13 Things Cruise Passengers Do that Drive People Crazy

worst cruise passengers to avoid on a cruise

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Most cruise passengers are great people, but there are some things that cruisers do that might drive you crazy! From the obvious “chair hogs” to much less spoken about issues, this article is full of the types of passengers you probably want to avoid on a cruise.

Whether you’re a first time cruiser or an experienced cruiser, these are some passenger behavior mistakes to avoid. From bad cruise ship etiquette to rude things as shared by fellow cruisers from the Life Well Cruised community.

In this post I share the annoying things cruise travelers sometimes do. This can be found on any cruise line, from Carnival Cruises to Celebrity Cruises!

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Cruise Passengers that Might Annoy You on a Cruise

1. Passengers Who Save Chairs


One thing that drives cruisers crazy are chair hogs! These are often cruise passengers who head to the lido deck early in the morning and leave towels on their chairs – only to return hours later.

While this can happen on any cruise line, its most common are large resort style cruise ships, where pool decks can get more crowded.

Some cruise lines have policies to prevent people from saving chairs, although its not always strictly enforced.

On Carnival Cruise Line, if a chair is unoccupied for over 40 minutes, they will remove the person’s belongings and bring them to a safekeeping area. Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines have similar lido deck rules.

2. Passengers Who Don’t Do Their E-Muster

Muster Station cruise ship changes

Everyone needs to show up at their muster station on embarkation day. It’s maritime law that all cruise passengers do their safety check in or e-muster before the cruise ship can sailway.

So, it makes sense that something that annoys cruise passengers is when some cruisers delay doing their e-muster drill. It can get annoying as there can be announcements every 15-30 minutes until the e-muster drill is complete.

The best time to do the e-muster drill is as soon as your board the cruise ship. This way, you can get the safety drill over with and truly begin your cruise vacation!

3. Passengers Who Play Music Loudly

Listening to music on a cruise is enjoyable. However, it can drive other cruisers crazy if you play loud music on a Bluetooth speaker in public areas like the lido deck. A balcony is another area to keep music to a level that doesn’t disturb your neighbors.

Instead, cruisers who want to listen to music should use headphones so they don’t disrupt other cruisers.

4. Passengers Smoking (where not permitted)

Most cruise lines have a strict no smoking rule on guest balconies, as it is a fire hazard. The smell also bothers people, so smokers should only smoke in the ship’s designated smoking areas.

In recent years, there seems to be an increase in people smoking illegal substances on cruises and on their balconies. According to the cruise news, Carnival Cruise Line is issuing fines and even has sniffer dogs on some of their cruise ships to prevent this from happening.

Cruise passengers should smoke in the designated smoking areas and never bring on illegal substances onboard the cruise ship. Keep in mind that cruise ships are follow Federal Laws and not individual State laws.

Related: Cruise Lingo Glossary

5. Passengers with Bad Elevator Etiquette

Elevator etiquette is the same on cruises as it is at hotels and buildings on land. Yet, somehow there are some cruise passengers who don’t seem to be aware.

Cruise ships can carry many guests, and the reality is that elevators and the waiting area can get crowded. Rude passengers with bad elevator manners drive other cruisers crazy!

Here are a few best practices:

  • Don’t try to squeeze into an elevator when its full, just wait for the next one
  • Allow those in the elevator to exit before entering
  • Allow those who were waiting to enter first
  • Be courteous and helpful to those in wheelchairs or mobility scooters

Tip: If you’re only going up a deck or two and are able, consider using the stairs. This will often be faster and will save you potential aggravation.

6. Passengers Who Don’t Wash their Hands

The best way to prevent illness on a cruise is to wash hands frequently, as well to use hand sanitizers. When going into the cruise ship buffet, there are often hand washing and hand sanitizer stations.

This probably doesn’t need to be said, but its for everyone’s good. No one likes to see other cruisers not wash their hands when heading into the buffet or when using the bathroom.

Norovirus and other illnesses can spread onboard cruise ships, and hand washing is the best way to prevent any spread.

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7. Passengers Who Save Places in Line

It drives cruisers crazy when passengers save a spot in line for other people. Now, holding a spot in line for one of two people is understandable.

However, holding a spot in line for a group of people is really rude. Whether it’s in line for an evening show, tender, or in the buffet, cutting in line won’t make other passengers very happy.

