6 Embarrassing Cruise Faux Pas

six embarrassing cruise mistakes faux pas
Here's how to avoid some of the most embarrassing cruise mistakes! - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Embarrassing moments are a part of life, and unfortunately they’re not always easy to escape. However, some can be prevented if you’re armed with the know-how and knowledge ahead of time. Here are six common faux pas people make on cruises, and how you can avoid making them.

1. Smoking on your balcony

princess cruises balcony cabin
Photo by Princess Cruises

Smoking has become one of the biggest cruise sins you can commit. There are no cruise lines left that allow smoking in cabins, and nearly all also prohibit passengers from lighting up on their balconies. Not only are cigarettes a serious fire hazard, but the smoke will waft to surrounding cabins and potentially ruin relaxing balcony time for other cruisers. If you get caught, hefty cleaning charges will be added to your bill at the end of the cruise. If you continue to ignore the rules, smoking on your balcony or in your cabin could get you kicked off the ship

Telling Quote: "Our only complaint is we had a balcony room and we liked to keep the balcony door open but our room would get inundated with cigarette smoke from nearby rooms which totally ruined the balcony experience for us."CareAK


2. Being a chair hog

princess cruises lounge chair hogs lounger
Photo by Princess Cruises

Let’s just start off by saying, please don’t be one of these people! You’ve heard us mention chair hogs before, and we’ll probably never stop talking about them. If you aren’t familiar with the term, chair hogs are people that lay out their towels and belongings in the loungers (a problem on the lido deck especially) early in the morning  and then disappear for hours to do other things around the ship. It’s disrespectful to everyone else who shows up and sees a bunch of chairs full of stuff, but no one around actually utilizing those coveted loungers. Thankfully, some cruise lines now have policies in place where if someone isn’t seen at their chair for a certain amount of time, crew members will pick up their things and move them so that someone else can have the spot. Whether your cruise line has a policy for chair hogging or not, do unto others as you would have them do unto you and only claim a deck chair if you’re actually planning to use it for its intended purpose.

Telling Quote: "Chair hogs out in mass as usual. But I just wait for a while, look for ppl in the pool etc then move there stuff now. Although many times the deck hands took care of that for us." LisaG9


3. Asking for the bill at dinner

royal caribbean dining dinner family
Photo by Royal Caribbean

While this certainly is an embarrassing rookie move, we do love the honesty behind it. Whether it’s someone who didn’t organize the cruise and has never sailed before, or just a newbie who read up on how cruising works but just wasn’t thinking once the meal was over, it’s not unheard of to hear people asking for the bill in the main dining room. But at least it would make for one happy mistake when you realize that the three appetizers and two desserts you just ate were all included in the cost of the voyage!


4. Letting your child in diapers swim in the family pool

royal caribbean kids fun pool family quantum of the seas
Photo by Royal Caribbean

Even kids in swim diapers are technically not allowed in pools on cruises, but sometimes a parent manages to sneak in their baby before a crew member notices. Who wants to be the family that other passengers are grossed out by? Obviously some people just don’t care, but for the sake of literally all of the other passengers who will use the pool that day, please follow the rules that the cruise line has set out. Save the pool time with your babies and toddlers for when you’re at home, and rest assured that they can enjoy the onboard pool all they want when they’re older. 

Telling Quote: "One selfish guest brought their baby into the main pool and its diaper exploded contaminating the pool.. The pool was closed and drained and NO ONE could use it for the rest of the day. One selfish parent ruined the afternoon for hundreds of people."johnstienejr


5. Not returning to the ship on time

star princess cruises alaska exterior ship
Photo by Princess Cruises

Ah, pier runners. They do make for great entertainment among the passengers who are already safely on the ship, but you really don’t want to be the reason for everyone’s laughter in this situation. Being late to the ship and nearly missing sail away might be the number one most embarrassing cruise faux pas we can think of.

Telling Quote: "Unfortunately we made a error in the time difference and almost missed the ship in Roatan - the Captain actually waited for us for 35 mins!  We were embarrassed but sooo happy."Jluvspalmtrees

Tip: To make sure you’re never in this situation, set an alarm for when you need to head back to the pier. Be sure to leave plenty of wiggle room for traffic or other delays, and keep in mind that you need to be on the ship’s time — whether or not that matches the local time.


