5 Things That Drive Cruisers Completely Insane

things that drive cruisers completely insane
Deck chairs are not a private storage locker. - Photo by FloridaStock

There are some mildly annoying aspects about cruising that most experienced travelers have learned to live with, and then are other things that can make their blood boil with rage:

5. Smoky Balconies and Casinos

smoky casino balcony cruise insane

You can avoid smoky casinos easily if you're not a gambler, but the same thing cannot be said of a smoky balcony. - Photo by Denis Tabler

Why It's Annoying: You booked a balcony cabin because you loved the idea of spending your evenings relaxing in the fresh air while listening to the ocean roll by. The only problem? Sometimes the air isn’t so fresh. Balcony cabins are often booked by smokers for obvious reasons, and this conflict of interest can cause serious tension between neighbors.

"The worst problem [on] this ship was SMOKING...... they allowed smoking in half of the casino. Well the smoke was in the whole casino. Could not even breathe. This is the only cruise I remember that allowed smoking indoors. We had a balcony on deck 10, very nice. This is a non smoking deck, but the smoke from the decks below came right up to our balcony. Had to breathe and smell cigar and cigarette smoke when on our balcony.”


How to Fix It: Lines could address the problem by designating balconies on one side of the ship as the smoking balconies. Also, while scaring away smokers might hurt the bottom line of the industry, smoky casinos and balconies do the same thing. In fact, jjjjsd said that the smoke in the casino “made [him] gamble a lot less.” In the meantime, you can try to find a cruise line with tighter restrictions on smoking.


4. Nickel and Diming

nickel and diming cruisers cruise

A dollar here and a dollar there can add up by the time you disembark. - Photo by John Brueske

Why It's Annoying: While we understand that certain services on board are so expensive that they can't be included in the cruise fare (e.g. spa treatments or gym classes with a personal trainer), constantly having to spend more money onboard doesn’t just hurt wallets, it affects the enjoyment of frugal sailors, like EricP1, who felt like he “couldn't relax due to nickel and diming.”

"The ship tried to nickel and dime us to death. Wifi should be free at this level of the game. [Now you have to] pay for orange juice, pay for good drinking water, pay for a nice meal. Things that use to be included in cruising. Not sure if it's just Royal Caribbean or if all cruise lines have lost their panache."


How to Fix It: Sorry, MelanieR3, but as much as we hate it, this has become the norm in the cruise industry and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. We recommend buying drink packages, internet, and excursions before you leave so at least you don’t have to budget while on vacation.


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3. Missed Ports

tender boat santorini missed ports

Ports like Santorini require passengers to be shuttled in on tender boats, and if the water is too choppy, the port might be skipped altogether. - Photo by Olga Gavrilova

Why It's Annoying: While sometimes a port skipped due to rough seas simply means a lost day on the beach, it can also cause you to miss the port that led you to book the cruise in the first place. Some cruisers even feel like the lines do this intentionally to keep you on the ship in order to spend more money drinking and gambling. This may be a bit over the top, but the frustration is very, very real. 

“Our main disappointment was the missed port (Princess Cays... the private island) due to what the captain deemed was unsafe wave levels for tendering. This was the second day of a 7 day cruise, and there was plenty of time on the agenda to make an alternate port call on the return portion of the voyage or at least allow extra time at one of the other ports. The same thing happened our our last cruise with the sister company to Princess, Carnival. Nothing extra added by either of these two companies to ease the pain of a missed port. There should be a plan B for ports that require anchoring and tender craft. I appreciate the safety consideration, if in fact that was truly the case, but we paid for a port that was not delivered. I will cruise Celebrity or Royal Caribbean next time.” 


How to Fix It: Lines could be better at compensating passengers for missed port days. We know it would be expensive, but we’ve lost count of how many reviews we receive where a otherwise good cruise was completely ruined by a missed port. And like Volfan, many of these customers end their review vowing to never sail that line again. So which hurts the bottom line more, compensating passengers for a skipped port, or bad reviews and missing out on repeat customers?