A few years ago, I was waiting in a long line for the ferry in Bermuda. The man ahead of me asked if I minded if he saved a spot for his family that were joining him in a minute. Of course, I was fine with this and assumed that he was waiting for his wife and a couple of kids.

However, within 10 minutes about a dozen family members arrived. While I took it in stride, the people behind me were furious – probably for good reason.

8. Passengers Who Slam Cabin Doors

It’s no secret that cruise cabin doors are very heavy. Unfortunately, when the doors close, they can make a loud slamming noise.

For the most part, door slamming isn’t intentional. Nevertheless, it can disturb other cruise passengers, especially if it’s early morning or late at night.

It’s a good idea to hold your door as you close it, so it doesn’t slam shut.

9. People Who Don’t Supervise Their Children

One of the more annoying things on cruises, is when parents don’t supervise their children. Cruises are amazing family vacations. However, kids can be boisterous and not supervising them can lead to an accident.

Passenger report seeing kids running around the main dining room while waiters are walking around with hot dishes. Not only does this bother other passengers, but it can also be disruptive to the crew, as well as dangerous.

On family friendly cruises, unsupervised kids may push all of the elevator buttons. You might even see kids running in the halls or on stairways.

These kids are just having fun, but it can be disruptive to other cruise passengers. If you’re cruising with kids, be sure to keep an eye on them or enrol them in the kid’s club.

10. Passengers Who Complain


Is anything worse than being on vacation and encountering a big complainer? People who complain about everything or act entitled can bother other cruise passengers.

After all, you’re on a cruise vacation. How bad can things be?

Even though things aren’t always perfect on a cruise, it’s best to try and enjoy your vacation and not to be a downer to others.

Related: 15 Fun Cruise T-Shirts for Everyone

11. Passengers Who Leave Dishes on the Stairs

While room service trays in hallways are one thing, there’s no excuse for leaving dishes and cups on the stairway.

Not only does this annoy other cruisers, but it is also dangerous. It is possible for someone to trip and fall. Some frequent cruisers have even said that they’ve even seen people leave their dishes in the elevators.

12. Passengers Who Disturb a Show

cruise entertainment show in theater

Disturbing fellow cruisers or staff during shows and tours definitely annoys other cruisers. Some of the most annoying types of cruise passengers are those that talk during a show or use their cell phone to text or scroll on Facebook.

People who arrive late to shows can also disturb the other passengers and the performers. If you arrive late, its ok. However, come in quietly and don’t draw attention away from the show.

Cruise passengers who arrive late for shore excursions can also affect other cruisers. This can shorten the length of the excursion or lead to getting back to the ship later than expected.

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13. Passengers Who Are Rude To The Crew

The one thing that bothers cruisers the most is when other passengers are rude to the crew members. Whether complaining rudely, acting entitled, yelling at the crew, or not saying please and thank you, these things drive cruisers crazy.

Many people from the cruise community say that they hate seeing other cruise passengers act this way. The consensus was that this is the most annoying thing that cruise passengers can do on a cruise.

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Final Thoughts on Things Cruise Passengers Do that Drive People Crazy

Well, there is everything you need to know about things that cruise passengers do that drive people crazy!

Cruises are a great way to travel, so being courteous to others is important. For the most part, cruise passengers are incredibly respectful and kind.

Is there something that cruise passengers do that drives you crazy? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com. As a frequent cruiser, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like for teens and young adults.



  1. Cynthia
    July 21, 2023 / 2:58 am

    You pretty much nailed it….my husband is disabled..we wait patiently by the elevator or need a few extra minutes on the gang plank….and there a,ways is someone, not kids but adults who have to push past us…gotta be first!!!

    • July 25, 2023 / 2:39 pm

      Oh no, it’s really something we have to be aware of. Thanks for sharing

  2. Nancy
    July 23, 2023 / 4:15 pm

    Groups of family and friends that come on cruises together think they are entitled to move seats and lounges around so they are all together, and to be so loud you must move for peace and quiet.

  3. Anne Wallace
    July 25, 2023 / 12:50 pm

    Number 13 is a really annoying one. I’ve seen some passengers be really rude to crew members and it’s totally unnecessary. Some of them behave as if the crew are their personal ‘servants’ for the week and should indulge their every whim.

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