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Tethered To Technology

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There is no question that our global society has been dramatically altered by advancements in technology, that continue to change almost daily. One of the fastest growing industries these days is creating “apps” for smart phones.

Today there are young people who have grown up without ever knowing what a land line telephone was, other than an antiquated method of communication. I openly admit I understand very little about how most of this technology works. I am just a user, who can, on occasion, follow the directions.

Technological advances have also changed the cruise industry. As a lay person I certainly don’t have the expertise to discuss all the ways its done so. But, I do have opinions, and some concerns, about how it has affected our ability not just to get away, but to vacation.

One might be surprised that someone whose job would not exist if it weren’t for technology; and because of advancements that job has got easier, would have anything but praise. But, I do have some concerns.

What got me thinking about this was this article written for Travel Weekly —

It had my attention from the very first paragraph… “Faced with accelerating demands by passengers for digital connections for their mobile devices, cruise lines are pushing vendors for faster, cheaper, more reliable telecommunications at sea.”

In regard to communications, there’s no doubt we’ve become a world where people demand instant access. I’m old enough, yet young enough, to remember when we somehow managed to go on vacation, without being in constant touch. At one time our hard earned vacation time translated to time off from work; we also somehow managed to exist and enjoy without the ability to tell everyone we knew (and many we never knew) exactly what we were doing at any given time of day or night.

Thanks to technology we’re now almost expected to be available to our employers 24/7. Particularly since 2008, many of us agree to those terms in order to protect our jobs. From a fiscal responsibility perspective I can understand that approach, but I do view that as a sacrifice you make, not an enhancement of your life.

But, I do have to admit I have a difficult time understanding the need to be connected with everyone all of the time for other reasons. That doesn’t mean I’m right, it simply is the limits of what makes sense to me. But then, I have a cell phone that no one ever calls, and hardly anyone has the number to. I still see an incoming text message as an intrusion most of the time.

Obviously I’m not included in the “accelerating demands by passengers” numbers discussed in the article I’ve referred to here, though I have come to realize that I, and others with views like mine, are now in the minority.

The thing is, I’ve already seen some of the results of the “advances in technological communications” on passengers onboard.

At some time or another surely everyone has witnessed people talking on their cell phones (important conversations no doubt) in all kinds of inappropriate places, and speaking so loud everyone within 100 ft. can hear them; or you’ve seen people texting as they walk along and bump into other people or inanimate objects because they are not paying attention to where they are going; or automobile accidents caused by driver’s distracted by their use of mobile devices.

And, with the exception of distracted driving, I’ve already witnessed the same actions on ships at sea.

As the cruise lines proceed to speed up the connectivity of mobile devices, I can easily visualize large numbers of people on the pool decks, in the lounges and bars, and even in showrooms and theaters, talking on their phones, and creating the same disturbances, even sitting out by the pool while Skyping with friends.

Yes, it’s a matter of people being aware of rudeness and appropriate etiquette, but do we really want to see signs around the ship asking people to turn off their cell phones? It is going to happen! Sadly, it’s not only going to be impacting the vacations of those people, but also mine and yours.

There are enough human things some people do to disturb others because of their bad manners and rudeness. I am concerned those same people are going to be further aided in their ability to annoy by “advances” in technology.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –











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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time December 13, 2013 at 5:10 am

More news and insights of actual cruises and the ships, please, tech news is not novel anymore

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