Should cruise ship ducks be BANNED?

Carnival Cruise Line has recently addressed the growing phenomenon of cruise ship ducks, an activity that has become increasingly popular on social media and among passengers of all ages. 

Credit: Carnival Cruise Line Takes a Stand on Cruise Ship Ducks - © Copyright: Carnival
Credit: Carnival Cruise Line Takes a Stand on Cruise Ship Ducks – © Copyright: Carnival

The Rise of the Cruise Ship Duck

The cruise-ship-duck activity has gained substantial traction on social media platforms. Typically seen as a fun family activity, it involves passengers hiding rubber ducks around the ship for others to find. Some participants even decorate their ducks and attach cards with social media information, encouraging finders to share their discoveries online.

How It Works

Before boarding, enthusiastic cruisers purchase rubber ducks, which they then hide in various spots around the ship. The goal is to bring joy to others, and it often leads to more extensive exploration of the ship’s amenities. While the activity is primarily aimed at families with young children, people of all ages participate. The general consensus is that, as long as participants are mindful not to damage the ship, there is little harm in this delightful pastime. For those uninterested, it’s easy enough to ignore.

Cruise Ship Ducks - © Copyright: Carnival
Credit: Cruise Ship Ducks / © Copyright: Carnival

Mixed Reactions

Not everyone is enamoured with the trend, however. Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald recently shared a letter from a disgruntled customer, who vowed never to cruise with the company again unless the duck-hiding activity was banned. Heald responded on his Facebook page with a touch of humour: “Honestly ‘P’ saying ‘you will not cruise with us until we stop allowing people to hide ducks’ makes me feel very sad, it really does. It also has me wondering, do ducks ever get down in the mouth? Hide them, find them, or ignore them. Which one applies to you?”

Heald’s post sparked a lively discussion, garnering over 5,300 comments. The majority of responders were supportive of the duck-hiding tradition, expressing either indifference or enjoyment.

Community Feedback

Many commenters echoed the sentiment that the duck-hiding activity brings joy, especially to children. Didi Concepcion noted, “We ignore them. Although I’ve never actually seen one ‘in the wild’ on a ship. But people have so much fun hiding and finding them, why rain on their parade?”

Jennifer Armstrong offered a sassy yet supportive perspective, writing, “Ignore them but think everyone’s excitement for them is fun. OMG wait!! Can I actually not care about things that don’t affect me??? why yes… yes I can.”

For some, like Jenneatte Wilding and Fiona Macbeth Ash, the tradition is a cherished part of the cruise experience. Wilding shared, “My grandkids love cruising and love everything about hiding and finding ducks! Be prepared for them on the Celebration Dec. 8. They are already planning.”

Ash added, “I absolutely love looking for them and thousands of others do as well. Please keep allowing them. It has become another awesome thing about cruising. I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone would care.”


The cruise-ship-duck phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. As long as the activity remains harmless and fun, it appears that Carnival Cruise Line will continue to support this whimsical tradition. Whether you choose to hide, find, or simply ignore the ducks, it’s clear that they have become an endearing part of the cruising culture.

The Latest Cruise News


Instagram Logo - Sail Away Magazine
YouTube Logo
Facebook Logo - Sail Away Magazine

Newsletter - Sign up

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Instagram Logo - Sail Away Magazine
YouTube Logo
Facebook Logo - Sail Away Magazine

Privacy Preference Center