Here is another topic that you all can have fun with cruz-b4 brought this up on Rick's people who worry and I agree with him.
Cruisers complaining/appauled by ports because of poverty, begging, drugs, dirty streets, etc. why do they bother cruising??? Hello you are not in America you are in another country and a lot places in America are not pretty or safe either. It is back to you have to think out of the box when you go to these countries it is a cultural experience or there is some kind of history to be learned maybe just a great place to snorkel/dive, etc... it is a port for a reason. These people did not ask to be poor this is their country we are visitors. The complainers need to think America is not much different than these other countries/islands we are visiting . America probably has a higher rate of drugs, rape, murders, child/spouse abuse than any other country. I tell people all the time you have to be careful where ever you go. Do not walk down streets by your self regardless if it is Jamaica, New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Costa Rica anywhere use common sense be street smart. Maybe the complainers experiences will make them appreciate what they have, I doubt it.
I've only complained bitterly about one port out of 15 cruises: La Guaira/Caracas, Venezuela. I've lived in several countries (Iran, Honduras, Germany, Puerto Rico, and now Greenland) and seen variations from the most hideous poverty to the most obnoxious affluence (Iran had both, often with 2 blocks). La Guaira had both - didn't make me overly upset (yes, I know, poverty is a terrible thing...).
Princess warned us not to go off on our own - too dangerous - as this was a shipping port, not a cruise port. What I disliked about the stop was; after a grueling traverse thru the horrendous city traffic to a Murano glass factory/shopping frenzy, and after a tour of the barrios & mansions, our tour guide (an American-educated Venezuelan ex-military man) went off on a long diatribe about how "You Americans don't know what justice is and that Fidel Castro, Venezuela's best friend, was the only true visionary world leader, and that you Americans should learn from Cuba's true sense of justice and law." As we all, in unison, pushed our jaws up from the floor of the bus, we remained quiet. Then, as we got off, we told him his tip was: "Don't tell Americans how to do their own justice and then expect a monetary tip."
To top it off - the only real reason anyone can figure out that Princess stops there is for cheap fuel.
How do you know how dirty, buggy or crime ridden a port is unless you try. If it was that bad, the cruises would never go there because nobody would be on the ship. But somebody obviously likes to try the ports. That's the beauty of a cruise. You can check it out, if you don't like it, you know not to vacation there. If you're worried about certain ports, select a cruise that goes to the ports you are willing to do.
If Venezuela is consistently as bad as Philip's experience, it won't last long on itineraries, because nobody will book the cruise. With so many repeat cruisers on board, their money will affect where the ships go. Either that or the Venezuelans will discover that there's money to be made and to welcome American tourists.
I agree with AJ. I have only taken one cruise thus far, but La Guaira/Caracas was my favorite port. It seems that a lot of cruisers only want to visit beaches, swim with stingrays, shop for bargains on things that cost about the same in the states, etc. When the population of an island is doubled for 7 hours by several cruise ships, I don't think that I am really seeing a foreign country, just a theme park crowded by tourists. In Caracas, where I confess I booked a private tour and was able to avoid things like the glass factory, I saw, albeit briefly, a different culture. I saw people going about the business of living, not focussed on the fact that the cruise ship had landed. I like going to the beach as much as the next person, maybe more, but I also want to return from my cruise with new experiences. Fortunately there are all sorts of cruises, and if Captain Marvin's is what you want, and no more, there are plenty of options. I am just grateful that there are itineraries that offer alternatives to that thought.
Part of the problem with "port complainers" may be a result of cruisers' lack of info on certain ports ---- what to do and what to avoid. The info in the little brochures they put on your bed each night, and that given in the shore talks, all tends to be a little "glossed over", and a bit to much of a sales pitch for events and business in which the ship has a financial interest. And then there are cases like we experienced on the Norway last April when we anchored in Roatan, Hodruras, and the cruise director admitted he "had not a clue" as to what to do there --- or not to do there. Our only complaint there was not what we did or saw, but what we missed for lack of info. In contrast, our most recent cruise on the Radisson Paul Gauguin was totally different in this regard. When our docs came, so did a book with not only full accurate info on each port, but its history as well. Also, a book fully describing each optional excursion was included. From reading these in the weeks before we sailed, we knew pretty much what to expect in each port and tailored our plans around the realities of each. Of course, all guests had this info before sailing, and there was not a single port complaint.
