Opinion23 Changes Cruise Passengers Want to See in 2024

23 Changes Cruise Passengers Want to See in 2024

People love to cruise.  Unpacking once, seeing the world, and eating as much as you want is a vacation style growing in popularity.

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But there’s always room for improvement.

Image of cruise ship from side, top deck as it sails out of port
Photo credit: Cruise Fever

We recently asked a question on social media to see what tweaks cruise passengers wanted to see from various cruise lines.  This post is a result of the replies that poured in.

“[Cruise Line] would be awesome if they just _______________.”

Better service

This will vary by cruise line and by expectations.  While I’ve almost always been impressed with the service on a cruise ship, some expressed the need for more attention to detail on the part of the crew.

One reader put it this way, “CCL would be awesome if they would put “Service” back into the cruising experience. There are far too many lines for everything in order to do anything. The workers are overwhelmed because CCL wants to put more workers in areas to make us spend money instead of using the workers in much needed ares like Cabin service, MDR, buffet line, or the pizza line.

No more deck chair hogs

We saw this comment numerous times in the replies.  Deck chair hogs are one of the greatest annoyances on a ship.

If you’re going to use a lounger, use it.  And if you decide to leave your belongings on the deck chair for hours on end, don’t expect other passengers to respect your “claim” and not use it for themselves.

While some cruise lines have tried to come up better ways of regulating how long a towel can actually reserve a lounger near the main pool, it’s still the bane late-rising sun-bathers.

Read more: 10 things to never do on the pool deck of a cruise ship

More inclusive offerings, less nickel-and-diming

A desire for cruise lines to offer more restaurants and amenities that are included in the cruise fare was clearly stated by several respondents.

However, this also means the cruise fare price would go up for everyone.  Offering more inclusions and raising prices is something Celebrity Cruises just tried recently, and it was met with some dissatisfaction from loyal passengers.

On the flip side,  being charged extra for every little thing on a ship gets cumbersome by the end of a cruise.  But it does allow for passengers to only pay for things they will actually use.

All-inclusive cruises are great for people that don’t mind paying the premium.  Paying once and enjoying all aspects of the cruise for the rest of the trip is a great way to enjoy a vacation.

Fewer kids (more adult only areas)

This was also a recurring theme in the comments.  There are adult-only cruise lines available.  The issue is that most of the more affordable cruise lines tend to also be family-focused.

Some mentioned at least wanting more areas on the ship that are off-limits to children, such as more adult-only pools and lounges.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship pulling into port at sunset
Photo credit: Cruise Fever

Offer a few cruises that are adult only

Along the same idea as above, some wanted to see cruise lines offer a few cruises throughout the year that are adult only.  For instance, a cruise line that is not normally adult only could offer a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean that is only for passengers 18 and above.  It would be more like a chartered cruise but carried out by the cruise line.

Stop making new ships and improve the ones they have

I don’t see this one happening any time soon, but I do understand the guests who expressed this sentiment.  The difference between new cruise ships and ships that have been in the fleet for 15+ years is stark.

The truth of the matter is that cruise lines can charge a premium for a brand new ship, and there isn’t as much revenue available to justify spritzing up that ship from 2002.   But I’d love to see this happen as well.

Read more: 8 advantages of older cruise ships over newer ones

Better quality food

Some expressed dissatisfaction with some of the food quality lately.  Again, this will vary by cruise line and individual taste, and while some cruise lines have been cutting down on those extra entrees and lobster, the quality of food should always be above par.

Bigger showers

I think we can all agree on this one.  Cruise showers in standard staterooms are tiny at best.  But at least it seems like we’re moving away from the shower curtains that cling to your body every time you try to turn around in the shower, at least for the most part.  If you want a bigger shower you may have to upgrade to a suite.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean compared
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Better perks in loyalty programs

I’ve written several articles on cruise line loyalty perks, and the reality is that not many of them are very good.  Royal Caribbean does offer more benefits to their cruisers than Carnival in my opinion, but there’s still so much more that can be done to encourage loyalty for cruise lines across the board.

Read more: 10 reasons I’d rather cruise with multiple cruise lines than stay loyal to just one

Offer flavored coffee creamer

I never really thought about this one.  As I’m an avid coffee drinker but prefer to drink it black, I can’t recall seeing many creamer options besides the standard milk and cream.  I wonder how many other cruisers would like to see more flavored creamer on ships.

Being allowed to bring pets

This topic was brought up while I was on Celebrity Ascent a few weeks ago.  A member of the audience asked one of the company’s representatives about allowing guests to bring pets onto the ship.  There was a resounding groan that came across the crowd as it was clear most people were not fond of the idea.

There are also a lot of logistics when it comes to going into a port of call and who would watch the dog or cat while a passenger is off the ship.

