What Not to Do on a Cruise Ship

20 Essential Tips: What Not to Do on a Cruise Ship

Embarking on a cruise ship adventure is a fantastic way to explore the world, offering a blend of leisure, exotic destinations, and an abundance of activities all in one journey. However, to ensure a memorable and hassle-free experience, it’s crucial to be aware of certain etiquettes and practices. Here, we delve into 20 essential tips outlining what not to do on a cruise ship, helping you navigate your voyage smoothly.

1. Ignore Safety Drills

Mandatory safety drills are conducted for your safety. Skipping these can not only put you at risk but also is against ship policy. Always attend and pay attention to these crucial briefings.

Cruise Ship Muster Drill - Cruise Critic
Credit: Cruise Ship Muster Drill / Cruise Critic

2. Forget to Wash Your Hands

Maintaining hygiene is paramount on a cruise ship. Regular handwashing can prevent the spread of germs and outbreaks of illnesses. Always use hand sanitizer stations around the ship as well.

3. Disregard Dress Codes

Many cruise ships have dress codes for certain venues or events. Ignoring these can result in being denied entry. Check your cruise itinerary for dress code requirements to pack appropriately.

4. Overlook Gratuity Policies

Understanding the ship’s gratuity policy is essential. Some cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your bill, while others suggest tipping in person. Ensure you’re aware of and adhere to these guidelines.

5. Hog Sun Loungers

Reserving sun loungers with towels or personal items and not using them for extended periods is frowned upon. Be considerate and only reserve loungers when you are using them.

6. Smoke Outside Designated Areas

Smoking on a cruise ship is typically restricted to specific areas. Smoking in non-designated areas, including balconies, can be a fire hazard and is usually prohibited.

Smoking on Cruise Ships - Cruise Critic
Credit: Smoking on Cruise Ships / Cruise Critic

7. Miss the Ship’s Departure Time at Ports

Always be mindful of the ship’s departure time when exploring port cities. The ship won’t wait for late passengers, so plan your onshore activities with time to spare.

Late Cruise Passengers - Fodors Travel Guide
Credit: Late Cruise Passengers / Fodor’s Travel Guide

8. Eat Only at the Buffet

While the buffet is convenient, exploring other dining options onboard can enhance your culinary experience. Many ships offer specialty restaurants that showcase a variety of cuisines.

9. Ignore Local Customs and Laws When in Port

When visiting new destinations, respecting local customs and abiding by local laws is crucial. Research and observe these to avoid offending locals or facing legal issues.

10. Forget to Turn Off Data Roaming

Avoid unexpected phone bills by turning off data roaming or purchasing a travel plan. Use ship Wi-Fi or wait for port visits to use local networks.

11. Overpack

Cabin space is limited, so packing more than you need can clutter your room. Plan outfits carefully and take advantage of onboard laundry services if needed.

12. Engage in Rowdy Behaviour

While having fun is encouraged, remember that your actions affect others. Avoid excessive noise, drunkenness, and rowdy behaviour, especially late at night.

Cruise Ship Fights - Daily Mail
Credit: Cruise Ship Fights / Daily Mail

13. Ignore Time Zones Changes

Ship time may differ from port time. Always verify the ship’s current time to avoid confusion and ensure you’re punctual for activities and departures.

14. Skip the Opportunity to Meet New People

Cruises are a fantastic way to meet people from around the world. Don’t miss out on social activities and the chance to make new friends.

15. Neglect to Review Your Account Regularly

Unexpected charges can occur. Regularly review your onboard account to ensure all charges are accurate and report any discrepancies immediately.

16. Disrespect Crew Members

The crew works hard to ensure you have a great experience. Treat them with respect and kindness, acknowledging their efforts.

17. Overindulge in Alcohol

While it’s tempting to enjoy the ship’s array of bars and lounges, moderation is key. Overindulgence can lead to health issues and impair judgement.

Drink Too Much Alcohol - Cruise Critic
Credit: Drink Too Much Alcohol / Cruise Critic

18. Ignore Onboard Activities and Entertainment

Cruise ships offer a wide range of activities and entertainment options. Participating can enhance your experience significantly, so don’t overlook the daily schedule.

19. Book Excursions Without Research

While booking through the ship is convenient, it’s often more expensive. Research and compare options in advance, but ensure any external bookings align with the ship’s schedule.

20. Fail to Relax and Disconnect

Remember, a cruise is a vacation. Don’t overschedule yourself; allow time to relax, unwind, and disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.

Oasis Spa Thermal Suite on P&O Britannia - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: Oasis Spa Thermal Suite on P&O Britannia / Sail Away Magazine


Adhering to these tips not only ensures a smoother and more enjoyable cruise experience but also fosters an environment of respect and consideration for all passengers and crew members. Remember, a successful voyage is a shared responsibility. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can focus on making the most of your cruise adventure, creating memories that will last a lifetime.