Cruise Trivia Lovers Call Out Cheaters — Plus, Tips on How to Win

Although trivia contests are among the most popular events held on most cruise ship sailings, they’ve also proven to be a hotbed of controversy. Why? Because despite the low stakes, many have proven that when it comes to cruise trivia, they’re willing to do anything — including cheat — to win.

Do People Really Cheat at Cruise Trivia?

When the topic was recently discussed on the Facebook page of Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald, he speculated that perhaps this wasn’t an issue. “This used to happen a lot,” he wrote of cheating, “but these days I don’t read about it so much as I used to. And after all, I think most people treat trivia as a dollop of fun, right?”

Commenters — hundreds of them, in fact, — informed Heald that he was most definitely wrong on this one. And although he suggested that when pointed out to crew members, those caught would be disqualified, that, too, was loudly disputed. The big question, however, was why someone would cheat at so trivial — pun intended — an activity.

cruise trivia

“Why would anyone feel good about winning a trivia contest if they cheated?” asked one Facebook respondent. “Do you really care that much what a roomful of strangers think?” She added that while the ship-on-a-stick which is awarded to winners on Carnival cruises is cute, “It’s not like it has any actual value. But hey, if your self-worth is riding on it, go for it.”

Of course, it’s not as if Carnival ships are the only place on which cheating is taking place. However, the much-sought-after ship-on-a-stick trophy makes the topic a hot one among the line’s regulars.

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How to Win Without Cheating

Of course, as someone in your life undoubtedly said at some point, cheaters never truly win. Yeah, yeah, they might walk away with the trophy or bragging rights, but the real victory comes in knowing you didn’t need to surreptitiously consult Uncle Google (or use valuable wi-fi minutes to do so)… right? If you want the best possible shot at winning — or at least doing your best against cheaters — we’ve got a few helpful tips.

Timing Is Everything

Most cruise lines offer a slew of trivia contests at all hours of the day. You’ll usually find that the sessions held early in the morning are the least attended… meaning less competition!

Pick Your Poison

Unless you plan to hit every trivia session, figure out which ones you have the best shot of scoring with. General trivia is tough, as it’s basically an unpredictable catch-all. But 80s Music or Flags of the World? Those are topics you either know or you don’t… and why waste your time if you know you’re going to blow it? (Unless, of course, you’re in it for the fun and to possibly learn something new, in which case… go for it!)

Know More Than the Basics

There’s a difference between knowing all the major and some of the minor players on Friends and knowing that Rachel’s prom date was named Chip Matthews or that Joey’s Cabbage Patch Kid was named Alicia May Emory. Usually, trivia — even when it comes to topics like Harry Potter — isn’t going to be won by those with a passing knowledge of the topic. Unless, of course, they cheat!

The More the Merrier

Usually, trivia on a cruise is considered a team sport. The odds of three or four people being able to come up with the right answer to a question are exponentially greater than any one person doing so.

viking crown lounge royal caribbean
(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Answer Every Question

Even if the question leaves you drawing a blank, don’t leave a blank on your answer sheet. Take a wild guess… you’ll never get right the question you don’t at least try to answer. And you’d be surprised how often random guesses turn out to be right! Along those same lines…

Go With Your Gut

When the member of the cruise staff assigned to trivia starts sharing the answers, watch the people around you. It’s amazing how often you see people slap their heads and hear them saying, “Ugh, I was going to put that, but didn’t think it was right!”

Be Prepared

Just like when you were in school, there’s a big difference between studying and cheating. If you’re pretty sure there’s going to be a Cuisines of the World trivia contest, read up. Heck, if you want to study for a Friends trivia challenge, there are approximately 6.3 gazillion sites out there with buckets of questions and answers that might be asked!

Have A Blast

Honestly, the best part of trivia is the fun factor. Ignore the cheaters and the loud guy two tables over who offers commentary on every question. Heck, tell yourself you don’t even care if you win, you’ve got a cocktail in one hand and a tiny nub of a pencil in the other. Plus, you’re on a cruise. You’ve already won!

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