6. Wearing shorts and flip flops in the main dining room

family casual shorts t shirt happy carnival
Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Long gone are the days of wearing cocktail dresses, gowns, and tuxedos to dinner every night during a cruise. However, cruise lines still do have dress codes and guidelines to adhere to if you’re going to enjoy dinner in the main dining room, even if it is much more relaxed than in days past. Most passengers have no issues following the simple rules (no shorts, ball caps, jeans, and flip flops that look right at home by the pool) but there will always be some people who stroll in from their day at the poolside bar without giving it a second thought. Depending on the infraction, sometimes the dining room staff will let it slide, but other times, you’ll be asked to go back to your cabin and change, or head to the buffet instead.

Telling Quote: "Only complaints I have is them letting people come in the dining room with shorts and flip flops. My husband and I along with two other couples where the only ones that dressed every night. Enforce the dress code in the dining room."MrMrsRayford


Posted by excellentvacay

My niece and I have become seasoned cruisers! The only vacations we take are on cruise ships. There is so many places to go and see. I can't imagine going on vacation and it not being a cruise. Not only do we really enjoy going on cruises, but we have become closer. She lives in Connecticut and I live in Las Vegas. If you have never been on a cruise, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The food nightly is gourmet, and you can order more than one appetizer, entree and dessert. You will never be hungry on a cruise!

Posted by Potti

All of the mentioned changes are a concern, especially the cut backs. It seems lately once you are on board you are a caught market and an opportunity to up sell sell sell, not the select atmosphere it used to be.

Posted by Lynn12d

An earlier post stated they liked to keep the balcony door open... on most ships you are told not to keep it open as it affects the air conditioning.

Posted by Lynn12d

An earlier post stated they liked to keep the balcony door open... on most ships you are told not to keep it open as it affects the air conditioning.

Posted by BruceAero1

I am a smoker and have near 50 cruises with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. When I started cruising, smoking was allowed in staterooms and on balconies. Times have changed as have the rules. I agree with no smoking in staterooms because of the lingering odor similar to walking through the casino. However, since there is no other place aboard for smoking except he casino and designated areas on the upper open deck, where is there a place I can go to smoke with a cup of coffee or book in my pajamas or early morning scrub? The balcony! Smoke wafting to other balconies is transient. No worse than the ships exhaust or barbecue. Fire hazard is a concern, but only if the ignorant smoker discards a lit cigarette or cigar over the side. Agree, that should be outlawed. Non-smokers tend to be non flexible with getting along with smokers and generally send signals to let smokers know of their displeasure. Get over it! You are not around us long enough to get cancer, just a foul smell for a moment. I could “fluff” and cause you the same foul smell moment. Cruise lines could establish a smoking lounge with proper ventilation and odor control. A place to go smoke, watch TV, read a book and maybe get a cup of coffee. That would be better than chasing smoking complaints and controlling personal habits.

Posted by Brownowl2

I have trouble with the smoker’s comments . I am a non smoker. And extremely allergic to cigarette smoke. If I were in a cabin next to yours.. and in line of the smoke ... I would be sick for the rest of the day. It is NOT the smell “offending” me.

Posted by Abbys1mom

It is not non smokers trying to make it difficult for smokers! Some people have serious health problems. I have COPD. It will cause me a lot of health problems such as being able to breath. People have walked past me smoking and I have started coughing until I can hardly catch my breath. You say "get over it", I say "I wish I could"

Posted by Nikoshi

I am "sort" of an ex-smoker. I gave up what I would even call "smelly" cigarettes 3 years ago. I tried vaping but did not like the excess amount of steam going everywhere. I switched then to IQOS. No, I am not promoting them, but when one gets used to them it enables me to smoke, well, inhale nicotine, practically wherever I want. There is no cigarette smoke smell, there are no clouds of smoke going everywhere, they do not set off fire or smoke alarms and so on. There are none of the most horrible poison chemicals associated with normal cigs, just nicotine intake. I am not allowed to smoke at work thus I also have a nicorette inhaler. I have reduced from being a 30+ day smoker of normal cigs down to around 5 IQOS and 5 inhalers. My GOAL, to quit completely before I leave on my next cruise in just over a month.

Posted by BoboPat

Tell Bruce to Suck It Up, and try Nicoret gum.........................

Posted by QueenofDiamonds

The smoker posting that non-smokers should tolerate it should have known my late father who died of cancer of the voice box due to his smoking. I don't cruise just to get 2nd hand smoke in my hair, clothes or lungs. It makes me nauseous as well, I all but run past the smoking area in the casino!

