Overheard: The Worst Complaints At Guest Services On A Cruise

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Hopefully, you’ll never need to visit the guest services desk during your sailing, but if you do, you might overhear some pretty bad complaints.

A woman with a serious expression stands in front of a large cruise ship named "Explorer of the Seas." The background features a clear blue sky and the ocean, emphasizing the contrast between the woman's demeanor and the vacation setting.

Often these are just because people are entitled, or downright deluded, but sometimes there’s also a genuinely terrible complaint that the guest is right to be complaining about.

So, let’s take a look at the worst complaints overheard at guest services…

1. There are gay people onboard!

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One guest was extremely unhappy to find out that there were gay men on the same cruise ship as his family, and felt like a refund of the entire cruise was justified.

If the guest is being honest here, then it’s hard to know who was more in the wrong – the guest for thinking that they should ask for a cruise without anyone gay onboard, or the booking agent they used who told them there wouldn’t be anyone gay on the ship!

Of course, guest services were exactly right here – they don’t ask for your sexuality and it’s not their business to disclose it to anyone else anyway.

The fact the guest spent two hours arguing his case is crazy, and definitely justifies this as the worst complaint heard on a ship.

Suggested read: The 15 Most Fun Gay & LGBTQ+ Cruises

2. It’s not fair that I’m losing sleep on this transatlantic cruise

A woman wearing a plush grey robe looks drowsy and fatigued, resting her head on her hand. Her tired expression and the soft, warm lighting suggest she might be feeling unwell or exhausted.

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When you sail on a transatlantic cruise, you need to keep changing your watch as you cross each different time zone.

The guest in this instance couldn’t wrap their head around that fact, and was upset that they were ‘losing sleep’ with every hour they lost.

I’m sure that, if they flew across the Atlantic, they wouldn’t blink at having to move their watch forward a few hours in one go.

Top tip – On a cruise, sleep as long as you want – regardless of what time your watch says.

3. The entertainers’ outfits are wrinkled

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Some guests on a cruise ship seem to want to nitpick – to find anything that they can complain about, either because they’re hoping to get some compensation or just because they love to moan.

This complaint really seems to take things quite far though, with the couple saying that the entertainers’ outfits were wrinkled and worn.

If that’s what you’re noticing during the performances, maybe the onboard entertainment just isn’t to your taste.

4. Turn the ship around – I’ve lost $40 in Jamaica!

Man looking in his wallet on a cruise ship

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Most cruise ships these days will have at least a couple of thousand guests onboard. Some have over 7,000. And yet there’s always somebody who forgets that, and thinks that the ship should be run just to their schedule.

Take this guest, who had $40 disappear from their wallet while in Jamaica. Not even on the cruise line’s excursions, either. And they wanted the ship to turn around so they could go get it back.

Who’s to say whether they really did suffer a crime, but even if they did, $40 isn’t enough to delay a ship by a few hours.

5. My toilet exploded!

A clean and well-lit bathroom with beige tiles and blue accents, featuring a sink, toilet, and a bathtub with a shower curtain. White towels hang neatly on a rack above the toilet, and various toiletries are organized on shelves and in dispensers.

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Here’s one of the complaints that is completely justified – it’s one of the worst complaints purely because it just sounds awful.

The guests had a problem with their cabin toilet – but not just backed up. It completely exploded, to the point of contaminating the clothes in the wardrobe…

Cruise ship plumbing can have some issues but not like this normally. Thankfully there are laundry services onboard most cruise ships, and you’d hope the guests were able to get their clothes cleaned quickly.

6. I asked for an ocean view, not a port view room!

Woman relaxing on a cruise window

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An ocean view room on a cruise ship is one with a window – either a porthole or a picture window – so you can enjoy some natural light and a view as you’re sailing.

But when you’re docked, half of the ship is going to be facing the port. Something that these guests forgot.

Or maybe they assumed that an ocean view cabin would always be facing the ocean… Either way, getting upset over this is pretty entitled behaviour. Just wait a few hours and you’ll have that view you want.

Suggested read: What Is The Best Side Of The Ship For An Alaska Cruise?

