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First-time Cruiser Complaints? Take a Chill Pill

Written by: Paul Motter

Kuki is upset with first-time cruisers who only post in CruiseMates to complain after a bad cruise. You have pretty high expectations from the first-time cruisers. It reminds me of that old 60-Minutes Point/Counterpoint segment, and the SNL take-off Chevy Chase rejoinder “Jane, you ignorant slut!”

“Kuki – you over-reacting cruise snob!” is my version of that. Perhaps the first-time cruiser would not have a complaint if they had read the contract first, but who reads the fine print anymore? Life is too short and its all jabberwocky anyway.

You make one good example – itinerary changes due to a hurricane. People who complain when the only other choice would have been to sail into the hurricane (“that’s where the brochure said the ship would go”) are nuts. Obviously, no one would actually want to sail into a hurricane, yet there are always the bozos who will demand a refund when they don’t – as in the recent Carnival Miracle case.

For those not familiar – the ship sailed out of New York just as Hurricane Ike was making its way towards North Carolina. Instead of following the charted brochure route to Port Canaveral and Nassau, Bahamas, the ship north went to Newport, RI instead.

Protestors on the ship, led by a few professional attorneys on vacation, passed around a petition and staged protests at the purser’s desk. They demanded more compensation than the cruise line had already given them.

OK, I agree with you there. Kuki. The protestors were all wet and captain should have turned the ship around and sailed right into the hurricane. The ship would have weathered the storm intact – and the crew probably could have withstood the mal de mar. But something tells me those bottom-feeding attorneys demanding compensation would soon be threatening to sue if they didn’t turn the ship around right away.

Wouldn’t that just be the day? Give them what they want and shut them for good.

Still – I think you are too hard on many people with your rant against anyone who complains after a first cruise – even if it is about something they could have known but didn’t. Cruising is a complicated travel product. I have never met a first-time cruiser who didn’t have many unanswered questions or misconceptions. There are some things you never really understand about cruising until you actually do it.

For example, cruise lines give you free 24-hour room service. What does that mean? It means there is a room service menu in the room and a number you can dial at any time and they will bring you freshly prepared food to your stateroom for no charge. I have told 100′s of non-cruisers about that, and in my research they never remember it. Do you know why? Because it is a level of service no one else in the hospitality business gives to you. It’s simply unbelievable. You would have to see it to believe it.

I don’t believe anyone could ever do enough research to know everything there is to know before their first cruise. Especially when there are dozens of cruise lines – all of them different in policy, procedure and quality.

Now here IS where I agree with you. people should always use a travel agent, with tons of cruise experience, to book a cruise. They can get to know you and match you to the right ship. You need to be talking to someone with TONS of cruise experience, not your neighbor’s hairdresser’s plumber’s dog-walker. Only someone who has been on at least five different cruises, preferably a dozen cruises, should be advising people on what cruise to take.

And it IS up to that advisor to tell the new cruiser a few basic things, like if you sail during hurricane season you “might” get a change in itinerary.

In any case, I can deal with a non-knowlegable first-time cruiser. The people who really tick me off are the cruise bashing web sites who want the cruise lines to adopt a set of policies making the lines responsible for any and every little thing that could possibly go wrong. You know who I mean – the people who blame the cruise lines if a person gets stung by a jellyfish in port.

Those are the cruise bashers who need to jump in a lake. And if that kind of complaining is what they want to do – there are a few (fortunately for us), highly unpopular web sites who will listen gleefully to anyone’s cruise complaint – even it isn’t true.

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Comments

Pingback from Cruise Bruised? Take a Chill Pill | Cruises
Time October 2, 2008 at 9:22 pm

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Comment from Kuki
Time October 2, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Paul,

You may have missed the point I was making on on my blog. I wasn’t just ranting against first time cruisers. I actually remember my first cruise very well, and I still remember the feelings. It’s what hooked me on cruising, and it was actually on an “old tug” that was on it’s last sailing, having been sold to some company to cruise in Asia.

The thing is, those first time cruisers, as well as more experienced cruisers, can find CruiseMates so easily AFTER their cruises, to give a voice to their complaints, because they make the effort to do so.

