The 8 Most Infuriating Cruise Habits (According to Fellow Passengers)

When you put thousands of people together in a relatively confined space for a week or two, they’re bound to annoy each other.

And let’s be honest, some cruisers are far more annoying than others!

So, if you’d rather not be the person that everyone tuts and rolls their eyes at, here’s a list of behaviours you might want to avoid.

Note: These aren’t just my personal pet peeves! I polled 50,000+ cruisers on the Cruise Mummy Facebook page and this list is based on the comments that came up most often.

1. Sunbed Hogging

sunbed hogs on MSC Virtuosa

According to cruisers on Facebook, the most annoying thing you can do on a cruise is to claim sun loungers early in the morning by placing towels on them, then disappear for hours.

This prevents others from sitting down, which is especially frustrating on sunny sea days when people really do want to be outdoors.

I’m not sure why anyone does this. Perhaps they’re used to all-inclusive resorts where there are enough beds for everyone? In hotels, maybe the early risers are fairly entitled to the spots closest to the pool?

On a cruise ship, there are definitely more people than sunbeds and so there are times when you can’t find a single one without a towel on it.

Some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Marella have started introducing systems where the crew members will put a card on any unattended beds and then remove belongings after 30 minutes.

We can only hope that more follow suit to put an end to the sunbed-hogging behaviour once and for all.

2. Being Rude to the Crew

Several comments highlight how upsetting it is to witness other passengers being rude or dismissive to cruise staff.

Crew members often work long hours to ensure passengers have a pleasant experience, and disrespect towards them can sour the atmosphere for everyone.

Manners cost nothing, and there really is no excuse for clicking your fingers at people or speaking down to them.

3. Poor Elevator Etiquette

man looking annoyed in the lift on a cruise ship.

When it comes to sharing elevators, there are a lot of ways that cruisers annoy each other…

The most irritating things people do include rushing into lifts before letting people exit, or pushing in front of others who have been waiting longer.

People who aren’t able to move as quickly and anyone with a pushchair or mobility aid should really be given priority when the lift arrives, but not everyone thinks about that.

Another point of debate is how many people you should have in each lift. There is a sign inside that tells you. It’s often 16 or 20.

I’ve often seen cruisers get annoyed when they feel that too many people are in the lift, even if it’s well below the recommended limit.

Another pet peeve mentioned is when people “hit the close doors button 3 nanoseconds after getting into the lift and you’re waiting to get in and the door closes before you even react to the lift arrival.”

The people guilty of that are probably the same ones who think the lift is ‘full’, because there are already six people in it and they like their space.

4. Misbehaving in the Buffet

Dining room buffet aboard the luxury cruise ship

The buffet is another place where cruisers act in all sorts of ways that are likely to irk their fellow passengers.

Cutting in line at the buffet is a common complaint, although, if I’m honest, I can see why people do it…

If you just need to grab some extra baked beans for your kid, having to join a long line that snakes past the sausages and eggs you don’t want isn’t always practical. Sometimes, I think British people can be too keen to form a queue and it actually makes everything take longer

Piling plates high only to waste food is also something that annoys cruisers.

On some cruise ships, the crew members serve the food for you in the buffet, and in my experience, you really have to be insistent so that you don’t end up with too much of one item on your plate. They don’t know you only want one slice of watermelon and you may end up with a plate full of it!

Many people agreed that people who walk into the buffet without washing their hands are among the most annoying on the ship. They’re putting everyone’s health at risk and that’s not okay.

It’s even worse to see people sneezing into their hands or using their fingers to grab food instead of the provided utensils.

5. Smoking in Non-Smoking Areas

person smoking on a cruise ship

Smoking on balconies and other non-designated areas not only breaks ship rules but can ruin the experience for passengers who are sensitive to smoke or have health concerns like asthma.

Suggested read: What Smokers Need To Know Before Taking A Cruise

Vaping was also mentioned. Some cruisers seem to think they can have a quick puff wherever they like, but it doesn’t go unnoticed by the other guests.

6. Unsupervised Children

A group of joyful children racing towards the Waterworks aqua park on the deck of a Carnival Cruise ship, with clear blue skies above and the expansive ocean in the backdrop, highlighting the thrill and excitement of cruise ship activities for kids.

Several cruisers commented that they found ‘noisy kids running amok’ to be the most annoying things they’ve witnessed at sea.

Kids of all ages were mentioned, from crying babies to mischievous teenagers who were seen throwing food around or knocking on doors and running away.

A few cruisers also mentioned being annoyed by ‘people that book onto a family ship during holidays then complain about noisy kids’.

Don’t forget – there is a simple solution for anyone who gets annoyed by the presence of children – book an adults-only cruise!

Suggested read: The 12 Best Adult-Only Cruises

7. Loud and Disruptive Behaviour

loud man on a cruise

Whether it’s talking loudly in hallways late at night, drunken behaviour, or loud conversations in dining areas, excessive noise is a common gripe among passengers seeking relaxation.

One person mentioned: “People who scrape the sunbeds along the floor when some are snoozing whilst sunbathing”.

So it seems that you don’t need to be that loud to annoy someone.

8. Spending Too Long in Hot Tubs

Dominating the hot tubs for extended periods, especially when they’re crowded, frustrates passengers who would like a turn to relax.

Sometimes, you’ll even see people standing next to the hot tub waiting for a space, and yet people who have been soaking for an hour or more simply ignore them.

The rules on whether children are allowed in hot tubs varies depending on the cruise. But the presence of kids in jacuzzis is something that many people find annoying, especially if they’re splashing or kicking people.

The Bottom Line

With so many people sharing a ship, it’s only natural that some will get annoyed by the behaviours of others.

Whatever you do, whether it’s sitting in a chair with a nice view and falling asleep or kissing your partner in the pub, someone will be probably be annoyed by it.

There’s no need to tread on eggshells though, just do your best to be polite and considerate.

Now you’re aware of the most annoying cruise habits, if you can try your best to avoid those, the ocean will be a slightly happier place.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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1 thought on “The 8 Most Infuriating Cruise Habits (According to Fellow Passengers)”

  1. Jenni ,you hit the nail on the head with your article on cruise ship etiquette! We Americans waste over 20%of our food.Can you imagine the staff that cleans tables that see that while having hungry families at home. Keep up the good work . Steve Reich

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