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Top 7 things people that cruise a lot debate all the time

Carnival pool deck

If you have spent some time on a message board, Facebook group, or chat room dedicated to going on a cruise ship, very likely you have run across a heated exchange between people about some nuance of cruising.

We all love to go on cruises, but our opinions on how to do it best can vary widely, especially when there is a certain level of ambiguity to protocols or rules.

Most of the discussions tend to be tame, but there are a few hot button topics that really get people fired up and it can often lead to page after page of responses, counter responses, and memes inbetween.

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Before you wade into an online discussion about cruises, you should be aware of these really controversial topics.  Consider yourself warned!

Dress codes

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A time-honored cruise fan topic of never-ending debate is dress codes.  Cruise lines list rules for what you can and cannot wear and where these rules apply, but there is always interpretation left in these rules.

Part of the debate is centered around interpretation of the rules, as well as a higher level parley as to what the dress code should or should not include.

Shorts in the dining room, what is appropriate for formal night, and doe the rules apply to kids are just some of the typical usual questions that get people riled up.

Which cruise line is the best

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When it comes to strong opinions, picking a favorite usually gets folks talking.

In talking about a favorite cruise line, usually someone mentions a line they prefer while at the same time disparaging another to back up their opinion.

Once the shots are fired at another line, fans of that line usually counter the argument with their own barbs. 

Changes in customer loyalty programs

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Many cruisers have been sailing on a particular cruise line for years, and the loyalty benefits and perks given back are a big deal. 

When a cruise line changes any of its benefits, cruise fans get defensive, especially if there is any concern the changes are a cutback of what they have come to expect.

With cruise fans, all loyalty perks are important because the principle of the cruise line living up to the perceived promise of what the program is supposed to offer.

Once a change is announced that is not well received among repeat cruisers, the comments start flying and that is followed by angry phone calls and emails to the cruise line.

Ship size

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What is the right size ship? Prepare for plenty of opinions!

These days, cruise ships come in all sorts of sizes, from the epicly large to the quaint and petite. The debate comes down which is right, according to cruise fans.

Old school cruisers tend to prefer smaller ships, and lament the trend to build bigger and bigger vessels.

But a lot of other people love the wide variety of choices sailing on a big ship affords them, and there is a certain level of excitement surrounding a new ship that pushes the boundaries of what a ship offers.


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If you really want to see cruise fans go at it, ask them if tipping on a cruise is truly optional.

One of the major shifts in cruising over the last few years is to include gratuity as part of the cruise fare, either as a line item you pay when you book a cruise, or a mandatory onboard charge.

Many cruise fans argue about how option tips should be, and if they should be obligatory or not  The cruise industry has traditionally used tips as a way to buoy crew member total salaries, and that practice leaves some people uncomfortable with it.

This is especially an issue among cruise fans who live in countries where tipping is not part of their culture, such as Australia.

What should you tip, how much, and when are all likely to get a lot of different opinions.

Is cruising better today than years ago?

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If you ever start talking about cruises 10, 20, or 30 years ago, the inevitable debate starts up of it things were better then or now.

There is no doubt going on a cruise has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Ships have gotten bigger, there is more to do, and the variety of choices have increased.  So are things better now? Or were the good old days the best times?

There are very likely some aspects of cruising years ago that we all miss, and a lot of other advances since then that we have come to really enjoy.  But cruisers will endlessly debate if things are better now or in the past.

Everything Covid

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The hottest debate topic right now among cruisers centers around Covid-19, and the protocols onboard.

Unfortunately, the debate rarely stays purely on cruising for long, and usually ends up in a heated political fight with name calling and a war of words.

While cruisers are eager to get back on a ship after over a year without any, the ever-changing rules and requirements to sail in a post-covid world garner plenty of angry and ambivalent comments that almost always ends up with comments being deleted, hidden, or locked.

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