5 Things That Drive Cruisers Completely Insane

It's important for everyone else (including the parents of well-behaved kids) to complain and make it clear that it's better to risk upsetting a couple of bad parents than an entire ship.
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Deck chairs are not a private storage locker. - Photo by FloridaStock

There are some mildly annoying aspects about cruising that most experienced travelers have learned to live with, and then are other things that can make their blood boil with rage:

5. Smoky Balconies and Casinos

You can avoid smoky casinos easily if you're not a gambler, but the same thing cannot be said of a smoky balcony. - Photo by Denis Tabler

Why It's a Problem: You booked a balcony cabin because you loved the idea of spending your evenings relaxing in the fresh air while listening to the ocean roll by. The only problem? Sometimes the air isn’t so fresh. Balcony cabins are often booked by smokers for obvious reasons, and this conflict of interest can cause serious tension between neighbors.

"The worst problem [on] this ship was SMOKING...... they allowed smoking in half of the casino. Well the smoke was in the whole casino. Could not even breathe. This is the only cruise I remember that allowed smoking indoors. We had a balcony on deck 10, very nice. This is a non smoking deck, but the smoke from the decks below came right up to our balcony. Had to breathe and smell cigar and cigarette smoke when on our balcony.”


How to Fix It: Lines could address the problem by designating balconies on one side of the ship as the smoking balconies. Also, while scaring away smokers might hurt the bottom line of the industry, smoky casinos and balconies do the same thing. In fact, jjjjsd said that the smoke in the casino “made [him] gamble a lot less.” In the meantime, you can try to find a cruise line with tighter restrictions on smoking.

4. Nickel and Diming

A dollar here and a dollar there can add up by the time you disembark. - Photo by John Brueske

Why It's a Problem: While we understand that certain services on board are so expensive that they can't be included in the cruise fare (e.g. spa treatments or gym classes with a personal trainer), constantly having to spend more money onboard doesn’t just hurt wallets, it affects the enjoyment of frugal sailors, like EricP1, who felt like he “couldn't relax due to nickel and diming.”

"The ship tried to nickel and dime us to death. Wifi should be free at this level of the game. [Now you have to] pay for orange juice, pay for good drinking water, pay for a nice meal. Things that use to be included in cruising. Not sure if it's just Royal Caribbean or if all cruise lines have lost their panache."


How to Fix It: Sorry, MelanieR3, but as much as we hate it, this has become the norm in the cruise industry and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. We recommend buying drink packages, Internet, and excursions before you leave so at least you don’t have to budget while on vacation.

3. Missed Ports

Ports like Santorini require passengers to be shuttled in on tender boats, and if the water is too choppy, the port might be skipped altogether. - Photo by Olga Gavrilova

Why It's Annoying: While sometimes a port skipped due to rough seas simply means a lost day on the beach, it can also cause you to miss the port that led you to book the cruise in the first place. Some cruisers even feel like the lines do this intentionally to keep you on the ship in order to spend more money drinking and gambling. This may be a bit over the top, but the frustration is very, very real.

“Our main disappointment was the missed port (Princess Cays... the private island) due to what the captain deemed was unsafe wave levels for tendering. This was the second day of a 7 day cruise, and there was plenty of time on the agenda to make an alternate port call on the return portion of the voyage or at least allow extra time at one of the other ports. The same thing happened our our last cruise with the sister company to Princess, Carnival. Nothing extra added by either of these two companies to ease the pain of a missed port. There should be a plan B for ports that require anchoring and tender craft. I appreciate the safety consideration, if in fact that was truly the case, but we paid for a port that was not delivered. I will cruise Celebrity or Royal Caribbean next time.”


How to Fix It: Lines could be better at compensating passengers for missed port days. We know it would be expensive, but we’ve lost count of how many reviews we receive where a otherwise good cruise was completely ruined by a missed port. And like Volfan, many of these customers end their review vowing to never sail that line again. So which hurts the bottom line more, compensating passengers for a skipped port, or bad reviews and missing out on repeat customers?

2. Deck Chair Hogs

Unlike lifeboats, there aren't enough chairs for everyone on the cruise. - Photo by

Why It's a Problem: You know the feeling you get when you walk into a crowded theater with a couple of friends and see some unoccupied seats dead center, only to find them claimed by pocketbooks and jackets with the owners nowhere in sight? Multiply that frustration several times over, and you’ll get an idea of what cruisers on crowded ships experience on a regular basis.

“The second or third sea day my husband and I got to the Lido deck Orpheus pool at 8AM and EVERY chair was taken by a towel, tee shirt or book. Very few were occupied by people.”


How to Fix It: You might not know it, but most cruise lines have rules forbidding the reserving of deck chairs. The level to which they’re enforced varies, but you can always talk to a crew member if you can’t find a chair. You can also try cruising during the off season when ships aren’t as crowded.

1. Out of Control Children

Children and teenagers are notorious for monopolizing hot tubs. - Photo by

Why It's Annoying: Just because you’re a parent on vacation doesn’t mean you can take a vacation from parenting. No one expects children to behave like angels all the time. In fact, it’s the norm for children to act out occasionally. What we do expect is for parents to step up whenever their children are being obnoxious, rather than allowing them to scream and splash in the pool or stick their fingers in the buffet at dinner. (This applies to teenagers as well. Just because they know better than to act like idiots doesn’t mean they will when their parents aren't watching.)

“This cruise had more kids on it than any other cruise I have been on. Bad kids. Manner-less kids. Kids whose parents evidently needed a break from them so they let them run wild. I never want to see kids sitting on tables in the common eating area, standing on booths, running up and down and up and down the stairs even when people had food in their hands trying to find a place to sit. These kids needed to be on a farm with wide open spaces, not on the confines of a cruise ship.”


How to Fix It: We get it, cruise lines. Unless it’s a clear liability concern, no one wants to yell at a child or tell a parent how to parent, lest they complain on social media and you come off as anti-family. But that’s why it’s important for everyone else (including the parents of well-behaved kids) to complain and make it clear that it’s better to risk upsetting a couple of bad parents than an entire ship. You can also book cruise lines known for having fewer children on board, or not book during school holidays and summer vacation.