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Things About Cruising That Can Make You Crazy

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As my job is to follow and write about the cruise industry one might naturally assume I am an advocate for the industry. And it’s true in many ways. I am most certainly a fan of cruise vacations as I believe a cruise could easily be considered the best valued vacation purchase you can make with your leisure dollars.

However there are things about cruising that do make me crazy; and I’d like nothing better than to see them eliminated.

At the top of my list is the “cruise contract”, and the fine print indemnifying or limiting the cruise lines responsibility from most everything that can go wrong on the cruise, from dropping your luggage into the sea at embarkation, to taking you to any place they choose other than the itinerary they promised you with your purchase. The fine print allows the cruise lines to  pretty much do anything they choose during the cruise, as long as they supply you with a place to sleep and food to eat. In essence they make everything else your responsibility, and when things do go astray they themselves determine what is fair compensation for you, or make you dance though hoops attempting to negotiate a settlement you’re willing to live with.

I think the reasonable ones amongst us realize that sometimes itineraries changes are necessary due to a number of causes; IE swine flu, hurricanes, flooding, sea conditions, civil unrest, etc. However, for example, in the case of mechanical breakdowns, it drives me crazy that the cruise lines are the ones to decide how passengers should be compensated. I sometimes think they consider themselves benevolent that they give passengers anything in those situations. There is no outside regulatory body, other than the courts, where a passenger can have their concerns regarding unfair compensation addressed. I’d be very much in favor of the cruise industry setting up an arbitration board to deal with these consumer issues, so consumers at least get a hearing a fair shake.

As cruise consumers, particular long time cruisers, we’ve become much to accepting of allowing the cruise lines to decide on the approach to settling what are legitimate passenger complaints.

We’re expected to purchase insurance ourselves covering unforeseen circumstances which may force us to miss a cruise, or leave a cruise before the end of the trip, and other circumstances. The cruise lines too should be required to have insurance (whether purchased or self insured) for circumstances where they aren’t able to deliver the product they’ve sold us, and the compensation for those circumstances should be clearly and precisely detailed in LARGE print.

There’s a few onboard items that make me “Kuki” too.

Ship’s photographers! I understand selling the photographs is a money maker for the cruise lines, and I have no objection to them setting up “photo stations” in the ship’s public rooms for those who’d like to have pictures taken. But don’t interrupt my dinner with a cheesey pirate holding plastic swords to my throat, or the requisite couples shots at dinner, and don’t slow the disembarkation procedure in ports of call by stopping everyone for a picture.

I’d accept a photographer coming by the dining room table on the second last night of the cruise, discreetly asking if each table would like a “table shot” of their group, but all the “staged” intrusions for “candid photo ops” are intrusive.

Moving merchandise from the shops onboard to pool-side for “big sales” drives me crazy as well! I’m not heading out to the pool to buy T-shirts, watches or “gold” by the inch. I may be in the minority in this case, because the congestion on the pool deck caused by my fellow passengers indicates they must like shopping instead of enjoying the outdoors. But if I want to shop, the deck plans tell me where the shops are located, and I’ll happily find my way there.

And of course, we get daily “Ship SPAM” delivered directly to our cabins, informing us of all the sales available on the ship, as well as the “art” auctions, botox, teeth whitening, spa treatments, etc. that are available on the ship… that we’re already told about in the ship’s daily newsletter.

I’m just waiting to see the first time we’re offered penis enlargements, Viagra, or cheap prescription drugs. Or maybe even a letter from a guest in another cabin from Nigeria who tracked me down to help me collect the estate of my unknown recently deceased relatives.

I’m very tempted to bring along a sign to hang on my cabin door saying we DO NOT accept promotional materials. The final irritant in regard to all this junk mail, is when you look at the sign in your cabin washroom asking you to help save the environment by reusing your towels….while they must fill bin after bin after bin full of discarded promotional materials they deliver.

So… I’ve begun the story with the top few things on my list, and I could certainly go on for a few more pages, but I’d like to hear from you cruisers… What things about cruising make you CRAZY?

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Comment from Jaxon
Time May 13, 2009 at 9:44 am

enjoyable bog, and I agree on every item you mentioned. I will add I get peeved by those who take the elevator for one or two floors, and appear to have no ambulation problems.

Comment from badknees
Time May 13, 2009 at 11:37 am

You can not judge whether some one has problems just by watching them walk. My knees have been a problem for some time. And while I can walk fine, except my hip is now another problem, my knees are painful on stairs. Sometimes I can manage if I don’t have to go far but for now I prefer to do the elevator. Becareful, your time may come. Breathing may also effect those with respiratory problems. Walking on level areas will not tax them so much but stairs may do them in.
I wish I could still run up and down the stairs with abandon, my husband can, but no more.

Comment from Mike M
Time May 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Things that drive me “Kuki”.

1. Photographers: The embarkation photo in particular. On my last cruise on Carnival Pride I tried to go around the embarkation picture but they had it situated in such a way that there was no way to avoid it. I stopped made a funny face and walked on.

2. Atrium special sales: Setting up tables of “gold by the inch” or t-shirts for the hoardes to buy. They stop the flow of traffic and make people wade through t-shirt grabbers who think they are getting the deal of the century. I worry that someone may rip my shirt off my back thinking they are getting the deal before I do.

