Cruise Tips16 Worst Mistakes You Can Make on a Cruise

16 Worst Mistakes You Can Make on a Cruise

Cruise Fever’s mission is simple, to help you have the best cruise possible.  While we often write articles on things you should do on cruises, here are the worst mistakes that you can make on a cruise.

1. Climbing/horseplay on railings – Although this should be a no-brainer, we occasionally hear accounts of passengers sitting on the ship’s railings or climbing over balcony partitions.

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2. Stiffing the crew – While most cruise lines automatically charge a daily gratuity or service surcharge to your stateroom, you can have them removed by going to guest services.  However, just because you are allowed to have them taken off doesn’t mean that you should.  You wouldn’t go to a restaurant without tipping and you shouldn’t go on a cruise without tipping.

3. Getting too drunk – No one enjoys having an obnoxious drunk by them on the lido deck or at their dinner table.

4. Getting left behind in port – When the captain says that the ship is leaving port at 5:00, he means it. He isn’t going to wait around for those that lost track of time.  If you get left behind in port, you are responsible for your own transportation to the next port or back home.  The costs can be several thousand dollars each and will be even more complicated if you are traveling without a passport. Our advice?  Plan on arriving back near the ship 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you are scheduled to leave.  This not only gives you some time to shop in the port area, but also gives you plenty of leeway if you run into traffic or your taxi or bus has a breakdown on the way back.

5. Going by port time instead of ship time – Going by port time instead of ship time is a great way to miss your ship.  Also, never trust the time on your cell phone. Bring a watch and if you don’t have one, pick up a cheap $10 watch and you will never have to worry about getting port/ship times mixed up.

6. Eating only at the buffet – While newer ships like Regal Princess have great buffets, the best food on a cruise is almost always in the main dining room.  By eating only at the buffet, you miss out on the great food and service that is offered in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

7. Line cutting –  We all hate waiting in lines while on vacation, but it’s part of life.

8. Booking late flights on embarkation day – Booking late flights on embarkation day is a great way to miss your cruise.  While it is not always possible for everyone to fly in the day before due to work commitments, you should always plan on arriving the day before if you are able to.

9. Booking early flights on disembarkation day – Cruise lines recommend not booking flights before noon on disembarkation day.  Just because your arrival time says 7:00 a.m., there is almost no chance of catching an 8:30 flight.  There have been times I walked right through customs, and other times it took over an hour to get through the line.

10. Leaving balcony doors open – Leaving your balcony door propped open will create a wind tunnel when your stateroom door is opened.  It’s a great way to get your fingers smashed in the door when it slams shut on you.

11. Leaving your curtains open when pulling into port – More often than not, you will be docked directly across the pier from another cruise ship.  Those on the ship next to you will be able to see into your cabin if your curtains are open.

12. Forgetting to turn data roaming off – Before stepping foot on the ship, you should go to the settings on your phone and make sure that data roaming is turned off.  This will keep your cell phone from racking up huge charges and using data even when it is in your pocket. Putting your phone in airplane mode will also keep you from racking up additional charges.

13. Piling into elevators without letting other passengers out first – This is about having respect for your fellow passengers.

14. Treating the crew like 2nd class citizens – We all have bad days, but how many you would have if you worked 7 days a week and were away from your family for 6-9 months at a time?  Kind words to the crew will go a long way, treat them with the same respect that you give to your spouse.

15. Cruising without travel insurance – Cruising without travel insurance is like playing with fire.  There are a wide range of policies offered that include coverage for medical (your medical insurance most likely won’t cover you out of the country), travel delays and interruptions, and cancellations.

16. Lying on your medical form – Before you board your cruise, you have to fill out a medical form where you check boxes of certain symptoms that you have had over the past 48-72 hours.  Lying on this form is a great way of spreading an illness to other passengers.  Lying on your form is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on a cruise.

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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].
Cruise Tips16 Worst Mistakes You Can Make on a Cruise


  1. yes, do not try and weedle out of the gratuities after you have enjoyed the good service on your cruise. Those people are making well under minimum wage an it is hard work 12 hours a day or more. Some, like the bartenders are part of a tip pool from the auto grat tacked on to your alcohol drinks, but there are hundreds of other workers behind the scenes who are not getting auto grats other than that daily grat. Please do not cheap out! I just booked an 11 day last minute deal to the Panama Canal for $499, there is no way the cruise line is making any money on that kind of a fare and as a customer I know this– I know the crew is not making any money on that kind of fare. Realize you are getting a good deal but that tips are part of traveling.

  2. My group of 17 family & friends went on Carnival Horizon in December for an 8 day southern Caribbean cruise it was a Blast definitely do the formal evening dining the food is so much better more variety and so much fun I would do a cruise a year if I could this was our 4th Carnival cruise. Instead of buying Christmas gifts treat your self & your family to a cruise you won’t regret it ❤️🇺🇸

  3. I love cruising. I’m a widowed woman and can’t find my way around when driving. Cruising tells you where you’ll dock the next day, where it’s recommendations are for shopping, and the cost for a taxi to the stores. I no longer am afraid to vacation alone and I feel safer as if someone is looking out for me.

  4. We just went on a cruise. Buffet was great…main dining room horrible…no selection of food. Was shocked..stuck with the buffet the whole cruise…..cruising was definitely not for us.

    • Thanks for passing that alone, Tammy. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the experience. Sometimes it can just be a ship or cruise line that didn’t match up with your tastes as well.

  5. You really nailed it with your “16”. I’ve been on many cruises and pretty much have seen it all. Being hit with a crutch because the person wanted to get to the dining room ahead of everyone else. I think the main one was people barreling into the elevator before passengers are getting ‘off’ the elevator and oh yes, the fools who think it’s OK to behave in such a horrible drunk way that they would never behave like at home. The “Sense of Entitlement” that some travelers have when away from home is mind-boggling! I always treat cruise employees with respect, dignity and lots of smiles! My favorite way to travel, hands down!!

  6. It has been my experience that at least “Most” of the time, whatever they are offering in the MDR is also being offered on the Buffet. The best reason to go to the MDR is the service. It gives you the time to relax and re-live the days events with friends and family while some of the nicest people on the ship are waiting on you hand and foot…Truly an amazing experience.

  7. I agree with most of these, but you should reword “the best food on a cruise is almost always in the main dining room”. You add specialty restaurants in the next sentence, but I think that the best food is NOT always in the MDR, although I do agree that it’s often better than the buffet.

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