Updated January 8, 2020
Are you guilty of a bad cruise habit? We bet you are.
Don't take it personally. Many people get a little lazy on vacation or prioritize their own relaxation and enjoyment over that of their shipmates. It's only natural to slack off when you get time off, but your actions -- whether conscious or not -- can negatively impact other cruisers and crew members.
A little courtesy and self-awareness won't hurt, and they can go a long way in making your cruise ship a happy haven for all onboard. So if you're guilty of these terrible cruise habits, it's time to resolve to break yourself of them.
1. Not Washing Your Hands
Who wants to take 20 seconds to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom when trivia is starting in just a few minutes? And why should the line for the hand-sanitizing spray slow down your descent on the buffet? Truth is, if you don't wash your hands before and after meals or when using the bathroom, you increase your risk of getting sick or spreading illness around the ship. Take the extra few seconds to help everyone have a healthier vacation.
2. Smoking on Your Balcony
Smoking is a bad habit, but if you can't break it, at least respect ship rules about appropriate venues for lighting up. Smoking is banned on cruise ship balconies for two reasons: It's dangerous and creates a fire hazard, but the smoke also blows over to your neighbor's veranda, and they might not appreciate the air pollution when they've paid extra to get fresh air in their cabin. Note the deck areas and lounge areas that permit smoking and smoke in peace there.
Related: Cruise Line Smoking Policies
3. Saving Seats
This habit is as bad when you're hogging lounge chairs by the pool as it is when you're reserving a row of choice theater seats for your extended family who can't be bothered to arrive on time. Everyone deserves a fair shot at a good seat, and it's rude to think your group should get special treatment. Be courteous; if there's nobody in that chair, give it up to a shipmate who's just shown up.
Related: How to Outsmart Deck Chair Hogs
4. Over-Eating and -Drinking
It's so easy to be a glutton on a cruise. You pile your plate high at the buffet because everything looks so good, even if you can't possibly finish all that food. With a drink package, you can quickly lose track of whether you're on margarita 3 or 4, until you wake up in your cabin (or someone else's), not knowing how you got there. Whether it's for your own health, ending food waste or not ruining another's night with your drunken antics, try to curb your indulgence and eat and drink a more reasonable (but still vacation-friendly) amount.
5. Leaving Cabin Lights On and/or Balcony Door Open
When you're not at home (or paying the electricity bill), you quickly forget the life lessons your mama taught you. Turn out the lights when you leave a room. Don't leave windows (or, in this case, the balcony door) open when you're not enjoying the fresh air. Your carelessness costs the cruise ship because it wastes electricity, and when cruise lines have to pay, cruisers pay, too, in the form of increased base fares. Do everyone a favor, and close that door or flip that switch before you head out to the pool or ashore for the day.
Related: Green Cruising
6. Touching Food You Don't Take
You should always use tongs or other utensils to serve yourself food. But if you do reach for a bread roll or cupcake with your bare hands, for the love of god don't touch a piece of food and then put it back into the communal basket. If you touch it, take it. If you mistakenly touch it, take it anyway. Better to waste a small amount of food than to spread norovirus or other germs in an enclosed environment.
7. Letting Your Kids Run Wild
We get it. You're on vacation and, therefore, want a vacation from parenting. If that's the case, don't cruise with your kids. If you choose to bring them, you'll need to parent them. That means it's your responsibility to manage their behavior in public areas, reprimanding them if they're too loud or too wild or disturbing other passengers. If you are lazing the day away at the adults-only sun deck, make sure you have safely ensconced your offspring in the kids club -- or read them the riot act and rules about where they can go and how to behave elsewhere on the ship.
Related: How to Control Your Kids at Sea
8. Leaving Dirty Dishes in the Hallway
It's somehow become a common practice to leave dirty dishes in passenger corridors or empty glasses wherever you happen to finish that beer. That doesn't make it OK. If you order room service, call your cabin steward or room service team to pick up the tray from your room when you're finished, rather than leaving the tray on the floor outside your door. If you're drinking on the go, deposit the glass at the nearest bar. (There's always one close by.)
9. Making a Mess in Your Cabin
While we're on the topic of mess, don't ransack your cabin and let your room steward deal with the aftermath. Dirty clothes go in a closet, a laundry bag or in your suitcase -- not on the floor. Cruise dailies and other papers should be piled neatly or trashed, not spread around every surface. Shoes go in a corner if they can't stay in the closet, not somewhere your steward can trip on them. We're not saying you have to be a neat freak, but a few minutes of picking up each morning will have your hardworking cabin steward breathing a sigh of relief.
10. Being Noisy
Are you guilty of talking through theatrical performances, playing your own music loudly on serenity sun decks or blaring your cabin's TV at 2 a.m.? Please remember you're sharing the ship with thousands of other vacationers, and show a little consideration. Turn down the volume when other cruisers are trying to sleep, relax or pay attention to a show or lecture. There's always another venue or a set of headphones available for you.
Related: What Not to Do in Your Cruise Room