1. Climbing/horseplay on railings – Although this should be a no-brainer, we occasionally hear accounts of passengers sitting on the ship’s railings or climbing over balcony partitions.
2. Stiffing the crew – While most cruise lines automatically charge a daily gratuity or service surcharge to your stateroom, you can have them removed by going to guest services. However, just because you are allowed to have them taken off doesn’t mean that you should. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant without tipping and you shouldn’t go on a cruise without tipping.
3. Getting too drunk – No one enjoys having an obnoxious drunk by them on the lido deck or at their dinner table.
4. Getting left behind in port – When the captain says that the ship is leaving port at 5:00, he means it. He isn’t going to wait around for those that lost track of time. If you get left behind in port, you are responsible for your own transportation to the next port or back home. The costs can be several thousand dollars each and will be even more complicated if you are traveling without a passport. Our advice? Plan on arriving back near the ship 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you are scheduled to leave. This not only gives you some time to shop in the port area, but also gives you plenty of leeway if you run into traffic or your taxi or bus has a breakdown on the way back.
5. Going by port time instead of ship time – Going by port time instead of ship time is a great way to miss your ship. Also, never trust the time on your cell phone. Bring a watch and if you don’t have one, pick up a cheap $10 watch and you will never have to worry about getting port/ship times mixed up.
6. Eating only at the buffet – While newer ships like Regal Princess have great buffets, the best food on a cruise is almost always in the main dining room. By eating only at the buffet, you miss out on the great food and service that is offered in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants.
7. Line cutting – We all hate waiting in lines while on vacation, but it’s part of life.
8. Booking late flights on embarkation day – Booking late flights on embarkation day is a great way to miss your cruise. While it is not always possible for everyone to fly in the day before due to work commitments, you should always plan on arriving the day before if you are able to.
9. Booking early flights on disembarkation day – Cruise lines recommend not booking flights before noon on disembarkation day. Just because your arrival time says 7:00 a.m., there is almost no chance of catching an 8:30 flight. There have been times I walked right through customs, and other times it took over an hour to get through the line.
10. Leaving balcony doors open – Leaving your balcony door propped open will create a wind tunnel when your stateroom door is opened. It’s a great way to get your fingers smashed in the door when it slams shut on you.
11. Leaving your curtains open when pulling into port – More often than not, you will be docked directly across the pier from another cruise ship. Those on the ship next to you will be able to see into your cabin if your curtains are open.
12. Forgetting to turn data roaming off – Before stepping foot on the ship, you should go to the settings on your phone and make sure that data roaming is turned off. This will keep your cell phone from racking up huge charges and using data even when it is in your pocket. Putting your phone in airplane mode will also keep you from racking up additional charges.
13. Piling into elevators without letting other passengers out first – This is about having respect for your fellow passengers.
14. Treating the crew like 2nd class citizens – We all have bad days, but how many you would have if you worked 7 days a week and were away from your family for 6-9 months at a time? Kind words to the crew will go a long way, treat them with the same respect that you give to your spouse.
15. Cruising without travel insurance – Cruising without travel insurance is like playing with fire. There are a wide range of policies offered that include coverage for medical (your medical insurance most likely won’t cover you out of the country), travel delays and interruptions, and cancellations.
16. Lying on your medical form – Before you board your cruise, you have to fill out a medical form where you check boxes of certain symptoms that you have had over the past 48-72 hours. Lying on this form is a great way of spreading an illness to other passengers. Lying on your form is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on a cruise.