I Work on a Cruise Ship: These Are The Dumbest Things I Have Seen Passengers do!

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Man crying because he has a bad sunburn.
(©iStock.com/ajr_images)

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The overwhelming excitement of finally starting a cruise vacation you have been looking forward to for months, or more, can sometimes lead people to make mistakes which could ultimately ruin what could have been a wonderful experience on board.

August 27, 2021. Ukraine. The village of Novy Svet. An excursion group on a boat examines the surroundings and sights of the village. People on the background of the mountains. (©iStock.com/Alexey Sorokin)
(©iStock.com/Alexey Sorokin)

Here is a list of dumb things I’ve witnessed guests do, and the corresponding consequences, in hopes you or your loved ones can learn from somebody else’s mistakes rather than your own.

Not pre-arranging things

Even if you are, in most cases, assigned a dinner time and location, many times guests will want to celebrate special events in specific places around the ship. Whether it’s dinner for a large party, a private tour ashore organized by the cruise line, or even reserving a conference room with specific requirements, waiting to get on board is a recipe for disaster. Yes, Cruise Line crew are known for being extra accommodating, but there’s only so much they can do, especially if certain things need to be prepared in advance. This is particularly true for certain dietary needs that may be less common, which would lead guests to not particularly love what options they are left with.

Neglecting ship reviews before boarding

Cruise ships are huge floating resorts. Each deck has different lounges or bars or restaurants or entertainment venues. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you first come on board. If you take the time to look at the ships layout on the company website as well as Youtube reviews you will have a better idea where to go and how to get there. Plus you may find areas most other folks don’t know about when you want a private place to read or work on your laptop for a while.

Being overconfident with All Aboard Times

It’s clearly posted at the gangway as you’re leaving the ship, and yet, people get left behind all the time (and, with a little luck, gain some online fame for all the wrong reasons). Being aware of what time the ship will leave is far from enough. Things like traffic, road closures, lack of availability of public transportation (including Uber!) or plain losing track of time, will certainly get you left behind. At that point, nothing is easier than playing victim and blaming the cruise line, which seems unfair when you think that hundreds, many times thousands of guests, could be delayed arriving in the next port just because you refused to pay the shuttle or shore excursion ticket.

Overdrinking

Yes, few environments offer the ability to order an unlimited amount of drinks without worrying about the final bill, but with that great power comes great responsibility, which not everyone can handle. Being drunk in public, whether during a tour, at a bar on board or even during the diverse events all around the ship, is a safe way to ruin what could’ve been an enjoyable experience.

Lack of Sun Protection

Different areas in the world will mean different levels of harm the sun can cause, even if you’re used to it at home. Add the lack of proper hydration and not being able to get shade for long periods of time while exploring ports, and your evening can turn into a painful experience. Better to feel greasy for a few minutes than feeling like the towel has barbed wires around it!

The one that takes the cake: Not being nice to the crew

I can’t describe the frequency with which I see people missing out on a lot of extras (anywhere form extra assistance to extra treats and beyond) just for choosing to behave like they’re entitled to everything, above everyone else. Also simply being less than understanding when things don’t go their way, especially so when the crew had no power to prevent it. My suggestion? Express your disappointment and make it clear how unacceptable the situation is to you, but treat the crew as you would like an angry customer to treat your son/daughter. That should be an easy measure.

To sum up please take a few simple steps to prepare to not be one of “those people” onboard and enjoy your amazing cruise vacation. – ThatGuy (onboard)

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Love these kinds of articles! I’m always game to learn more about travel and how I can stay out of trouble while doing so. I get such a charge out of the scenarios that prompt advice like this, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine anyone on a shore excursion not knowing what time it is. Or not checking the All Aboard time … when leaving the ship (no, the time posted on your confirmation, issued months and months ago, is NOT a good source of information). Equally appalling are those morons who treat a ship’s crew badly. In all my years of cruising, I have met exactly one crew member who wasn’t bubbling over with enthusiasm, who didn’t add a great deal to my experience. And that guy was merely ‘bland’, not the end of the world.

  2. Thanks for this article. We’ve been on over 50 cruises and this is all essential information. It is absolutely the passenger’s responsibility to treat all the staff with friendliness, respect, and courtesy. We always greet them by name (it’s on their badge), ask how they are, and thank them when we (or they) leave the conversation. They come from different countries and we make it a point to learn and say hello and thank you in their language. (We look this information up ourselves rather than ask them to teach us.) They absolutely light up! Take notes on your phone of the names, jobs, and locations of the good servers that you should include in your cruise review. Remember, just as some passengers complain about the staff, the staff can—and will—do the same amongst themselves about the guests. Talking about the guests is the crew’s main source of entertainment below deck. Your identity and reputation as a guest spreads like wildfire among the crew. The most kind and thoughtful guests receive the same treatment in return. The nasty guests are avoided and will have to spend extra effort in order to get service. Your cruise will only be as enjoyable to you as your presence is to others, including the crew.

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