Posts Tagged ‘ugly americans’

Ugly Americans Have Nothing on Ugly Cruise Ship Passengers!

Friday, January 25th, 2008

 Ugly Cruise Ship Passengers – Relax, for Heaven’s Sake!

You’ve heard the term, “Ugly American?”  Well, here’s a label you may not have encountered: Ugly Cruise Ship Passenger.  And that’s because I just made it up, following a 14-day cruise around New Zealand and Australia.

While at breakfast, a few days into our cruise, outside of Christchurch, New Zealand, I overheard several disgruntled passengers each with his or her own complaints about the ship’s crew and its amenities, or lack thereof.

A British couple was having a serious discussion with another British couple over the lack of fruit carvings.  Yes, fruit carvings.  The foursome felt ship management was being somewhat amiss at not having fruit carvings.  One chap remarked that it was probably due to some health regulation or other – that a kitchen staffer may cut himself in the process.  One of the white-haired ladies suggested wistfully that fruit carvings were a long-gone tradition, “a thing of the past,” said she. But both couples agreed that fruit carvings were a must on a cruise.  Sheesh!

At another station, a surly gent stormed up to the tall white-hatted waffle chef, and demanded to know why, for TWO mornings in a row, the coffee machine on the back deck had no coffee.  The chef stared at him briefly, and then, as though the information had finally made its way to the cognitive part of his brain, he apologized and went about finding the waiter in charge of making the coffee.  The passenger, unimpressed, whisked away, cup and all, and headed to another coffee station, just 50 feet away.

While seated at our breakfast table, a group of Americans were discussing the view through the sea-grimed windows.  One loudly complained that ship staff should “wash the windows,” because salty scum was clogging his view (a view only a few feet from the back deck with its open air tables, and no windows).  And after all, it was 6 AM! How long did management need to ensure a sparkling view?

Cruise ship passengers are a hard lot to please.  From the moment they step on board, many become mini tyrants of their own tiny kingdoms.  The mentality is that “I have spent my hard-earned money, and I expect perfect service in exchange.”  That’s regardless of how many other passengers (our ship had nearly 2000) are also expecting this unerring attention to their comfort.

Here’s my best advice for enjoying a cruise vacation: RELAX. 

Know that not everything will be perfect.  Yes, a port or two might be missed due to dangerous weather conditions.  Yes, that special food you were hoping for may not be on the menu (but try asking – nicely).  Yes, room service might be a little slow especially if it’s a day at sea and ¾ of the passengers have ordered in-room breakfast.  Yes, going ashore at the Melbourne port may be a tedious ordeal (but Melbourne is so worth the wait).  Yes, your TV reception may be horrible (Northern hemisphere TVs don’t work well in the Southern hemisphere). 

And oh yes, there may be no fruit carving.  Grab an orange, an apple, and a butter knife and do a fruit carving of your own.  The artistic act may help to bring you peace.

Sheree Zielke