How to Complain About Cruise Ships?

Cruise ships may seem glamorous and fun, but many things can go wrong, ruining your experience. After paying tons of money for a luxury ocean trip, the last thing you want is a reason for complaint.

However, if you’re coming off a cruise and you’re unsatisfied, chances are your experience warrants a formal complaint. Don’t worry about ruffling any feathers.

Complaints help cruise ships improve their services. Moreover, if you take formal action, you may end up with adequate compensation.

However, your complaint needs to be effective. How? Well, luckily for you, we’ve included everything you need to know in this article.

Here’s how to complain about cruise ships.

How to Write a Cruise Ship Complaint?

If a verbal complaint doesn’t work, the next step is to write a cruise ship complaint.

First and foremost, how do you write a complaint? Most cruise ships must have a complaint form. In those cases, it’s very straightforward. Simply fill out each portion and submit the form.

Writing a complaint letter is slightly different. There are a few steps you need to follow:

  • Address the manager/relevant authority you’re sending the letter to.
  • Get straight to the point and write concisely. Your opening statement should immediately address your concern.
  • Don’t hedge your words or list irrelevant details. (Remember to keep your language formal).
  • State what you want them to do about the incident/problem.
  • Lastly, remember to add your contact information.

However, whether you’re filling out a form or writing a letter, keep the following in mind:

Don’t Use Obscenities

You may feel frustrated or angry, but express yourself in a composed manner. If you do, your complaint is more likely to be taken seriously.

Using bad words just detracts from the overall message of the complaint. Moreover, chances are the persdon reading the letter doesn’t have anything to do with your issue.

If that’s the case, taking your anger out on him/her isn’t fair. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t express dissatisfaction.

Simply put, avoid long rants or threats laced with bad words. Instead, get to the point, so the person immediately knows what the issue is and can help you.

Use Evidence/Details

If you have evidence to back up your claims, use it. Evidence gives your case automatic standing, forcing people to take the complaint seriously.

Evidence may include but isn’t limited to:

  • Photos
  • Receipts
  • Videos
  • Screenshots of email/text correspondence
  • CCTV footage

However, if you don’t have evidence, you can list any details you remember. For example, let’s say you got food poisoning from the ship’s restaurant.

In this case, details you need to list include:

  • The date/time you went there
  • Who did you go with (witnesses)
  • Name/appearance of your waiter/ess
  • What food you ate
  • Any smell/taste that indicated the food was bad/old (if any)
  • When you started feeling sick
  • What the doctor said/prescribed (if you visited one)

Details are not the same as evidence. However, if you list details, the reader is more likely to believe your version of events.

When Should You Complain About a Cruise Ship?

Filing a complaint can be a lengthy process. Due to this, most people spend half the time considering whether to file a complaint or not.

However, if you want your complaint resolved as soon as possible, don’t wait for more than a week or two to file it.

If you let a lot of time pass, you forget about important details. You should write the letter while everything’s still fresh in your mind.

Moreover, while complaint letters shouldn’t be too emotional, you still need to express some dissatisfaction. If you let time pass, your frustration will fade away.

In essence, this is the ideal timeline for complaining about a cruise ship:

  • File a verbal complaint with staff while onboard. This acts as a first warning.
  • If the first step doesn’t work, file a complaint with management.
  • If the problem isn’t resolved even once the cruise ends, file a complaint with the cruise ship company within two weeks.

Why Complain About a Cruise Ship?

Now, let’s explore the reasons why people may want to complain about cruise ships. What counts as a valid reason for complaint?

While you may get frustrated with some aspects of cruise life, not everything is the fault of management/staff.

For example, most people don’t like how crowded cruise ships get. However, this, within itself, isn’t a cause for complaint. If you’re going on a cruise in a high-capacity cruise liner, you should expect crowds.

The solution to this is simple. Merely, go on a cruise ship with limited capacity. In this way, you won’t have to wait in long lines simply to use the bathroom.

However, if the management isn’t handling the crowds effectively, it’s a cause for complaint. For example, you’re on a cruise ship with seven swimming pools, and three are closed for no apparent reason. Consequently, people are crowding the four remaining pools.

This is mismanagement, and you should certainly file a complaint.

Do you see the distinction?

Additionally, here are a few other reasons people complain about cruise ships:

Bad Service

From rude staff to stale food to poor internet, bad service includes it all. If you’re on a highly-rated cruise ship and you experience bad service, it’s a reasonable cause for complaint.

Bad service, especially if it’s consistent, has the power to ruin your entire vacation. Cruises are expensive and often non-refundable. Therefore, if you’re experiencing bad service, you should let staff know.

In this way, you may receive compensation for your bad experience.

Unsanitary Conditions

Unsanitary conditions are health code violations. These are more common in older ships, but they’re also common in high-capacity ships.

However, either way, ships are expected to maintain sanitation. For instance, if your room is dirty or the wall paint is chipping, immediately file a complaint.

Health code violations are more severe and affect more people than just you. Therefore, it’s essential to bring the issue to light.

How to File a Cruise Ship Complaint?

After learning how to write a complaint, are you wondering how one files a cruise ship complaint?

The cruise ship’s complaint standard-operating-procedure (SOP) determines this. You have to look this up on the cruise website/social media pages.

In any case, there are three main ways you can file a cruise ship complaint:


This is the most common SOP. All you have to do is fill out the form/write the letter or email. (Make sure to follow our tips.)

Afterward, submit the form or letter to the relevant authority.

Mostly, the complaint is either submitted to the ship’s customer support or management. You can get either party’s contact information by simply asking.

Social Media

The second way to file a complaint is through social media. Find the cruise ship’s social media pages and either submit a public post or send a direct message to customer support.

Social media is effective at garnering people’s attention. This goes for both potential passengers and cruise ship management.

If you pick social media as your complaint platform, be mindful that:

You May Not Get Immediate Replies

It may take a while for customer support to get back to you. Unless the company has 24/7 staff, the customer support agents probably sift through complaints at a set time.

Consequently, it may take a while to resolve your complaint.

Third-Party Websites Like Complain.Biz

Thirdly, you could file your complaint on our website. We make sure your complaint will get the attention it deserves. Besides contacting the Cruise Ship operator on your behalf, we also make sure to give it some attention on for example Social Media.. This will make sure that your complaint is taken seriously. represents a whole community of consumers and businesses. Every respectable businesses cares about his customers and therefore complaints. A resolved complaint is a win-win for everyone.

Possible Results of a Cruise Ship Complaint

Finally, let’s see what happens after you file a cruise ship complaint. Is it even worth it to go through the hassle?

The answer is yes. Even if you accomplish nothing, your complaint is filed away. If the incident happens again with another passenger, management identifies it as a pattern rather than an isolated incident.

In this way, your complaint has a positive effect but in the long-term.

However, it’s doubtful that you’ll accomplish nothing. That’s the worst-case scenario.

In most cases, you’ll get any of these outcomes:

  • An apology
  • Practical action such as reprimanding/firing relevant employee
  • Compensation such as a refund/discount, bonus trip, complementary services
  • A combination of all three

Most cruise ship organizations take their customer service very seriously. After all, they depend on customer reviews to attract more passengers and increase their reliability.

Therefore, it’s very likely that they’ll take the complaint seriously and improve their services.


To conclude, writing and filing complaints about cruise ships is very simple. Just hit the button below.