Posted by SmokSurcharge

Every ship has crew and cruisers who smoke.That is a fact that is not going to change. Every smoker creates an increased chance of fire on ships which is more of a risk than drowning. Wind and flammable paints are all around and in the past smokers have lit up a ships... Grandeur RC was the last I recall. Smokers need to accept more restrictions on ships and consider going to a resort that does not burn up as easily as a ship. Further all the cost and expenses caused by smokers on ships should be added up and charged pro rata to smoking passengers so the rest of us do not have to pay for the harm they cause to the ship. A Smokers surcharge so to speak so the rest of us can breathe easier.

Posted by CruiselineMich

I use Ship Mate to book all my excursions

Posted by roglin722

I gotta say for all you non-smokers are so sensitive..I'm NOT a smoker..but the cruiselines have imposed the rules making all smokers congregate in one area of the upper deck or crowd into the casino. Doing that has made it so much worse on the non-smokers...if smokers could smoke on their balcony..the smoke really dissipates rather than plume out of 2 areas in the ship...making it pretty bad to walk thru or even enjoy the adult area in the rear of the ship. I do however say that irresponsible smokers ruin it for all others. Like throwing butts out into the water and safety issues. Just saying....

Posted by bethnanajones

I am not a smoker and never have been but I certainly understand the frustration they face. Maybe the cruise lines could have one deck with one side of balcony cabins designated for just smokers.

Posted by travishedrick

It is always amazing to me how selfish/self-righteous "smokers" are and how they "have their rights." It is a small percentage of the overall population, but they want to have it their way and be D***ed with the rest of us. We always ask for the front of the ship to avoid the rudeness of others who decide they are above the rules of the ship by smoking on their balconies. We still have to smell their lung filtered nasty however as it continues to waft around endlessly. Now, with Weed becoming more open in certain States in America, we often must smell the pungency of the dead "skunk" floating around the decks or on the clothes of the people who just got fried in their stateroom in the close quarters of the hallways. I really do not care what personal "habits" you have at home; do not take them into a public setting that impacts others directly. I do not feel bad for you and your personal nicotine habits, your pot-headed blazing needs, or your unwashed body odors. Your "rights" are ruining the cruise for others who paid just as much as you did to relax and get away from these distractions, not be forced to endure them because you decide to break the rules. Get the patch or cut the habit before broading the ship! Remember, there are 3000 other people on the ship beside YOU!

Posted by L2float

I had to chime in on this one. I have severe asthma and smoke of any kind is one of my biggest triggers. We have been on cruises where the smoking from the balconies next to us caused a severe attack, resulting in emergency treatment and me not been no able to do anything for a day or not sleep all night due to the coughing and difficulty breathing. I’m sure the neighbors complained about the coughing! We’re not trying to be difficult. I don’t mind if you smoke, but some of us have serious health issues and cigarette smoke, even on a balcony, can be life threatening. BTW, that perfume can kill an asthmatic or someone with COPD, too. What if it was your mother or significant other? There are designated smoking areas. I find out where they are and avoid them. Let’s all just be considerate of each other.

Posted by Getmetotheship

For the smokers who think that those on adjoining balconies cannot smell your smoke we can. I was on a cruise where my neighbors were constantly smoking and I had to keepy balcony doors closed most of the cruise because my whole room would smell like smoke. So yes... We do get affected by and should not be subjected to your smoke.

Posted by afxuser

I used to smoke - I get it. But for what I just paid for this balcony room, that is a resounding no for smelling smoke on my balcony. Not to mention a safety concern. Keep it for the casino.

Posted by DBSCruiser

We try to book a cabin near the front of the ship to avoid the smoke going by us. Hate smoking! Please keep the NO SMOKING on balcony rule.

Posted by ppergol

I was on a transatlantic cruise and a neighbor decided to smoke on their balcony. That meant I couldn’t enjoy mine. So those of you who want to smoke in their PJs with their coffee have title to others space? I paid for access to my balcony and shouldn’t have to worry about your smoking.

