TMI – There are times where Too Much Information Crosses Up Cruisers
Written by: Kuki
Over my years writing for CruiseMates I’ve always recommended people do research, more research, and more research before they cruise, or as importantly, before they even book a cruise. Myself and all those writing for CruiseMates, as well as most Travel Writers from other cruise media outlets, and fellow cruisers posting on blogs and message boards, attempt to put out the most current, and most detailed information about cruising , to keep cruisers well informed.
On occasion, the information relayed ends up backfiring on the cruisers we’re attempting to inform.
A case in point. almost a decade ago I wrote an article titled Free Money on Cruises.
http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/kukiside/freemoney.cfm I’d found that one could access money in the ship’s casinos by using their shipboard charge cards, with no fees or service charges for doing so. After that article appeared on CruiseMates several other journalists picked up on the topic, and wrote their own versions of the same theme, and people who’d read it were also posting about it all over the Internet. Within a year the cruise lines found so many people knew “the trick” ad were using it during their cruises, that most lines began charging a 3% service fee to discourage the practice. A few, like RCI and Celebrity continued on for some time, using the judgement of the staff onboard to restrict the ability to only those who were actually using those funds to gamble in the casino. The last bastion of not adding a service fee, Celebrity Cruise Line, just recently began tacking on the service fees for these transactions. For a time Carnival Cruise Line’s Customer Service Dept. had a policy which rewarded those who took the time to write a positive letter of their cruise experience with some sort of gift on their next Carnival cruise.
After a time this information got in the public arena, and people were actually emailing and posting on message boards, instructions on how to get this little extra gift. Do a Google search on the “45 day letter”, and you can see how silly that got. Of course, by last year Carnival ended that policy because of the volume of requests for the gifts from that program.
At one time the “Aft Cabins” – those located on the stern of the ship, facing aft, with views of the wake, were the best kept secrets on the ship. Because of ship’s designs these cabins normally had larger balconies than the balcony cabins located on the sides of the ship. However for quite a time they were priced identically to other cabins in the same category, which were located on the sides of the ship.
Once word spread the cruise lines woke up to the obvious popularity of the cabins in these locations, and of course found they could charge a premium for those cabins, and proceeded to do so.
As the cruise lines developed Past Passenger Loyalty Programs, and set minimum requirements to reach various levels of their programs, with additional amenities offered the more cruises (and high level) you reached; information spread that any short 3 day cruise on the line would garner the same rate of recognition as longer 7 day cruises.
Though this probably did succeed in driving some new business to the cruise line’s shorter cruises, it also resulted in a much larger number of members reaching higher levels in the repeaters programs than the cruise lines would have imagined. And now, in several cases, RCI in particular, they’ve found they have to cut back on the amenities offered to the people in the program because the program has become overrun.
There was a time in the cruise industry that a letter of complaint to the Customer Relations Dept. after your cruise would almost automatically result in a response offering a 10% – 15% discount on your next cruise booked on that cruise line.
Once again, the speed at which that information became public, caused the cruise lines to become more cynical about complaint letters they received. The cost of the almost automatic reaction to the complaint letter became too much of a burden. The result, a complaint letter today triggers an investigation of the complaint, driven my communication between the ship and home office, as well as onboard staff who may have been involved, and any response can take a considerable amount of time.
There’s no doubt the Internet, sites like CruiseMates, and all of you readers have had an impact on all of this. We live in a time of instant communication, and perhaps in a time where we all want instant gratification, and instant response to any complaints we may have.
I’ve offered only a couple of examples of situations where perhaps TMI has come back to bite us in rump. Maybe you have more examples to offer?
Are there times we need to keep the information to ourselves, or do we always tell our best friends that our other best friend is pregnant? J
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Posted: January 6th, 2010 under Kuki.