7. Where’s the water slide?

Alt text: "A dynamic view of a cruise ship's deck featuring a colorful array of winding waterslides in blue, teal, and orange. The slides spiral above a playful water park area, with a cityscape visible in the distance under a cloudy sky.

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Cruise ships aren’t built to a single template, and they aren’t all designed for the same demographic.

There are some that are aimed squarely at families, and that are packed with exciting features including water slides.

And there are some that are more aimed at adults who want a more refined, relaxing experience. Sans water slides.

Unfortunately, this guest didn’t do their research, but that’s not the fault of Holland America Line.

Always learn about the cruise line and ship before you book!

Read more: The Best Cruise Ships With Water Slides

8. There’s no way we drank that much!

Three smiling women are toasting with beer bottles outdoors, enjoying a casual gathering. They are dressed in casual attire, including a red plaid shirt and light jackets, with a blurred scenic background.

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If you don’t pay for a drinks package on your cruise, then you’ll need to pay for each drink you enjoy.

What’s a little dangerous is that you don’t pay as you go. Instead, the drinks are charged to your account and you pay it off at the end of your cruise.

This can mean that, if you get a little bit tipsy and lose track of what you’re ordering, or how much, you might get a nasty shock on the last day.

However, you don’t then get to complain at guest services. Your decision to order those drinks is on you – stop shouting at the crew doing their jobs, and pay up.

9. There’s too much sunlight

A person stands in a cozy cruise ship cabin, shielding their eyes from the bright sunlight streaming through a large window. The cabin features a neatly made bed, wooden furnishings, and a small table with a seashell and a tablet.

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This is great proof that there are genuine complaints, and bad ones. 

This guest complained about toilet troubles in their cabin – a perfectly reasonable complaint – and because there wasn’t an easy maintenance fix, they were moved to a different cabin which another guest had just vacated after their own complaints.

The reason? The room was getting too much sunlight.

There are always curtains you can close, but unfortunately, captains have to steer the ship towards the next destination and they can’t control the sun.

10. There are too many kids on this Disney cruise

Children engaged in play at Disney Cruise Line's themed kids' facilities, with Woody from Toy Story greeting and interacting with young guests against a playful backdrop of colorful toy blocks and slides.

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It’s true that cruising is a lot more family-friendly these days than it used to be, but there are still plenty of cruise lines and ships you can choose if you want a quieter, adults-only escape.

And that might be a good idea if you’re on a special trip, say your honeymoon.

But if you choose a Disney cruise for your getaway, you can’t really complain about the number of children onboard!

There’s nothing wrong with adults who love Disney, but you have to accept that it is a family-friendly brand. There will be children. Lots of them.

Suggested read: The 12 Best Adult-Only Cruises

11. I’ve not seen any whales on this cruise

A woman on a cruise ship gazes out at the calm sea and distant mountains through binoculars, dressed warmly for cool weather. The sky is overcast, adding a serene and peaceful atmosphere to the scene.

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If you cruise to Alaska or select other parts of the world, you might get lucky and spot a whale from the ship. It’s an exciting experience and a great photo opportunity.

Yet it’s not guaranteed. And you certainly aren’t entitled to a full refund of your entire cruise if you don’t see a whale!

Even if you booked specific whale-watching excursions, it will be explained that there is only a chance. Don’t be that person who thinks they deserve a full week of free food, entertainment and board on a cruise ship just because a whale didn’t crest the waves.

12. My luggage hasn’t arrived after 13 days!

A variety of colorful suitcases on a luggage conveyor belt in an airport setting, conveying the concept of travel and the handling of personal belongings during transit.

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The guests in this instance might have a valid complaint to make, but it’s still a little wild. They were overheard at guest services saying that their luggage hadn’t shown up, 13 days into a 15-day cruise.

This begs a few questions. Was it the first time they raised the problem? If so, what were they doing for the first 12 days?

Chances are, if they had complained already, the suitcases weren’t on a ship, and might’ve been lost by an airline, or left behind at port.

It’s not the absolute craziest complaint, but the timing of it definitely seems strange. You can always buy clothes and essentials in port (or even on the ship) if you are struggling.