2. Deck Chair Hogs

deck chair hogs cruisers insane cruise

Unlike lifeboats, there aren't enough chairs for everyone on the cruise. - Photo by Cruiseline.com

Why It's Annoying: You know the feeling you get when you walk into a crowded theater with a couple of friends and see some unoccupied seats dead center, only to find them claimed by pocketbooks and jackets with the owners nowhere in sight? Multiply that frustration several times over, and you’ll get an idea of what cruisers on crowded ships experience on a regular basis. 

“The second or third sea day my husband and I got to the Lido deck Orpheus pool at 8AM and EVERY chair was taken by a towel, tee shirt or book. Very few were occupied by people.” 


How to Fix It: You might not know it, but most cruise lines have rules forbidding the reserving of deck chairs. The level to which they’re enforced varies, but you can always talk to a crew member if you can’t find a chair. You can also try cruising during the off season when ships aren’t as crowded.


1. Out of Control Children

out of control children

Children and teenagers are notorious for monopolizing hot tubs. - Photo by Cruiseline.com

Why It's Annoying: Just because you’re a parent on vacation doesn’t mean you can take a vacation from parenting. No one expects children to behave like angels all the time. In fact, it’s the norm for children to act out occasionally. What we do expect is for parents to step up whenever their children are being obnoxious, rather than allowing them to scream and splash in the pool or stick their fingers in the buffet at dinner. (This applies to teenagers as well. Just because they know better than to act like idiots doesn’t mean they will when their parents aren't watching.)

“This cruise had more kids on it than any other cruise I have been on. Bad kids. Manner less kids. Kids whose parents evidently needed a break from them so they let them run wild. I never want to see kids sitting on tables in the common eating area, standing on booths, running up and down and up and down the stairs even when people had food in their hands trying to find a place to sit. These kids needed to be on a farm with wide open spaces, not on the confines of a cruise ship.” - 


How to Fix It: We get it, cruise lines. Unless it’s a clear liability concern, no one wants to yell at a child or tell a parent how to parent, lest they complain on social media and you come off as anti-family. But that’s why it’s important for everyone else (including the parents of well-behaved kids) to complain and make it clear that it’s better to risk upsetting a couple of bad parents than an entire ship. You can also book cruise lines known for having fewer children on board, or not book during school holidays and summer vacation.


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Join the discussion

What's one thing about cruising you absolutely can't stand?


Posted by Vancouver1

I hate piped in music everywhere. There are times when I just want to read my book or stare into the ocean. Silence is a wonderful thing and I don't want to have to stay in the cabin in the middle of the day to have it. I once asked if it could at least be turned down and the response was "No, it's controlled in Miami." Ridiculous!

Posted by xyzcruiser

Stuff on chairs has never been a bother. If it is a towel or book just put it aside and enjoy. If it is something like an I-phone or tablet give it to a deck person and let those rays do their job. I have 132 cruises in my log and have never been tossed off a ship or been scolded by security. Stowaway is the name of the game.

Posted by M8xua01BoUp4v7RXWCpgSg8IZ

I hate the nickle and dime comment. I remember my first cruise on the Song of Norway. The cabin was tiny, there was one buffet and one dining room, no specialty dining, the idea of anything from a fryer was unheard of. Internet access? No one had even heard of the internet! Let's face it, you are getting a cruise for almost the same price and you have a ton more amenities you would have never dreamed of. If you want an all inclusive cruise, pull out your wallet and pay for a luxury line. Or maybe, complaining is just a fun part or your vacation experience!

