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Is The Worst Thing About Cruising The Passengers?

Written by: Kuki

 At CruiseMates we have a message board titled Cruise Gripes; giving people a place to post and vent regarding issues they may have experience on their cruises.

Over the years we’ve seen the “normal” run of complaints about cruise lines changing their itineraries without notice (and offering little or no compensation); issues with bad service; extra costs onboard; what’s seen as cutbacks onboard; food quality complaints; pricing policies; shore excursions which don’t deliver what they promise; dissatisfaction with shipboard activities and entertainment; long waits in line for embarkation, at buffets, etc., etc. etc.

However, the vast majority of “Cruise Gripes” we see on the message board, rather than complaining about the actions (or lack of actions) taken by cruise lines, are complaints about the behavior of other passengers onboard, and have little to do with the cruise lines. Other than, we as passengers seem to expect the cruise lines to control the actions of our fellow shipmates.

The “kicker” is we (independent of each other) want the cruise lines to enforce only the policies and behaviors we agree with.

There are eternal “hot topic issues” such as smoking (or non-smoking), ship’s dress codes, smuggling of alcohol, line cutting, chair saving in the showrooms and on pool decks, lines at buffets or for embarkation and disembarkation, as well as general complaints about passenger’s courtesy towards fellow passengers and staff and crew. However, individually, we want the right to decide for ourselves what policies apply to us, and what level of courtesy we are required to show our shipmates. We want to have the cruise line’s enforcement concentrate on those areas, and disregard the policies we choose to believe do not apply to us. Essentially we all want to be Captain of our own ship.

 Every ship that leaves port with passengers onboard becomes a community unto itself for the duration of that cruise.; a small city or town if you will, with it’s own personality, and it’s own set of challenges. One thing the cruise lines can’t control is the “type” of passenger who boards their ships. There is no test or personality profile necessary to purchase a cruise ticket.

On a cruise ship the Captain and officers are the community’s “government”, and they are the authority to decide what is appropriate behavior onboard. And just as on land there are those who will disagree with the choices “the government” makes, and the rules they put in place. But do “we” as members of the community have to right to decide which rules we’ll abide by, and which we can ignore? And if we do choose to ignore some of those rules, do we still have a right to complain about others who also make their own choices… who’s choices are dissimilar to our own?

 These issues aren’t unlike the issues we face ourselves in our own communities at home. We do have to ask ourselves how much we are willing to compromise to be a member in good standing of our community. And the same thought should apply when you go on a cruise. We need to give the same thought to choosing a cruise as we do when deciding whether to move to a different community.

 There is enough information available about the varying personality and rules of the various cruise lines that we need to analyze and choose a line where the set rules of behavior match most closely to our own standards. I think many of the complaints arise when people book a cruise with little or no thought, and then expect the ship to adhere to their standards, rather than the other way around. The people who pick a cruise and expect it to adjust to their needs are usually the ones everyone else will avoid onboard, and complain about later.

There are ships that have very strict policies regarding smoking onboard. There are ships which have drinks included in the fare, so they allow you to bring your own alcohol onboard. There are ships with very relaxed dress codes, just as there are ships with strict dress codes. There are ships with enough deck chairs pool-side where you don’t have to throw a book on at 7 AM to claim your spot. There are ships where the passenger space ratio is high, and you’ll never find crowding or lines.

 Choose a ship that’s the right fit for you, and you’re a lot less likely to find things to gripe about. Of course there are those who believe the quality of the passenger has declined along with the declines they believe they’ve seen in the industry. Those folks should probably look for a different vacation, but many will continue to book their cruises, and then get onboard, and complain about almost everyone else on the ship. Those are the passengers who can “ruin my cruise”.

Do you want to gripe about gripes? Feel free to do it here.

 - A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising -

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Comments

Comment from Captain Tennille
Time April 14, 2010 at 11:25 am

OK…. so….How do I select a cruise where my fellow passengers behave like polite human beings? Which cruise line or ship serves that demographic?

Comment from Kuki
Time April 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Well, our definitions of “polite human beings? might be different :)

I’d discuss this with your cruise travel agent, who should know you much better than I.

But, for some general rules of thumb, if you’re looking for more polite company, I suggest looking at smaller ships.. with no more than 1500 passengers onboard. And another good bet would be the smaller yet explorer ships and sailing ships.

