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Old March 24th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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Default "Class System" still exists...what else do you see as a 'high paying' customer?

So I was just reading a CM article comparing 'Luxury' accommodations on a Mass-Market line v. full-blown "Luxury Line" cruising.

The way I see it, the class system (although obviously no longer called 1st, 2nd or 3rd for PC reasons ) still exists wrt how much you pay on a Mass Market Line, and what you have access to as a high-paying customer that other ticket holders do not.

Compare that to the Luxury Line, where you are, essentially, ALL holding First-Class tickets, and have access to everything...it's a one-class experience.

What I wonder- and am putting it out there to those who have, or regularly, sail Luxury Lines- do you see a lot (or even some) people who feel that their money is better than your money? I can't help but think of Rose's line in the movie "Titanic" where she's describing what the rest of the FC passengers thought about Molly, who was looked down upon because she was "new money" and of Jack (the dinner scene) where he was "...an heir to a railroad fortune, perhaps...New Money, but still in the club."

Is there a lot of name-dropping, and "how I made my fortune" stories and all that among the pax? Other commentary?
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Old March 24th, 2011, 08:16 PM
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I like to consider myself a cross dresser... errrr.. I mean cross cruiser

By that I mean I've been able to cruise a pretty broad cross section of cruise ship "sectors" and believe I've been able to fit in on most.

My last luxury line cruise was a couple of years back on Silversea, and they published a list of passengers on the ship, and I was amazed to see how many Lord and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, and other "titled" guests were on the manifest.

I found everyone to be super friendly and not at all "snobby", and certainly not spending all their time talking about their money (with the exception of one couple from).

There was open seating in the dining room, and the Maitre D would do a terrific job of joining people at tables for dinner. Within a few nights I'd met a large % of people on the ship. Socially, as well as other ways, it was just a superb cruise.

On a previous luxury cruise, I got to play blackjack with the Prince and Princess of Thailand, and they were very sweet.

Several years back I spent "a day on the job" working as butler on Celebrity. I served breakfast and afternoon tea to the top suites on the ship, and the guests in those suites couldn't have been nicer.

Sometimes I think there's a reverse discrimination taking place; labeling "the rich" as assuming they are better than someone else, or that they think they deserve to be treated differently.

Naturally there are cases where there are people who do, but there's also cases of people who do, without the money, just being rude.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 09:49 PM
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Kukimoon, very well said. I have sailed frequently on Regent/Radisson. There are a few snooty passengers but they are most often the ones with nothing to brag about. In general, I have found no one looks down at you when you book the cheapest cabin (which I usually do). After all, there are many who take the world cruise each year in the smallest cabin.

This past cruise, I was given a good offer on a Penthouse so I had a butler. It was a novelty for my wife so we did use the butler a lot for things like delivering invitations and making dining reservations. After three weeks, though, we found we really weren't using the Butler except for the normal daily deliveries.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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I think I would feel like I didn't fit in. I'm not super-educated (ie: I don't have letters after my name ); I'm certainly not a 'worldly' person, and I have barely travelled outside of New England other than to simply drive to FL to hop on a boat. I don't understand the stock market, or big business. The thought of going to NY City scares me. Mine is a small box :neutral:

I do keep my manners, and try to behave "properly" when I'm in the MDR (but does good behavior in the MDR need to be stepped up a couple notches when you're traveling in luxury?) I do see the MDR as a 'fine' restaurant, but I'm also somewhat uncomfortable because of the obvious class system that the cruiselines themselves use to place their employees. There's that whole race/ethnicity thing going on that I think is just a HORRIBLE practice.

At home, you have your neighbors, your peers, just regular everyday people working in the local Applebee's or even in the nicer restaurants with linen. I don't know if I could get over the "I'm certainly no better than anyone else, and I don't deserve special treatment" and would be feeling like I was in a time warp with the knowledge that today, we've come a long way (albeit not far enough) in eliminating those ideas and attitudes.

I've just taken this thread in an entirely different direction...sorry about that! All I'm saying is I guess I have a different attitude, and don't see it as 'pampering' so much as I see it as having someone else do what I'm perfectly capable of doing (just tell me where the extra towels are, and I'll get them thanks, or picking up my own fork that I just dropped on the floor).
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Old March 25th, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Interesting perspective.

I have met people from all walks of life on Regent. Postmasters, teachers, prison guards, entrepreneurs, flight attendants, engineers, trophy wives, pharmasists, doctors, to name a few. I have found very few people who try to "put you in your place." I met a woman a couple of cruises ago who, in a manner of minutes, informed me that they have a house in Palm Beach and another on the Cape; I moved away and decided that there are a lot better people to talk with. When I feel that I am being " evaluated" so I can be "put in my place;" I answer the eventual question as to what I do with a simple: "I am a collector. I collect cans along the side of the road until I have enough to book another cruise." It sure gets a cold shoulder.

