Jarrod tells Consumerist that his father-in-law recently traveled to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Line. His biggest gripe was that everything a passenger could do on board, including purchases in the gift shop, carried an automatic 18% gratuity. This would be acceptable if the service were good enough to justify a tip at all. But Jarrod notes, “[Room stewards] knew they were getting an automatic 18%, so why work for it?” [More]
CCTV video has recently resurfaced showing what happened inside a Pacific Sun cruise ship during a severe storm. Passengers smack to the floor and locomote from port to sideboard and back again like ragdolls on ice, cling desperately to anything they can get a hand on, and try to dodge the piles of furniture caroming around. Cruise ships can be fun, but out there on the open seas Mother Nature can have her own ideas about what constitutes a good time. [More]
I guess you could try to prepare your robbery schedule based on Foursquare and Twitter updates, but a former Royal Caribbean Cruise Line employee found a much easier way: she accessed the cruise line’s reservations list, wrote down the addresses of passengers and the dates they’d be on the cruise, and handed the list off to her husband. She’s being charged with 24 counts of burglary, while her husband will be charged soon. [More]
Remember the diarrhea nightmare vessel that sickened 450 passengers a few weeks back? Once it got back home, Celebrity Cruises delayed the next trip by a day so that it could perform a “full cleaning.” It didn’t help much, though: CNN says that about 10% of passengers on the next sailing got sick, and about 19% of passengers on the current sailing are now sick. [More]
When gastrointestinal illness hits a cruise ship, there’s nowhere to run or hide, as nearly 450 passengers and crewmembers aboard the Celebrity Cruises ship Mercury have discovered. Celebrity Cruises says they they’re still investigating what caused the outbreak, but the symptoms include “upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea,” according to their spokeswoman. [More]
Wes and his girlfriend took a Royal Caribbean Cruise for their anniversary, but the experience was more stressful than blissful. Apparently, according to the cruise line, an appropriate stateroom for a couple is an L-shaped room with twin beds. Where the beds are bolted to opposite walls. While appropriate for a ’50s sitcom, this was not what Wes had in mind for a romantic vacation.
Will The Great Recession dissolve our system of symbols and affluence and remake America into a classless society? Nah, not only would that be boring, but it’s impossible. A river with less water is still a river. Speaking of conspicuous consumption and water, here’s what Paul Fussel, snarky author of Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, says about cruise ships:
There were lots of problems on the recent Costa Cruise vacation that Krista and her friends took, including lukewarm hot tubs, closed buffets, and missing towels. But the biggest surprise was when their waiter was replaced on the second day with a newly promoted, untrained busboy who abandoned them nightly. Well, when he wasn’t taking their sugar or stealing their basket of bread.
Royal Caribbean is gutting the Crown & Anchor society that lavishes loyal cruisers with perks like discounts, priority boarding, and a concierge lounge stocked with complimentary cocktails. The free booze will now be available only to cruisers who have sailed more than 25 times with Royal Caribbean. Many loyal passengers who don’t spend their lives on Royal Caribbean ships are understandably pissed.
Royal Caribbean’s odd “steak fee” proved to be such a success that the bleed-‘em-dry cruise line has decided to add yet another extraneous charge to their “all-inclusive” service: a late night room service fee! Gone are the days of waking up from a seasick-induced nightmare at 3 a.m. to the comforting thought of, “well at least I can order a cheeseburger.” Now, seasickness cures ordered between midnight and 5 a.m. cost $3.95.
Hank went on a cruise with his family to celebrate his grandmother’s 75th birthday. Because of a change in his work schedule, Hank had to leave early to return home to California. But when you’re a guest of Celebrity Cruises, YOU ARE A GUEST OF CELEBRITY CRUISES. There is no “return home” for you! Be quiet! Eat waffles!
When storms force your cruise to skip ports of call, don’t sit idly in your cabin watching the whitecaps break menacingly against the ship. Go find your fellow passengers and stage a mutiny! At least that is what passengers onboard the Sapphire Princess did when two typhoons kept the ship from planned port calls in Vietnam, Japan, and Taiwan.
At one point, with passengers assembled in the ship’s theater, she said, “the attorney jumped up and grabbed the microphone away from the assistant cruise director and said: ‘We’re taking over the stage! We have a petition!'”
Here’s a fun scam: buying art at auction on cruise ships. In one case, a woman paid $20,000 for what she thought were high-value Salvadore Dali, but when they got shipped to her, an independent appraiser told her they were worth maybe $700 each. The business is conducted on international waters, so there’s no consumer protection laws to throw you a lifesaver. Consumerama says they’re not even run under real auction rules, but are instead, “coordinated inebriated sales hysteria.”
There’s hope for humanity yet: the 78-year old pensioner who saved 10 years for a cruise, only to have Princess Cruises screw her out of her money after missed connections resulted in a missed embarkation? She will get to take that cruise. After her story hit the papers and the blogosphere, strangers stepped forward to fund her cruise ship dreams. This time, Almentia McKan will arrive a day in advance, fly non-stop, and purchase travel insurance. She probably won’t be sailing Princess Cruises either.
A 78-year old pensioner saved for a cruise for 10 years, but after she missed an airplane connection, she missed the cruise ship and Princess Cruises gets to keep her $2500 paid for the cruise. They’re also keeping the $559.80 the airlines refunded because she didn’t take the flight. (See how that works? You don’t get charged unless you actually use their service…) You gotta read the Washington Post column for the full run-down of all the different things that went wrong on this lil old lady’s trip.
If you find you’re on a cruise to, say, the Caribbean, and you decide to buy something expensive—like, say, an emerald ring—then be sure to pay with a credit card, take photos of the item and the person who sold it to you, and get a receipt. It may sound like overkill, but if the “emeralds” in the ring fall out and it turns your finger black once you’re back on the boat and have left Antigua, chances are it’s not a cursed pirate ring but a fake, and you’ll be glad you have some documentation when you start trying to make things right.
From The Portland Mercury: