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Does Attitude Make or Break Your Cruise? And Does It Influence Your Post Cruise Feedback?

Written by: Kuki

“ A cruise is what you make it” . I’ve often seen that phrase used on the message boards, particularly when someone has posted a less than glowing report about their cruise experience. The implication, of course, is that the people posting their concerns or complaints are responsible for their own enjoyment, or lack of enjoyment of their cruise.

I have little doubt that our attitude about everything in our lives has some affect on everything that happens in our lives. There’s an entire science, Sociology, dedicated to the study of human behaviour; social relations, social interaction, culture and deviance.

I’m not a sociologist, but having spent more than 30 years in the bar and restaurant business I’ve certainly witnessed enough variant human behaviour to help me form opinions on human interaction, and its effect on the surrounding environment.

Certainly most would agree a self confident gregarious individual will attract more people, and more social interaction than people who are quieter and more withdrawn. And therefore, carrying that across the gangway, the same rules would apply on cruise ship. The additional social interaction is likely to make the cruise more enjoyable for those people who do display a “good attitude”.

However, I don’t believe that attitude alone can define the outcome of your cruise. It’s naïve to think that a “take it as comes”, “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude can overcome any and all real issues when they occur.

Generally I like to think I have a great attitude, but when going on a cruise vacation I expect the cruise line to deliver their product in a manner that allows me to keep that great attitude, and enjoy my vacation.

But there are instances when the cruise lines fail at delivering what they are expected to, or have convinced you to believe they will. When you raise an issue with the Guest Relations desk and are met with indifference, or are placated when you’re told the information will be passed on and you’ll be contacted to try and remedy the problem, but that call doesn’t come, it can bring a “great attitude” to its knees fairly quickly.

Over the years I wrote numerous articles advising people to deal with issues when they occur, taking their problems to the right people onboard to rectify. And normally that advice works. But there are situations where for one reason or another, even doing that does not find resolution for the problem. When that’s the case I think it’s unfair to tell those people “a cruise is what you make it”.

A passengers attitude is a part of the puzzle, that when put together properly, in partnership with the cruise line and fellow passengers most often leads to wonderful vacations.

However, when the pieces don’t fall into place as they should, and people report back on their less than fulfilling experience I get perturbed when they are scolded for not having a better attitude, or for not having read the fine print to establish their rights or lack thereof, or for having exaggerated expectations.

When people voicing their complaints or concerns with a cruise experience on the message boards, one of the least helpful reactions from the Internet community is “swarming” them to attempt to drown them out, or chase them away. Rather than generating a discussion that could supply useful information about dealing with situations, “swarming” is intended to drive the poster away, and make them uncomfortable about discussing their issues further. Sadly this strategy by the “swarmers” or “internet bullies” works all too well.

There’s no question there are instances of people posting complaints which are exaggerated, or related to not having researched their vacation well enough in advance to understand some of the “rules of the road” in regard to cruising. And those who’ll post supplying little detail. But, much too often these people are attacked by cheerleaders for the cruise line, and bullied into submission (to never be heard from again), instead of discussing how the problems could have best been rectified; when in fact a discussion of the issues raised could serve everyone’s interests much better, and educate others to avoid the problems raised. And when “the plan” works, and they don’t return, “the swarmers” delightfully (though insincerly) post tagging them “one hit wonders”.

While a good attitude, and the ability to “not sweat the small stuff” does impact your cruise experience, I think it’s important to carry that same good attitude to conversations on the message boards. Forget about defending your favorite cruise lines and use that “good attitude” to generate discussions, and let everyone following along learn something from them, and see more clearly how friendly and helpful cruise enthusiasts really are.

Most will probably agree that cruisers by  nature are fun, friendly and enthusiastic, do you think some lose that enthusiasm when responding on the message boards? Do you really need to verify your choice of cruise line by attempting to drown out anyon’s elses issues with it? Or does our patience simply wane because we’re not on a cruise? Should CruiseMates and other cruise related web sites be more proactive in blocking the actions of the “swarmers”?

- A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising -

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Comments

Comment from Mike M
Time March 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Kuki,

You and I feel very much the same on almost everything.

A “Good Attitude” does not solve everything and it most certainly will not solve every issue that may come up onboard a cruise ship or even in real life. The attitude definitely helps but it isn’t the panacea that many message board posters make of it.

Personally, I get personally angry when someone posts about a negative experience (not an all out bash) and is met by online bullies who negate their issue and experience or demean them by telling them they are a chronic complainer, nit picker, never satisfied or a basher.

I find the, blinder wearing, “Stepford Cruiser” to be just as much of a negative as the basher. The “Stepford Cruiser” is the person who posts that EVERYTHING is fine as long they don’t have to make their own bed or cook their own food. I truly believe this attitude can and has deteriorated the overall cruise product. The companies will deliver a product to the lowest common denominator and if the passengers lower the bar the cruise lines will gladly oblige them.

