Carnival Cruise Line shares controversial onboard rule

Cruise ship passengers sometimes like to police what others do onboard, Sometimes that makes sense because the behavior of other people can impact your vacation.

If people let their kids play loudly in the adults-only pool or people leave their towel to save chairs near the pool making none available for people who actually want to lay out, those are reasonable times to get mad. Rules exist for a reason. Realistically, however, Carnival  (CCL)  and Royal Caribbean  (RCL)  cruise lines generally don't have time to enforce minor infractions.

Related: Royal Caribbean cruise line plans major ship upgrades

In many cases, rules are sort of on the honor system because lifeguards, waiters, and the people cleaning the pool deck aren't shipboard law enforcement. It makes little sense for them to have a negative interaction with a passenger even if they're technically enforcing the rules.

Generally, the safety officers on a cruise ship only get involved when a situation escalates. They'll step in when passengers appear ready to fight or when someone has had too much to drink and become abusive or aggressive.

That leads to many of the rules on a ship being more about courtesy than anyone actually enforcing them. Usually, that's not an issue as most people on a ship tend to be courteous and understand that everyone just wants to have a good time.

In some cases, however, it can become a problem when passengers think that one of the cruise line's rules impacts their fun. That's something Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald addressed on his Facebook page on Feb. 8.

Hiding ducks has become a cruise ship tradition.

Image source&colon Pixabay

Carnival has a rubber duck rule

On family-friendly cruise lines, hiding rubber ducks has become something of a tradition. Generally, people hide ducks for other people to find them, and it all happens anonymously. In other cases, people attach contact info so the person finding the duck can respond. 

Sometimes that means sharing a photo of a happy kid or posting an image of the duck once it makes its way home. Sharing that information, however, runs up against a Carnival policy. Heald shared a recent exchange he had on this topic. 

Message: Perplexed and angered with your answer to --------. Why can’t we put business cards with the ducks we hide on every cruise? Our cards read *You are in LUCK ! you Found a DUCK - Keep or Hide ~ You Decide* This is on our business card with details for our business which is a ---------- in ------. Where is the harm in this? Why does every cruise line but yours allow for us to give the gift of laughter with the ducks we hide and get no return for doing this?

In reality, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and other cruise lines do actually forbid what the emailer is describing for the same reason Heald shared that it's not allowed on Carnival.   

Sigh thank you, and since this person has written this, I’ve had a few others say that they agree, that we should allow this. To be honest, I don’t know if we really have time to police this and in fact, let’s be honest, we don’t. The reason I said no is because we don’t allow any kind of solicitation of any sort. And isn’t attaching your business card to a duck solicitation?

It's a rule Heald admits that clearly won't be enforced. And, to be clear, sharing contact info is allowed, but including your business info is not.

Carnival passengers have mixed opinions

The general concept of hiding ducks always elicits a strong response from Carnival passengers. Heald's post got over 2,000 comments.

"I just don't get the whole duck thing. But if others enjoy it, no skin off my nose. However, they are hijacking something others find fun just to promote their own business. And I'm sure I wouldn't frequent a business that did that. It's in very poor taste," Tom Pecena wrote.

Many responses, however, were against the idea of including advertising.

"No real harm but it changes (in my opinion) their reason for hiding them. Instead of just wanting to share the fun they are advertising. Not sure I agree with that" Ellen Vandenborn posted.

"If I found a duck with a business card I would make sure not to frequent that business because they are trying to capitalize on a fun vacation thing," Kate Dupin added.

Some passengers want the unofficial cruise ship activity to retain its innocence.

"I love looking and finding the ducks, I also love the excitement when a child finds one. Allowing business cards on them would open the door to all types of businesses. Just keep it the way it is, innocent fun," Diane Kretzer wrote.


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