That other thread got me thinking (after I read that woman's so-called problem from a few years ago), and what other folks think about the mandatory gratuity policies. Can't debate THAT anymore. The lines do what they do, and its never likely to change...BUT...Assume YOUR steward is inept, inefficient...Assume YOUR meals, in specialty restaurants,, the mdr's, and yes, even Jurassic Park (the buffets) are sub par, as in the service is bad, or the food poorly prepared. Assume there are maintenance issues around the ship, in YOUR cabin, or elsewhere that affect YOUR cruising experience.

What do YOU do? I have learned there is an actual art to complaining, and getting results. You can comment about your actions onboard, or after. I like to think experienced cruisers know what to do, and Im here to learn too.

10 Answers

It really depends on how bad the service is. We have always gotten an email asking for our review. We are as honest as we can be and if the service has been sub par we tell them. We also take the names of those that have gone above and beyond. When cruising on Princess, there are comment cards available at customer service and we have pointed out problems using those. In the beginning of our cruising "life" we sent letters to headquarters. Often, we got a follow-up call asking for particulars.

We have always praised through feedback cards and surveys where service is exceptional and pointed out weaknesses. On board on our last cruise our cabin steward did not pay attention to details and when we went a day and a half without any glasses in the room a polite call to housekeeping and a pleasant and short conversation with the on duty supervisor promptly resolved it. The next day I politely explained to the steward that I needed a glass to use but he had not left any in a day and a half. He apologized and all was good for the remainder of the cruise.I find that usually a polite and kind explanation of the problem and why it is a problem usually has a positive response. But those that start with a rant usually end up having to rant a lot before they see any changes.

We have never had service that was bad enough to complain to either the customer service desk or the hotel manager or the maitre d'. We do make note and always find a way to inform whoever about any waiter, etc who is an exemplary worker.

For the first time ever, after service in the mdh, i go up and left - waited until the next morning before going to reception to complain. I left it that long to 'cool down' as would have probably said something that i may have regretted later if i had complained at the time. I explained the problem at reception and then later, received a phone call to arrange a meeting with the manager of the mdh and explain exactly what had happened. Things did improve but i think the main problem is lack of staff - as most lines are cutting the amount of people but not the amount of eaters... so i wanted to ensure the company (via the manager) got the correct feedback.


I have never received service bad enough to complain about. Had service far superior to others. I have had issues in the past with a few cabins. I always start with the Cabin Steward and work my way up. I always try to remain calm and polite and just explain what the issue is and that I would like it remedied. For the most part this works for me anyway.

Guess we have been fortunate too. Never ran into a situation where a crew member irritated me. Closest we ever came to that was during phone conversations with company representatives regarding company policies or misunderstandings. Hard to blame rank and file employees for that since the debacle(s) originated with the top dog.

This is truly amazing...add up all our cruises and this is it? theres gotta be someone who had to deal with something SERIOUS. Wound up on the bridge or the brig..heheheh...we had one incident years ago, on an NCL ship right after the smoking policy changed...crabby old guy on the next balcony was a chain smoker, out there all day and half the night...never went out that I could tell, except to eat I guess..it was so bad we couldnt use our balcony, or sleep with the door open at nite (b4 the days of the a/c interlock on the newer ones anyway))...complained at the front desk several times.., (pleasantly I might add)...no result...went to dinner one night and as luck would have it, the hotel director (the 4 striper himself) stopped by, making his rounds, with the maître d' in tow...the usual "how are you enjoying the cruise?" I said we're not, and explained it all down at city hall as the saying goes. told him we had complained, we knew how difficult it was to police all this but, etc etc..he wrote something down on a teeny lil note pad he magically produced. That evening we got a box of chocolate covered strawberries...just what I needed...well, the smoker continued to smoke, I grumbled about what a waste all the brass is, they don't do squat...nothing ever changes etc etc...we get home, 2-3 weeks later I get a letter from NCL HQTRS apologizing, and giving us a $750 credit on the theory that since our balcony was "unusable"...so on and so forth. And it wasn't an OBC credit either....promptly booked another cruise and used 4 cruise coupons towards it. In my mind it was free...well...almost... Those days are over...I think the ship would have to sink b4 you saw a credit that size. But all it proves is that the times I complained, I was calm, pleasant, and it was surprisingly productive..(plus just some dumb luck)....I think my wife being present might've had something to do with it. It WAS a strain I admit...

If you have a legitimate problem while on board, take it to Guest Services, That is what they are for. If you have a problem in MDR or Specialty restaurant, get the Maitre D involved. If that doesn't work, talk to the hotel director. We were on Carnival Glory and it was just bad service all the way around. Solved that by never sailing with them again. We have had several aggravating things happen that we have been able to resolve while on board. Some things you can really do nothing about except make sure it goes on a comment card. On the flip side, be sure that the people that do a really good job get noticed. People seem not so quick to compliment as to complain

I have had a couple of times when something went so wrong that I felt compelled to write a letter to the cruise line afterwards. The most recent was Carnival in May when we took our two nephews.
I always try to mix compliments in with any complaints. There is always something really wonderful to note and I like giving extra credit when it is due. Our waiter on this trip was the highlight, so I mentioned him by name and table number.
But, I also was very specific about the problems.
We received back a generous ship board credit offer for our next Carnival cruise, which is in November.

Proves that it CAN be done, with the proper attitude. some folks have the knack, others like to scream and yell and jump up and down. One ol boy way back in my past said something like.."lemme get this straight...you want somebody to cooperate with you...and the way you're gonna do that is first piss them off...." hehehehe

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