And if the itinerary/ports are more important as compared to ship/activities then it is the pax resposibility to go 0n-line and or to the library and check it out. Many newspapers also have on-line service and can be checked for current conditions. Even people w/o computer access at home generally have a library with access within a reasonable distance/drive. The cruise lines and TAs are not our mothers. It is more than time we were responsible for our own lives and activities.
i think people who tend to be "port complainers" are the same people who are not inclined to read anything extra about their itinerary -- be it online, at the library or bookstore or extra information the cruise company sends along.
it comes with their sense of entitlement
-- i paid for this cruise so they OWE it to ME to make sure "I" have a good time.
-- i shouldn't have to read something or attend a presentation to find out about where we are going.
-- they should only take me to ports that "I" like and where the people look like me and talk like me!
also, i have never been on a raddisson ship so i cannot speak from experience, but i would guess the company's clientele is a little more destination oriented, thus more likely to read (and get something very useful from) the additional information sent by raddisson.
We were on a cruise with the Caracas stop in '99. I don't understand why it's still a stop on a cruise. We, like many others on the ship, considered it another "sea day". We got off,bought a couple of souveniers right at the dock and got right back on the ship. Fortunatly, there were a lot of things to do on the ship that day and we weren't bored. I never complain about a port. There is always something to do on the ship or on the island - even if that something is sleeping on a deck chair.
AJ is right that there is danger, begging, poverty, drug selling, and threatening behavior right in my own hometown --- not just in ports. The difference is that here at home, I know the areas to avoid, or at least to take precautions in them. When I'm in a port, or even in a strange American city, I don't know these things unless someone tells me. Too many times, this is not the kind on info one can find by researching online (except for what can be learned from cruise boards) or at the library. If you were to come visit me in the Okla. City area (not exactly a great tourist attraction!) I would give you some advice on places worthwhile to visit, and parts of town to avoid for your safety. All I wish is that the cruise lines would provide you with more of this advice, of both kinds, as to the ports. Certainly, the cruise lines cannot undertake to guarantee that I will have a good time in each port! But providing a little more informational and cautionary info would be a welcome service.
And it goes on,Just got through reading a post on another board where the cruiser is going back to Ocho Rios for the 3rd time and they are complaining already about feeling unsafe and asking what to do. HUH??? Why book this cruise if they do not like the island. And so another post is created with dont bother,stay on the ship,its unsafe to go there and the people are pushy.
You say you considered it (La Guaira) a sea day, bought some souvenirs at the pier and that you don't understand why ships stop there. How would you expect to understand if you didn't visit the place? Had you been there before?
I don't understand why people don't do their homework before selecting a cruise itinerary. That's half the fun. There's so much information. Unfortunately, those who don't do the research aren't reading the postings here either.
The crew advised us to stay on the ship unless we were going on a ship sponsored shore excursion. Add that advice to what I and the others I was sailing had read about the port, we did not feel it was a safe port to explore on our own. My friends and I like to spend part of our day sight seeing and part of it broiling on a beach. We don't enjoy organized sight seeing shore excursions. Others at our dinner table took a shore excursion to the glass factory. While they enjoyed the tour of the factory, they thought it was a long time to be in one of the little taxi's. The day we were in that port, my friends and I spent happily doing things on the ship that we probably wouldn't have taken the time to do at many other ports. And most of the places we went on the ship were crowded - meaning that many of the rest of the passengers, at least on that cruise, felt the same way we did. And no, it wasn't Spring break week on a drunk Carnival ship that we were on, it was the Dawn Princess. My friends and I are snowbirds who cruise in the winter to enjoy some relaxing time in white sand under blue skies - or at least under warm rain clouds. My same friends and I take other trips to explore the culture of big cities in our own country.