A cruise is a fun, relaxing getaway, but with ships getting bigger and bigger and carrying more and more passengers – the world’s largest cruise ships can carry more than 6,500 passengers on a single sailing – it is inevitable that not everyone will get along. With so many people sharing the same facilities for a few fun-filled days, it is no surprise that some annoying behaviors will emerge. Once you realize how annoying these things can be to your fellow passengers, however, you can be sure not to do them, and you will know how not to let annoying behaviors ruin your vacation.

The Most Annoying Things People Do on a Cruise Ship

Everyone has different pet peeves, but these behaviors are fairly universally annoying to most cruise ship passengers.

1. Saving Seats

Whether it is staking out a lounge chair by the pool, reserving a block of seats in the main show lounge, holding chairs at the comedy club or taking up extra space at the lido restaurant, no one is happy to see one person saving many seats in popular seating areas, especially at busy times. While everyone understands briefly holding chairs while someone may go get a drink or pick up their meal, it is rude and annoying to save seats for extended periods, especially if there is no one actually there and instead there are just towels, pieces of fruit or other tokens to stake out the territory. Avoid being this person by keeping your party together when you need seats, and sending only 1-2 people at a time away from the seating so there is no confusion about how many seats you need.

2. Children Out of Control

A cruise can be a great family vacation, and there are plenty of activities to keep younger cruisers engaged and out of trouble. Those activities do end, however, and there are times when parents need to more closely supervise their children. Kids running down hallways, turning hot tubs into impromptu water fights, pushing all the elevator buttons or having “sword” fights on the miniature golf course quickly irritate and annoy other passengers. Parents should be aware of where their children are at all times, and recognize that while it is important to relax and have fun on vacation, there should still be rules and consequences if children misbehave.

Carnival Liberty
Video Footage By: KPRC 2

3. Overusing the Elevator

There are plenty of stairs on a cruise ship, and after a busy day, big meal or late night, it may seem easier just to push the button and take the elevator all the time. When you’re only going one deck up or down, however, it can be annoying for other passengers who are using the elevator to cross several decks. Of course no one should get annoyed when there may be mobility issues or other concerns that necessitate elevator use, but if you can go up and down just a single deck, it is better to use the stairs, and will burn off some of those rich cruise food calories besides.

4. Cutting in Line

From buffets to bingo card sales to waterslides to tender boats, there are many different lines you may wait in during your cruise. Nothing can be more annoying that thinking you’re nearly done waiting, only to have extra people cut ahead of you where just one or two members of their party have been holding places – or even just cutting in line without anyone having saved places at all. If someone forgets something in the stateroom or needs to leave the line, it is better to let other people pass ahead until the missing person returns.

Here’s another article on dealing with long lines on a cruise ship.

5. Breaking the Rules – or the Law

A vacation may be the perfect time to cut loose, but it is always annoying when a cruise passenger knowingly breaks the ship’s restrictions or even local laws. This might be trying to smuggle contraband onto the ship, which will slow down the security line for everyone, or it could be smoking on balconies, which is prohibited for safety reasons, or it might even be underage cruisers trying to get alcoholic drinks from law-abiding passengers. These violations can be severely punished and may even cut a lawbreaker’s cruise short if they are put off the ship before the cruise ends.

6. Overindulging

Cutting loose doesn’t have to mean breaking the law, but even legal overindulgence can annoy other cruisers. Anyone who is severely drunk, obsessively gambling or otherwise overindulging to the point where they disrupt others or cause a scene can put a damper on other passengers’ vacations. These out-of-control behaviors can also lead to other consequences, including fines, confinement to the stateroom or even being removed from the ship if passengers get belligerent or violent.

Lido Dining Food
Photo By: Russell Otway

7. Excessive Noise

Part of a great vacation is a chance to sleep in, take a nap or otherwise relax in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, but passengers who are too loud will annoy everyone with their antics. It might be slamming doors, talking loud in narrow hallways, televisions or music turned up loud or yelling and carrying on at shows or by the pool, but it is never enjoyable for everyone else. This is especially true on stateroom decks or in areas designated as quieter spaces, such as an adults-only retreat, the ship’s spa or the library or chapel. Using an inside voice and respecting others’ desire for peaceful quiet is essential to be sure you aren’t the annoying noisemaker on board.

8. Disrespectful Attitudes

No one likes to be disrespected or bear the brunt of rude behavior, and it is also annoying to see that behavior inflicted on others. Anyone who is blatantly being rude or disrespectful to crew members, other passengers or even tour operators or retailers in ports of call gives all cruise passengers a bad reputation. It is always best to be courteous and respectful of other cultures, countries and beliefs, and a cruise ship should be a wonderful opportunity to meet people from many places and learn about those differences rather than be annoying.

9. Filming a Documentary

Photos and videos are a great way to capture all the memorable moments of your cruise, but if you believe every single second of your getaway is worthy of recording, you will be one of those annoying passengers who can’t put the camera down. Selfie sticks, constantly stopping for a new pose and always getting in the way of others for your photos is very irritating behavior, and we should all be realistic – are you going to look at hundreds of photos or hours of video after your vacation ends? Certainly you want to take some great photos to share with friends and family members, but make sure you take time to put the camera away and just enjoy being on your cruise.

If you always capturing your cruise then at least know how to take good photos.

Carnival Cruise Pictures
Photo By: Russell Otway

10. Hogging Equipment

While they may be filled with state-of-the-art features, cruise ships still have limited facilities and it can be annoying when a passenger monopolizes equipment. This can be a common problem in the gym or fitness center, when there are only a few specific cardio machines yet one passenger may decide to spend an hour or more on the treadmill or elliptical while other passengers wait to use it.

Other areas that might have annoying usage hogs include casino games, games of chance, arcade games, hot tubs, hammocks or the miniature golf course. To decrease the frustration, it is best if passengers – while feeling free to use whatever equipment they like – are mindful of others and limit their use of the most popular items so everyone can share.

11. Staying in the Spotlight

There are many chances to shine on a cruise ship, from winning trivia contests or deck games to volunteering to go on stage at a show, joining in a dance contest or otherwise getting involved, and in fact getting involved can make your cruise even more memorable. It is memorable to other passengers for all the wrong reasons, however, when one person constantly strives to be a star and get special attention. Whether that passenger is an enthusiastic adult or an attention-craving child, it is still annoying and once a person has had their shining moment, they should let others have theirs.

12. Being Late

Cruise ships can have very structured schedules, particularly when the day is crowded with different activities both on board and on shore. When one passenger is late, it can annoy everyone else waiting for the same event, whether that means starting a trivia contest over or delaying dining service to accommodate the latecomer. Even if the activity is not delayed, such as an evening show, a late arrival will irritate other passengers when they are talking, moving in front of seated guests or otherwise disrupting the event because they weren’t courteous enough to be on time.

Late Passenger

13. Complaining, Complaining, Complaining

When something is upsetting, it can be helpful to talk it over with another person. When a passenger is constantly complaining about different issues, however, they might be annoying others enough to lodge their own complaints. This is particularly true if the complaints are about relatively minor annoyances, such as long lines or crowded elevators, or things that are out of anyone’s control, such as poor weather. When something is a legitimate grievance, registering a complaint with the proper officials can be useful, but otherwise, nagging complaints should be kept to a minimum.

14. Excessive PDA

There’s no place better to celebrate love than on a cruise ship, whether it is for an onboard wedding, honeymoon or just a romantic getaway with someone special. That romance shouldn’t spill over into everyone else’s vacation, however, especially when affectionate touching, kisses and other behaviors might not always be seen as appropriate for public settings. While friendly romance is certainly fine, if those gestures are better left for private areas, couples should retire to their cabins rather than annoy other passengers with too much physical friendliness.

15. Loyalty Bragging

Take a look at 15 annoying things that people do on cruises. It's time to get along with our fellow cruise ship passengers but at times it can be difficult!
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It can be great to earn rewards by being a loyal cruiser to one cruise line, but it isn’t so great to brag about those rewards and demand special service with every voyage. Past passengers should understand the benefits they’ve earned, but also understand that those benefits do not entitle them to rude behaviors or otherwise annoying fellow passengers or abusing crew members with unreasonable requests.

If You Are Annoyed

Whether it is your first cruise or your fiftieth, you’re sure to encounter some annoying behaviors. The best way to handle that annoyance without overshadowing an otherwise fun vacation is to stay calm and polite at all times, walking away or avoiding situations that are irritating.

While it may occasionally be necessary to seek help to resolve an annoying situation, such as calling security to handle extreme noise or asking servers not to delay dinner service for a perpetually late passenger, it is always best to remember the point of your cruise vacation – to relax, have fun and enjoy yourself, not to worry about the behaviors of other passengers, and certainly not to let others ruin your cruise.