Are cruise passengers annoying? Looks like it!

We had a thought-provoking response to our poll on Cruise Critic at the weekend. We asked, if you were a crewmember, what would annoy you the most? The choices were: demanding/rude passengers; unsociable working hours; measly tips; and travelling the world but rarely leaving the ship.

No prizes for guessing what won: an overwhelming 80.19% of you voted for demanding/rude passengers!

Annoying passengers

More than 80% thought passengers were the worst part of the job

This poll was inspired by a blog post we did last week about the joys and horrors of working on a cruise ship. A lot of the crewmembers whose opinions I was reading on the original Facebook story complained about passengers not even bothering to greet them on passing in the corridor, or behaving in a generally thoughtless manner. And now we’re agreeing with them – we, the passengers, are the worst part of their job!

Perhaps someone ought to compile a list of useful points: Getting The Most Out Of Your Crew. I know the onus is on the crew to be nice to the guests, but little things, I’ve noticed, make a huge difference to the way they interact with us. I have a friend who politely addresses every crewmember he deals with by name (he reads their badges). The service he gets is noticeably different from those who simply bark orders without making eye contact. And just stopping to chat can liven up the boring, repetitive day of a cabin steward.

What’s your tip for being a model passenger? Let us know!




Filed under Opinion

13 responses to “Are cruise passengers annoying? Looks like it!

  1. Denise

    Treat the crew and staff as you would treat anyone who was hosting you as a guest. Remember since many of the crew are from other countries, you represent America to them. Begphave with some class and manners, so as not to be the typical ugly and patronizing and condescending amerian. If you have children, insist that they be respectful and couteaos as well. The staff and crew are just that. They are not your servants. The cruise staff of HollandAmerica are superb,

  2. To be a model cruise customer:

    1. At least try to pick up some of the trash in your cabin and put it into the trash for the steward arrives.

    2. Don’t beg for onboard credits for “poor service” right when you get on the ship.

    3. Use the onboard hand sanitizer even if you are not asked.

  3. Gina

    We make it a point to introduce ourself to our room steward as soon as possible. To wave & smile when we see them and to pick up personal items before leaving our room.

    We go out of our way to bond with our dining staff the first night. Ask where they are from and how long they’ve been on the ship. Ask about family, etc. They make our experience really fun – and let’s face it, we’re together every night. We’ve been on 7 cruises and always get a hug on our last night – initiated by them!

  4. grizel robertson

    I couldn’t agree more. Interacting with the crew is one of the things that I have enjoyed most on my many cruises.
    I have never been ignored when I have greeted crew members, be that room stewards, bar attendants, cleaners, engineers, officers etc. In fact, many times they are ahead of the game & acknowledge my presence before I have the opportunity to speak to them.
    Over the last 18 years I have learned so much from crew members of various nationalities about their home countries, their education & their reasons for embarking on work on cruise ships. When you engage in conversation with these people you can sense that they are proud to tell you about their background & they feel valued as individuals because you have shown an interest in them as human beings rather than treating them as personal slaves at your beck & call.
    A great number of junior crew members are more highly educated than the majority of cruisers & have taken time out to learn more about the wider world before following their chosen career path. In addition, a great many have chosen to work on the ships because, by doing so, they can save more toward the provision of financial security for their families than they could in their homelands.
    A stateroom steward is a treasure. If you treat one well you will reap the rewards. On the other hand, if you carp about little things of no consequence, you will get what you paid for with no sweetener. Civility costs nothing but it reaps many benefits.


    • jerryo

      Agree with Grizel 120%!! These people work hard and often support loved ones at home, try to further their education, or attempt to better themselves and family. It’s not easy being pleasant 24/7 x several days or weeks!

  5. linda

    We always greet every crew member we see and do our best to treat them with respect. Recently we took a cruise on the Celebrity line out of Miami and we appalled at how rude and insensitive the passengers were. We witnessed countless disgruntled passengers and for no apparent reason would berate the crew members especially those on deck around the food lines. It was disgusting. We normally cruise Royal Carribean or Carnival and the passengers are normally very friendly and polite and gracious.

