Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don’t Be That Passenger

I think we’ve all met one—a fellow passenger who strikes up a conversation that borders on rude. No one seems to mind being asked where they are from or how many cruises they’ve been on, but other topics can range from mildly irritating to downright nosy. Consider the following situation.

While enjoying lunch during a break in a daylong shore excursion we encountered the height of rudeness. The passenger who brought up the topic of cruise fares had an agenda—he felt it was not “fair” that everyone hadn’t paid the same amount for identical accommodations on our ship. He whipped out a notepad and pen and pointedly indicated that he wanted to record what each of us at the table had paid for our cruise. It turned out his agenda was to “expose the unfairness” of the cruise line. Unfortunately (for him), I was the first to respond. I told him that we didn’t discuss personal financial matters. That shut down his “survey” on the spot and I was quietly congratulated later by other passengers who felt uncomfortable with his question, but weren’t quite sure what to say.

That fellow probably didn’t think he was being rude—he actually seemed to think that by gathering fare information from the group that his findings would somehow benefit us all in the future. He didn’t seem to understand that cruise fares vary in similar fashion to other travel pricing, for instance airfare and hotel rooms. A lot depends on when you book, whether there was a promotion being offered at the time, or a variety of other circumstances. For instance, a travel agent may have gotten a ‘group’ rate for your booking even if you weren’t a member of an organized group. Another travel agent may have been privy to ‘unpublished’ rates offered at the last minute—cruise lines sometimes offer them to their high volume agents to benefit their clients and to fill a ship that isn’t selling well. Past guest programs also offer discounts to loyal passengers.

The moral of this story… Some questions don’t deserve an answer. Don’t be that passenger who asks.

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