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The Worst People You Meet on a Cruise

Cruising is a great way to travel, meet people, and visit multiple ports of call on one trip, but it’s also a surefire way to trap yourself in a confined space with some of the world’s most obnoxious travelers. Somehow, these people make it onto every cruise and manage to make your trip feel like an exercise in avoidance, patience, and tolerance. You don’t so much “meet” these people as much as you are inescapably thrust into their atmosphere.

The Selfie Addict

You think, surely, at some point, she’ll put the camera down and enjoy the amazing scenery at sea, but no. Her entire cruise is about taking selfies. Everywhere she goes, she duckfaces for her camera (not paying attention to where she’s going or the people trying to get around her) with her ever-present selfie stick. The only thing she cares about seeing during her travels is pictures of herself. Don’t mind the dolphins—your hair looks great.

RELATED: What Not to Do When Taking a Selfie

The Smoker

Hey, Mr. Marlboro, did you know the most obnoxious thing you can do on a cruise is to smoke in proximity to people who do not smoke? It’s fresh-air abuse. The space on cruise ships is limited, so there’s nowhere to go for cruisers who’d like to avoid the second-hand smoke wafting through the common air. If your smoking habit only affected you, perhaps everyone else could deal with it, but your smoke travels outside of your personal space and forces everyone else to breathe it. Yuck!

The Lazy Parents

Some parents view cruises as an opportunity to have an affordable family vacation with free babysitting courtesy of other passengers and the crew. These folks seem to believe in the diffusion of responsibility when it comes to childcare, forcing the “it takes a village” mentality onto the rest of the passengers.

They’re easy to spot: Mom and dad enjoy a steady stream of pina coladas and casino roulette while their kids run amok, scream through the halls, terrorize the crewmembers, and molest the self-serve ice cream machine. As this is happening, Mr. and Mrs. Booze Cruise revel in poolside naps and make no apologies for their kids’ poor public decorum.

RELATED: How to Have the Worst Family Vacation Ever

The Wannabe Highness

She seems to have mistaken crewmembers for her personal servants. She has poor manners, leaves messes like it’s her job, and orders everyone around. At mealtime, she informs the servers of what she will be having instead of politely requesting what she would like to order. Crew must meet her special set of criteria—she wants to know the thread count of her cabin sheets, if the orange juice is freshly squeezed, and if there’s any gluten in her pillow mint.

The ‘I’m an American’ Guy

Never mind that this guy is intentionally visiting another country—he’s not interested in broadening his horizons. He believes he’s entitled to special treatment simply because he’s an American. Before you hear him loudly informing the locals of his nationality in an effort to procure special treatment (this usually has the opposite effect), you’ll see him plodding down the streets in the ports of call wearing white sneakers, ill-fitting shorts, and possibly a fanny-pack—likely sunburned, sweaty, and attempting to negotiate a better deal on tacky souvenirs.

RELATED: 7 Signs You’re an Ugly American

The Sunbed Bogart

There are not enough sunbeds for everyone on the ship to claim all day every day, so a secret competition begins at daybreak for sunbed real estate. You think hanging out by the pool after breakfast sounds relaxing, but too bad. You did not get up before sunrise to stake your claim on the pool deck; the designated sunbed claimant from the ladies bingo league did and she controls more coveted property than the Monopoly World Championship winner. The chair hogs may only actually sit in these loungers for 22 minutes, but those are the generally accepted rules of poolside lounging.

The Queue-Challenged

In theory, lines are a fairly straightforward idea, but the concept of standing in a formed line like everyone else is very difficult for some people to comprehend. The queue-challenged man is the guy who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of waiting one’s turn and can’t figure out why there’s a line at all. I mean, he’s on a cruise with thousands of other people trying to do the same things—why would there be a line? He believes his needs are more important than those of everyone else who arrived before him and needs to be next in line because he just has a question (like everyone else).

RELATED: How to Cut Lines When You Travel

The Glutton

To him, cruises are a floating oasis of endless food, liquor, and gambling—like Vegas with less walking. He’s not even sure where the ship is going, but he is sure that the midnight buffet is all-you-can-eat and he knows he can get a drink at all hours of the day and night. He eats 19 pounds of jumbo shrimp and washes it down with eight or 15 cheap domestic beers before stumbling into the casino to demonstrate his blackjack mastery. There may or may not be vomit on his shirt, but he does not see this as a showstopper. He thinks he’s funny when he’s drunk and that this is the best time to hit on every woman on the ship.

The Cheapskate

Cabin stewards, cooks, and the laundry man generally rely on tips as their bread and butter. Mr. Cheapie can’t really afford the family vacation he’s paying for, so he tries to save money by not tipping well-deserving ship staff and instead spends his loot buying duty-free cologne. He doesn’t seem to know the difference between a cabin steward and a personal butler, but he clearly intends to avoid gratuities regardless of the position.

RELATED: 10 Secrets of Ultra-Cheap Travel

The Junkshow

This lady is a disaster. She’s late and she forgot to pack her bikini bottoms, toothbrush, and Dramamine. She’s surprised when asked to present her travel documents prior to boarding the ship and halts boarding traffic for 10 minutes while she frantically searches through her carry-on. She’s convinced someone has stolen her passport and refuses to stand by and let others pass because she believes no one should move until her passport has been recovered.

The Junkshow doesn’t pay attention to important information, but seems confused as to why everyone else knows the drill. She can’t handle all of her baggage, she can’t find her cabin, doesn’t know what time dinner is or where it’s served, and she’s annoyed that everything isn’t easier.

The PDA Promulgators

This couple wants everyone to know that they are hot for one another. In case it wasn’t apparent, they feel the need to exhibit their desires by groping each other in the disembarkation line, at the dinner table, poolside, at the Craps table, on the elevator, and everywhere else. They care less than a honey badger about grossing out the other guests. We’re happy for you, but no one wants to watch you make out, m’kay?

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Melissa McGibbon’s travel accomplishments include circumnavigating the globe on a ship, having dinner at Fidel Castro’s house in Havana, skiing steep chutes in Canada, and downhill mountain biking in Peru. Follow her on Twitter @ambitadventure or on Google+.

(Photo: Man in Hawaiian shirt via Shutterstock)

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