12 Worst Cruise Habits

What are the worst cruise habits that annoy cruise passengers about other cruise passengers more than anything else?

I noticed there are things that seem to really wind up cruisers about their fellow passengers more than anything else, so I thought I’d share those, and what I discovered, with you right now.

Watch my Worst Cruise Habits Video

Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3JKll9insgo

Hand Washing

First of all, not washing hands and not using the alcohol gel. Norovirus is spread through touch, so touching surfaces then touching your mouth. The best way of stopping it spreading is through frequent washing your hands with soap and water, and also using the alcohol gel.

People go absolutely crazy when they see people coming out of the public bathrooms not having washed their hands or going into things like the buffet without having washed their hands or using the alcohol gel. Because it puts other people at risk.

Food Tongs

Linked to that, is also when they see people not using the tongs or touching food and putting it back, because again that puts everyone at risk of the norovirus. It’s one thing that I see people get really upset about and drives them crazy when they see people touching food and putting food back and not using the tongs.

Smoking and Vaping

Other people smoking, or vaping, on the balcony next to them, above them or below them is the thing that drives cruisers crazy.

There are strict rules on cruise ships now about where you can can’t smoke, and on pretty much every single Cruise Line, smoking on your balcony is not permitted, nor is vaping in your balcony permitted. A lot of people still try and sneak a cigarette or a vape because it’s quite a big trek often to go to the areas where you can smoke.


Saving loungers around the pool, on the decks or saving seats in the theatre is another thing that drives cruisers crazy. It is probably of all of these things, the one where I’ve seen the most arguments, people really falling out and going absolutely crazy.

You know how it works. People will head down and put books or towels on loungers in great locations around the ship, and then disappear for hours. They might pop back at some point of the day and use it for a short time and head off again for many hours.

Cruise lines pretty much universally have a rule which says if your lounger is left unattended for 30 minutes, they’ll take your stuff away, so to free it up. You probably have experienced that not many cruise lines actually enforce that unfortunately. So, people have learnt that if you do it, you’re
probably going to get away with it.

The other is in the theatre, with people booking rows of seats or big chunks of seats for their friends or family. It’s another thing which the cruise lines strongly ask you not to do, and again I’ve seen big falling outs where people have been holding spaces.

Bad Cruise Habits and Annoying Cruise Passengers

Show Etiquette

Linked to that, another thing which does drive a lot of people crazy is when people talk through the shows, or perhaps take pictures when they’re not supposed to because it does get in the way of enjoying the show.

Because people haven’t paid for the show specifically, as it’s included in their fare, a lot of cruisers do seem to behave very differently, and they don’t see it the same as if they’ve paid. People will talk and chat, they might take pictures and use their phones with lots of bright screens around you.


Perhaps one of my bug bears, and things that I have seen people get really irate about, is when people are late back for meeting points on excursions. When you on an excursion, perhaps you’ve got some free time and the guide says to be back at a certain time, and there’s always people that you know at each of those stops will come back late – knowing full well that the guide and the bus will not leave without them.

People get angry, because they know that the pace of a tour is always going to be driven by the people who are slowest. If you’ve got a number of different places to visit and people are back every single time late, it means that your time gets more and more squeezed.


Kids can often be the source of annoyance and things that drive people crazy on a cruise, particularly with people who aren’t traveling with kids. Kids running right around the swimming pool without being controlled, charging up and down the corridors making a noise, playing in the lifts or where there are set times at the swimming pool for adults or kids only and parents don’t pay attention and let their kids go when it’s adult time.

Kids are often a source of conflicts with cruisers and cruise lines which are not really family orientated. There’s a lot of cruise lines like MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian which are very focused towards families. People going on those cruises do, of course, expect to see lots of kids and families and go with that mindset

On other cruise lines, which are perhaps less family or kids orientated, I have seen a lot of kind of people going a little bit crazy saying that kids behaved better in their day, and there are flash points and annoyance.

Room Service

Another thing that does drive people crazy, and I’ve seen it quite often on ships, is when people have room service and instead of phoning room service (which they ask you to do), they put the tray outside into the corridor.

On a lot of cruise ships the corridors are quite narrow, and if people do have some mobility issues
with a walker or in a wheelchair, they have to shove those aside to get up and down the corridors. Generally, people think it’s unnecessary because they know that you should just phone up room service as you did to order, and they’ll come pretty quickly and take it away from your cabin.

Drunk People

The next two are really often interlinked. One of those is when people get really drunk, rowdy and out of hand in any of the venues.

I’ve seen tensions rise around that as other people feel it’s encroaching in their enjoyment of that place.


The next point which is just about noisiness is with people in cabins which have inter-connecting doors and so there’s not great soundproofing and the people next door are noisy, rowdy or party in their cabin. It is quite intrusive and is one thing that you see a lot of complaints about. The thing is if you think that’s going to impact you, make sure that you’re choosing a cabin that first of all doesn’t have an inter-connecting door and secondly isn’t above or below any of those venues where there’s going to be lots of partying, like the nightclub, bars and big late night venues.

Fare Comparison

Surprisingly one of the most interesting things that seems to wind people up enormously is comparing fares. You hear it happen all the time on cruises where people start talking about the cruise and somehow start comparing how much they paid. Whoever paid the most is annoyed! People that got great deals are very proud of sharing that. When you do get an amazing deal, you will wind up people by bring up how much you paid.

Crew Treatment

One of the things that perhaps is a good thing that does annoy cruisers increasingly, is when they see their fellow passengers being rude, disrespectful or unnecessarily demanding of the crew on the ship.

As you know, the crew work long contracts away from their family and they don’t earn huge amounts of money. They work really hard with no days off, and so when other cruisers see cruisers being rude, disrespectful, demanding or creating extra work for the crew, other cruisers get annoyed and that’s probably (as I said) a good thing because treating your crew with respect and treating them well is a good thing.

I think personally if people are getting annoyed it’s great, because it’s good pressure to out on people to be more respectful.

Next time you go on a cruise, take a look some of these things and look at how other cruises are reacting to the things that cruisers do. It’s interesting to see that you’ll probably find that these are the things that wind up people a lot, so I encourage you next time you’re on a cruise to take a look
for each of these to see if you can spot them – I think they are things that are really winding up modern cruisers a lot.

Please watch many more of my Tips for Travellers videos. They’re packed full advice and tips to help you make the most of your precious travel time money on land, on sea and on the rivers of the

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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