Hi! I have been one of others who have written about this subject & have cruised many times from the Med ports. I would not get too concerned as your on a American ship as opposed to an Italian ship. It's been our experience that when they are on their own ground (Italian ship) they are in the majority & act in the manner they do in their own country, ie. you can be waiting in line for a bus/lift/meal & they walk to the front of the queue as if no one else is there. To us it's frustrating & annoying, but it's their way & they appear to be oblivious to the offence it causes (try that in Glasgow on a Saturday night). We have found though on an American ship where they are not on their own ground & also generally in the minority, they tend to behave in a different manor & fit in with the English/American format. Hope this quells some of your fears .
I sailed from Venice to Rome last year, there was no 'problem' with the Italians - ignoring the obvious racism of this comment - they were charming, kept to themselves, and most beautifully dressed every night, it put us English to shame.
We were on this ship last month and was informed by the cruise director that half of the passengers were Italian as it sailed from Rome so it put the British and the American passengers to the minority ie roughly 400 passengers from each country. Personally,I found some of the Italians were rude and had no manners. It happened to me one evening when I was about to join a 'queue' (only had two people)to get some food from the buffet counter. I heard a heavy footstep then an Italian bloke moved quickly to get into the queue before me. (Before I approached the queue, I noticed this bloke was engaged in a conversation face to face with an officer, both of them stood about over a meter away from the end of the queue and not on the same line as the queue, also their faces weren't in the direction of the queue either. He accused me to jump the queue, I told him that he wasn't in the queue the first place but if he was that hungry then I let him go before me. At this point he spoke in Italian and pretended not understand English. So I am going to learn some Italian to prepare for the next cruise.
We have cruised many times, this summer we joined the Navigator of the Seas at Rome. We had a wonderful holiday and tried not to let the rudeness of the Italians spoil it for us. Even the staff seemed to be fed up with them. The Italians just seemed happy to jump queues, push in, not hold lift doors open for you or even have the sense to move back in a lift to let others in. We will continue to cruise with RCL and Princess but will never again go from Rome. They may be beautifully dressed and spent lots of money but there is no excuse for rudeness.
We often travel with Italians and love MSC- the Italians are wonderful, as long as you treat them as they treat you, just don't tolerate any rudeness ( I find the Eastern Europeans and Russians worst) I have been told that they find us a bit stiff and huffy as a race until they get to know us, and they do have a tendency to stick together., I have learnt a bit of Italian - which I speak badly, they think it is quite amusing and become very friendly, even try and help with my bad Italian and call others over to compare my pronunciation with different regional accents in case they are telling me wrong. If you have a tendency to just 'tut' at rudeness without reacting, it will carry on - instead just tell them - politely - that they are being bad mannered. I think the worst thing is when people pick up food with their fingers and then put it down again - I just pass them the tongs and then ask a member of staff to remove the handled food - it works every time.
I agree with most of the answers posted here. As you can see from my surname I have married into an Italian family therefor am familiar with their traits. We holiday annually in Italy and their way is their culture. Us Brits can take offence to not conforming to rules, Italians well, feel why conform! I love their passion, individuality and the way the speak their mind, but, I'd have to! No offence is intended and as said by Walker, try some basic Italian, they love it! Smile, and state what you would like, they would actually be horrified to offend! You will, if you engage, meet some of the most interesting open minded people. Queue, well, thats unheard of, they would push their granny off a bus! Getting angry though will just ruin your holiday, they would not have a clue what was bothering you. They have never Queued in their lives and think we are rather strange for doing it. This year from Rome I found the Italians on board kept to themselves. Americans, mainly from New York, very loud!!! The only rudeness we came accross was from an English party by the pool.