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.
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Posted: April 13th, 2010 under Kuki.