How to Solve Your Cruise Problems

| Last Updated July 25, 2008

Passengers who address shipboard problems like a cruise industry insider are likely to get better results.

The portly, sweating middle-aged man in a tropical shirt stepped forward from his place at the head of the line at the Purser's desk.

"Good afternoon Sir. How may I assist you -- now?" The ship's representative barely spoke the last word before the passenger launched into his tirade. As he gesticulated wildly, his wife stood alongside and beamed at him with her best "Well, that's telling them!" look.

The problem? Despite a warning from the same Assistant Purser an hour earlier about demagnetizing his 'sign and sail' card by placing it in a pocket next to his cell phone, our passenger repeated the error. The staff person repeats the same information dozens of times a day, and saying it one more time is just part of the job. But to the passenger, it was a source of heartburn-causing consternation -- at least that was how it appeared.

Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is not the best way to solve a problem on board a ship.

There are two kinds of complainers: those who take each event in stride and patiently await a resolution, and those who add one complaint onto the next, escalating their outrage each time.

In this case, the man making the complaint caused his own problem, though unwittingly. A calmer demeanor would have been far more appropriate. In cases like this, neither party is at fault -- the purser didn't design the magnetic key cards, and the passenger didn't erase the encoded information on purpose.

Addressing Serious Shipboard Problems Human nature is always a factor, as anyone who has worked in customer service will tell you. How quickly and effectively a problem is solved can be affected by the manner and tone of the complaint.

How should a cruiser complain when a serious problem crops up, like an accounting error in their final bill, or a room service meal that never arrives?

The best course is to notify the proper person as quickly as possible, not letting loose on whomever picks up the phone. We suggest the following:

Before going to the Purser's desk or calling the Room Service supervisor, reflect upon the attitude of the person receiving your complaint. Their demeanor is one of courtesy and professionalism, and in most cases they appear to be sincere about wanting you to have the best cruise ever.

Most ship staff work very hard for a good comment on the cruise evaluation forms. If you give the ship's workers the impression that you take notice of them individually and appreciate the jobs they do personally, then they are going to think of you as someone who might give them a good "grade," and they will work that much harder to please you.

But if you appear to be uninterested in getting involved with anyone outside your own circle, they probably think you won't bother to notice if they do a great job, and they will not put in any extra effort for you. Thus personalized "complaining" to the right person can be more effective because it shows the worker that you know how the system works.

Continue Article >> To Whom Should You Address Your Complaint (Part 2)

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