Miscellaneous6 Activities on Cruises You Can't Participate In Anymore

6 Activities on Cruises You Can’t Participate In Anymore

While many aspects of cruising have remained the same over the past few decades, there are a number of activities what were common place on cruise ships many years ago that are no longer allowed (for various reasons).  Here are six few activities that you can no longer participate in while on a cruise.
things on a cruise you can't do anymore1. Messages in a bottle – Passengers would write a message along with their name and address, put it into a bottle and toss it into the sea. They were hoping that someone on a distant shore would reply back after finding the bottle.  Many passengers never heard back, but some received a nice surprise in the mail months after their cruise.

Cruise lines ended this practice more than 10 years ago and you can no longer throw anything into the ocean.

2. Streamers at sailaway – Common place in the 70’s and 80’s, passengers would throw streamers and confetti over the side of the ship as they celebrated sailaway, waving to their family and friends on the dock. This fun celebration was featured in many episodes of the Love Boat. Sound like a lot of fun?  It was, but the practice of throwing anything overboard ended many years ago.

3. Hitting golf balls into the ocean – Passengers were once allowed to practice their drives by hitting golf balls off of the ship and into the ocean.  The practice was stopped in 1990 after the International Maritime Organization passed a law outlawing the dumping of plastic waste into the sea.  Golf simulators were added to some ships while a few luxury ships, switched to biodegradable golf balls made of fish food.

The A-Team filmed an episode in 1985 (Season 4, Episode 2) on Carnival Cruise Line’s M.S. Tropicale and in one scene, you can see a passenger hitting golf balls off of the aft of the ship.

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4. Smoking in the dining rooms and staterooms – Just a few years ago, passengers were able to not only smoke on their balconies, but also in their staterooms.  Now, all cruise lines have now ended this practice and every stateroom and balcony are smoke-free zones.

Passengers smoking in the ship’s dining rooms has been outlawed for even longer, with some cruise lines making the change as early 1990s.  Smoking is currently prohibited in all enclosed dining venues on cruise ships.
balcony on cruise ship

5. Visits from friends and family on embarkation day – Years ago, family and friends of passengers were able to board the ship on embarkation day to not only wish their loved ones a bon voyage, but to also get a taste of the on board experience. Tighter security measures ended this practice over 20 years ago.

However, Princess Cruises launched the “” in 2010 where friends and family can come aboard for up to 4 hours on embarkation day.  The cost is $39 per person and includes a four-course lunch in the dining room, a guided ship tour, and a souvenir photo.  The program is limited to 50 guests on each embarkation day and the cost can be applied towards a future cruise with Princess.

A recent change to the program will allow anyone to take part in this Bon Voyage Experience, even if you’re not affiliated with any booked guest.

6. Skeet shooting – Passengers were once able to practice their skeet shooting off the back of the ship for $1 a shot.  Skeet shooting on cruise ships was stopped a couple decades ago.

Do you remember of these past activities on cruises?  Let us know in the comment section below.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Miscellaneous6 Activities on Cruises You Can't Participate In Anymore


  1. In 1995 I was on the Regent Star and participated in a skeet shooting contest and won 1st place hitting 20 for 20. The 2nd place hit 18 of 20.

  2. My Marine outfit used to shoot skeet off the stern of naval ships transporting us from North Carolina to the Caribbean and from Vietnam back to Long Beach.

    In addition, I would troll behind the ship with a small weight on the end of my fishing line. I know if I ever got a hookup, there was no way that ship would stop–nor could I pull in a fish, at that speed, so I didn’t bother with lures or hooks. Just a sinker. Since less than 1% of all fishing is actually catching, I was able to enjoy 99% of deep sea fishing, on what was otherwise a rather monotonous Cruise.

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