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Cruise passengers on Emerald Princess (Photo: Cruise Critic)

The 8 Weirdest Things that Cruisers Do

Cruise passengers on Emerald Princess (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Kerry Spencer

Apr 21, 2023

Read time
4 min read

We all agree that cruising is weird and wonderful. Indeed, regular cruisers will likely be familiar with seeing other passengers do some very weird things onboard from time to time. However, first-time cruisers might be shocked to learn about the more offbeat antics (ahem, an upside-down pineapple) that some cruisers get up to that aren’t seen on land-based vacations.

From hiding yellow ducks around the ship to collecting cute towel animals, here are some of the more eyebrow-raising things that cruisers do onboard.

On This Page

Decorating Cruise Cabin Doors -- Fun or Plain Weird?

A door decorated on Celebrity Millennium. (Photo: Cruise Critic)

If you're an avid cruiser, you’ll have spotted colorfully decorated cabin doors onboard. This is one of those weird things you won't spot in a resort on land. It's more common on some lines than others, too, such as on Disney Cruise Line's ships, with some passengers adorning their door with pictures of their favorite Disney characters or Disney movie posters. On a recent MSC Cruises sailing, some passengers attached A4 photo prints of themselves to their cabin door, while others attach birthday and anniversary banners to mark a special occasion.

A Cabin Crawl is a Weird Concept to Some Passengers, But Makes Perfect Sense to Others

Category VA Veranda stateroom aboard Rotterdam. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

A cabin crawl is when a bunch of passengers (usually complete strangers up until the point of meeting onboard) staying in different cabin types get together to offer up their respective cabins to the group for a tour. The idea behind a cabin crawl is that you get to view a plethora of different cabin types onboard. On Cruise Critic's Boards, Sue Do-Over even offers up some handy cabin crawl advice: "It's best to start [a cabin crawl] with the smallest cabins, moving quickly, and then end up in the largest for actual socializing. On ours, the last was a huge aft cabin with a giant balcony which had room for all of us to crowd in."

The Cruise Ducks Phenomenon

Cruisers often hide little yellow ducks around the ship (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Have you ever spotted a little yellow rubber or knitted duck in a public area of a cruise ship? If so, it's likely the duck was deliberately planted there by another passenger as a weird, cruising ritual. The finder then shares photos of the duck -- sometimes in various spots around the ship, such as positioned with a cocktail, on a sun lounger, gazing at the sunset from a balcony -- on social media. Other times, the duck comes with a tag and instructions on how to return the duck to its owner. There is even a dedicated Facebook page set up called Cruising Ducks that has garnered a staggering 179,000 members.

Cruise Critic member wowzz revealed on the Boards: "I am a member of a roll call for a future cruise, and am amazed that one fellow cruiser has announced that she will be bringing onboard 100 cruising ducks."

We're not quite sure why or how this became a thing on cruise ships, but it sure is quirky.

Speaking of Roll Calls ... Some Cruisers Get to Know Each Other Even Before Boarding

Passengers walk their dogs on Queen Mary 2 (Photo: Colleen McDaniel)

Another weird thing some cruisers partake in is a Roll Call -- a thread on the Cruise Critic Message Boards dedicated to a particular sailing to allow cruisers to "meet up" online ahead of a voyage. While some travelers might find this concept a little unconventional, it's actually a great way of getting to know fellow cruisers and arrange meet ups. Roll Calls are especially useful for solo travelers wanting to socialize and arrange to pair up for shore excursions with fellow passengers once onboard. It's also a great way to arrange a cabin crawl ahead of your sailing.

It's Weird When Passengers Collect Cruise Ship Towel Animals in their Cabin

Towel Animal on Margaritaville at Sea Paradise (Photo/Chris Gray Faust)

They're cute, we get it. And we're appreciative of the time and effort that cabin stewards put into creating these fun little cotton creatures, but fully grown adults collecting them? It seems weird, and it kind of is -- until you catch yourself saving those oh-so-cute towel animals yourself. You can have a veritable towel zoo by the end of your cruise -- and you might even be sad to leave them. Take lots of pictures!

When Passengers Snigger at Pineapples on Cruise Ships

This one pertains to a certain cruise ship "activity." Some cruisers have been known to use an upside-down pineapple as a (not-so) secret code for swinging -- couples who partake in swapping sexual partners. So, if you ever see a pineapple on a cruise ship (upside down or not), don't be surprised to find a gaggle of giggling passengers nearby. And if you see the secret code attached to a cruise cabin door, now you know what it means.

When Groups of Passengers Make Matching T-Shirts or Dress Up En Masse

Passengers on Carnival Breeze after mask requirement lifted (Photo/Cynthia Drake)

Groups of adults wearing matching tees or in dress up: on land, it would be weird. But on a cruise ship, it's just part and parcel of the way cruising has changed over the years, as families, couples and groups of friends seek to commemorate the occasion. This ends up being one of those weird things that cruisers do that passengers might find a little strange -- until you start embracing it for yourself!

When Cruisers Wear Their Robes ... Everywhere

Couple in the Persian Garden on Celebrity Equinox (Photo: Celebrity Cruises)

Wearing your cruise robe in the spa and around the Pool Deck makes perfect sense. But to the buffet restaurant or to casually wander through the ship? It’s weird -- and yet cruisers do it all the time. And why not? You're living the dream at sea, right? Just remember: the ship's dress codes will prohibit you from dining in your robe.

Have you spotted some curious goings-on aboard your favorite cruise ship? Join the conversation on Cruise Critic Boards’ and share your cruising expertise and insights.

Updated April 21, 2023
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