Good (And Bad) Things I Learned From Cruise Vacations

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 I suppose that no matter how we travel, even if we hate the process of learning in general, the odds are that we will still learn something. Take up camping and along with the ability to do it well comes skills like building a fire, shoes to wear hiking, cooking without the conveniences of home and more. Cruises have been called ‘no-brainer’ modes of travel because so much is done for us. Still, there are things to be learned, both good and bad, from any travel.

There Are Loud Complaining People Everywhere
It does not seem to matter where we travel or how we get there, others complaining seem to stand out from the crowd. In the closed environment of a cruise ship, they are hard to miss. Often, if I overhear enough of their complaint to know what their problem is, it turns out to be something small and/or silly in the grand scheme of things.

Example: The big beautiful cruise ship has just arrived at an exotic destination and passengers are eager to go ashore. Well most are anyway. One very loud lady is making a huge disruption in the process of getting off the docked ship. She “…can’t believe they only have one gangway open!” and seems determined to let that ruin her day, before it even begins. Just 7 minutes later, she is ashore but still complaining to her fellow travelers.

Takeaway: Don’t become one of them.

It’s All About Choices
That’s often not easy to do. Let anything happen on the way to the ship that throws off the anticipated sequence of events and a couple doors open. We can choose to walk through either one.

The first door takes us down a negative path that has a viral element to it that can take over an entire voyage. We decide to let it sour us for the rest of what might otherwise be a wonderful experience. Worse, if traveling with others, we stand a good chance of negatively impacting their vacation as well. The traveler who chooses this door may very well bring that problem home after the fact too. Consulting consumer advocates, making phone calls and writing letters, they allow that problem to have even more life.

Choosing the other door stops the clock on a problem right away, enabling the traveler to move on with the rest of their vacation. When an airline lost our luggage on the way to a cruise ship once, it really threw us off. Our day one plan on any cruise calls for arriving early at the pier to be one of the first on board, touring the ship, having lunch then unpacking. That plan came to an abrupt halt when all we had to unpack was what we carried on the ship. We could have very well let that one negative event define the experience but made a conscious effort not to allow that to happen.

Say It Loud Yourself
It took saying out loud “We can NOT let this ruin the cruise!” to overcome the potential damage to our trip. Luckily, we had packed an extra change of clothes in our carry-on luggage but our attitude became one of “so what if all we have are the clothes on our back? We’re still on a cruise!”

When something goes wrong, deal with it and put it to rest, right then and there. If it seems like it is taking a long time to get off the ship, relax in your stateroom with room service until the hoard of early-off people have disembarked…or get up early to be first in line. If luggage is lost, file a claim with the airline, consider it gone forever and be happy if it is returned before you get off the ship.

We have choices on how we will feel about the things that happen to us along the way. That can be hard to see when all caught up in the moment of a negative situation but it has to be done and we have to do it ourselves.