11 Rude Things NEVER to Do on a Cruise (According to Real Passengers)

When there are thousands of passengers all sharing a confined space like a cruise ship, it’s important that people are polite. But there are rude things that passengers do every day… and some that they may not even realize they are doing.

That’s why we went to Cruzely’s Facebook page to ask followers — and real cruise passengers — what cruise etiquette tips they wished every cruise passenger knew. With dozens of comments and even more votes, here is what your other passengers think is rude that you should never do on the ship.

Cramming Into Elevators Without Letting Others Off First

Anyone that’s cruised before will tell you that elevators are the heart of the ship. With up to 20 decks in some cases, you’re going to be riding them a lot.

What’s rude, however, is when passengers that have called an elevator try to walk right one when it arrives. Elevators will often be busy and it can be a wait to get aboard. So when one arrives, your instinct might be to just get right on.

Instead of trying to cram in, you actually want to wait to the side, let anyone get off that is coming out and then walk in. Otherwise, you’re just creating a traffic jam that some might take as you being too impatient to wait politely for others to exit.

Hogging Chairs on the Pool Deck

Issues surrounding saving chairs has gotten to the point that some deck chairs even have sleeves over them reminding passengers not to do so.

Chairs surrounding the main pool on the ship is highly sought real estate. So much so that some people will head out early in the morning and put out towels to claim the best seats. Or sometimes they leave their things and go have a leisurely lunch. The result is that there are plenty of seats with no one sitting in them, but they are all “taken.”

The cruise lines try to be polite and ask that you not do it, but it’s gotten to the point where some more noticeable signage — including on the chairs themselves is popping up.

Bottom line, if you’re running to the restroom or to get a drink, sure leave your stuff. But if you’re hogging a chair while you go do other things around the ship or for family members that are supposed to show up later, then it’s considered majorly rude as it means a chair that could get some use now sits empty.

Wearing Political Clothing

Seems like everything is political these days. Unfortunately, that can extend to a cruise and people on Facebook pointed out something as being rude – wearing political clothing.

You’re on a cruise to relax, disconnect, and unwind. Frankly, to forget about the things that cause stress back home. Everyone knows that politics these days are a hot-button issue that causes a lot of stress. So when you’re wearing political clothing, it’s really there to stir a reaction either good or bad.

Just know that even if no one says anything, it’s definitely being noticed. And the way things are going these days, no matter which side you fall on, half the passengers are going to be annoyed.

Forgetting to Wash Hands

Head into a buffet or a dining room or a restroom and you’re going to see sinks, hand sanitizer, and often someone reminding you to wash hands. We can tell you, though, that a lot of people don’t bother.

Your other passengers evidently notice as this was one of the big complaints on Facebook when we asked. So what’s the big deal if you don’t wash your hands?

Remember, you’re sharing a space with thousands of other people. If you lick your fingers or rub your nose, or cough into your hands and then touch utensils or handrails, that means everyone else gets your wonderful germs on their hands as well. So next time, just be sure you don’t skip the hand sanitizer.

Slumming it up in the Dining Room

Turns out that people not following dress codes at dinner really irks some passengers. This is one that surprises us somewhat. For one, we never really notice people dressing too casual for dinner to where it is offensive. Things like ripped jeans or shorts that reveal too much? We can’t say that we’ve ever really seen them.

Evidently, however, it is happening and other passengers are noticing. That’s not to say you have to wear a tux or a ballroom gown, but definitely look presentable. If that’s not good enough for others, well, that’s on them.

Bringing Kids into Adults-Only Spaces

Solarium on Royal Caribbean ship
Most lines offer a quiet spot for adults to enjoy the sun. It’s considered rude to bring kids into these spots for grown ups.

There are adults-only cruise lines like Virgin Voyages, and then there are lines that cater to adults but welcome all ages like Celebrity and Princess. The major lines like Carnival or Royal Caribbean that are by far the most sailed cruise lines cater to everyone, including children.

As a way for adults to be able to relax, these mass-market lines offer kid-free areas like the Serenity deck on Carnival. So adults get their own space and kids aren’t allowed.

Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. One of the big etiquette faux pas is allowing kids in with you to these adults-only areas. We’ll be honest, we have yet to see this happen personally, but there were enough mentions and votes that it does seem to happen.

It goes without saying that if you’re bringing kids into the adult areas, don’t be surprised if you get looks from the other passengers.

Touching Buffet Food

We will never forget being on an cruise and seeing a passenger in the ship’s buffet walk up to a bowl full of croissants, study it for a second, completely skip the tongs, grab one bare handed, and take a bite.

Imagine the grossness this would cause if four thousand people on a cruise ship decided, “You know what? I’m just going to grab what I want.”

Yes, that is rude to do and this was definitely mentioned among the cruise fans we asked. While it might not seem a harm if you’re only touching what you eat, nobody wants you accidentally touching the other food that they are then going to eat.

There’s simply no reason that you’d ever need to touch food bare-handed from the buffet.

Being Loud in the Halls

One thing that we think is pretty rude but that wasn’t mentioned is being loud in the hallways late at night.

Your cruise cabin isn’t soundproof, but it’s pretty good considering how close together rooms are. The only place that sound travels easily, however, is through the door. If there is someone in the hallway, sometimes it seems like they may as well be in your cabin you can hear them so well.

Now most times that’s not an issue as someone just talks while walking down the hall. Big deal. But when it’s 2:00 a.m. and a group of people are coming back from the bar and yelling or carrying on, it disturbs everyone as they pass. If it’s night time, just keep it down.

Going to the Front Row of Theater After Show Start

Trying to find a seat in the front of the theater after the show has started is considered rude on a cruise.

The entertainment on a cruise ship — especially the biggest and newest ship — is a must see. Shows really take things to a next level compared to sailing on an older ship.

You’ll find theaters crowded, but there are always folks who come in late, and that’s ok. It is a cruise, after all. Who cares if you show up five minutes late?

What’s rude and will irritate other passengers are the folks who come in late… and then commence to stroll down the aisles looking for an empty seat in the front. Of course, it blocks the show for others and generally causes a disruption for those that did show up before the start of the program. Just grab a seat in the back of the theater or show up a few minutes early to sit closer.

Disrespecting the Crew

This is another one that thankfully seems rare, but it’s considered extremely rude to be disrespectful to the crew.

There may be times where you might get frustrated, even on vacation. We’ve had irritations ranging from skipped ports to incorrect charges to slow service. It’s one thing to get annoyed, but it’s something else to use that as an excuse to be rude, disrespectful, or just flat out mean to the crew members.

These folks are miles away from home, often leaving behind families, living and working on the ship, all to give you a fun vacation while earning a little bit of money. Having to deal with a passenger being rude shouldn’t also be part of their job.

Letting Kids Go Wild

We mentioned about bringing kids into adult areas. But there is one more child-related issue that’s considered rude by your fellow passengers — and that’s making sure your kids behave themselves around the ship.

One person on Facebook talked about “10 year olds running in packs and hitting all the buttons on the elevator.” And another post about how passengers would feel if cruises went adults-only received 2,500 comments, including lots of people complaining about kids going wild on vacation. (To be fair, most of the comments against kids seem to blame the parents for their behavior more than the children.)

No matter, if you’re sailing with kids, you want to make sure they are having a good time but also respectful of others onboard. There are plenty of places onboard where kids can be kids without having to worry about other people. When in common areas like the theater or dining rooms, make sure everyone is on their best behavior.

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