I have also found that many people will attack or demean a negative post because this person has said something negative about their chosen cruise line and the bullies take it as the person saying something negative about them. I wonder how insecure many people are who can’t discern themselves from a company.

Yes, a good attitude will make your cruise more enjoyable but if you go through your cruises with blinders on you will eventually fall overboard.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Trip
Time March 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I will also toss my hat into the ring, and totally agree, that, bad things can happen to good cruisers. A good attitude goes a long way to diffuse a less then stellar situation, but sometimes the outcome is not 100% satisfactory.

When the cruiser comes to a message boards to vent, and is met with hostilty, it’s not what the poster expects, and, the flames begin. That doesn’t help at all.

Comment from Todd De Haven
Time March 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm

I strongly agree with you, Kuki.

On some sites, when a cruiser on Line XYZ has what they feel is a poor cruise experience, regardless of the reason, I feel it serves no purpose whatsoever for the supporters of Cruise Line XYZ to go into a veritable shark feeding frenzy.

Want to keep problems to a minimum? Stay reasonable in your expectations and I believe you will always be better off.

When it comes to conflict resolution, my 27 years of experience in law enforcement followed by ten years running both a senior apartment site and an adjoining family site, pretty much validates my suggestions on this topic.

You even perhaps may want to review an article I wrote for Cruisemates on that subject probably a year ago, maybe a bit longer. I’m sure it’s in the archives.

Comment from Thoth
Time March 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm

OK, maybe I’m one of those “stepford cruisers”, but I do think attitude constitutes most of our experiences. I tend to dismiss most negative reviews posted. Instead of saying “the food could have been better” many proclaim “food was awful”. Medieval gruel is “awful”….Spartan broth…that was “awful” . Bland meat at dinner is not awful.
Does one snappy woman at the purser’s deck make everyone bad? Yet that’s the way it sounds when some tell the story.
8 times I have cruised expecting to enjoy myself and all 8 times delivered what I expected.

Comment from Fireba11
Time March 19, 2009 at 1:33 am

Right as rain Kuki! This is a DISCUSSION board
not a bashing board. All bashing does is drive folks away from cruise mates. I have learned many good things to look for in a cruise and things to look out for in a cruise on these boards, everyones imput, even complaining, has helped with that learning process.

Keep up the good work
Tim

Comment from Kuki
Time March 19, 2009 at 8:55 am

Thoth,

No question there are people who step onboard, with their expectations too high, or have put much too little research into their vacations… which always amazes when they are spending significant $$$.

However, even if the posts are so undescriptive of our experiences, I think it’s important to discuss the differences, and not attack them for posting things different to our experiences.

Disagreeing is never the issue. It’s that some are allowed to drown out opposing views that’s the issue to me.

Everyone reading can learn from opposing views… even the original posters you don’t believe… but not if the only reaction is to drown them out.

Comment from Dave
Time March 19, 2009 at 12:37 pm

A big difference to me is the tenor of the posts which contain complaints, as well as those made by true “drive-by” posters who make their first visit to the forum only to say everything was rotten on their cruise – often because of something minor. They didn’t bother to come to the forum before the cruise to get advice and gain some understanding, yet they feel entitled to come to a forum after-the-fact and use a forum as a soapbox, never to return. In many ways it is unfair to do this. Some only want to garner sympathy and are not interested in a reasonable discussion. I give more credence to posts that don’t dwell on the negative but also tell about the things they did like. That is the sign of someone who is reasonable in their assessment and willing to talk about it.

I also agree that those who post nothing but pollyannish reviews are equally annoying.

Comment from bahamamomma
Time March 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Attitude helps a lot – and if you have a complaint, a good attitude about the cruise will make it easier to discuss the problem immediately instead of letting it fester and then the negative feelings and attitude appear.

Case in point, went on NCL in Feb out of NO – literally danced to the music going up the ramp to the ship – we were pumped – later we noticed a couple of things and immediately brought them the attention of staff – but we never felt the problems were solved. We, since a positive attitude was present about the cruise, didn’t complain – after the cruise was over we thought about the situation and realized that NCL isn’t for us – we won’t say “never” but it will be a long time before we cruise with them again. Why bash them, it won’t get us anything and just because there were things that we didn’t like doesn’t mean that everyone would feel the same as us.

A company can only do so much with what they have to work with and in the case of the cruise lines they are going to only be able to please so many people. No matter how hard a company tries is folks have pre-conceived notions about something it’s going to take a lot to change their minds0 JMHO!

