THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS *
By Jim Antista “The Cruiseman”
1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”
3. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”
4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price”
5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”
6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”
7. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for
my husband who just wanted to relax. ”
8. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”
9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”
10. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”
11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”
12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”
13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”
14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”
15. “There were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”
16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”
17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”
19. “My fiancé and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”
* These were not from my customers, for which I am very thankful!!
Pack some bottled water in your suitcase. You’ll know why when you see how much they charge for water on the ship! Or – buy some water at your first port of call.
Pre-cruise stays are key to unwinding before the cruise and avoiding unnecessary stress in getting to the ship on time.
Pack lightly. You can always buy extra items onboard or in port. And there are laundry facilities on most ships.
Book your cruise early.
Get a passport. It’s not required for most cruises, but you should have one anyway.
Upgrade to an Oceanview or balcony cabin.
Wash your hands to stay healthy.
Know where you are going. Get to know in advance the culture, politics, and sites at the ports you will be visiting. This makes your visit much more enjoyable.
Schedule your flight home after 1 PM on the day your ship disembarks to allow plenty of time to clear customs and travel to the airport.
Read the ship’s daily activities schedule. You will not want to miss out on items of interest to you. But, remember, you don’t have to go to everything! Plan for some leisure time also!
Pack a collapsible bag for the last evening when they take your suitcases away
Order a cappuccino at dinner where it is free versus the specialty coffee shops where there is a fee
If traveling to the Caribbean and plan on taking in the beaches, get a taxi to take you to the beach. Ask the locals for the best convenient beaches. No need for a tour and much less expensive. Most taxi drivers tell you all about their island along the way. Just make sure you watch the time and get back to the ship in enough time.
Stay away from the drink of the day. Most other cocktails are less expensive.
Don’t bother packing a beach towel. Use the one supplied by the ship and eliminate the sandy, dirty towel on the remainder of the cruise.
Don’t bring hairdryers, shampoo, conditioner or lotions. These items are supplied by the cruise line.
Bring a small clock for your room.
Take a small bag to the pool, just big enough to hold lotion, a good book, and your room key.
Put the clothes and shoes into a separate bag for the very last day you are on the ship so that if you are in a hurry at the last minute (parties the night before), you can just pull it out without thinking. I have seen many barefoot passengers disembarking.
Bring a small roll of duct tape. (Think: MacGyver)
Pack a colored Highlighter to highlight the activities you are interested in on the Cruise ship’s daily newspaper (Carnival Fun Times, Princess Patter, etc) so that you don’t miss out on anything.
Sticky Notes also come in handy, and can be posted on your mirror to remind you of hair, spa appointments, etc.
Since cabin bathrooms tend to be small, pack a small can of air freshener, your cabin mate will be glad you did.
Always pack shampoo, cream rinse and other toiletries in large zip lock bags. This way if they happen to open in your suit case it does not get on everything else. Also pack 1 gallon and two gallon zip lock bags to put wet bathing suits or water shoes in.
Pack a disposable flashlight and keep near the night table in case you need to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Could prevent injuries.
Take a small packet of Kleenex for off the ship excursions. They don’t take up much room and they sure come in handy when there is no toilet paper available. Take a small container of hand sanitizer too!
Obtain a deck plan of your ship and keep it handy the first few days until you get your bearings and can find your cabin
Always bring a copy of your address book or print names and address on stick-on labels for those post cards
Bring 2-3 spring type clothes pins — holds the curtains closed against morning sun
Pack a collapsible bag for both the beach and extra space for souvenirs.
Your cell phone will work on most cruise ships. Contact your cell carrier about “international roaming”.
It’s okay to order more than one entree or desert from the menu. They really don’t care!
Don’t forget the sun screen. You can burn very quickly in the tropics.
Multi-generational cruising, broadly defined as three generations traveling together, is on the rise. In fact, one industry study reported that more than a third (37%) of all grandparents who travel have done so with grandkids. “That’s not surprising when you consider that grandparents are healthier and more active than ever before,” says Kyle McCarthy of Family Travel Forum. “They’re eager to experience the world with their children and grandchildren.”
Another study indicated that 40% of all active leisure travelers have taken at least one multigenerational trip in the past 12 months. This represents 20.8 million households in the U.S!
The key to planning a successful multi-generational cruise is making sure the itinerary offers something appropriate for everyone involved. After all, it can be quite a challenge finding a destination that satisfies both a slow-moving senior and a high-energy preteen. That’s precisely what makes cruises such an attractive option.
The true test for families who cruise together with grandparents and their grandkids is how to handle your time in port.
Most Caribbean islands can be easily navigated by taxi. But the Caribbean has changed quite a bit and there’s a heck of a lot more to do than sunbathing and shopping for jewelry. There are options aplenty: ATV adventures, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, heritage tours, whale watching, hiking to waterfalls, the list goes on and on.
It all sounds great for the parents and the kids, but what about the grandparents?
If you really want to have everyone together, think about arranging a private tour with a land operator before you depart on your cruise. We have two outstanding tour companies that we recommend to our clients;
1) Shore Trips – does shore excursions all over the world, and they are our primary source for individuals and groups of all sizes.
2) Island Routes Caribbean Adventures – has operations in the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Turks and Caicos. They have some very unusual adventure tours and they can also arrange customized trips tailored to your specific interests — and physical limitations.
So while you go horseback riding with your kids on the beach, your guide could escort your parents around some famous sightseeing spots or the local shopping district. Once reunited, you can all enjoy an authentic island lunch before returning to your ship. Now that’s an activity an entire extended family could easily agree on!
Today we begin our 20th year in business. It’s hard to believe all that has happened in this time. We began in a tiny 12 X 12 office in North Carolina. It was just big enough for a desk, a computer, a fax machine and one book case for some brochures. There was very little room for customers!!
I still remember my very first reservation in 1994. It was a honeymoon couple, and I booked them on the Royal Majesty. (The Royal Majesty has been out of service for several years, now). Oh … they said they had a great time!
Since then we have made three moves, including our move to Springfield in 2005, and our recent move to our current location on S. Campbell Ave. here in Springfield, MO. two months ago. We came to Springfield to be near our family, including two great grandchildren.
Today we have a nationwide network of 23 agents, and thousands of clients! We have seen the ships get bigger and bigger, as well as much nicer. I still remember when the Carnival Destiny came out in 1996. This ship began the explosion of balcony cabins, and cruisers have truly fallen in love with having their own private balcony.
I also remember our first web site. There wasn’t much to it, but it was ours! Today we have a good web site with lots of information for prospective and veteran cruisers. And, of course now we have Facebook & Twitter. Where would we be without our technology?
I want to thank all of you that have made this journey possible. Your loyal patronage and trust has made all this possible.
Now … isn’t it time you booked your next vacation?