Unpleasant Cruise Ship Problems: Be Prepared for Diarrhea, Sunburn, and Excessive Sweating

Thinking about going on a cruise? Well, you may want to be prepared for some unexpected and unpleasant problems that could arise during your trip. In a video titled “Unpleasant cruise ship problems you aren’t prepared for” by Royal Caribbean Blog, they list 22 different issues that you may encounter on a cruise, ranging from diarrhea and sunburn to excessive sweating. The purpose of the video is to provide helpful information and warnings, so that you can be prepared to handle these problems if they occur. The article emphasizes the importance of being prepared for these issues and gives suggestions such as packing antacids, medication for diarrhea and motion sickness, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, staying hydrated, and making healthier choices can also help prevent or manage these problems while on a cruise. So, keep these tips in mind and enjoy your cruise without being caught off guard by these unpleasant surprises.

Unpleasant Cruise Ship Problems

Cruise vacations are often seen as the epitome of relaxation and luxury, but they can also come with their fair share of unpleasant issues. From common problems like heartburn and diarrhea to more unexpected ones like blisters and chair hogs, it’s important to be prepared for these issues and take necessary precautions. In this article, we will discuss the top 22 unpleasant cruise ship problems and provide tips on how to prevent or manage them during your cruise.

1. Heartburn and Acid Reflux

While on a cruise, you may find yourself dealing with heartburn more often than usual. This can be attributed to indulging in more fatty and fried foods that you might otherwise not consume. To counteract this problem, it’s a good idea to pack antacids or other heartburn medications. It’s also recommended to make healthier food choices and limit your intake of foods that may trigger heartburn.

2. Diarrhea

Sudden changes in diet combined with new types of food and long hours of traveling can wreak havoc on your digestive system, leading to diarrhea. It’s essential to pack anti-diarrheal medication for your cruise, as you never know when or if you’ll experience it. Additionally, be cautious of consuming questionable street food or drinking contaminated water in foreign countries. Practicing good hygiene and washing your hands frequently can also help prevent the spread of germs that cause diarrhea.

3. Constipation

On the other end of the spectrum, constipation can be a problem faced by many cruisers. The sudden change in lifestyle on a cruise can confuse your digestive system, leaving you feeling uncomfortable. To combat constipation, try to eat fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, beans, and fruits. It’s also vital to stay hydrated and increase your physical activity while on board.

4. Sunburn

By day two of your cruise, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll encounter passengers with bright red sunburns. Preventing sunburn is crucial, especially if you’re traveling from a cold climate to a tropical one. Always remember to apply and reapply sunscreen generously throughout the day. It’s recommended to use sunscreen lotion rather than spray sunscreen, as it provides better coverage and is less likely to be accidentally sprayed into someone else’s face.

5. Sweating

Sweating is an unpleasant but common occurrence on a warm-weather cruise. Uncomfortably warm temperatures can lead to excessive sweating, especially if you’re not used to such climates. While it can be embarrassing to have visible sweat stains, remember that it’s a reality of being on a cruise. Wiping away sweat and using antiperspirants can help manage this issue.

6. Bloating

Indulging in delicious cuisine while on a cruise can lead to bloating, a problem no passenger wants to deal with. To combat bloating, eat more slowly, chew your food properly, and increase physical activity. Avoid foods that typically cause bloating, such as dairy or bread, and stay hydrated throughout the day.

7. Blisters

With the increased amount of walking on a cruise, many passengers find themselves with blisters. Walking up and down the ship, as well as exploring ports on foot, can result in painful blisters, especially when wearing new shoes. It’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes that you’ve worn many times before your cruise. Breaking in new shoes before your trip can help prevent uncomfortable blisters.

8. Chafing

The increased amount of walking on a cruise can also lead to chafing, an irritation of the skin that occurs when skin rubs together or against clothing. Wearing breathable, lightweight slip shorts or applying skin lubricant can help decrease friction and prevent chafing, especially when wearing shorts, skirts, or dresses.

9. Limited Time in Port

If you’re new to cruising, you may find it an adjustment to plan your day based on your cruise ship’s schedule. Most cruise ships stay in port for only 8 to 10 hours, which may feel limited compared to a land-based vacation. It’s essential to make the most of your time in port by prioritizing the highlights of each destination and planning your activities accordingly.

10. Busy Ports

The ports you visit during your cruise are likely to be busy. With multiple cruise ships in town, there can be thousands of passengers crowding the pier, restaurants, shopping districts, and beaches near the port. However, with thorough research and local recommendations, you can find hidden gems in less crowded areas of your ports of call. Exploring off the beaten path can lead to unspoiled beaches and authentic restaurants.

11. Chair Hogs

One common complaint on cruise ships is the issue of chair hogs. These are passengers who reserve pool chairs early in the morning and leave them unoccupied for long periods. This results in limited chair availability for other passengers who want to enjoy the pool deck. While cruise lines are starting to enforce policies against chair hogs, it’s still a prevalent issue. Be prepared to encounter this problem, especially on sea days, and try to find alternative seating options if needed.

12. Hangovers

With a variety of unique bars and cocktails to choose from on a cruise, it’s common for passengers to consume more alcohol than they would at home. Unfortunately, this increase in alcohol consumption can lead to hangovers. To avoid feeling terrible the next day, pace yourself, drink plenty of water, and enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation.

13. Norovirus and Germs

As with any public space, there is always a possibility of the norovirus spreading on a cruise ship. The contagious virus can quickly ruin any vacation, causing vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. To minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the norovirus, practice good hygiene, wash your hands frequently, and avoid close contact with sick individuals. It’s also advisable to follow the ship’s guidelines and protocols regarding illness prevention.

