What types of people can you encounter during a cruise?


By its very nature, cruising sees hundreds and often thousands of people come together to occupy the same ship for an adventure to see and experience exciting new landscapes and destinations in corners all around the world.

This mixture of people brings together all cultures, races and nationalities but also people from a wide range of social and economic backgrounds coming from different professions and family structures. It’s a massive melting pot of humanity which always has potential to spill.

Unless your cruise line is particularly adept at tables-for-two or of a perfect size for your individual party, it’s a virtual inevitability that at some stage during your cruise, you will share a table with fellow guests you don’t know. Or be seated with someone that you end up conversing with, if for no other reason than to be polite.

Countless life-long friendships have been formed from that very thing, while others will leave you contemplating whether the consequences of pushing overboard could be worth it.

We’ve taken a look at some of the more stereotypical cruisers you can come across on your holiday, including the ones you’ll love and the ones you’ll want to avoid.

Without naming names, which type of cruiser have you encountered? Which do you avoid and which do you love? Tell us below in the comments.

1. The know-it-all

Every cruise will feature that passenger who has read more about cruising in brochures than anybody else.

This is that person you get seated with at lunch who can tell you exactly which cabin number the CEO of the cruise line sleeps in when they’re onboard. They can also tell you in-depth info about ports they have never been to, nor ones you are visiting on your current voyage.

They will passive aggressively argue a point to a degree that forces you to simply walk away and let them win. They typically also know, or act like they know, every single crew member onboard to a near personal degree because they sailed with them on a two night cruise some 15 years ago.

2. The quiet couple who ignore you

These are our favourites - the ones who will engage and talk to you if you wish to talk but who leave you alone otherwise.

You might think we’re complaining or writing negatively about all of these stereotypes, but this one can be quite a positive. The quiet couple are actually some of our favourites to be stuck with at meal times.

Unobtrusive and reserved, they let you enjoy your meal in peace and without the forced, awkward conversation that can be comparable to being in a slow-motion train wreck.

They make slight small talk and pleasantries at the greeting stage, but leave it at that. They have a simple order but don’t mind when you order an additional course they aren’t having. Occasionally they will join the table’s conversation – if only to prove the know-it-all wrong.

3. The obnoxious drunk

There is always one drunk on every cruise, no matter how exclusive it is.

On every cruise, no matter how exclusive, there will almost always be that one person who is an obnoxious drunk. Crude, rude and just generally unpleasant to be around, they typically know which drinks are the strongest and will tell the waiter “to just keep bringing em”.

They will hijack the conversation with unnecessary and long-winded stories about the most boring and pointless topics on the planet – with those listening showing declining levels of interest. Occasionally they will provide a degree of charisma, but that wears off by night two.

4. The mother or grandmother figure

Countless life-long friendships have been made at cruise dinner tables, extending to time spent off the ship too.

This is the one we love the most. The mother figure (and generally accompanying father figure) are the go-to’s you can share any life problems, no matter how personal, that you wish to discuss with someone who you may never see again.

With the benefit of age and hindsight, their wisdom provides you with a fresh perspective and understanding on life that can only be shared over a few bottles of wine and long nights at a dinner table. They are genuinely interested in you and your life and wanting to help, yet aren’t fully invested in having you like them, so they will generally tell it how they see it, even if it isn’t necessarily what you want to hear.

The mother figure is generally a lot of fun to be around, so they are great people to stretch the friendship with, beyond dinner, with new shipboard companions to take to a show or have a post dinner drink with. No topic is seemingly off limits with the mother figure, so hit them up for everything from relationship advice to tips on raising kids.

5. The Joker

The joker is also a lot of fun to be around - polite, jovial and entertaining without being overbearing.

Don’t get “the joker” confused with “the drunk”. The joker usually doesn’t drink that much but is a tonne of fun to be around, without the obnoxious behaviour the latter represents.

They play and interact with your wait staff, without impeding their job, while also providing comic relief for the table. They are the life of the table and will turn around even the worst days at sea (which hardly ever happen anyway) with a new joke or a funny story.

