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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:32 AM
AR
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Default Customer service vs. "the rules"

There's a whole category of posts that appear on these boards that we might call, "Why should I have to obey the rules?"

We've got what I call the "iron civil libertarians" who say that as long as the lines allow smoking, they're going to bring and use their irons no matter what anybody says, because they deem them less hazardous.

Then there's the group that indulges in the sport of missing the lifeboat drill and taking great pride in it.

Other very minor issues--like bringing booze aboard--are talked about nonstop.

All of these discussions have a common thread: Rules that are enforced inconsistently. Those who want to do something they're not supposed to do always cite an instance (or two or three) when they were allowed to get away with it in the past, claiming that therefore the rule does not exist, or doesn't have to be adhered to.

Wouldn't things be a lot simpler if the lines simply enforced their rules?

Sure. Except for one thing: It's the same people who want to break the rules who would think nothing of stiffing their steward or writing up some other staff member who tried to enforce them. For example, stewards are supposed to be part of the team that gets you the hell out of your cabin for the lifeboat drill. But one guy claims he always tells the steward he's sick, and gets away with it.

Well, the steward's obviously doing a personal cost-benefit analysis: How much tip am I willing to lose to get this clown to obey the rules? I think we know the answer.

And for people who aren't on the tip list, well there are those pesky name tags they wear. I suspect that if they're mentioned by name more than a time or two in a negative way on evaluations, they're in deep trouble. So they might bend the rules to keep you happy too.

Because, see, if somebody's mad that kids were running around in the AquaSpa, they'll just huff and puff and post a message here. And others will respond by saying that "Hey, I paid my (ridiculously reduced) fare for my little angel and they should be allowed to go anywhere I go." But, if a deck attendant stopped the kid from entering, citing the rules, he/she would run the risk if getting written up for being "generally discourteous" at the AquaSpa. And they know it. So they'll probably keep their mouths shut.

Sure, the rules are there. But they won't be enforced very well until the staff knows they have management's full backing to do so. Same as in any business. But that's not likely to happen as long as competition is as fierce as it is. The customer is pretty much always right, even when the customer is a boob.

AR
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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

AR. you are quite correct in your observations and I can give you a good reason why it happens that way. The cruiselines most of us use are based in or mainly used by Americans who are so independant and demanding of thier freedom that we balk at obeying rules that 'we' don't think are necessary. It's certainly not right and in some cases actually dangerous but 'we' are so intelligent we feel it's okay for us. Now on lines that are almost always filled by people from other nations you will see them follow the rules to the letter in almost all instances, it is bred into them. What is better? Who knows or has the right to say. Personally I think all safety rules and rules that are placed in effect for the pleasure of everyone should be followed.
Jim

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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

AR.. U have hit upon my #1GRIPE. In my never so humble opinion, the cruise lines should set NO rules they are not going to enforce!!!

At the moment there seems to be "selective enforcement". If someone were to light up a cigarette in the dining room, they would no doubt be told to stop by the crew, yet if they were saving a row of deck chairs by the pool no crew member would say a word.
Not that they are the same. But the thing they have in common is they are set out by the cruise lines "rules of behavior". "Selective enforcement" only leads the passengers to believe they are the ones who can decide which to select that apply to them.

Another problem, of course, is likely 90% of the passengers don't have any idea of the "rules". They don't do any research, their agents don't inform them of any "rules" (other than perhaps dress codes), and I'm convinced many don't even read the details in brochures, or the minimal information in the small pamphlets that come with their cruise docs.

The cruise lines need to do more to MAKE CLEAR what the acceptable rules of behavior are, and ENFORCE them! Otherwise it's time to throw out the "rule book" and allow passengers to do as they please.

Regards,
Kuki

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Old January 5th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

I tend to agree with you Kuki, in that most passengers don't know the rules. That's why I tend to overlook those rule breakers unless they are doing something which actually is endangering me or others.

Bringing booze on board, or saving deck chairs, or missing the life boat drills don't bother me. These are rules I believe most people aren't aware of. But it's not a big deal either.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old January 5th, 2003, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

Thomas.. sure, some of the "small stuff" may not directly affect you or your cruise experience. The arguement comes determining what is "small stuff", and what's important to whom.
If safety issues are the only concern, then the cruise line should make those VERY clear, enforce them, and toss the rest.
Though if everyone onboard was allowed to do totally as they please I could see some pretty interesting scenarios developing <G>

Regards,
Kuki

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Old January 5th, 2003, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

Hi AR,
You brought up many good issues with rules, but my # 1, is the saving of lounge chairs, I know there are rules for this, its just another example where the rules are not inforced. I guess who ever complains the loudest gets heard???

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Old January 5th, 2003, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

I suppose I can expect to be jumped on for this... but... I think the underlying problem here is that, for many years... actually back through the middle of the last Century, cruising and crossing were limited, by and large, to the higher classes of society.

