Just saw the previous string about complaints, and I agree entirely that those of us who are blessed with the time and the resources to cruise should be thankful, should learn to "relax and enjoy it," and should definitely not sweat the small stuff.
I also agree that it is really amazing to behold the numbers of people that complain about minutae, both on the ships and in forums such as this. I've thought about why this may be, and have a few notions. . .
1. I think the cruise lines bring it on themselves to some degree by promising perfection. It's advertising, after all, and while I've often argued that there's no sin in putting your best foot forward, the brochures can sometimes portray a nirvana that no mortal could deliver.
2. The (more-or-less) all-inclusive price structures tend to engender an "I'm entitled" mentality, and can lead to unreasonable expectations. To be sure, we ARE entitled to a great deal on a cruise, but I sometimes grin as I compare the mindset to those contests where they give the winner an empty shopping basket and tell them they have 10 minutes to carry everything out of the supermarket that they can. When the 10 minutes are up, the bubble bursts, and it's back to life as usual. Inevitably, those people second-guess the things they took, wondering if they got the most expensive, valuable stuff possible. If they come to the conclusion that they didn't, they complain.
3. By its nature, cruising attracts a significant number of people who are not comfortable travelling on their own. It's clear that some people (not all!) choose cruises because all arrangements are taken care of. Not many weeks ago, somebody posted a bunch a parody questions here asking ridiculously detailed questions like, "What's the middle initial of the Captain of the Galaxy?". But all parody has a point, and the fact is that we do see many questions on this board that some people would say are trivial. And while, to the credit of those who haunt this place, those questions are always answered in very good faith, it indicates that some people REALLY want their cruise experience nailed down ahead of time to the "n"th degree. In my experience, these are the folks that complain the most when little things go wrong ("After all, I had it completely planned out"). On the other hand, those who cruise, but who also sometimes travel on their own with just a plane reservation and a hotel booking (and sometimes not even that), tend to complain less, in my opinion. As one who has been in the latter category for more than 30 years, I would also argue that we have more fun and have richer travel experiences, but that's just my opinion.
I find your response very interesting and with thoughts that have never occurred to me. We develope, buy, sell and operate dry cleaners in Texas. We NEVER, or least I NEVER, tell the customers that we are perfect. I tell them that we strive for perfections but occasionally, more times sometimes than I would like, we do make mistakes but guarantee and back our work. I think the cruise lines project themselves to their advertising market as being able to provide a paradise, relaxing, stress-free, all inclusive adventure. They never "mention" perfection, but I do get your point in this. But then so does everyone else who advertises, like TWA (what about their horrible tragedy), American Airlines, etc., etc., etc. So this is a problem everywhere - it's simply called advertising and selling your business.
I would like to think that the individuals who plan a cruise, or any other vacation choice, that they do understand that things can and do happen. And almost 99% of the time, the person your talking to is no where involved in the actual mistake.
I still believe that regardless of alot of things, we are still responsible for our own actions and nothing gives us an excuse to be rude and constantly complaining to people that have really no involvement in your problem.
You sound very well educated and professional. I really did enjoy your response. Thanks for your feedback and opinion and for addressing it in such a classy manner.
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!
I used to be a travel agent, many, many years ago. Once and only once I escorted a tour to Europe. It was a very upscale tour and attracted a bunch of wealthy sophisticated (so I thought) travellers. I was amazed at the ignorance and arrogance I encountered. These very upscale CEO's became a bunch of babies and the services we were supposed to supply were ridiculous. It was as though they had forgotten how to act as adults. One man, a banker, used to make me want to shrink into the floor when at every shop or restaurant we went to he would ask, "How much is this in REAL money?" I realized then and there that I was definitely not suited to escorting tours anywhere.
I see a lot of this in cruising too. You are all right about people wanting perfection and that pr firms push the "perfection" of cruises. Only one problem. Absolutely NOTHING in our human experience is perfect. Personally I think the little imperfections that are a part of our life make us appreciate the wonderful things we do have. Have I ever been on a perfect cruise? No, I haven't, but again the little things pale in comparison to the great things. If nothing else there is always the wonderful sea which is what drives me to cruise vacations rather than land based ones. I think people who spend their lives complaining must be very unhappy. Otherwise they would see the wonders of their lives that are so beautiful. Sometimes I am so grateful for my life I am moved to tears with sheer gratitude. I never pray to ask for anything. My life is rich with gifts. I just pray to thank. The people who complain spend their lives judging everything. Too bad they can't open their hearts to non judgment and the glories that they would enjoy if they did. Sorry, got a little overwhelmened with self realization philosophy there. Hope I didnt offend anyone.
Aside from minor incidents, there are times when real issues can jump up and affect a cruise vacation. But, how you deal with the problems can have quite an impact on the final outcome of your experience.