Posted by rvjake

Okay, guess we are one of those "cruise snob" couples mentioned above! Unruly children is at the top of our list for gripes. We are parents of 3, grandparents of 5 and great grandparents of 12 so we are NOT anti-child just anti bratty undisciplined child. We like Holland America as they still have assigned dining along with a dress code. At dinner It is not enjoyable to have to sit by or listen to screaming kids, kids who are tired, grubby and cranky from a whole day of "fun" ashore, kids who either throw food they do not want or spit back out on their plate chewed food they do not like. I do not spend the kind of money that a cruise costs to be forced to eat in a McDonalds atmosphere. Ditto for misbehaving children at the pool and in other areas of the ship. Well behaved youngsters will always be welcomed at my table but on the child friendly cruise lines we have traveled those kind of kids are very few. Holland America and Cunard are a much better choice for retired people.

Posted by CrusinTim

As for being compensated for missed ports, to me that's nonsense! READ YOUR CONTRACT. The Captain, Master of the vessel, has the right to bypass a port if he feels conditions could be dangerous to the passengers or the vessel. We had this happen to us this past April on our T/A aboard the Caribbean Princess. We had to skip Bermuda due to unfavorable weather and stay at sea. And yes, I had plans in Bermuda BUT was happy the Captain made the necessary decision out of an abundance of caution and concern for passenger safety. I would much rather have a missed port then chance an injury do to bad weather especially when it comes to tendering from an anchored position. Cruise lines can not always arrange new ports at the last minute due to berthing capacity at the proposed port. So, if this happens to you, get over it and enjoy the rest of what the cruise has to offer. Also, I SERIOUSLY DOUBT cruise lines force ships to stay at sea just to force more money from the passengers. All in all, missed ports due to bad weather conditions are not the fault of the cruise lines. You'll have to take that up with mother nature!

Posted by Wellbeloved

Bad hygeine standards by passengers (eg going to toilets and then not handwashing or refusing the sanitize gel at restaurants.) These are the same people who complain when ships are hit with novovirus etc. Also hate bad manners in general. The ship staff deserve pleases and thank yous- not to be treated like something you find on your shoe. They also respond much better if you ask for things with courtesy and a smile rather than in a demanding manner.

Posted by familytimeof3

OK..am I the only one that has ever done this? How about a cruise with NO INTERNET? You know, spend some time on vacation not checking your emails or posting to Facebook? As soon as we get on our ship (our son is 17 so he is a full fledged teenager), the rule is phones in the safe, not to be touched until we return home. We talk with each other, play games on the deck together, or (gosh forbid) read a book. It is amazing how much you can enjoy your family on a vacation. I get sick when I see people posting while they are on vacation..how about enjoying the moment and not post it right away? By the way..all posting is is an announcement to thieves that you are not home. Free wi-fi no thank you...free time with you family. yes ma'am.

Posted by arustygal

Jheretired....... kids are on vacation holidays at different times during the year, remember this is a world wide vacation, or parents take them out of school for the trip. I resent people who say I should travel when they can't! I say damnit parents take care of your children and cruise line enforce the adults only area! and PS 18 is not an adult.

Posted by Smokiejoe

As a smoker, I would be all for lines offering non-smoking cruises to those who can't handle it. That means smokers would either have to not book that cruise, or book it knowing they can't smoke. Same for kids - offer adults only cruises....I personally am tired of screaming kids in quiet zones, getting drinks and food spilled all over, and toddlers peeing in the hot tubs.

Posted by PinkBabyCrab

My biggest complaint with cruising is parents who disregard the rules and bring their kid wearing a freakin' DIAPER into the pool! Not only is it disgusting, it's also DANGEROUS. An Ecoli outbreak can kill . Plus, if one of the kids has an "accident" and stuff escaples from his diaper, health laws require that the pool be closed down and sanitized before anyone is allowed to use it again. There are big signs near the pools CLEARLY STATING that diapers are NOT allowed in the water, but some parents completely ignore them and go ballistic if you dare to inform them that you don't wish to swim in their kid's feces. Worst of all, the cruiselines do NOTHING about diapered babies in the pools.

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