13. Let me off the ship – my new wife can keep the room

A man in a light gray sweater sits on a couch with a thoughtful expression, resting his chin on his hand, while a woman in a light blue hoodie stands in the background with her arms crossed and a frustrated look on her face. The scene suggests a disagreement or argument between the couple.

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Another tale of a honeymoon gone wrong, though this one went very wrong when a guest complained and demanded her own room after arguing with her new husband.

While that wasn’t going to happen, the husband did at least resolve things by getting off the ship and letting his new wife enjoy the rest of their cruise.

As the person who told this story said, you have to wonder what happened when the guest returned home to her husband once the cruise was over.

At least she enjoyed the rest of her time on the ship.

14. My roommate is talking in their sleep

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Sometimes, cruise ship cabins can be a little noisy, especially if you’ve picked a bad location on the ship.

If something unusual is causing the noise, there’s a chance guest services could move you to another room, provided the ship isn’t sold out.

But if it’s the person you’re travelling with causing the noise, then that’s on you to resolve it.

A cruise line does not need to burden the cabin stewards with an extra room to clean because your partner or friend is talking in their sleep.

15. The microwave isn’t working

A person trying to use a  malfunctioning microwave on a cruise cabin

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We’ll end with a couple of confused complaints from guests who didn’t quite understand the features of their cabin, including this one.

A guest was complaining to the guest services team that they couldn’t get the microwave in their cabin to work to reheat their pizza.

If you’ve cruised before, you might be wondering – since when do cruise ship cabins come with a microwave?

Well, they don’t. It was a safe.

The pizza stayed cold, but it was the best-protected slice of pizza on the whole ship.

16. The fast-forward button isn’t working

A person trying to use a tv remote with broken buttons on a cruise ship

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This person overheard someone complaining to the guest services team that there wasn’t a fast-forward button for the cruise cabin TV.

It’s not a problem with the remote – the TV just didn’t need a fast-forward button.

People are used to having complete control over their TV, but do you really need to complain about being unable to fast-forward parts of a movie you don’t want to watch?

Surely you’ll save time by not walking down to the guest services desk to complain. Just watch the movie.

Final Word

If you’re the kind of person who gets tickled by entitled guests, then maybe grab a drink on your next cruise and find a seat near the guest services desk.

It’s like people watching, but with added drama. And maybe you’ll end up with some stories of your own. If you do, make sure you leave a comment below.

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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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5 thoughts on “Overheard: The Worst Complaints At Guest Services On A Cruise”

  1. My wife heard a passenger insist to the cruise director that he wanted the wave machine turned off in the swimming pool. While some large ships do have wave machines, this was a smaller luxury ship. The ocean was supplying the motion and the “waves”.

    I heard a passenger complain that the ocean was too noisy to allow him to sleep with his balcony door open at night.

  2. Just returned from a Norwegian fiords cruise with P&O the food as usual was wonderful but we had to listen to a woman giving the maitre de a hard time over something missing from the menu this very important item turned out to be crackers for the cheeseboard even though other types of biscuits were provided.Some people will always find fault.

  3. These were great, thank you!
    I unfortunately had to go to guests services because I went with my mom and I went down the water slides. My mom was watching my things and in my things was my seapass. When I was done, we went back to our room, I realized my seapass was missing. So I went down to guest services to see if anyone had possibly turned it in. No one had at that point. I scoured the ship where I had walked. No where to be found. I went back again and it was still not at guests services. But they told me to give it some time. I had $800 on there. I gave it some time and went back down when we went to our MDR dinner and it was finally there. But my mother had accidentally let it slip out of my beach bag while I was going down the water slides. Bless her heart, she never apologized but hey, it was my fault for not securing it better. So I will take the blame for this. But I was frantic!

  4. When I was a purser on a ship many years ago I had a guest come to complain about the noise coming from the next door cabin.
    Then when the guest from next door came to the reception and I spoke about the complaint this guest flew to the the ceiling and said to me: Can’t I fufill my marital duties any more?

  5. I know a guest service director shes with rc ill bet shes heard all of this good luck Julie kinda makes you think twice about taking a cruise see ya deloris

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