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15 Problems Only Cruisers Understand

Ashley Kosciolek

Jan 8, 2020

Read time
7 min read

Common complaints only cruisers can understand (photo: Richard M Lee/Shutterstock)

Whether you're a cruise newbie or a seasoned sailor, there are some things to which we can all relate: lines in the dining room, pesky photographers, debarkation eve luggage collection. Below, we've compiled a list of 15 common cruise complaints that will make you either nod in amused agreement or chuckle in dissent.

1. You want to go to Alaska and Hawaii and the Med and the Galapagos.

Admit it: Just about every destination is on your bucket list. You're planning a cruise, but you can't decide where to go. Everything looks good. How can you possibly be expected to choose between glaciers, volcanoes, castles and giant sea turtles? This is already turning out to be one stressful trip!

Get all you need to know about every cruise region in our cruise port section.

2. You want to spend more time looking for price drops -- but your boss has other ideas.

You've booked your sailing but haven't yet paid in full. To be sure you're getting the best possible deal, you've been checking for price drops like it's your job. The problem? Your actual job is negatively impacting your ability to be the best cruise planner you can be.

Want the best price on your next cruise? View deals here.

Because you need all of these things (photo: Neirfy/Shutterstock)

3. Your cabin has enough outlets to charge one device, but you've brought 17.

Curse the technology gods for convincing you that you needed your cell phone, tablet, camera, laptop, e-reader, MP3 player, handheld video games, curling iron, portable TV/DVD player, alarm clock and white noise machine to enjoy this trip. Curse them further for oh-so-generously providing you with a lone outlet to power them all.

Besides a power strip, see what else can make your cabin feel more like home with our cabin hacks.

4. You only have two hands to carry food at the buffet.

Cue that sinking feeling you get when you're perfectly balancing three plates of food at the buffet and, on your way to hunt for an empty table, you spot your favorite dish. (You must've missed it on your first five passes through while you were casing the joint.) Maybe you can ... just ... move ... your ... pinky ... to ... pick up the serving spoon, and -- *splat.*

Don't be that person. Check out the rules of buffet etiquette.

5. The songs "Hot Hot Hot" and the "Cupid Shuffle" now haunt your dreams.

"Margaritaville." "Happy." "Wobble." Cheesy cruise songs are so much fun -- the first two times you hear them. By the second day onboard, you run for cover whenever the peppy tunes start to play. One minute you're sunbathing with a pina colada; the next, you're curled up in the fetal position under your lounger, trying to block out what looks to be the most uncoordinated flash mob you've ever seen.

Want to stay zen on your next voyage? Here are tips for finding peace and quiet on a cruise.

How do I make them stop? (photo: PathDoc/Shutterstock)

6. Your tablemates won't shut up about ___.

Whether it's religion, politics or money, there are certain tablemates who just don't quite grasp the concept of polite dinner conversation. Oh, you recently had stomach-stapling surgery? How interesting. Oh, you're so rich that you only want people to give you caviar for your birthday? That's nice. (Also, we don't care.)

To avoid enduring a bad tablemate for a week's worth of dinners, consider ditching assigned seating for flexible dining.

7. They scheduled bingo at the same time as trivia.

Life just isn't fair! Insert crying emoji.

Check out the best cruise lines for onboard entertainment.

8. You're drowning in fliers.

You frantically tear your cabin apart in a desperate search for missing tickets for tomorrow's shore excursion, your significant other's keycard and the invitations to the chef's table dinner you're supposed to be attending in 10 minutes. You know you put them right here, but you've got so many daily schedules, spa service pamphlets and fliers telling you why you should buy an inch of gold that the things you're looking for could be anywhere in the anything-but-paperless whirlwind that has become your stateroom.

Here are some things you don't know about your cruise ship cabin -- one will help keep your onboard digs organized.

Keep a lookout for those clever chair hogs (photo: michelle1836/Cruise Critic member)

9. The prime seats are always taken.

It doesn't matter if you get to the theater 10 minutes early or wake up at an ungodly hour to secure a spot by the pool. The five people in the front row at the comedy show will tell you all of the empty seats surrounding them are accounted for, and prime sun loungers will be claimed by towels, books and flip-flops left by people who woke up even earlier than you did.

Here's how you can outsmart chair hogs.

10. You want to take the elevator from Deck 3 to Deck 12, but all the buttons have been pushed.

Kids. They're on your ship. You can also find them taking over the adults-only hot tub, sitting in the stairwells and causing backups at the soft-serve machine.

If you prefer an adults-only atmosphere, have a look at kid-free cruises.

11. Stuck in shower curtain. Send help.

You just wanted a nice, hot shower after a long day in port. Was that so much to ask? Now you're ensnared in the clingy, plastic grip of death (which has, no doubt, also straightjacketed the last 20 passengers before you) with little hope of escape -- at least until someone arrives with your room service breakfast the following morning.

Want to avoid the cling? Take a peek at these amazing cruise ship bathrooms.

Don't get stuck sipping on subpar drinks (photo: kitty/Shutterstock)

12. All the cocktails you like are 50 cents over the price limit of your drink package.

Buy a beverage package, they said. It will save you money, they said. But now you're stuck drinking subpar liquor because everything decent is marked up just enough to be excluded from the packages' per-drink price limits.

Get the lowdown on cruise line alcohol packages.

13. Your half-day shore tour ran long, and you're back on the ship five minutes after the buffet closed.

Your shore excursion was fun but exhausting, and you board your ship starving. You make a quick pit stop in your cabin to drop your belongings and wash your hands before heading to the buffet, planning to eat enough for a small army. You arrive to find empty stations and signs saying the buffet will reopen in a couple of hours for dinner. Room service says your order will be ready in 45 minutes at the earliest. By then, you'll have eaten your own arm.

Satiate your appetite with this list of the best cruise ship buffets.

Sitting on your suitcase should do the trick (photo: racorn/Shutterstock)

14. You can't fit all of those Drink of the Day glasses in your luggage.

Woohoo! Drink of the Day! Discounted alcohol and free souvenir glasses. What's not to love (besides the extra 30 pounds those shot glasses will add to your suitcase if, by some miracle, you can actually manage to fit them all in there)?

To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best cruise cocktails.

15. You have PCSD.

Post Cruise Stress Disorder: The struggle is real. It's the last night of your cruise, and all you have to look forward to after dinner, a show and several strong drinks is packing -- and trying not to forget that you'll need something other than your pajamas in which to leave the ship the next day. Add the debarkation debacle to the mix, along with your homeward travels, and the last thing you want to think about is going back to work, cooking, cleaning and pretty much everything the real world has to offer. (Obviously the best solution for this is to book another cruise -- perhaps to Alaska and the Med and Hawaii and the Galapagos.)

If you've got the itch, check out our extensive list of cruise deals.

Updated January 08, 2020
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