14. Crowded Pools

Cruise ship pools can become crowded, especially on warm-weather cruises. With thousands of passengers wanting to cool off or relax by the pool, finding available pool chairs and space can be a challenge. It’s best to plan your pool visits during off-peak times or explore other areas of the ship for relaxation. Alternatively, you can book shore excursions that involve swimming or lounging on less crowded beaches.

15. Cheap Toilet Paper

While it may seem like a trivial issue, some cruise ships are known for providing cheap, low-quality toilet paper. If you prefer a certain level of comfort when it comes to bathroom essentials, consider packing your own travel-sized toilet paper or wet wipes. Not only will this ensure your personal comfort, but it can also save you from potential disappointment.

16. Waiting in Lines

Whether it’s waiting to embark or disembark the ship, waiting for meals at the buffet, or lining up for activities and shows, waiting in lines is a common occurrence on cruise ships. To make the waiting time more bearable, be prepared with entertainment, such as books or games, or strike up a conversation with fellow travelers. Additionally, consider planning your activities and meals during off-peak times to avoid long queues.

17. Seasickness

Seasickness can be a prevalent issue for some passengers, especially during rough seas. To prevent or manage seasickness, consider packing over-the-counter medications or remedies specifically designed for motion sickness. It’s also helpful to choose a cabin located in a more stable area of the ship, such as mid-ship and on lower decks. Taking deep breaths, focusing on the horizon, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can also help alleviate seasickness symptoms.

18. Expensive Prices on Essentials

While cruise vacations are all-inclusive, there are certain essentials that may come at a higher cost on board. Items such as toiletries, sunscreen, and medications can be significantly more expensive when purchased on the ship. To avoid paying inflated prices, it’s best to pack these essentials in travel-sized containers and bring an ample supply. This way, you’ll have everything you need without breaking the bank.

19. Itinerary Changes

It’s essential to remember that cruise itineraries are subject to change due to various factors, including weather conditions, port restrictions, or unforeseen circumstances. It’s not uncommon for cruise lines to alter their planned routes or skip ports altogether for the safety and well-being of passengers and crew. While itinerary changes can be disappointing, be open to new experiences and flexible in adjusting your plans accordingly.

20. Missing the Ship in Port

One of the worst nightmares for any cruiser is missing the ship in port. To avoid this unfortunate experience, always ensure that you leave ample time to return to the ship before the scheduled departure time. Plan your excursions accordingly, considering the duration of the activity, transportation logistics, and the distance to the port. It’s better to be early and have peace of mind than risk missing the ship.

21. Weight Gain

Cruise vacations often involve indulging in delicious cuisine, leading to the potential for weight gain. With a wide variety of dining options available, including buffet spreads and tempting dessert menus, it’s easy to overeat. To avoid excessive weight gain, practice moderation, make healthier food choices, and stay physically active while on board. Be sure to utilize the fitness facilities and participate in onboard activities to balance out indulgences.

Preparation and Prevention

To mitigate the impact of these unpleasant cruise ship problems, it’s crucial to be prepared and take necessary precautions. Here are some tips for preparation and prevention:

  1. Pack antacids or other heartburn medications to counteract heartburn and acid reflux.
  2. Carry anti-diarrheal medication to manage sudden changes in diet and potential gastrointestinal issues.
  3. Include fiber-rich foods in your diet to prevent constipation while on board.
  4. Apply and reapply sunscreen generously to prevent sunburn.
  5. Stay hydrated and use antiperspirants to manage sweating.
  6. Eat more slowly, chew your food properly, and increase physical activity to combat bloating.
  7. Wear comfortable walking shoes to avoid painful blisters.
  8. Use breathable, lightweight slip shorts or skin lubricant to prevent chafing.
  9. Manage your time effectively to make the most of limited hours in port.
  10. Research less crowded areas in busy ports to find hidden gems.
  11. Be prepared to find alternative seating options if faced with chair hogs.
  12. Pace yourself with alcoholic beverages and drink plenty of water to avoid hangovers.
  13. Practice good hygiene and washing hands frequently to minimize the spread of germs.
  14. Plan your pool visits during off-peak times to avoid crowded pools.
  15. Consider packing your own travel-sized toilet paper or wet wipes for comfort.
  16. Bring entertainment or plan activities during off-peak times to make waiting in lines more enjoyable.
  17. Pack over-the-counter motion sickness medications or remedies to prevent or manage seasickness.
  18. Pack essential items such as toiletries, sunscreen, and medications to avoid inflated prices on board.
  19. Remain flexible and open to new experiences in case of itinerary changes.
  20. Allow ample time to return to the ship before the scheduled departure to avoid missing the ship in port.
  21. Practice moderation, make healthier food choices, and stay physically active to prevent excessive weight gain.

By being prepared and taking these precautions, you can minimize the impact of unpleasant cruise ship problems and ensure a more enjoyable vacation experience.

Unpleasant Cruise Ship Problems: Be Prepared for Diarrhea, Sunburn, and Excessive Sweating


Cruise vacations offer an incredible opportunity to relax, explore new destinations, and create lasting memories. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential unpleasant problems that can arise during your cruise. From heartburn and diarrhea to sunburn and chair hogs, being prepared and taking necessary precautions can help you manage these issues effectively. By packing essential medications and supplies, practicing good hygiene, making healthier choices, and staying flexible, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable cruise vacation. Remember to prioritize your well-being and take care of yourself while on board, and don’t let these unpleasant issues overshadow the fantastic experience that a cruise vacation can offer.

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