Regardless of what one might say about the upper classes, including here in North America, the observance of the niceties of social life was pretty common. Now that the "great unwashed" are beginning to cruise, we have a clash of cultures... exactly what happened when the lower classes began to fly... rather late in the game... and air travel became not unlike a visit to the local zoo. (For a good part of my life, it would never have occurred to me to board a plane without a jacket and tie). In time, the air carriers have managed to separate the classes, with first and the popular business class.

Cruise lines have done the same, to an extent... separating out the premium and luxury brands... and, now adding separate facilities in the higher end premium brands for the clients paying top dollar to be on the ship. I think a lot of what we are seeing that is so annoying to so many of us will fade away in time. I think it is more than simply enforcing regulations. As my Mom would say... a person wearing jeans, sneakers and an open shirt to dinner on a formal night... well... "that places him".

People will learn and adapt... and the Cruise Industry will develop cruise product to cater to those who want McDonalds or some kind of Tail Gate Party at sea... and continue the product appealing to those whose tastes demand more...and all will be well in the world.

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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

"Common Courtesy"

It matters not how many rules you have, its how much common courtesy we all have to the other guy. On a ship or on land, some people wont give the time of day to a stranger, and others will buy them a meal.

I have a great idea. For one week lets everyone be very very nice to everyone we meet, the other 51 weeks be yourself. If we all did this, we wont need any rules, with an exception Safey Rules of course.

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Old January 6th, 2003, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

I totally agree with all of you on the "Common Courtesy" issue, unfortunatley there is segement of the population who do not have a clue as to what common courtesy is. I think that the cruise lines should have some sort of program to educate passengers about the rules of etiquette. I know this will sound strange, but if the cruise lines posted the rules on the wall in the bathroom, it would get read.(who reads the stuff on the back of the cabin door, come on admit it!) or they could broadcast a program on the ship's cable tv channel, have a flyer handed to you upon arrival and check-in, or even post some sort of "rule for today" in the ship's daily bulletin. Then its up to the cruise line to enforce these rules.
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Old January 6th, 2003, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

This is a worthwhile thread and I've enjoyed reading everyone's response. Every once in a while there's a post that really makes you think.
We've become such a "me" oriented society, no one bothers to think about how his or her individual behavior may impact on others. Of those who do give it a thought, most do what they want anyway.
On cruiseships and elsewhere, there's a "rules are for everyone else but me " mentality that is pervasive. When standards are not maintained, it only re-enforces that mindset. Too bad.
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Old January 7th, 2003, 04:42 PM
Evelyn Richardson
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

Just got back from Crystal cruise, here are three instances I saw on board.
1. Young people (about college age) who laid down on the floor -in the Crystal Plaza -and went to sleep, just as they do in the airport. WHY! Why not go back to their cabin and sleep on their beds?
2. Similar group, went up to deck 11, where you can get "free" hamburgers, hot dogs and fries, then they brought these on plates DOWN to deck 5 to the Crystal Plaza and sat on the ornamental staircase to eat these goodies - even though there were tables and chairs available. in the area where they got them on deck 11. WHY bring them all the way down to sit on the stairs?
3. Several ladies who in spite of having TWO hair dryers in their cabins, came into lunch and dinner with their hair in rollers!
Obviously none of these people gave any thought to their actions.
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Old January 8th, 2003, 07:48 PM
AR
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Default Re: Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

Evelyn:

It is sad to hear that one can't even escape that sort of crass rudeness by "upgrading" to one of the more expensive lines.

Crystal and the like had better be careful: classiness is one of their selling points. If they fail to maintain it they could wind up being perceived as part of the "great middle." If that happens, they've lost their marketing niche.

AR
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Old January 9th, 2003, 08:58 AM
David Starkey
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Default Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

On my recent New Years cruise on (SS Norway) the night of the captains gala formal night I saw the most disgusting example of passengers dessing down in the dining room. As I looked around the dining room I saw(3 tables away) a family of four dressed as follows. The 40 something year old man had on a short ,short pair of well worn gym shorts, a budweiser tee shirt(dirty too), beach thongs and shoulder length hair that was not groomed nor had he shaved recently.(dont forget the tatoos all over his upper arms) .The woman(I assume wife)was also wearing beach thongs and a towel or coverup( I only wished she really had covered it all up). No makeup and hair that looked like a rats nest. To say she looked cheap would have been a compliment. The two kids also suffered with suitable clothing for a beer blast at a bikers convention at the beach. I could not imigine that the dining staff did not say anything to this group.....but they didn't. This family had no business being in the dining room.The announcements and daily newpaper all made mention of the nights dress code.......Its time to turn away people from the dining room that show total lack of respect for fellow cruisers enjoying a gala event.
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Old January 9th, 2003, 04:47 PM
AR
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Default Re: Re: Customer service vs. "the rules"

I think--no, I'm sure--that if I ever come across anything close to that outrageous I'll be having a discussion with the maitre d'.

Surely you must have said something to someone?

AR
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