On the smaller ships you see people much more often on a random basis, which also generally makes them more social situations. I think people are more likely to behave more “politely” than on a big ship where they figure who ever they are disturbing won’t probably see them again.

As well perhaps there’s something to be said for looking at ship’s or lines who’s rules may be more relaxed due to their very nature… less stringent dress codes, open seating- rather than assigned, etc.

There’s many varibales, and think it’d be unlikely that simply finding polite people would be your sole criteria.

That’s when a good cruise travel agent becomes important…. to match all your criteria, as best as they can.

From my own perspective, that is one of reasons I have avoided certain cruise lines of late… the diminishing numbers of “polite human beings”.

Comment from Ron
Time April 15, 2010 at 6:48 am

Part of the problem is that some have a tendency to focus on the ship, the amenities, itinerary, price, etc and forget that the lines have traditionally targeted differing demographics, but now they all (the mass market lines anyway) try to attract families with kids to a greater or lesser extent. I recently read something where Crystal is attempting to attract more families, although I’m not aware of any other luxury lines doing this. The solution here is to try to book during periods when school is in session, and as Kuki mentioned, to try to book smaller ships, longer itineraries, etc. but the recent tendency of the mass market lines to be all things to all people has blurred the distinctions between the mass market lines and the former “premium” lines, in my opinion.

In a very course sense, however, the passenger profiles of the different lines are self selecting, so that for example, more passengers of a certain temperament, and without children, are likely to book Cunard than Carnival and vice versa and it doesn’t really matter what the ship is. I just came back from a cruise on a mass market line where the ship was in fact superior to the passengers. The ship was clean and well managed, the staff professional and polite. The food was better than I have had on “premium” lines. The stage productions were excellent. Almost any demographic, including the most polite would have found this ship would have filled their needs, but the behaviour of the passengers was unbelievable. To me, that behaviour was more amusing than annoying because I tend to ignore it, but I would have preferred not to have to deal with it at all, so I won’t be back with this line. It then struck me that although the quality of this ship would have attracted a better demographic, the line has worked hard to attract Joe Six Pack and his seven kids. Well, O.K. they made their choice and it’s up to me to make mine.

Comment from Mike M
Time April 15, 2010 at 7:37 am

I do agree that different cruise lines attract a somewhat different demographic of people. In my years of cruising I have found few issues with my fellow passengers. Well, there was this one couple on a couple of cruises. The wife was a wonderful lady but the guy was always walking around with a funny hat on or going by some weird “Moose” nickname. :) ;)

Seriously: I believe that as in any society, no matter how small, there will be a portion of the society that doesn’t mix. It’s inevitable. The trick is knowing what type of society you want to mix with. Cruise lines give you a base idea but none are homogeneous and there will be a mix of people and some of them won’t get along. Oh yes: There is always the @hole in any mix.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Ron
Time April 15, 2010 at 11:12 am

You are right — all cruise lines have a “base” demographic which can change depending on the time of year, length of cruise, or even the class of ship (Spirit class versus the rest of Carnival, for example), which makes the decision more challenging because you then have to add price, destination, shore excursions, and many other things into the mix. I say challenging, but not impossible–it just requires more homework and possibly a good travel agent. And that’s the key–it does take some work and careful thought as to what you want out of a cruise, what your interests are, and which line can deliver that product. Read as much as you can, ask questions, and you’ll lessen (but not eliminate) the possibility that your cruise will not meet your expectations.
cheers,
Ron

Pingback from Is The Worst Thing About Cruising The Passengers? – Cruises.co.uk – SHOWTHREAD
Time April 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm

[...] Thing About Cruising The Passengers? I found this today from the CruiseMates.com web site http://www.cruisemates.com/blog/201004131355/worst-cruising-passengers/ Click on link Quote: Per above link Choose a ship that’s the right fit for you, and you’re [...]

Comment from cruiser1
Time June 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm

i dont get why people complain about other passengers ur bound to run into some rude people

Comment from Bob McKenna
Time November 17, 2011 at 11:40 am

We are seniors and in our lifetime have cruised well over 50 times,from the song of norway to oasis of the seas and not all on rccl.We now enjoy the casual lifestyle and that includes never going to the dining room. We always eat at the lido buffet in casual clothes which include shorts.No rushing,eat when you want and very good food.Cruising is so much better now than it was even 10 years ago. As long as we can afford it we will cruise 2 times a year with at least one or more on holland america.(no kids.)

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