5 mistakes I saw people making on my cruise last week

06 Jan 2024
Matt Hochberg

I spent 5-nights on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas and noticed some common cruise mistakes being committed that could have been easily avoided.

Mariner of the Seas docked at CocoCay

There are many mistakes to avoid on any cruise, and you don't have to be a cruise ship expert to know about them all.

Avoiding these mistakes will save you time, money, or sanity. No matter how big or small the savings, it all adds up.

After a day or two, I picked up on the mistakes I saw my fellow cruisers making, and I started to compile a list in my head. There may have been others, but these were the ones I observed.

Take this as a good reminder not to do any of these yourself when you set sail.

Not buying add-ons before the cruise


If you want to save a lot of money, be sure to pre-buy all the extras for your cruise in the weeks and months leading up to your sailing. 

There were staggering price differences if you bought it onboard versus before the cruise began.

Drink package price onboard

I saw on embarkation day the advertised rate for Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink package was priced at $100 per person, per day. 

Had it been purchased before the cruise began, it was around $69.99 per person, per day.  I think the higher price had it around $74.99 per day.

Floating cabanas

The floating cabanas at the Coco Beach Club had a big price drop before the cruise began to about $1800 for a rental for up to 8 guests. But onboard the ship, they were charging $4,000.

Royal Caribbean offers pre-cruise discounts on most of its popular cruise add-ons. You can always cancel and rebook it if there's a price drop.

Don't wait to book these onboard the ship, because you'll only pay more for it.

Not applying sunscreen

I'm not sure if it was because January isn't a very hot month in the Caribbean, but I saw so many people walking back onto the ship after a fun day in Cozumel, Mexico completely sunburned.

Forgetting to apply sunscreen or re-apply it is one of the quickest ways to a miserable day or two as your body heals.

cococay slide

During our visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay, we had clouds for some of the day, but the sun came out later. I think the clouds may have given some people the false sense of security that they couldn't get sunburned.

It's true that clouds do block some UV light. But more than 90% of the sun's UV radiation can still pass through clouds on lightly overcast days.

When you're at the beach, pool, or walking around outdoors in the Caribbean, you need to get into the habit of remembering to apply sunscreen every couple of hours. It's annoying to have to stop what you're doing to do it, but the discomfort from a bad sunburn is worth taking a couple of minutes to do it.

Being rude to crew members

Windjammer table

This mistake infuriates me for the sheer lack of respect, but some passengers seem to think the rules don't apply to them.

While in the Windjammer a guest was stopped by a crew member because he had come from the pool deck and was not wearing shoes.

The crew member told him he had to wear shoes in order to go into the restaurant. He responded that no one had told him that the other day when he did the same thing, and then proceeded to walk past the crew member and ignoring their instruction.

There are rules in place for a reason, but more importantly, you don't get to pick and choose when you want to adhere to instructions given to you by crew members.

The crew members work hard to ensure everyone has a great (and safe) cruise. Always be respectful to them.

Forgetting their SeaPass card on disembarkation day

Mariner of the Seas in terminal 5

As I was walking off Mariner of the Seas, I witnessed two different cruise mistakes within about 10 minutes.

The first was the family that held up the entire disembarkation process because they didn't bring their SeaPass cards with them to leave the ship.

Seapass card

When it's your time to disembark the ship, you'll need your SeaPass card to leave. It's how Royal Caribbean knows you've left the ship.

If you don't have it, then the ship's security team needs to look you up manually and that slows down everyone.

Be sure to also have your travel documents for later when you go through customs.

Disembarking before luggage number called

Luggage in the terminal waiting to be picked up

Royal Caribbean assigns each passenger a luggage tag number so that if you left your luggage on the ship to be delivered to the cruise terminal on the final morning, it's there waiting for you.

However, every cruise there's a handful of passengers I see standing around the luggage area waiting for their bags, because they disembarked too early.

For these people, they'll have to wait for all the bags in their number to be delivered and called for them to be able to grab their bags.

You're much better off waiting onboard the ship for your number to called so you can avoid standing around the terminal for no reason later.

More cruise tips & tricks:

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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