|by Sean O'Neill||Cruises, Questions and Opinions||11|
In case you missed it, "disegalitarianism" is a word to describe how cruise passengers who splurge on the swankiest cabins on a cruise increasingly want to have exclusive perks and preferential treatment as they wander the ship. Perks include reserved poolside seating, the option to "jump the line" and get on and off a ship faster than everyone else, special access to dining halls, and—in some cases—private elevators, separate lounge areas, and near-exclusive bars.
I shared with Peter one of the most interesting comments from a reader, namely, Tony Vitanza:
I'm hardly wealthy…I'm very much the budget traveler and cruiser. BUT...if cruise lines would enact and actually enforce the rules designed to make everyone more comfortable, then a lot of the demand for this kind of thing would disappear. For example, enforce rules about diapers in pools, smoking in no-smoking areas, and the prohibition against "saving" lounge chairs. And actually enforce dress codes. Make sure people know BEFORE they book that they can't put their diapered baby in the hot tub or show up for dinner in flip-flops and a tank top. If EVERYONE, including the people who are perhaps wealthy or who perhaps have foregone other things and scrimped and saved for that special stateroom, could count on not being subjected to the general bad behavior that is so apparent in every facet of public life, maybe they wouldn't have to demand to be kept away from it.
Peter made a great wisecrack about this: "Forget about first and second class. I think the cruise lines should add a new class to their ships: Etiquette class."
You can play a recording of the segment here.
Another reader, Dee Nevares, had provocative comment worth spotlighting, too:
Dee has sailed on 30 cruises and she suggests that the staff on cruises have slacked off from their duty to enforce the rules and to provide exceptional service. She blames the decision by cruise lines to force passengers to tip everyone by credit card in a single gratuity payment, instead of the traditional way of giving cash handouts at each moment of superior service.
That's interesting, if true.
What can you do about this trend toward disegalitarianism if it upsets you?
Choose a cruise where everyone gets treated like royalty, no matter what social status they have. Pat, in Charleston, S.C., suggested that you consider...
"taking a river cruise with Viking or Amadeus Waterways. See Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Russia with less than 200 other people, all of whom you'll meet at some point in your journey. You might even make a new friend or two somewhere along the way and keep in touch by phone and e-mail. The cultural experience is amazing and guess what! Only one dining room."