With the recent news that Disney Cruise Line actively discourages the guest-led game of cruising ducks hidden onboard their ships, travelers have wondered whether or not other cruise lines will do the same.
This has led to rumors and speculation, and Carnival Cruise Line has quickly announced its position on the cruising duck phenomenon.
Cruise passengers have recently noted that Disney Cruise Line discourages cruising ducks. While rubber ducks are not explicitly prohibited from being brought onboard, travelers are “requested” not to hide them around Disney Cruise Line ships.
“We kindly request that guests are not allowed to hide items such as rubber ducks in public areas or staterooms,” a statement from Disney Cruise Line read.
Effectively, this “request” bans cruising ducks from Disney ships. This has led frequent cruisers to wonder whether or not the fun pastime may no longer be welcome on other cruise lines, and rumors have begun to spread that Carnival Cruise Line will soon be announcing its own duck ban.
Reactions have been mixed, with those in support of such a ban considering the ducks as trash or litter, possibly “disease-riddled,” and just being an overall nuisance if the ducks must be taken home after a cruise.
It should be noted, however, that the informal rules of cruising ducks do state “take or leave, you decide” and no one is obligated to keep any ducks they might find, or even to participate at all if they prefer not to do so.
Nevertheless, the rumors have come to the attention of John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador, who has responded to the speculation that Carnival may soon ban ducks onboard.
“I am surprised that the beards at Disney have banned the ducks,” Heald said. “I didn’t know that, I wonder if Donald had something to say about that. Look, they are a brilliant cruise line and have their own rules of course, but so many have been asking me [if Carnival will ban ducks] I thought it best I respond.”
“The answer is no, we are not going to ban the hiding of ducks. I know this is not for everyone,” he continued. “I also know it gives so many people joy so why would we stop the spreading of joy?”
No Carnival guest – or guest on any cruise line – has to participate with cruising ducks, whether bringing the fun trinkets aboard to hide, searching for them onboard, rehiding ducks for others to discover, or taking them home as souvenirs of a fun sailing.
While the vast majority of cruise passengers have no problem with ducks – if they don’t want to participate, they simply pass by any ducks they might see – some travelers have brought up concerns.
One of the top concerns is whether or not ducks might be taking over, with some guests going “overboard” and bringing dozens onto every cruise they take.
On a cruise ship with 4,000 guests, if only 1% of passengers bring ducks onboard, this means that 40 travelers might have a flock to share. If these 40 guests are so excited that each one brings 25 ducks onboard, there will be 1,000 ducks winging their way around a single ship on a single sailing.
These numbers might seem silly, but social media groups about cruising ducks routinely have travelers showing off their flocks of far more than 25 ducks ready to go on their next cruise, often complete with tags, ribbons, and embellishments.
This could seem overwhelming and might even dilute the enjoyment of the scavenger hunt if one sees a duck nearly every time they turn around. Too many ducks might also lead to more of the toys simply being discarded, and they could end up overboard as marine debris.
Any litter tossed overboard is a violation of Carnival Cruise Line’s cruise ticket contract as stated in section 9(i): “Any dumping or pollution of any kind including discharge of any item into the ocean and/or waterways is strictly prohibited.”
The fee for such an incident can be extreme, starting with a $500 fine charged to a guest’s onboard account for each item overboard. Additional fees could also be imposed if the cruise line must clean up the debris, and guests might even be disembarked at the next port of call or banned from sailing with Carnival Cruise Line in the future.
Heald has also previously addressed the idea of crew members simply tossing ducks overboard to get rid of them.
“This is completely untrue,” Heald said. “If any crew member throws anything overboard they would be in serious trouble and would for sure face disciplinary action.”
While it is unlikely that such extreme actions would be taken over something as simple and seemingly innocent as cruising ducks, it is possible if a situation were to escalate, such as if a guest were tossing many ducks overboard at once.
Have you joined in cruising ducks? Do you think the phenomenon is out of control? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!
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