  6. Woodbinemom

    Our family of 4 (two teenagers), myself and hubby cruise yearly. We have always had wonderful experiences with the cruise staff, and yes the key is engaging them. They have WONDERFUL stories to tell, and are the THE BEST educators of their own countries-we have visited many places because of recommendations from the cruise staff. That was until our most recent cruise to Alaska via Princess, and there I saw the most profound change in the crew itself. The passengers were really quite pleasant but the staff was surley, rude, and not at all friendly. We couldn’t figure out why, until we attended the “captain’s cocktail” party for returning guests to the Princess line. NOT ONE crew member approached us, or acknowledged us. When we approached several to ask about their jobs, to say hi, just to basically engage in “cocktail party” chatter, we were greeted with very cold shoulders. So while 80% is up to the passengers to engage in a polite and friendly manner with the crew, it is also up to the management of the ship to set an example of how they would like their staff to treat their “guests”. Princess is losing our business in the future based on our last experience.

  7. jerryo

    Treat them as a member of your vacation team, not someone subserviant. Interact with them and show interest in their lives and activities. Exchange smiles and fun commnets. Show them that you are annoyed when you notice other passengers abusing the crew. I have learned a lot about international customs, facts etc. from crew members.

  8. Annie

    I have only ever cruised twice, and both times with Carnival. The first time was March 2009, and the second April 2010. I LOVE it. One of the biggest things we talk about to family and friends back home and encouraging people we know to cruise is the service from the cruise ship staff. I travel a lot for work and I usually get what I pay for, if I am in a cheaper hotel or chain, I can only expect a certain amount of service, if I happen to be in a high-end hotel chain or on a specialty floor, I expect and get a lot more service. Not so with the cruise lines. I see these people be pleasant to everyone they meet, and at the end of the cruise when I am going around mentioning to all my new staff “friends” that I am going to make sure I mention them in the comment card, they are overwhelmed with joy. The service you get on board a cruise ship is unbelievable – after two cruises I still can’t get over it!

    On my last cruise I was waiting at the bar for a cola and there was a gentleman there who probably had a few too many drinks in him already, but he had bought this jumbo, like gallon+ sized container and he wanted to pay for an alcoholic beverage but have it served in the giant container, which they would not do for him (I don’t blame them, he was obviously trying to get the equivalent of 2-3 drinks for the price of one). Well not only did he get very loud and very disruptive, but he started going on about the “poor service” on the ship and how he would “never sail carnival again” and he’s “been on so many cruises but had never had such rotten service”, etc. I was pissed off! I mean I genuinely felt for the staff. I wanted to run after him and ask him if he expected the staff to wipe his (ahem) for him because that’s practically the only thing they don’t do! But none of the staff reacted adversely, I was probably the most upset of anyone and I was just a bystander. I made it a point to apologize to my server on behalf of that stranger because he was a real jerk and he just shrugged it off. But I guess these are the kinds of people who make up those demanding/rude passengers that the staff don’t like. Sad 😦

  9. I always make it a point to take pictures & videos of as many crew members as I can. I post the pictures on a photo sharing site, then always get at least 2 email addresses from them, so they can go online and see themselves & share with their fellow workers.

    These are some of the most ignored people on the ship. I know how Americans can treat people from other countries. Being a minority myself, I can relate to the crew & always befriend many of them.

  10. This is an excellent topic and a great debate.

    Some of my best cruise memories from 100-plus voyages are from the crew and cruise staff on board many ships and I would urge my fellow cruisers to relish the opportunity to strike up a good relationship – and even a friendship – with some of the people you encounter on board. There is such a diverse community on most ships, it is a great opportunity to learn about different countries and cultures and add that vital extra dimension to your holiday.

    To me, a good cruise is a very personal experience, and what could be more personal than hearing about your cabin stewardess’s children or your bar tender’s favourite ports of call? There are some GREAT people working at sea, and people would be missing a great opportunity not to tap into that, IMHO.

    Simon Veness,
    Editor, World of Cruising magazine

  11. val

    With very rare exceptions, ship crews work very hard for very little pay. They depend on tips for their livelihood. We, as passengers, should be polite, and treat the crew as we would want to be treated, and tip according to the guidelines. Crew members are not slaves- some people forget. I’m embarrassed for those folks who forget their manners.
    My husband and I have been on 5 cruises. We’ve yet to come across an issue that can’t be resolved with a smile and a short mention to whomever is responsible.

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