If they’d put in that effort in advance, they’d so often have saved themselves from a lot of grief.

I just don’t understand people putting so much money on the line without at least knowing a bit about it, and PARTICULARILY when the information can be found so easily, and its FREE!

I think it’s VERY important that people, first time cruisers or otherwise, post their complaints. But the complaints bear so much more weight when they are spoken reasonably from a somewhat informed point of view.

In the example you sight about ships and hurricanes, I think it’s highly unlikely that it’s only first time cruisers who were demanding compensation. “Experienced” cruisers too can want to hold someone else responsible for any type of mishaps.

I certainly don’t expect first time cruisers to know everything. After 50+ cruises I believe I still learn something new each time I cruise. That is part of what keeps me excited to go, and go again.

But people should know SOMETHING before spending their money. Personally I’d never spend $1000 and more without at least taking a peek at some details of what I’m buying. That’s what befuddles me.

TRUE story….Just today I went golfing, and a lady joined our group…. an excellent golfer by the way; she sadly put me to shame.
At the end of the game she said another playing partner with us told her I write about cruises, so she told me she was going on her third cruise in two weeks. I asked her which ship, and she said … Princess.
I told her I hoped she had a great time. I wanted to add…. and I hope there aren’t two or more Princess ships in port.

Regards,
Kuki

Comment from Paul Motter
Time October 2, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Actually, I agree, but still you can’t blame people for what you don’t know.

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/memreviews/rci/serenade23.cfm

Here is a review I just got today from a giy who spent $16,000 for an Alaska cruise on a mainstream line. 2 suites because he brought his two kids.

He spent a lot of money, but the things he complains about seem pretty trifling; the virtial golf, the breakfast buffet, etc.

If it had been me, having booked 2 suites I would have complained on board. If I had a suite I would have had room service breakfast on my balcony every morning – not go to the buffet. With thta kind of money, I would have gone to the Grill for special food every night.

I certainly would not have settled for less-than excellent room stewards.

What people like him do not see is that he spent $4000/person to go on the same ship where others were spending $700 and they were getting the same food, entertainment, golf simulator, etc.

If you want to splurge, go on an upscale cruise line.

This is one person who really should have used a travel agent, and you are COMPLETELY right about this. Most people who don’t go to travel agents is because they think the agent is out to get them, when in fact the agent gets paid by the cruise line. He probably thought he could SAVE MONEY by booking it himself, but instead he felt ripped off.

He could have booked Crystal, Regent or Silversea for that kind of money. Or a nice suite on Holland America.

Comment from Todd De Haven
Time October 3, 2008 at 3:43 pm

You are so right Mr. Motter.

One cruise bashing website hasn’t had anything even remotely tantalyzing in weeks. The bottom feeders must be getting pretty hungry. (heh-heh-heh)

I can pretty much always catalogue the complainers, first time or otherwise. The real whiners are usually those who calim to have either been on their first cruise or they’ve cruised a gazillion times and this latest one is the worst.

The cruise complainer writing his rant following his initial cruise (I mean the types that hate EVERYTHING about the cruise), are often the type of whom one often says here in the South, “He fell off the turnip truck just yesterday.”

Of course with the “seasoned” complaining cruiser, he usually gives himself away by claiming that something that was actually trivial almost to the extreme ruined his trip. You mean, this guy would have us believe that NOTHING untoward ever happened on his gazillion previous cruises?

I honestly wonder if some people really are cognizant of how transparent they actually are.

I recently read a review where the fellow who wrote it stated up front that he views the glass as “half full” as opposed to “half empty.” Right there told me this review was worth reading and it was.

I only wish that more people would post reviews of their cruises. I know that when I was anticipating my first cruise, I found them not only so helpful, but interesting as well….even those that were somewhat unfavorable.

And I agree everyone should keep pounding the “Get A Cruise Trained Travel Agent!” drum because while it may become “oh hum… we KNOW that” to “old salts,” there’s a newbie that drops by every day. We should all remember that.

Oh and yeah Paul, I’d love to cruise on Silverseas. The only reason I don’t is because I don’t want to get too spoiled. Oh and by the way, I’ve got this bridge for sale that spans the East River and…..

Todd De Haven

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