Addressing the Top 7 Cruise-Related Complaints

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Let’s face it, no vacation – cruise or not – ever goes without its small share of annoyances. But if you plan ahead, you can avoid them or at least expect them.

Here are 7 common cruise complaints:

1. Lines

Unfortunately, cruises are full of lines. Lines to get on the ship, lines to get off the ship, lines to tender, lines for food, lines to get into shows sometimes. They can especially get crowded when thousands of people are being herded through just a few sets of doors on turnaround day. But lines are always easier to wait in when they’re anticipated, so just know to expect them on your cruise and they won’t leave you flustered.

2. Food

Food is probably one of the most common cruise complaints, but it’s also the hardest complaint to put value in because food is so subjective. What one cruiser may consider outstanding, another might consider underwhelming. If you haven’t cruised before and are worried you won’t like the food, fear not. There are simply too many options on cruise ships these days for you to not find something you like. And remember you don’t have to cook it or clean up after!

3. Canceled Ports

Cruisers hate when ports get canceled, and rightfully so. Weeks and months have been spent planning out what to explore or booking exciting excursions – only for the cruise line to cancel the visit to the port. It’s understandable to be disappointed, but try not to complain. Almost every reason for a cruise line to cancel a port visit boils down to a safety issue. If a cruise port is canceled, you will get your the port taxes refunded to you.

4. It’s a Party Boat

Cruise ships can get a reputation as “party boats,” which, if you’ve never cruised before, can leave you imagining people jumping into a pool full of champagne and hanging off the balconies. But trust me, that’s not the case.

If a party is what you’re looking for, there is always a dance club, piano bar, or late night deck party to join. But it’s just as easy to find the quiet, peaceful areas of a ship. Cruise ships are designed with every age group and demographic possible in mind, so whether you want to party or just relax, there will be a place for you.

5. How People Dress

The “formal night” at dinner has become a contentious topic for cruisers. It is meant to be a night for cruisers to dress to impress and enjoy elegant dining in the main dining room. However, the dress code for formal night is rarely enforced. I’ve seen women in full-length prom dresses sitting one table away from men in blue jeans and baseball caps.

But many argue that they are on vacation, they don’t care to dress up, and they shouldn’t be forced to dress in formal wear to enjoy the meals that are included in their cruise fare. But does the lack of enforcement of the “dress code” mean that cruise lines are leaning toward doing away with “formal night” altogether? With the rise in additional specialty restaurants on ships, there has been a shift toward a more casual main dining room, and so the future of “formal night,” which has already been toned down to “evening chic” attire on lines such as Celebrity Cruises, remains uncertain.

6. Chair Hogs

Ugh, chair hogs. These are the people who stake claim to a deck chair by leaving their towel or backpack on it and then disappear. Most ships have a 45-minute rule in which they’ll remove the chair hog’s items and hold them until they return for them so someone else can use their chair. It’s only fair.

But it can be so frustrating when you walk past an entire row of deck chairs (that happen to be in the perfect patch of sun) and they’re all empty but ‘taken.’ If you notice that a chair with someone’s stuff on it has been vacant for a long period of time and you’d like to use it, just politely notify a nearby crew member and they’ll likely clear the belongings for you so you can use it.

7. Hidden Costs

The “hidden” costs of cruising can leave many cruisers feeling nickel and dimed – but are they really hidden? If you’re using a travel agent, he or she will likely warn you on the costs that aren’t included in your cruise: port taxes and fees, gratuities, alcohol, sodas, specialty restaurants, spa services, medical services, shore excursions, trip insurance, etc. None of these are included in your base fare, so be sure to do your research ahead of time if you’re unsure of what’s included and what’s not. That way you can avoid surprises.

What do you see most cruisers complaining about these days?

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