It’s a fact of vacation life: You can pick where you cruise to and on which line you cruise, but you can’t choose who else is on the cruise ship. And sometimes, your fellow cruise ship passengers won’t behave the way you want them to. In fact, they may act downright annoying. Inspired by our recent story on the 15 most annoying types of plane passengers, we decided to come up with a comparable list for cruise ship travelers. But don’t despair! Cruise ships are enormous, and if someone else’s behavior is bringing down your vacation vibe, it’s easy enough to walk (or swim) away.
15. The One Who Hogs the Treadmill
Most cruise ships come with free access to a gym, but the size can vary, and occasionally, there aren’t enough cardio machines to go around. The Norwegian Breakaway has a small gym for the approximately 5,000-passenger ship. That means lines for the treadmills, which overlook the sea, can be long, especially on bad weather days when the demand for indoor activities is high. The clueless cruiser who spends more than 30 minutes on a treadmill when there’s a line behind them comes in at number 15 on our list.
14. The One Who Takes the Elevator One Floor
Unless you have mobility issues, luggage, or small children, there’s no reason to take an elevator for a one- or two-floor ride. Crowded elevators are a real problem on cruise ships, and laziness makes the wait times and tight squeeze even worse. Be less annoying and take the stairs.
13. The Cruise Ship One-Upper
Cruise ships are convivial places, and it’s not uncommon to chat with fellow cruisers in restaurants, bars, and by the pool. But there’s one type of cruiser we’d like to avoid: the one-upper. Whether this is your first cruise or your 50th, the one-upper has sailed farther and seen better. Prepare to have even the tiniest details of cruising explained to you like you’re an amateur without a passport.
12. The One Who Doesn’t Leave the Cruise Ship
Sure, it’s their vacation and they can spend it how they like, but we’ll never understand why someone would book a cruise and then stay on the ship instead of exploring the port of call. Many tourist destinations depend on cruise ship passengers for at least some of their income and it seems unfair (and downright silly) to not spend part of the day and some money at port.
11. The Hot and Heavy Couple
Whether they’re making out in the swimming pool, kissing in the hot tub, or grinding a little too proactively during the ’80s dance party at the ship’s nightclub, there’s always one couple that should take it back to their cabin, but prefers full-on PDA. Maybe they’re on a honeymoon vacation, but not many cruisers want to watch other people repeatedly lock lips.
10. The Traffic Cone
Cruise ship staff have a loving term for some passengers: traffic cones. The nickname is given to oblivious passengers who stop and gather in crowded walkways and restaurants, forcing everyone else to walk around them, much like a motionless and bright orange traffic cone. Keep it moving, or at least stand to the side, so that others can pass.
9. The Line Cutter
Cruise ship buffet restaurants often have notoriously confusing line systems, since hot and cold stations are divided up and there’s no actual space for an orderly queue. We’ll cut you some slack at the buffet, but there’s no excuse for cutting in line at the box office, specialty restaurants, waterslides, or worse, when exiting and entering the cruise ship. Everyone has somewhere to go — please wait your turn.
8. The One Who Smuggles in Contraband
Many cruise lines have strict rules about not bringing alcohol, soda, or outside food onboard (in addition to no drugs and weapons, obviously). This is why all passengers must go through a security line, bag search, and X-ray machine before boarding the ship at embarkation and at port. The lines are often tedious, but those who insist on trying to sneak in contraband just make the queues longer for everyone. Don’t be that guy.
7. The Family Who Saves Deck Chairs
It’s simply not fair to spread towels on five poolside deck chairs, then leave to have breakfast and check out the mini-golf course on deck eight. The worst offenders pack novelty pool clips to keep their towels firmly in place while they hog chairs. This gripe also includes anyone who takes up extra pool deck space with an inflatable wading pool, or anyone who moves the belongings of another passenger who is simply going for a dip and saving their chair for a few minutes. If you’re not going to use the chair for the next 45 minutes, let someone else have it.
6. The One Who Gets Wasted
The all-you-can-drink package is often a good and economical idea, but it’s beyond annoying when a fellow passenger drinks to the point of becoming obnoxious — not to mention, it can be dangerous. High winds coupled with cruise ship balconies and too much alcohol can equal deathly consequences. Take it easy on the booze, and know that if you get out of control, you can end up in handcuffs and in cruise ship jail. Yes, that’s a thing.
5. The One Who Yells in Hallways
Some cruisers forget that state room corridors are little more than an endless row of doors, behind which thousands of people are relaxing and sleeping — especially after 10 p.m. Many cruisers get up early for paid shore excursions. Keep your voice down and be appropriate, even in your room. Thin walls and adjoining doors and balconies mean that noise travels.
4. The One Who Is Disrespectful of Foreign Countries
Many cruisers intentionally choose ships with several ports of call so that they can experience different cultures and rack up passport stamps. We love anyone who is curious and interested in exploring the world, but we have less patience for those who are rude and disrespectful while visiting foreign countries. Brush up on foreign customs and politics before arriving at port.
3. The One Who Is Rude to Staff
Cruise ship staff members work incredibly hard to make sure that passengers are safe, fed, entertained, and cleaned up after. Many staff members come from developing countries and send the bulk of their paycheck home to support their families. There’s no reason to be rude or demeaning to cruise ship employees. Those who treat staff like servants, and not people, earn the number three spot on our list — and bad karma for life.
2. The One Who Doesn’t Wash Their Hands
Serious viruses can be contracted from hand-to-surface contact, and since some cruises can pack thousands of pairs of hands onto one ship…well, you do the math. These days, cruise ships go the extra mile by supplying hand-washing stations, antibacterial gel, and paper towels for opening doors throughout the ship. Norwegian even sprays passengers’ hands when they board the ship and before they enter the buffet restaurant. It only takes one person who doesn’t wash their hands for a full-blown epidemic. That said, it’s crucial to wash your hands.
1. The One Who Hates Cruising
Cruising isn’t for everyone, but do the rest of the ship a big favor and stay home if you really don’t want to be on a cruise. Nothing ruins a fun vacation vibe like a sulking passenger.