Cruising Ducks: Everything You Need To Know About Why People Hide Rubber Ducks on Cruise Ships

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Imagine you’re on a cruise, enjoying the endless ocean views and all the activities on board. As you walk through the ship, you stumble upon a little surprise: a charming little yellow rubber duck hidden in a corner. This is the delightful world of cruising ducks 🐥, a fun and engaging pastime that has become quite popular among cruise enthusiasts.

Cruising ducks originated from a simple idea: passengers would bring small rubber ducks on board and hide them in various locations throughout the ship. It is seen as a way to create a sense of adventure for their fellow passenger.

These ducks typically have cards attached to them (or “tags” as they are known) containing the names of the people who hid them and where those people came from.

Once you find one, you can’t help yourself getting caught up in a Cruising Ducks treasure hunt as you look for more.

So, the next time you find yourself on a cruise, join in the fun and share the joy of discovering and hiding cruising ducks with others.

The Story Behind The Cruise Phenomenon And Why People Hide Rubber Ducks

Cruising Ducks - Keep or Hide You Decide

Origin and Background

So what it boils down to is this, Cruising Ducks is essentially a scavenger hunt involving rubber ducks, where passengers hide and seek these adorable toys around the ship.

The concept has its roots in a similar trend known as the “painted-rocks” phenomenon, which involves hiding and finding painted rocks in various locations on land.

The Davis Family and Cruising Ducks

Although some people claim the practice originated earlier (as far back as 2015), most people agree that the rise in popularity of cruise ducks can be traced back to 2018. This was when a 10-year-old girl named Abby Davis and her father took a Carnival Cruise.

They thought it would be a fun idea to bring 50 rubber ducks along on their 7-day cruise and hide them around the ship for others to find. 

They hid 7 ducks per day, and as the cruise went on they started to spot people who were clearly looking for the ducks. This one fun little cruise activity gave birth to the cruising ducks craze we see today. 

Social Media and the Launch of the “Cruising Ducks – Original” Facebook Community

Due to social media, it didn’t take long for the cruising duck’s trend to gain traction.

Several Facebook groups and communities were formed, with the largest being the “Cruising Ducks – Original” group, which encourages people to share photos of the ducks they plan to hide, and also the ducks they find on board. 

They even use the hashtag #cruisingducks to make it easier for duck hunters to share their finds.

Some participants get creative, preparing “passports” for their ducks that include information like the ship they are on, cruising dates, and where they are from. This not only adds to the fun but also fosters a sense of community among the cruise duck fans.

Related: What are cruising Ducks

What Cruise Lines Do People Hide Cruise Ducks on

Cruising ducks have become a popular and fun activity for passengers aboard cruise ships on almost every major cruise line.

You’ll find cruising ducks on your favorite cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, MSC, and P and O Cruises. 

The Cruising Ducks Game – Will You Find a Cruise Duck on Your Cruise?

Cruising Ducks - Huge Rubber Duck being Towed by Tug Boat
Not many ducks will be as easy to spot as this one 😂

“Keep or Hide, You Decide”

The Cruising Ducks game is essentially a game of hide-and-seek. But if you find one, the choice is yours! You can either keep the duck as a souvenir from your trip or re-hide it for someone else to discover.

Participating in the Cruising Ducks game is a great way to explore the ship and make new friends. As you search for ducks or hide them, you’ll also be visiting areas of the ship you might not have seen. It’s also great exercise, as you’ll soon get your daily steps in!

It’s a fun activity for all ages, from kids to seniors, so if you’re ready to join in, bring some rubber ducks to hide on your next cruise vacation.

Remember to follow the game’s etiquette. When hiding your ducks, make sure they’re visible and not tucked away somewhere inaccessible. And if you find a duck, capture a photo and share it on the Cruising Ducks Facebook group. This is a great way to connect with other players and keep a record of all your finds.

