Royal Caribbean, Carnival all-in on popular onboard tradition banned by Disney

Cruisers have a lot of unique traditions. They can vary by line, but some things become ingrained in cruising culture even when the cruise lines themselves don’t actually get involved.

There are, for example unsanctioned Facebook groups devoted to both the Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get Free Report and Royal Caribbean adult beverage packages. People share their favorite drinks, modifications they might request to make certain beverages better, or even where there favorite bartender works.

Related: Carnival Cruise Line makes a key beverage rule very clear

There are also social media groups devoted to gambling and the various perks offered by each cruise lines’ casino program where people also share their big wins, or the names of their favorite slot machine. Cruisers tend to like to talk about every aspect of cruising and, if you look on Facebook you should be able to find some very specific groups about nearly every aspect of cruising broken up by cruise line.

That includes ducks, the rubber kind, not the flying ones. It’s a family-friendly cruise line tradition for people to buy little plastic rubber ducks and hide them around cruise ships. In some cases, the hiders paint the ducks, or attach cards so people can share photos of the ducks they have found to a social media group.

It’s an elaborate tradition that Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Free Report and Carnival have embraced while Walt Disney’s cruise line has very recently banned the practice on its ships.       

Central Park on Oasis-class ships has long been a popular place to hide ducks.

Image source: Daniel Kline/TheStreet

Walt Disney bans hiding ducks

Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Free Report quietly banned hiding ducks on its ships without publicly announcing it. The company did confirm the change on its PlanDisney web page. That’s a website where panelists, who are paid in free travel, answer questions about various Disney vacation topics.

Shirley from FL wrote into the site in late December asking about the policy after she was not allowed to hide ducks on her recent Disney cruise.

“I’ve been hearing rumblings that guests are being discouraged from hiding ducks onboard Disney Cruise ships, so I called the friendly agents at Disney Cruise Line to ask if they had an official policy that I could share with you. I was advised that guests cannot hide things, such as rubber ducks in staterooms or public areas on the ship,” Adrianna, an official panelist on the site answered.

That’s a change in what had been a longstanding-policy to allow hiding ducks.

“I know that this is a popular thing to do for many cruisers onboard, but it sounds like it’s being discouraged and as you said, Crew Members are removing any ducks they spot around the ship. I’ve got kids in my household with eyes that are trained for the ducks onboard so I guess it’s time I inform them to not re-hide any ducks that they might find,” she added.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean allow hiding ducks

Hiding ducks seems like a harmless activity, but some people really don’t like it. That’s the case for one Carnival passenger who wrote to Brand Ambassador John Heald on his Facebook page.

“Well done Disney cruises for banning the hiding of these infernal and disease riddled rubber ducks. I am a parent. I do not want to have to deal with a load of ducks to take home so just left them in the cabin or in the trash. So I can totally understand that decision. The VIFP Facebook page says Carnival is announcing the same. Good I say and this is echoed I betcha by most everyone else,” she wrote.

That’s not actually happening, Heald shared.

“I am surprised that the beards at Disney have banned the ducks? I didn’t know that, I am wonder if Donald had something to say about that,” he joked.

(Beards is Heald’s nickname for cruise line leadership).

“The answer is no, we are not going to ban the hiding of ducks. I know this is not for everyone but I also they are not ‘disease riddled’ and I also know it gives so many people joy so why would we stop the spreading of joy?” he added.

Royal Caribbean also allows passengers to hide ducks as long as they are in public areas. A spokesperson for the cruise line was unaware of Disney’s change and did not provide a comment in response to TheStreet’s request. 

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