3. Shore Excursion scare tactics and misinformation. Shore excursion personnel and quotes in the daily newsletter about how “unsafe” it is to not take their shore excursion. Gee: If it was really that unsafe why are you stopping there. On two occasions on NCL and HAL the shore excursion people told the passengers they could not leave the ship unless they used their excursions. This was Russia and China. This was completely wrong, even though I had my own visa. Getting my passport from HAL was like asking the Captain to let me take his kid with me.

There may be few more but these are the ones that come off the top of my head.

I do have to say that I love cruising and it is the best vacation option out there.

Take care,

Comment from Dave Beers
Time May 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I am with you Kuki! The cattle chutes that push everyone leaving the ship to the photographers, the pirate photos, showgirl photos, setting up formal photo stations directly in front of the main dining room entrances, yada yada. I can’t stand it.

Last summer on our Alaskan cruise with RCI they suddenly rush up to the pool deck with displays of winter jackets and sweaters as we are doing the glacier run. Once past those roadblocks I had to maneuver around the “inch of gold” stations that almost blocked entry to the Windjammer. It is so tedious and reminiscent of walking down the midway at a carnival.

It is stunning to me that the cruise lines haven’t realized how much money they are wasting on all the advertising junk they dump on the passenger’s beds every night. Surely most of it goes directly into the trash can – I know ours does, without reading it.

I really wish they’d simply raise the fares and stop the annoyances, and start acting like cruise lines instead of shake down artists.

And you can bet money on it – if there was a good revenue stream and they could do it legally, they’d be offering viagra in a heartbeat.

Comment from Trip
Time May 13, 2009 at 5:04 pm

From your list, the only thing that has ever really bothered me is the photographers. I always wonder why the trip down the gangplank in port, can’t be a quick one, with just the repositioning of the photographer in the area just to the side. So easy, to my mind, and the parrot/pirate, don’t get me started!

The only other “kuki” thing is the chair situation by the pools. While I am up and out early, and don’t abuse the chair situation, watching what goes on is unreal, and I feel that passengers don’t need to be the chair police,.. the pool staff, needs to wake up and deal with the chair hogs…

Comment from Tim Butler
Time May 13, 2009 at 10:35 pm

“KUKI” cruise industry ideas!

I agree with all the above! I hate it when we get to a port and debarkation is slowed down by the photographers and their goofy costumed helpers.

I hate all the “Extra” advertisements that come each night with the ships newsletters as well as the “where to shop seminars” and disembarkment seminars.

What also drives me nuts is the early closing of the hot tubs for cleaning.

The closing of bars early and only the disco remaining open.

The closing of the buffet on some lines so that only pizza is available for a late night snack.

The TV’s in the room that only carry Denver’s newscast or spanish programming.

The few things there are to do on the ship after midnight.

Comment from jaxon
Time May 14, 2009 at 11:34 am

My time has already come as I have both bad knees and breathing problems — should have quit smoking 25 yrs ago instead of 15. Pain is relative, of course, and there is no doubt that some 30 somethings have problems not readily visible, but my experience of being at a certain age with plenty of friends who have had knee replacements, by pass surgery (affects breathing), hip replacements, cancer, or what have you, has taught me that in most cases if a disability prevents someone from using a flight of steps, it’s apparent, even on a flat surface.

I think if anyone would have seen me climbing the gazillion steps to the first zip line platform in the humid rain forest a few months ago, they might have wondered if I was going to make it (I sort of wondered myself!). As my husband says — use it or lose it — so, for me, until I absolutely cannot do a flight of steps, even slowly, I choose to work through pain or panting and remain grateful that I can. Yah, I wish I could still run those steps with ease, also.

Comment from leo
Time May 17, 2009 at 7:17 am

Guys !!! I honestly think that cruise is not for you guys. When I go on vacation , nothing Can Make Me Crazy. Instead I can write you an eassy about Things About Cruising That Can Make Me Happy

Comment from another “Leo”
Time May 19, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Right on Leo, I am going on my 11th cruise June 6th and I still find better things to do with my time than set around complaining about what everyone else is doing. Hope only people like you are on the Navigation of the Sea with me.

Comment from JBurdman7
Time May 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

In April 09, yes I just returned, I was on a HAL cruise of SE Asia. There were a number of things that irritated me:

Already insufficient times at port were shaved in some cases by 1/3.

Though the itinerary you pay for might say Bangkok, no transfers are available. Or are an additional $75.

A computer lab with unbearably slow computers. (Watch to see which ones the employees use, they are the only ones that work.)

Passing the buck.

Shore tours 40-50% over priced.

Room service surprise. It might resemble your order, but its never right.

The availability of something to drink after breakfast.

The HEAPS of attitude I got when I asked what Japan’s immigration department protections would be for the fingerprints Japan insists on. (There are no protections, Libertarians are not welcome in Japan. Or on HAL.)

If I live till 80 perhaps I will cruise again. Luckily by then, HAL will be long out of business.

Comment from MagnoliaBlossom
Time June 22, 2009 at 6:31 pm

dittos to all of Kuki’s list plus:

announcements for silliness such as bingo, art auction, etc. If it is urgent, or a change from printed info then announce it, otherwise be quiet!

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