Finding and Hiding Ducks on Cruise Ships – Everything You Need To Know

Cruising Ducks - Duck with Tag
My First Ever Duck! I Found This on Vision of the Seas

Tagging Guidelines

The best cruise rubber ducks can be traced back to their original owners via an information card attached to the Duck. This card or “tag” and will usually have the name of the person or family who left the duck and where that family is from

The Tag will also include the name of the ship and the cruise date. This is important as some ducks decide to go on a long journey from cruise to cruise 😉 

You should also add the #cruisingducks and any other hashtags you want to use to trace its journey. For instance, you might give your duck a name like #daisythecruiseduck.

Tags are usually attached with simple rubber bands and the tags are normally laminated or made from durable material. 

Hiding Places

Finding unique and creative hiding places for your ducks can be the best part of the cruising duck activity. Here are a few tips to ensure a fun experience for all involved:

  • Keep it public: Always hide your ducks in public areas. Avoid hiding them in private spaces like other passengers’ cabins and staff-only areas. This allows more people to have a chance to find your ducks.
  • Think outside the box: Consider hiding your ducks in unexpected locations, such as behind plants, tucked away in a little corner of the pool deck, or resting on a sign, hidden in plain sight. 
  • Be mindful of safety: Make sure your hiding spot doesn’t pose any risks to fellow passengers. Keep ducks away from electrical equipment, slippery surfaces, and potential hazards. Also, do not put them in pools or hot tubs.

By following these guidelines and putting some thought into your hiding places, you can contribute to the fun and excitement of discovering and sharing cruising ducks on your next voyage. 

Social Cruise Duck Events on Board

Cruising ducks are not limited to online interactions. There are often social events on board various cruise ships that center around these delightful little toys.

You might find themed scavenger hunts or even special meetups for passengers to exchange rubber ducks, share stories, and make new friends.

While some cruise entertainment staff might organize activities like this “officially”, you will usually find most are organized by fellow duck hunters and they use social media to publicize their event.

The best way to find out about these is to join a specific cruise group for the cruise you are going on. The easiest way to do this is just search on Facebook for the name of your cruise and the date. For example, “Wonder of the Seas 17 Sept 23.

Remember, participating in the cruising duck tradition is all about having fun, making connections, and creating unforgettable memories.

The more you embrace the quirky nature of this scavenger hunt and the community it has inspired, the more you will get out of it.

Where to Buy Cruise Rubber Ducks and Cruise Duck Tags

If you are new to the cruise duck phenomenon, you will probably scratch your head and wonder where people buy these little ducks.  Well if turns out that due to their popularity, you can buy them in lots of places. 

Amazon Cruising Ducks

If you are new to cruising ducks and just want to dive in and get involved, Amazon should be your first stop. They offer full kits for beginners that include the ducks, rubber bands and tags.

For more experienced duck fans, they offer a wide variety of options, such as themed ducks, bulk rubber ducks, and even customizable duck sets. Just type “cruising ducks” in the search bar to find the perfect ducks for your trip.

Etsy Cruising Ducks

For the more experienced duck fanatic, Etsy is a great platform to find even more unique and personalized cruising ducks. On Etsy, you can discover lots of different ducks and tags created by talented artists and crafters.

Their handmade duck tags make your duck unique and special. Plus, you can request custom designs on tags to match the theme of your cruise or to have a more personalized touch.

Cruise Ship Shops

Cruising Ducks for sale iin Carnival Gift Shop
The Cruise Shop On Carnival Pride Had Lots of Ducks for Sale

Of course, it doesn’t take long for a cruise company to spot something they might be able to make a profit from. Many cruise ship gift shops now offer exclusive, themed cruising ducks that you can purchase.

These ducks often feature the cruise line’s logo or mascot, making them a memorable souvenir to take home or hide on the ship.

Remember to have fun and get creative with your cruising ducks. Your fellow cruisers will appreciate your effort and enjoy the excitement of finding your little quacky friends hidden around the ship.

Rubbers Ducks on Cruise and Links to Fundraising Activities

As well as being a popular activity on cruise ships, these little rubber ducks are also often used for fundraising and charity efforts.  Here are some ideas you might want to consider yourself.