Posted by BEatSee

As a smoker, i would love to smoke on my balcony. I dont see why people are all up in arms. The ship is travelling at anywhere up to 25 knots which is over 30 miles an hour. If someone exhaled on a balcony, it's past the 2nd and maybe 3rd balcony dissipating all the way before you can bat an eye. The more stupid practice is to have the smokers out on the promenade deck, or even worse the running deck huddled in groups of 2 to 12 or more making a much bigger cloud that people try to walk or run through. Why not do what hotels do and dedicate certain rooms as smoking. Pay a premium, but them at the rear of the ship and be done with it. Or like Norwegian has, a smoking lounge.

Posted by BEatSee

As a smoker, i would love to smoke on my balcony. I dont see why people are all up in arms. The ship is travelling at anywhere up to 25 knots which is over 30 miles an hour. If someone exhaled on a balcony, it's past the 2nd and maybe 3rd balcony dissipating all the way before you can bat an eye. The more stupid practice is to have the smokers out on the promenade deck, or even worse the running deck huddled in groups of 2 to 12 or more making a much bigger cloud that people try to walk or run through. Why not do what hotels do and dedicate certain rooms as smoking. Pay a premium, but them at the rear of the ship and be done with it. Or like Norwegian has, a smoking lounge.

Posted by snakepitt1

Here are my thoughts on the smoking subject. The byproduct of your vice, smoking, are a lingering stink that sticks to anything it touches. My vice is drinking beer. The byproduct of my vice is urine. So if your smoke sticks to my clothes and you tell me to just accept it, then when I stand up and urinate on your shirt, I say to you, just accept it. Have a fun cruise.

Posted by gilliandearmond

I smoked cigarettes for years, but never in someone else's house. The ship is "someone else's house" for the duration of the cruise. On our last cruise our neighbors in the next cabin smoked cigars and cigarettes on their balcony. I like to spend most of the cruise sitting on the balcony with a book. The smell ruined the best part of the cruise for me. Why cannot people have a little self discipline and concern for others? I should say that sadly, the neighbors on the other side played loud music whilst on their balcony (I presume from something they brought on board), which was not restful either. Better luck next time I hope! ps. The neighbors were very nice people, just didn't think!

Posted by MuserAtSea

Yes. Smoking on balconies is noxious and a hazard. Last cruise we were on I opened my balcony door only to have my room filled with smoke from the balcony next to ours. I had to explain to our room steward that we were not smoking in our room. Next thing we knew there was security personnel at the room next to ours. I felt horrible all the way around. In general, while at sea it is important to follow the rules of the ship - for the well being of everyone on board. These rules keep us safe at sea and allow passengers to have a great time. We agree to these rules when we buy a ticket. It's pretty simple.

Posted by PUSA

As an adamant non smoker who has to put up with smoking in restaurants, hotels and everywhere for years, I am so thankful there are now more non smokers and we now have rights. If you smoke you don’t realize how horrible the smell is and how it lingers. You want to sit on your balcony and smoke, I want to sit on my balcony and be able to breathe fresh air. My sitting, you don’t know I am there, you sitting smoking I definitely know you are there. Be thankful they have a few designated areas before non smokers finally got some rights we just had to suck it up or hold our breath. Sorry if this sounds harsh but smoking is a really disgusting habit that affects everyone around. After watching a parent die from this habit I only wish everyone would realize that even though you may get cancer even if you don’t smoke the chances are greatly increased for the smoker and those they are around. So smoke in the designated areas and smoke away when you get off the ship.😷

Posted by Seriously

Some of the comments from smokers are IMO outrageous, smoking is a choice, as a non smoker I have no choice I have to breath, this is not optional. Saying to me and others it's your right to do this way over the top. This is the same as me coming to your home and doing a burnout in front of your house and letting the smoke enter your property. Then telling you it's my right to do so as the smoke dissipates anyway! All indoor smoking should be banned even the casino, I gamble and I like to breath as well, I don't want passive smoke stinking smoke fouling up my lungs or clothes. Paying the extra for a balcony means I don't want your passive smoke invading my personal space, smoking on the balcony disturbs others this is not only a disturbance issue but it can also safety issue as it creates a fire hazard by ignorant people flicking their butts over the side of the ship. There are already areas on all ships where you can go and smoke to your hearts content. While you are there please count how many friends are there with you, you'll find it's a smaller number than you think you are not in the majority. There are established links between lung cancer and passive smoke. Once more passive lung cancer cases go before the courts caused by breathing passive smoke you'll find casino's (Vegas comes to mind) and on board the ship, you'll find all indoor smoking will be banned. If you want to smoke indoors do it at home.

