Cruise ship deck

14 Simple Ways to Escape the Crowd on a Cruise Ship

Do you love to cruise but hate the crowd? The good news is there are ways to escape the crowd at the cruise. The key to escaping the crowd is to do the opposite from what most people are doing. Here are cruise tips on how to escape the crowd at a cruise ship.

How to Escape the Crowd on a Cruise

How to Escape the Crowd at a Cruise Ship

1. Avoid the Buffet at Embarkation Day

The buffet is the busiest place on embarkation day, and everyone will be heading there after checking in at the port. It will be difficult to find a table for your group due to the large crowds. And, since your room may not be ready, most people end up hanging out at the buffet long after they finish their lunch. 

For a less crowded environment, avoid the buffet on embarkation day and look for another place to have lunch. The main dining room is usually open for lunch during embarkation day (but with limited hours), and some of the dining areas near the lobby will also be open for lunch. Head over there instead to escape the crowd!

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2. Avoid Big Cruise Parties 

Cruise lines typically throw large parties. Most cruise lines have sail away parties on the deck which is a large dance party as you sail away. Depending on the cruise line, there are also large cruise parties such as White Parties or Super Bowl Parties. If you don’t like the crowd, definitely stay away from these large cruise parties.

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3. Book a Suite

If you have the budget for it and prefer a more exclusive experience, booking a suite on a cruise is a great option. Suites usually come with a host of perks, such as skipping the embarkation line, access to suite-only lounges, private suite pools, and private dining rooms for suite guests only. These VIP areas are away from the crowd and offer a more intimate and luxurious experience.

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4. Get Access to the Thermal Spa

If you’re looking for a less expensive way to escape the crowd, consider getting access to the thermal spa. Some cruises sell thermal spa day passes or you can buy access for the entire cruise. This gives you access to the spa’s lounge which has jacuzzis, steam rooms, salt rooms, and more, without the crowd. You can enjoy the hot tub in peace!

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5. Find a Quiet Corner

If you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax and read a book, it’s best to avoid the busy parts of the cruise ship, such as the lobby, the buffet, casino, and the pool area. Instead, wander around the ship and look for a club or lounge that is not being used and empty because it’s daytime. You’ll be able to find a peaceful spot to unwind and enjoy your book.

How to Escape the Crowd on a Cruise

6. Avoid the Theater Area after a Show

To avoid the crowds, check the cruise planner to know when the show ends. Typically, there are two shows per night. After the show, make sure to avoid the theater area, including the elevator and stairwell closest to the theater.

People will be standing around waiting for the elevator or trying to walk down the stairs, which can be quite crowded. That’s why I prefer to stay far away from the theater after a show.

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7. Stay on the Ship During Port Days

Another way to avoid the crowds is to stay on board during port days. Most people will get off the ship early and spend all day at the port, leaving the ship empty by late morning. This is a great time to visit the buffet, which will be less crowded, and to use the pool and hot tub without having to share them with others.

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8. Enjoy your Balcony

If you are in a balcony room, an easy way to escape the crowd is to lounge in your balcony. Order room service for breakfast and enjoy your morning in your private balcony, away from the buffet crowd!

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9. Dine at Specialty Dining on the First Day

Most people will not be dining at the specialty dining restaurants on their first day. That’s the best day to go, it will be less crowded and also sometimes cruise lines will give special perks on the first day (like a free bottle of wine!)

10. Request a Quiet Table in the Corner

At the main dining room, request a quiet table in the corner. That way, you are away from the main dining room area where it tends to be noisy with big tables and large groups. 

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11. Don’t Cruise During Peak Season

Cruise ships will be busiest during peak season that coincides with school holidays such as summer, Christmas, Spring Break and New Year’s. You will see big groups of families cruising together. If you want to avoid the crowd and kids, don’t cruise during the peak season. Cruise in the Fall when kids are back in school!

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12. Go on Long Cruises

Most people can’t take the days off to go on cruises longer than 7 days. That means these long cruises will be less crowded. If you can, try to go on longer cruises 10 days or more. You will avoid the crowd and there will be fewer kids on the ship.

13. Wake Up Early

If you are an early riser, a great way to escape the crowd is to be up early. The buffet will be empty if you’re there before 8am and you can enjoy the peace and quiet. 

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14. Avoid the Pool on Sea Days

The pool is the busiest place on the cruise ship on sea days, and it can be hard to find a lounge chair. The hot tub is also likely to be crowded. If you want to take a dip during sea days, go early before 8am or in the late afternoon to early evening when everyone is getting ready for dinner or having dinner.

If you need to book shore excursion tours, a great platform to book tours is with viator

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