You will also generally see them participating in activities around the ship and in port, making a comical example of themselves for the amusement of anyone within earshot.

6. The couple who’ve ditched their kids

The young couple might be new parents and while they love their kids, the party days were not that long ago either.

Generally in their late 30’s or 40’s, these couples have moved on to the family stage of their lives but are still clinging on to the unravelling threads of their dating days.

Having left the kids with grandma and grandpa, you’ll find these two trying to order every single cocktail on the menu, these two are loving the cruise but missing their kids terribly, even though they do their best not to show it.

Don’t make the mistake of asking to see photos of the kids they’ve left behind or tears will inevitably follow – as will your holiday time while you look at every photo in their smartphone of little Johnny or little Jane. Stick with them for a fun time, keeping in mind that they also will enjoy sleeping too so the late nights won’t mean you’re still up at four in the morning.

7. The perfect family

The perfect family are a joy to dine with.

Many people don’t care but not everybody goes on a cruise to associate with other people’s kids. That may be what they’ve left at home – it’s not always easy to tell.

That is unless of course, they are the perfect family – the Disney fairytale type. Generally with kids slightly older in age, these kids display table manners in line with royalty and will generally order fancier food than us.

They hold conversation on their own and have no issues telling a relevant story that enchants the table. The parents – aware of the little angels they have created – are equally relaxed and kind, ensuring the kids don’t take all the focus away from the rest of the table.

8. The ‘Everything is wrong’ person

These are the ones who feel entitled to the heights of luxury for the budget price and feel aggrieved when it doesn't happen.

By far the worst type of person you can find sharing the same oxygen as you, let alone the same cruise ship. This is the one we dislike the most.

The eternal complainers, these people are the ones who will tell anyone who will make the mistake of showing interest, in detail, just how bad everything is, how terrible it is and how they’ll be escalating the issue as soon as they can.

They make particular mention of how bad the food is, but then proceed to order five or six courses. Continual remarks are made about how it’s the worst cruise they’ve been on and that another line – usually one associated with a far higher standard of luxury and price – was so much better.

Lacking the ability to camouflage yourself and sneak away, you will typically train yourself to stop taking notice until they make an awful comment about the crew – who have generally always been pleasant and happy with you – before telling them off and begging for the chance to move tables.

The Maitre’d is well aware of how bad these people are and if possible, will move you without question, placing you with one of the nicer people from any of the other groups.

9. The ‘dress code doesn’t apply’ person

Some people just struggle to respect the dress code at dinner time.

Particularly common on the more contemporary and mass market cruise lines, these guests proudly exclaim that “I’m on holiday, why would I dress up”.

They arrive to dinner on the first night looking as if they’ve come straight from Manly beach, or the swimming pool, without a care in the world for what anybody else thinks. They usually showcase table manners reflecting that of a four-year-old and conversation to go with it.

Whilst generally nice people, they make you cringe at some of the off-colour remarks they have, leaving you to hope and pray nobody judges you guilty by association, making you as much of a pariah for the remainder of the cruise as them.

In a desperate but ultimately vain attempt to save face, you continually clarify to the wait staff you didn’t know them before embarkation and pray they leave the ship early.

10. The Frequent Floater

It might be the perks which bring them back but make no mistake, you'll almost always meet a very experienced cruiser during your holiday.

These are the old salts who proudly display the colour of their cruise card (usually Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond or Platinum) with pride.

Typically with multiple cruises booked at once, they’re able to tell you about all of them – which ship, where they’ll be going, date of sailing and more. They have been on the ship you are on a hundred times before you and will probably be back within the month.

Very brand loyal, the Frequent Floaters won’t let anyone criticise their favourite cruise line. They can have touches of ‘Know It All’ disease, while also sometimes fitting into the “Nothing Is Right” category. For a short while at least, you will love to hear about the different ships they have been on, but quickly find they are like a broken record. Sit with them for lunch – as having dinner with them every night can become a chore.