I don’t expect to see this happen any time soon, although Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas has its own Chief Dog Officer now.

More trivia

I’m all about trivia on a cruise ship, but I was surprised people wanted more of it.  Perhaps it depends what cruise line those people have been sailing on.  On my last Carnival cruise with Celebration there were 5 or 6 trivia games going on every single day, and the topics ran the gamut.

More comedians

This also depends on the cruise line.  Carnival Cruise Line has been known to have some top-notch comedians, offering both family friendly and adult-only comedy.  Sometimes this will depend on the demographic a cruise line caters to most.  Norwegian Cruise Line has some great comedy options and Disney Cruise Line has some family friendly comedy as well.

Better smoke control in the casino

Some newer cruise ships have done a good job of controlling smoke from the casino, but it’s still an issue cruise lines are trying to fix.  Some cruise lines, like Carnival, will only allow smoking in the casino if someone is seated and playing.  Still, cruise lines like Norwegian have built clear barricades to try to keep the smoke from traveling to other areas of the ship.

Norwegian Escape from side view in port in Nassau
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Get rid of the single supplement fee

I’ll be one of the first to sign this petition.  I’ve seen pricing for a single person in a cabin that is more than twice the cost of two people in the same cabin category.

Solo cruising is only getting more popular, and cruise lines that are quicker to adapt to this trend and allow for more solo cabins without a single supplement fee or at least a reduced fee will win.

Read more: Every Cruise ship with solo cabins

Enforce existing rules

Not enforcing the rules is worse than not having the rule at all.  Some cruisers were exasperated by the lack of enforcement with some unruly passengers. This can probably be extended to the whole lounger-hog debate we mentioned above as well.

Cruise lines walk a careful balance beam of trying to make sure a paying customer is happy with the product, while also making sure no one else has a bad vacation because of their actions.

Totally free room service

You don’t have to go back very far in time to remember when almost all cruise lines offered free room service.  But in the post-pandemic cruising world, cruise lines just want to climb back into profitable territory.  You can still get free room service on some cruise lines, but the menu may be limited.  And don’t forget to tip the delivery person.

Read more:  Cruise ship room service menus and fees for various cruise lines

Have self-laundry facilities

I recently wrote about every cruise line that has self-service laundry.  And let me clue you in, there aren’t very many these days.

But having access to a launderette means I can pack less and have an affordable way to get my linens clean and fresh.   You can always get a bag of laundry done by the cruise line, of course.

Offer some good sweet tea

It appears we have some southerners in our Cruise Fever audience.  Sweet tea was mentioned several times in the comments.  This drink is a staple of the southern part of the U.S., but it has to be made right.  I wonder if some cruisers can tell me which cruise line had the best sweet tea.

A more user-friendly website

This comment was made in relation to the MSC Cruises website, which I will admit has come a long way in its user friendliness.  I remember booking an MSC cruise back in 2012, and it was almost impossible to use.  MSC and other cruise lines have made great strides in making their websites easy for the average person to find a book a cruise.

Make it less crowded

This requires a careful balance by cruise lines as well.  They need to be profitable to keep offering cruises, but most people don’t want it to feel cramped on their cruise vacation.  I recently posted an update to an article on the space/passenger ratios of 141 cruise ships.

But the flow and design of a cruise ship is what makes it feel crowded or spacious.  More cruise ships are being designed with this particular thing in mind.

Read more: How to avoid crowds on a cruise ship (12 best tips)

Changing how gratuities work

The topic of gratuities and tips on a cruise ship is always a dicey one.  Some want them removed so they can pay crew members individually, and others want gratuities listed in the total fare price of a cruise.

Perceptions of gratuities are different based on different places in the world as well.  Cruisers from non-western countries can’t comprehend how we tip for almost everything in the U.S.

Read more: 10 biggest cruise tipping mistakes to avoid

Fresher itineraries

Some cruisers were simply tired of the same cruise ports in the Bahamas and Caribbean.  Nassau was mentioned as a port that many were tired of seeing on their itineraries.  But as the Bahamian cruise port just broke passenger records last year, it doesn’t look like cruise traffic to Nassau is slowing down any time soon.

For those cruisers it may be time to branch out to other destinations in the world and try a cruise along Norway or Iceland, or even a Mediterranean cruise to spice things up.

No complaints

A large majority of cruisers were simply happy to be cruising!  After all, there’s always some minor detail we can focus on and complain about.  But just being at sea, on a cruise ship that offers everything we could possibly want, is a magical experience.

My favorite reply to the question:

Tara A. “Royal Carribbean and Carnival would be awesome if they just let me stay on the ship for as long as I want. I’m tired of putting my bags outside the door lol.

Ok good, I’m not the only one that feels this way!

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Opinion23 Changes Cruise Passengers Want to See in 2024

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