As for your feeling at ease on a luxury line; you have to decide that yourself. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt that said "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I lived in Asia for a while. The service culture in Asia is so important that the staff from Asia try real hard to please. The luxury lines are "no tipping" as service is already included; just like in most of Asia. Let them do their job; don't worry about sitting there and taking advantage of their skills. Just never demean the staff. That is one of the worst things I have seen on a ship. Truthfully, I saw it worse on Costa than any other cruise.

Luxury cruising is about space, service, food, and exploring; in some order. It is never too late to start seeing the world. My dad was 71 for his first cruise and 72 for his first luxury cruise. Since then, he has seen a good amount of Europe along with cruises in the Caribbean and west coast of USA. The world is a wonderful place. There are seven continents and 195 countries to visit. In most places, the locals will make you feel welcome. Go for it.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rum Runner View Post
I'm also somewhat uncomfortable because of the obvious class system that the cruiselines themselves use to place their employees. There's that whole race/ethnicity thing going on that I think is just a HORRIBLE practice.
I'm not sure I am well traveled enough to understand this one. In the MDR have had servers who were Asian, Central American, and European. Our cabin stewards have had similar geographic distribution. It seems those in customer service (purser's desk) and entertainment are those with the best command of English at least for US based cruises.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
I do see the MDR as a 'fine' restaurant, but I'm also somewhat uncomfortable because of the obvious class system that the cruiselines themselves use to place their employees. There's that whole race/ethnicity thing going on that I think is just a HORRIBLE practice.
You've touched on something that is sort of the topic of the blog I wrote for next week's blog entry.

I won't write the entire thing here... but suffice it to say the cruise lines are providing jobs that pay more for those employees of diverse nationalities than they could make in their native countries than even those who have what would be considered "better jobs".

It's really not possible to judge what is a "fair wage" by North American, or western European country's standards. You'd have to "cure" all the world's ills before that would be possible.

If a doctor in your native country is making $200/mnth, then making $1500 or $2000 /mnth is doing pretty good, even though the work is hard and the hours are long.

Read my blog next Wednesday for a more detailed explanation.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 07:49 PM
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Our server on the Ruby Princess earned enough money that his wife didn't have to work - she was a dentist! That is replacing a lot of income
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Old March 26th, 2011, 08:19 PM
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A little over 10 years ago, we always played an interesting game with our crew. There were always a few who tried to bend the rules, dress in personal clothing, and mix with the passengers in public areas.
We could always spot them because they were not as well dressed as the passengers.

Now, a decade later, we play a similar game. We still have crew trying to wear personal clothing and mix with the passengers. But now the crew are generally better dressed than the passengers. It's even easier to spot them now.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 08:30 PM
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Question Survey in St. Thomas

If my memory serves me right there was a survey in St. Thomas of crew members. Many, especially the waiters, busboys,etc...made enough to send home to buy property, send their children to private schools. Figure it out...what the normal tip is for a waiter who probably has a half a dozen tables each week..The people who were underpaid were the ones behind the scenes, the cooks, dishwashers, engine people, etc. etc. Some I've met recently, especially from Europe tell that they are worried about the economy in their country and find this is a place to see the world, meet new friends and learn english and make money. The experiment NCL did with an all-American crew was a disaster.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
A little over 10 years ago, we always played an interesting game with our crew. There were always a few who tried to bend the rules, dress in personal clothing, and mix with the passengers in public areas.
We could always spot them because they were not as well dressed as the passengers.

Now, a decade later, we play a similar game. We still have crew trying to wear personal clothing and mix with the passengers. But now the crew are generally better dressed than the passengers. It's even easier to spot them now.

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Old March 27th, 2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
A little over 10 years ago, we always played an interesting game with our crew. There were always a few who tried to bend the rules, dress in personal clothing, and mix with the passengers in public areas.
We could always spot them because they were not as well dressed as the passengers.

Now, a decade later, we play a similar game. We still have crew trying to wear personal clothing and mix with the passengers. But now the crew are generally better dressed than the passengers. It's even easier to spot them now.
This says more about the pax. It has been noted that there seems to be a lowering of dress codes even for "formal night". Some pax just don't want to pack all the stuff and feel they are on vacation and should be able to decide what is "appropriate".
This may not be the case on all lines. Some may be better at enforcing their dress codes than others.
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