Now, I have never been on a cruise but from what I read and what I hear the lines used to just allow anything, bringing booze on board and what have you. Now, it seems they are cracking down on everything, No outside booze, or drinks for that matter. No free "extras" aboard, such as juice and ice cream.
It also seems that the customer service is awful, long hold times, rude guys that check you in and out, phone people who tell you different the the "official written rules" What say you fellow cruisers?!
All cruiselines have rules and regulations, most have been in place, but they are now enforcing some of them such as bringing alcohol onto the ships and age limits as to who may drink. I beleive they have really started to enforce this due to the bad publicity of people falling off cruiseships, and most times if you read you will find that the person who dissappeard was drinking heavily before they fell.
As far as rude people, I believe that is a matter of opinion. I do believe that every once in a while you might get a disgruntled customer service rep...but on the most part,the service on the ship is usually good overall. Now as far as the agents at the cruiselines, sometimes these agents have never been on a cruise themselves..or they are given the answer that their supervisor gave them. As a Cruise Specialist agent myself, I have called the cruiselines to find an answer to a question, and depending on who I get there are some who do not know the answer, but you can call back and get another agent and get a totally different answer.
As far as juice and ice cream being free on the ship, that depends on which ship you are sailing on. When we were on the NCL Majesty they had a soft serve ice cream machine close to the drink machine by the pool. Carnival always has a soft serve ice cream machine, at least on the ones that I have been on. Hal had hand dipped ice cream at the buffet during lunchtime and it was great..I believe it was open different times during the daytime. Celebrity has drink stations open in the buffet areas thorughout the day and night..in fact on the Millinium they had the best COLD milk in their machines that was available 24 hours a day.
Before you get yourself upset over what your cruise expereince is going to be like, go with a great attitude and plan on enjoying yourself. People are people, you are going to run into those who look for the negative in everything and then those who go with the flow and enjoy whatever comes their way.
I've found it's the passengers who are boarding with attitudes and demands far and above what the lines should have to deal with. Crew and staff should not have to put up with passengers demanding perfection and slavish obedience, nor should the lines be having to offer every activity or distraction that a land-based resort offers. It is a sign of our short-attention-span society that we expect to be entertained 24 hours a day, and woe to those who do not cater to this. (you don't want to get me started on the smuggling alcohol or tipping issues.....)
If all of that were true, people would not be cruising. Might just be me, but I really feel people are entitled to a bad day once in a while, including crew and staff members. Only been on 16 cruises and have never encountered out right rude behavior. I may have dealt someone having an off day, but normally, treating them with a pleasant attitude changes that. I do most of my booking on-line, but when I call the cruise line, if the person doesn't seem like they know the answer, I ask to speak to a supervisor. What I have noticed over the years is that the price of drinks have gone up. It used to be that cruises had great prices on alcoholic beverages, and sodas were free or really inexpensive. That has changed, but the rates have not increased as disproportionately as other venues of vacation offerings. The rooms in Las Vegas used to be next to nothing or free, not now. The food in Las Vegas used to be dang near free, not now. Disneyworld/Disneyland used to be $35/day, etc. For the price one pays per person, there is no other venue that offers more, including an all inclusive resort. We've stayed at some all-inclusives, you're stuck, if you don't like it, there's no where to go. Each line has different "freebies", they all have "perks" for repeat customers, each has their own ambiance. As Ron White states: "If given lemons, make lemonade, and look for the guy whose life has given him Vodka".
I believe that Cruise Ship companies are just maximizing thier profits, also a supply and demand issue. They may feel that since there are litterally thousands and thousands more cruisers booking each day, they don't need to offer as much to entice bookings. I was on a cruise ship one year and it seemed everything was free, went on the same ship 2 years later and most of the freebies were taken away. I was dissapointed yes, but I distinctly remember seeing abuse, lots of pizza with one bite taken out of it and left there. Royal Caribbean used to have Johnny Rockets free but not now. You used to go in there and see all this wasted food on the unbussed tables. The kids would go in there and order too much.
I'd like to see free drinks again. Let the booze flow like water! Guess someone was abusing them... (burp) Excuse me!
Out of curiousity, I looked at some of the brochures from our early cruises. (Yes, I save this stuff....) A Celebrity Cruises cataglogue from 1995 clearly states that no alcoholic beverages may be brought on board. So, this is nothing new.