5 cruise activities that are no longer allowed on board

4d ago

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Everything old is eventually new again, but there are some activities that used to be allowed on cruise ships that have little hope of coming back. Whether you’re a more experienced passenger with nostalgia or a younger cruiser who appreciates anything vintage, here are five cruise offerings that aren’t likely to be resurrected.

Skeet shooting

Passengers used to be able to shoot clay birds off the back of their ships. (Photo by Arthit Pornpikanet/Getty Images)

Yep, you read that correctly. Until as recently as the 1990s, cruise lines allowed skeet shooting off the backs of their ships. Cruisers would be given actual guns, and members of the crew would fling clay birds into the air for them to shoot.

Leaving aside the safety implications associated with handing firearms to passengers, throwing any foreign objects into the ocean is a practice that’s strictly prohibited today.

What I recommend: If you want to practice your sharp-shooter skills, check out the arcade on your ship if it has one, or sign up for a round of laser tag, which is offered on several of Royal Caribbean’s and Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest vessels.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

Topless sunbathing

In the early years of cruising, ships often had designated areas, usually on the uppermost decks, for women to sunbathe topless. These days, as family cruises have become more popular, the practice has been banned on vessels that cater to North Americans.

Because Europeans are generally less puritanical with regard to the human body, a few Europe-based ships — including those in the Costa, Celestyal and Virgin Voyages fleets — still allow passengers with breasts to avoid tan lines by sunbathing sans tops.

What I recommend: Either book a sailing with a line that does permit topless tanning, or, to avoid tan lines at all, stick to a covered pool area, which most ships have.

Smoking

Smoking is only allowed in designated areas on cruise ships. (Photo by Debasish Nandy/IndiaPictures/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

This one comes with a caveat. Although smoking is no longer permitted in most public areas or on cabin balconies, it is still allowed in at least one or two designated areas on modern cruise ships — cigar lounges, a couple of open-deck areas and often casinos.

Banning cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes or vapes in most places on board is as much about safety as it is about protecting the comfort of passengers. Most cruisers don’t want a nose full of smoke while they eat their dinner or enjoy a show, but fire is also the biggest threat to cruise ships.

What I recommend: If you’re a fan of cigars, make your way to the onboard cigar lounge, which is also a great option for pre- or post-dinner drinks. If cigarettes are your preference, determine where you’re allowed to light up outdoors.

Cruises to nowhere

Remember when you were short on time or money and could simply drive to your nearest home port to hop on a brief sailing with no port calls? It wasn’t that long ago that “cruises to nowhere” were still in operation, offering excellent options for quick getaways, particularly from destinations that aren’t close to foreign ports.

In 2016, the United States Government cracked down and began more strictly enforcing the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which requires cruise ships sailing from U.S. ports to call on at least one foreign port before returning to the U.S.

What I recommend: If you have your heart set on a super-short sailing, consider a Florida-based ship that offers quick, back-and-forth, two-, three- or four-night voyages to the Bahamas.

Netless golf-ball driving

Available on the top decks of many cruise ships, mini-golf is a fun way for passengers to pick up clubs without polluting the ocean. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

On cruises of yore, sporty passengers were permitted to shag golf balls off the back of the ship and straight into the water. As with shooting skeet, it was wasteful and meant putting quite a bit of rubbish into the sea.

As environmental practices continue to evolve, cruise lines have tried to find more ways to be eco-friendly, including putting the kibosh on free-range golf-ball driving.

What I recommend: If you’re a duffer who just can’t go a day without practicing your swing, see if your ship has a driving net on one of its top decks. If not, you might find a putting green or miniature golf course that at least will allow you to pick up a club during your cruise.

Featured photo by Rattankun Thongbun/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.