People can be annoying. When on vacation—especially on a cruise ship—they can be even more annoying. Perhaps some people figure anonymity makes rude behavior OK. Perhaps some people are just so relaxed, or so centered on their hard-earned focus on self, they let little things slide. Perhaps some people are just assholes. (just being honest)
Sometimes guests misbehaving is small. The most annoying thing I recall from my four years working on cruise ships was quite small. I think that’s why it grated me so much: sometimes a surprise, light strike hurts worse than a heavy blow (ask any man who’s been hit below the belt). As an auctioneer, I had arranged my desk top with all manner of flyers, pamphlets, and books. I got it all ship-shape, as they say, arranging stacks to perfection. The task took only about five minutes but made me feel comfortable and organized, ready for action. The first lady that walked up plunked her gargantuan bag right atop the desk with so much force that books tumbled to the floor and papers scattered into every corner of the corridor. She wanted directions to the gangway. How rude!
Some guest misbehavior is just opportunistic. Again as an art auctioneer, I was targeted me for freebies. A power cord taped to the deck had come partially loose near the wall. A little old Asian lady made a bee-line for the far side of the corridor and ‘tripped’. That is, she had a misstep, because she only pretended to trip. After ensuring she was fine, apologizing, and fixing it, I thought the matter closed. That night—at 11PM I might add—I was called into the hotel director’s office. There waited the little old Asian lady and her daughter, intent on suing the cruise line for being racist. The hotel director had pointed out how absurd that was—60 nationalities worked together on that very ship—so she instead tried to sue me personally. Using her daughter to translate (though she had earlier spoken clear English to me), she claimed that had she been white, I would have treated her better. Via daughter-translator, she called me a racist to my face. I usually laugh off verbal barbs, but that time I was not amused. I went off on her, much to the chagrin of the hotel director. During my yelling rant, I pointed out that I had dated an Asian woman. All charges were dropped.
Some guest misbehavior is so egregious that it spawns nothing short of hatred. As a waiter, one particular family was so over-the-top gluttonous and selfish that my poor assistant literally had an emotional breakdown in the dining room. It was the most awful thing I’d ever seen in my life. Perhaps I’ll devote a blog to that nightmare, if I could but encapsulate the magnitude of it all in under 700 words. Impossible.
Whatever the reason for guest misbehavior, it’s usually best to not let it bring you down, whether cruising as passenger or crew. Because, when official policy is stirred, the finger of blame can point into some downright shocking directions. Take the tragedy of the Costa Concordia, for example. While this misbehavior was entirely and utterly the fault of the idiotic and indefensibly cowardly Captain Schettino, his boss doesn’t see it that way. Carnival Cruise Lines specifically blamed passengers for the internal damages to the Costa Concordia.
That’s right, when Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Giglio in Italy, taking 32 victims, Carnival Corporation blamed ship damages on passengers, NOT the untold thousands of gallons of seawater brought on from recklessly colliding with rocks. When aggrieved passengers, relatives of the deceased, and crew-members filed a lawsuit against the company, they shot right back. Specifically, court documents filed by Carnival Cruises state: "travelers' negligent or careless behavior were between the causes, if not the only cause, of the alleged injuries and damages."
By Brian David Bruns, author of national best-seller Cruise Confidential.
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