants: Binn and Marjoribanks wear skintight pants when they dress up in matador costumes for the ship's entertainment show. It ends horribly when they show the Captain.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Majoribanks suggests Playing Cyrano to Doctor Binn to help him win Flo's affections. Binn assumes that Cyrano is a passenger on the ship.
- Product Placement: The P&O Cruise ship. The credits thank the company for allowing them to do so.
- Replacement Scrappy: This is Captain Crowther's reaction to the five new crew members. He is chagrined to discover that, after years of service together, his first officer has won a fortune in the football pools and retired, his ship's doctor has exchanged jobs with the doctor at Consolidated Marmalade, his ship's cook apparently got "fed up", his bartender got married and has returned to dry land, and his personal steward has broken his leg. It doesn't help that the first three replacements (Marjoribanks, Binn, and Haines) initially come across as incompetent clowns, while the retiring bartender has taken the recipe for the captain's favourite cocktail with him to dry land.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Marjoribanks briefly talks like this when he takes charge of the team.Marjoribanks: Gentlemen, have I your agreement for a policy of unremitting quasi-teutonic organisational protectionism?Dr A Binn: [sighs] He means "fingers out?"
- Shipper on Deck: First Officer Marjoribanks helps Doctor Binn try and win the affections of Flo.
- Shot in the Ass: Here, "shot" refers to "injection"; the perennially seasick Haines repeatedly shows up in Dr Binn's clinic for a seasickness remedy which comes in three parts, the last involving an injection. Each time, the injection is into Haines' backside, causing him to yell in pain (masked by the sound of the ship's foghorn, as well as a shot of it).
- Stock Footage: Probably all the outer shots of boats on the sea and/or the cruise ship itself sailing around the ocean. Most of the movie's budget went to the rebuilding of the exterior shots of the walkways and the swimming pool.
- The Stoic: Crowther.
- Surrounded by Idiots: CPT Crowther, when he hires reinforcements for his cruise staff that get the simplest tasks wrong.
- Those Two Girls: Gladys and Flo.
- Title Drop: As the cruise is nearing its end, Captain Crowther announces that he has been offered a position on a transatlantic liner, but has turned it down as he prefers a much more personal atmosphere of a cruise ship. "So what else can I do but carry on cruising?" he claims.
- Tuckerization: Gerald Thomas couldn't resist an in-joke by naming some of the ship's officers after some of the new film crew. Third Office J Causey (Assistant Director Jack Causey), Fourth Officer D. Lovell (Camera operator Dudley Lovell), Junior Fourth Officer A Hume (Director of Photography Alan Hume),
- Unfortunate Names: Wellington Crowther's initials are "W.C."
- Wardrobe Malfunction: Binn and Marjoribanks split their tight trousers when they bend over in front of the Captain. They hobble out of the room in embarrassment with a shared matador cloth wrapped around their waists.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All the replacements are this to Crowther, who's pointed out that he's paranoid about newcomers trying to overthrow him. Naturally, problems surface whenever he's prowling around the ship.
- Workout Fanservice: Gladys and Flo eyeing up gym teacher Mr. Jenkins. Flo tries to show off and get his attention, but fails.
For other Carry On films about vacations, see Carry On Camping, Carry On Abroad and Carry On Behind.