Posted by cheryl0000

In my opinion if I have paid over $6,000 for a balcony or suite the only smell I want from my balcony is fresh sea air, as a reformed smoker I feel everyone has a right to smoke but there is a problem when these smokers make others suffer the smoke they exhale. I suffer from scar tissue in my lungs from PE ( several clots in my lungs from flying to Alaska) and the smoke leaves me breathless. There are areas on all cruise ships where smokers can smoke and I personally keep well clear of them, But all will notice the smokers on a cruise are a very small number compared to the non smokers. Out of 5,000 on our recent cruise on the Ovation of the Seas there was only forty five or fifty smokers. I have also been on a cruise out of Singapore where the ship is returning to Australia after the Asian tours and the casino stinks from smoke, the rooms and balconies are fine as they are cleaned ceiling to floor. I don't say make cruises like flying with NO smoking at all but please stay in your designated area.

Posted by solution

There are 2 sides to the ship, why not put balcony smokers on one side and non smokers on the other side. This way there is no down wind and it seems like it would be a problem solver. This way you can appease to everyone and if it is allowed then the smokers would book early to try to get a balcony room on the smoker side and if none are available they just have to go to the designated smoking area.

Posted by Texan14

I wish smoking could be banned on all cruises. I love that Celebrity has banned all smoking in the casino. Wish RCCL would do this too. May all smokers and vapers get lung cancer and die!

Posted by Nosmoking

We just took a 28 day Alaska trip and were VERY disappointed by all the cigarette smoke. The smoke lingered in port every time as their were light winds all 16 days in port. Also because there were SEVERAL different smokers on several balconies on both cruises we told ourselves this is why we like only outside cabins. It ruined our time on our balcony that we paid lots of money for enjoy in Alaska. The casino smelled horribly of smoke and it came into the piano bar on the ship so we never stayed long because it smelled so bad. It was also in all the shops. We often do not cross from front to back on the casino floor because of all the smoke. I’m never going to get over the smell. It’s smells so bad.

Posted by ph1tx

I agree that people who smoke on their balcony should be removed from ship. It is against the rules. Period. I've actually HAD a lit cigarette that was thrown overboard LAND on our balcony. Smokers' next to, above n below smoking Eliminate the use of our balcony which we paid for fresh air. It stinks! It's Rude to all surrounding balconies. Many have breathing problems n allergies, that's Why they chose a balcony. If someone wants to smoke with coffee, put on your RCCL robe or bring appropriate robe and go on the smoking deck. That's what my husband does. It's just good manners in communal living.

Posted by ph1tx

If someone is smoking near you get the cabin number in the hall, and report them to ship security. Yo can also Call their room number and remind them that it is prohibited to smoke on the balcony and they could be removed from the ship for initiating a fire hazard.

Posted by ph1tx

Smoking in the casino is a logical place because it is a money maker, has a bar, even has a seating area on some ships. Smoking on deck in a designated area gives smokers an outside smoking area to eat, drink and smoke. And give non smokers the choice to walk around or avoid those areas and gambe early in the day. No smoking on balconies, please..

Posted by raoliveri

Im an ex smoker...I do vape now and then but out of courtesy take the smoking to the allowed places and leave your stateroom and Balcony for relaxing and enjoy the fresh air..

Posted by AwwChuckit

If smokers are so indignant on their "Rights" to light up, perhaps they should ban together and start a "Go Fund Me" or go on Shark Tank to start a Smokers Cruise Line. If they have a cruise ship that allows you to smoke anywhere on the ship once they are in international waters, perhaps that would afford them their own air space where they wouldn't have to invade other's air space with their fumes. Good luck with that. Lol.

Posted by Exsmoker

I don’t care if you want to have a cup of coffee on your balcony and light up. I do not. Get up and get some exercise by at least walking to the smoking area. Join the Y or somewhere to replace your horrible habit. You will feel and smell so much better. Smoking is disgusting to me now that I have been smoke free for 20 years. Rant over!

Posted by Princessmimosa

On my cruise on NCL Sun I could not even go in the Casino due to the smoke level. I agree with the person who posted that there should be a properly ventilated smoking area to accommodate those passenger who wish to smoke. The casino should not be the smoking area on a ship. Cunard lines casinos are smoke free, it was a wonderful cruise on the Queen Mary 2.

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