Very interesting thread, and something I have thought about more than once.
I tend to book package vacations and cruises mainly to avoid as much stress as possible. However, when travelling to a foreign country (and to me, with the mix of international staff, I consider a cruise to be similar in some ways to a foreign country), I fully expect, and to some degree, desire, things to be different from home. I want to speak to people from another country, hear about, observe and perhaps experience their lifestyle, and just try something different from what I am used to.
I am constantly amazed by the number of North American tourists who go to third-world countries and expect food, service, accommodations and all facilities to be exactly the way they are at home. What are these people travelling for, if not to experience something different? I have heard tourists in third-world countries complain that they can't get their favourite brand of American/Canadian beer, complain that the bartenders don't speak English well enough (in your home town, if a Spaniard visited a local bar, would your local bartender be expected to speak Spanish?), the food isn't like at home, the beds are too hard/too soft, the weather is too hot, too cold, etc. etc. etc. Why do these people ever get on an airplane? If you want everything to be like a 5 star hotel in New York, go to one!
Of course, when one pays a premium price for a vacation, one expects a certain quality of food, service and accommodation; however, even if it's not what you expected, what's your best response? Moan and complain and let it ruin your vacation, or laugh it off and think of the stories you can tell when you get home? Expect the unexpected and enjoy your adventure, or spread your negativity - you'll have more fun with the former, in my opinion.
What burns me up most is people on a vacation who are receiving the same food and service that I am, and it is fabulous, yet these people complain and treat the staff with incredible rudeness? Sometimes I have to wonder if they really are unhappy with what they are receiving, or if they think that putting down everything in front of them will make others think they are classy for having such high standards. It drives me nuts!
Some people are just meant to stay at home, I guess (although I imagine these people are no more fun to deal with at home than they are on vacation!)
Sorry for being so long winded - I guess this stuff bothers me more than I thought!