Comment from John
Time March 20, 2009 at 7:56 am

Wow, I have so many thoughts about this blog post. As a web community here at cruisemates we need to be supportive, and we can always use experiences from other cruisers (positive or negative) to learn things that can only enhance our own personal cruise experiences.

Just like anything, if you do it enough something will finally go wrong. It is easy to claim that if the poster had been on our boards before their cruise they would have known X. This is true some of the time, but not all of the time. It is also easy to become defensive of our favorite cruiseline.

Kuki, don’t kill me for saying this, but this blog post is also self serving for Kuki. The more people that use this website and aren’t “drive-by” or “one time posters”, but instead become long time members/posters help this web community grow.

I love Cruisemates! The blog post is valid for many reasons, and unfortunately people like being negative. I work in customer service and for every negative experience a customer has they will tell at least 7 people about it. But for every great experience that person may only tell 2 people about it. Let’s be less negative, more positive and try to support one another!

Comment from Kuki
Time March 20, 2009 at 8:43 am

John,

I’ve glad you found the blog thought provoking.

It’s also self serving because I have to come up with a topic for my blog each week . LOL

And, yes, it’s best for the site if a new poster, even one who just wants to vent negatives, is welcomed at the site… rather than “chased off”.

But it’s also better from all concerned, because any conversation, even if it’s all about negatives and what they best way to deal with them might be, can be informative to lots of readers.

Comment from John
Time March 20, 2009 at 11:20 am

Kuki, I am with you in your campaign to not “chase off” others. Maybe I should of not included my comment. As stated previously I am grateful for this web community. Thanks for everything and lets be more positive/supportive!

Comment from Mike Lawson
Time March 20, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Kuki, interesting topic. I can see this issue from both sides I think. Having read many reports from people that have had problems on a cruise, more often than not they say they will never go on XYZ cruise again. I think this makes individuals want to defend the cruise line. Many times the problem has been at least partial due to the individual. One example of that is the individual who gets sick and has to miss the cruise and then is mad at the cruise line for not refunding there money. I have read this many times and the one that made me laugh the most was the guy who got sick and said he would never sail HAL again after fifteen times with them. It seemed to me the money he saved on insurance from the fifteen cruises most likely paid for the missed cruise. I don’t like to see anyone get sick, but individuals blaming the cruise line for there mistake or one poor employee does not seem right. I will take this example one step further. I will use myself and the Blog cruise. This was my first time on Carnival and my first B2B. At the turn we went ashore to shop and have lunch. When we returned it was confusing getting back on board, but we made it on. The pursers desk gave us a new sign and sail card and I believed all was well. That evening I tried to use the card in the Casino and it was not working. I returned to the pursers desk and asked for help. I was told I needed my credit card. I ran up to my room to get it and returned to the pursers desk. Know out of breath from running. The woman at the desk started to laugh at me. I was in shock. I told her it was not funny, and it was there mistake not mine. I told her I would be writing John Heald as soon as I could get to a computer. What a change in her attitude changed. My point being was this an individual person not Carnival. As a first time customer if I had said Carnival is junk and never go on them I expect someone might come to there defense, and most likely should. Mike

Comment from Thoth
Time March 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Oh yes Kuki, I understand your point and agree. Too bad the Internet tends to attract “flamers” who do indeed attempt to run off people who don’t share their often narrow points of view. I don’t quit understand why otherwise civilized people can hide behind a fake name and take pop shots at anonymous posters. To be honest, they scare me!
To your credit, Cruisemates is far more gentile than most message boards out there.

Comment from Namvet4
Time March 22, 2009 at 5:52 am

“However, when the pieces don’t fall into place as they should, and people report back on their less than fulfilling experience I get perturbed when they are scolded for not having a better attitude, or for not having read the fine print to establish their rights or lack thereof, or for having exaggerated expectations.”
“But, much too often these people are attacked by cheerleaders for the cruise line, and bullied into submission (to never be heard from again), instead of discussing how the problems could have best been rectified; when in fact a discussion of the issues raised could serve everyone’s interests much better, and educate others to avoid the problems raised. And when “the plan” works, and they don’t return, “the swarmer’s” delightfully (though insincerely) post tagging them “one hit wonders”.

Thank you for the article Kuki… well stated!
Unfortunately you can’t censor peoples poor behavior – being swarmer’s and/or flamers. They have the right to demonstrate their ignorance and stupidity as long as they abide by the rules of civility and the specific message board rules. That said, I ignore the ignorant and actually enjoy the effort and time I put into trying to glean the truth when someone reports, good or bad, their experience with a specific ship or cruise line. Most intelligent people figure it out real quick who is blowing smoke and who is really just acting like an idiot. That applies to both the OP who reports their experience and those compelled to comment.

Thanks for the blog!

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