Charity IDEAS

One way to use cruising ducks for fundraising is by organizing a duck-themed event or game on your cruise. You can sell the ducks to passengers, and the proceeds can go to a chosen charity.

For example, consider hosting a “duck race” where passengers buy a duck, and all the ducks are placed in a pool. The first one to reach the finish line wins a prize, and the funds raised through the duck sales are donated to a worthy cause.

You can think of creative and safe ways to help transport the ducks across the pool. Getting the kids to follow the ducks with straws and blow them is an absolute hoot!

You can also consider creating custom ducks with your charity’s logo or message, which can be sold as souvenirs during your event.

It’s a great way to spread awareness about your chosen charity and encourage further donations. 

Finding Ducks – What Other Things Do You Need to Know About Cruise Ducks

Crew Members’ Perspectives

It’s clear that Cruising ducks have become a very popular trend on cruise ships, but not only with the passengers!

Some crew members have shared that they find the cruising duck tradition to be a fun and engaging activity as well.  Some other crew members, like a member of the cleaning staff finding their 15th duck that day, might not be quite so enthusiastic LOL

Always remember to be respectful of the crew members and the hard work they put into maintaining the ship and ensuring a pleasant experience for everyone on board. When hiding your ducks, make sure not to create any obstacles or problems for staff.

How to get started – Where to Find Cruise Duck Suppliers

Here is a list of where we recommend you buy your Cruise ducks.

If you are new, definitely go for a “starter set” with say 20 ducks. This makes the hobby accessible and easy to get started. If you find you enjoy it, then look at something more sophisticated for your next cruise.

Best Starter Kit For Newbies
60 Pcs Cruising Ducks Set With Ducks, Tags, And Passport

60 Pcs Cruising Ducks Set. Includes 20 Cruising Duck Tags 20 Small Cruise Ducks and 20 Colored Rubber Bands. Also includes Games Card / Passport

02/18/2024 09:23 pm GMT
For Cruising Ducks Fanatics
Bulk Cruise Ducks Pack - 100 Assorted Cruising Ducks

100 Pack of Assorted Rubber Duck bath toy / Cruise Ducks (50 unique designs)

02/18/2024 10:43 pm GMT
Cruising Ducks Experts Pick
Set of 100 Tags and Bands for Cruise Ducks
20,24 € (0,20 € / stück)

Set of 100 Double-Sided Cruise Duck Tags Cruising Tags. 2 x 3.5 Inches in size. With hole and rubber bands. Four unique designs

02/18/2024 10:38 pm GMT

Cruising Ducks – It’s all a bit Quackers

Whatever you think about the activity, I am sure we can all agree it is a little quackers. Who would have thought that hiding and finding ducks would become such a cruise ship phenomenon across the whole industry?

Cruising Ducks tribute to John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line's Ambassador

It’s got to the point that even the cruise companies themselves are getting involved and even inspiring new duck designs. Have you seen the duck themed after Carnival cruise line’s brand ambassador John Heald? It’s hilarious.

So, if you are looking for a fun activity for yourself or the kids, then it’s time to get quacking! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Hiding Ducks on a Cruise

What is the origin of cruising ducks?

Cruising ducks originated as a fun, interactive game where passengers hide and seek small rubber ducks around the cruise ship. It gained popularity through social media and has since become a popular tradition on many cruise lines.

How do you participate in cruising duck activities?

To participate, you can buy or create your own cruise ducks and hide them in various nooks and crannies around the ship. If you find a duck, you can either keep it or re-hide it for someone else to find. Be sure to follow any rules or guidelines provided, and remember to avoid hiding ducks in areas like pools, hot tubs, or stores.

Can anyone find and hide ducks while on a cruise, or is it exclusive to certain groups?

Anyone can participate in the cruising duck game. It is not exclusive to any particular group. Just remember to follow the rules and guidelines, and feel free to join in on the fun, whether you’re hiding ducks or searching for them during your cruise.

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Morag is our Food, Fashion and Fun expert at Cruise Nonstop. On a typical cruise, you'll find Morag either studying the fine dining menus or dancing on the dance floor, having a ball!

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