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What Complaints Do You See That Make You Ask… What were they thinking?

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If we really think about it, anyone over the age of six should realize nothing is perfect. Mrs. Kuki has stuck with me for almost 30 years, and she can most certainly attest to that fact (She actually refers to it as being stuck with me for almost 30 years; viewing it as some sort of punishment for things she did before she met me). As imperfect as I am, she rarely complains, so she makes for a “perfect” wife, and a “perfect” cruiser.

We appreciate how fortunate we are when we step onboard a ship. Of course we have expectations as well. We expect to get full value out of our cruise experiences. But I do wonder if people’s expectations aren’t getting out of line in relation to how much their cruise vacations are costing them. The cost of cruising today in many cases are close to historic lows (unless you’re on holiday sailings). Even fares for peak times of the year such as holiday sailings can often be found at “bargain basement pricing” when compared to years gone by and adjusted for inflation. Even cruises on the luxury lines can be found offering incredibly low prices, and often including air fares, shore excursions, etc. Yet, a considerable number of passengers are demanding more for less.

The often voiced complaints about cutbacks and “nickel & diming” are frankly becoming a bit tedious… when put in perspective, comparing the cruise price today to what is used to be.

 I had recently posted a thread on our message boards at CruiseMates asking readers what the first thing they would change would be if they were President of Carnival Cruise Line. Perhaps not surprisingly, rather than look at the question from a business perspective, the vast majority of respondents talked about changing things that would #1. Address an area which directly impacted their own situation, and #2. Add costs for the cruise line to implement. I was hoping to get folks to swap seats, from passenger to business operator; to take a look from that perspective to see if people could come up with good ideas to improve the cruise experience, without having to raise costs to implement their suggestions and ideas. Several decent ideas did come up, but many people had some difficulties viewing the question from anything other than their passenger perspective.

One of the most common complaints from cruisers is that alcohol onboard is too expensive. Having been in the retail sale of alcohol business I am incredulous when I see people comparing the price of alcoholic drinks on ships to what they would pay for it at home (by the bottle, or dozens for beer) from the local discount liquor and beer stores. Pretty much every restaurant or bar on land marks up their drinks by anywhere from 300 to 400% of their wholesale purchase price when they sell it individually to their patrons. When selling wine by the bottle in restaurants and bars the mark ups are normally easily 400% if not more. Yet we often see people complain about a bottle of wine onboard costing $35, when they say they can purchase it from a retailer at home for $8.95. Most of the mass market cruise lines allow passengers to bring at least a bottle of wine per person with them when they board. However they have all become more and more restrictive with other forms of alcohol. And, yes, I do believe that to a large degree those restrictions are justifiable.

I am amazed at the amount of effort many people put into smuggling their own liquor onboard in an attempt to beat the cruise lines embargo on bringing it onboard. There’s a myriad of other complaints onboard that just make me shake my head, and ask myself… What were they thinking?

 -At present a hot complaint is about smoking on ships. Very strange because all of the cruise lines prominently announce the smoking policies on their ships. Today there are many lines who do have very restrictive smoking policies on their ships. Yet people will choose ships with less restrictive policies perhaps because the price may be lower. So they want to pay the lower fare on a line, which clearly has less restrictive policies, and demand they make those policies more restrictive to suit them.

 – Another complaint I really don’t understand is the demand for better perks in cruise line “repeat cruiser programs”. Admittedly we’ve become expecting of “rewards” for customer loyalty in the past decade, because it’s become a popular gimmick promotion for all types of businesses. But I personally find it unjustifiable to give all of “my business” to one supplier, simply in an attempt to win “points”. In most customer awards program the actual value of the “award” is normally less than 1%, and frankly most businesses could not afford to give away more for your loyalty and still stay in business to serve you.

 I could go on and on with my thoughts on the subject, but I want to see YOU adding to my list. What are the complaints you hear and see that tick you off, and make you ask yourselves… What were they thinking?

No question, there are incidents occurring on ships, where passengers have valid complaints, but it sure seems to me that there’s more of an abundance of thoughtless complaints, which come about by either a lack of researching for details prior to booking, or are attempts to receive unearned compensation of some form. I’m really feeling that much of this could be remedied by Less Whine and More Wine!

– A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Dave Beers
Time September 1, 2010 at 9:09 am

How about people who claim the cruise lines “water down the drinks”? It is baseless unless they can show me video proof. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at bars on cruise ships and I’ve never seen a drink poured without the proper amount of liquor, and often with that little extra pour at the end. Just because someone makes their drinks at home doubles or triples, they shouldn’t expect any ship’s bar (or any public bar) to do the same. It is ridiculous.

Comment from Jose
Time September 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I read on another site, a few people who will not go on a cruise line unless they offered a flute of champagne upon boarding and are personally escorted to their cabin and this were people planning to go on those new mega ships with over 5000 passengers! Also they complained of no “turn down” service with no chocolates on their pillows!!!!!!!

Comment from rciaddict
Time September 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

My favorite complaint is people on Dsiney Cruise Line saying there are too many kids onboard!

Comment from k
Time September 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm

It gets to me when people complain about the captain changing or omitting a port because of bad weather. Really, what should the captain do? They’re probably the same ones who on other occasions, complain about the ship rocking too much.

Comment from Manya
Time September 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I hear time and time again that people do not want to bring ‘fancy schmancy’ (sp?) clothes for formal evenings… I give them the options for not wearing a suit and tie such as sailing NCL or eating in the buffet but also suggest that they still bring a jacket and tie in case they are invited to a captain’s cocktail party or perhaps they change their minds about the formal evenings.
I am shocked (ok, not really) by how many come back and tell me that they were turned away when they wore jeans to the dining room or asked to wear a tie on a formal night when they tried to enter without.

I wish all cruise lines enforced their dress codes so that I don’t have to listen to the return cruisers that ‘got away with’ not adhearing to the dress code.

Comment from Catherine
Time September 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Re the comments about liquor prices…. I have been cruising for decades and distinctly remember paying considerably more (granted, not as high as 300% but still more) when we were not in “International Waters”. What happened to that? I still see it in some European ship posts but it seems to have disappeared in North America.
And re the watering of drinks… having worked in a bar that did that, I know. MANY places do do it. And no, you would not see it done when the drinks are poured. They open the bottles ahead of time, pour some into an empty and add water. Then they recap it and send it to the bar. The now-not-empty bottle is used until it too is at the level they add water which they do, then start all over again. It is not an uncommon practice unfortunately.

Comment from Margaret Hawkins
Time October 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I have cruised over 34 times with all lines.
I have one rule this is my cruise and I make it be one I will always remember. I do not dwell on things that other people may complain about. I’m thankful that I’m on this beautiful ship and not somewhere working myself to the bone.I always look for the good and not the bad. I have been at a table and passangers complained to entire evening do they ever stop and think other people do I wish to hear this. I still think after all the years of cruising it’s the best vacation for the price. Now I’m retired and cruise every 3 months somewhere even if I have been there 3 or 4 times before. Happy Sailing to all of you.

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