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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2008, 12:30 PM
 
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Dave and some others,
I have long contributed to these boards (primarily on the European board) and have a little bit of cruise experience (about 2 years at sea on 11 cruise lines and more than 50 ships). A recent negative post re RCI, was quickly met with "flaming," and within a few days was quickly removed by Dave. I wonder if this means that the board has an attitude of only "Cheerleaders" need apply. I say this as one who has very seldom published negative reviews (and we are talking thousands of posts on several sites), but I have also seen enough degradation in the quality of RCI (and some other cruise lines) that I can see a reason for some whining. Some of these folks are paying for the "trip of a lifetime" and they have expectations (certainly enhanced by marketing) that things will go well on a ship. Actually, instead of bashing the messenger, the critics of the messenger (lets call them cheerleaders) need to be a little more empathetic.

I do want to add one more point. Several years ago, a group of us (yes, I was the instigator) became very critical of RCCL (this was on another board long befroe this place even existed) because of their policy of having staff harass passengers for good ratings on their evaluation forms. This "trashing" of RCCL ultimately became a large thread with hundreds of negative comments (some of them mine). It led to some coorrespondance between myself and the (than) Vice President of Marketing of RCCL, who happened to read the thread (in those days on that other board you could get someones e-mail addy). The result was that RCCL held a meeting with all of their dining room managers, and put an end to the practice (we heard about the meeting from a dining room manager who happened to be a friend). The dining room manager told us that when they were called to Miami for a meeting, the VP camee into the room with a handfull of printouts from the internet showing all the complaints. RCCL had been monitoring that particular BB, and they reacted in a positive way to remedy an issue.

At the time I was corresponding with the RCCL VP, I mentioned to him that when I want to read positive things I can buy Cruise Travel Magazine, Porthole, or other publications that provide postive marketing rather than truth. On the internet, its interesting to read all the points of view.

As an aside, we were also once in a cabin that was flooded because the ships' plumber made a big mistake, so I am sympathetic to the sad tale.

Hank
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2008, 01:16 PM
LisaP's Avatar
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Hi Hank. Please be assured that the Staff welcomes and encourages all points of view. We intervene only on rare circumstances, and these decisions are not made unilaterally. Our job is to ensure that the Terms of Service set forth by the Owner are followed. What often happens is that threads that begin with a negative tone, particularly from a first-timer who floods the Internet with the same rant, often disintegrate into disruptive postings that add no value to the discussion. We rarely see this happen with positive posts, which is why there might appear to be a disparity.

This is exactly what happened in the thread you reference. The only change we made to it was to remove employee names -- we don't want a lawsuit, after all. We decided to keep the thread open, but once the conversation started getting out of hand, we had no choice but to close it to new responses. The thread was not deleted -- it is still there for anyone who wants to see it.

There is also a significant difference between negative comments that offer constructive criticism and negative comments that are simply a rant about one aspect of a cruise. I agree that the former is of value and can help bring about policy changes on the cruise lines, which you have witnessed.

Hope that answers your questions and allays your concerns. The Staff can also be reached at any time via Personal Message, or by hitting the Alert button (the triangle with the exclamation point) that appears on the bottom right of every post.

Happy cruising,
LisaP
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2008, 01:19 PM
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Hank,

I'm sorry you think this is what is happening, but it simply isn't so. I closed the subject thread because it was not going to go anywhere and therefore had already run it's course. When a new poster comes here and their entire message deals just with problems, or a lengthy narrative about one problem, the thread simply isn't going to do anything but cause people to choose sides and then the fight is on. You should note that as I said in that thread, it isn't exclusive to RCI. We've done the same for most other cruise lines. You should also note that new posts that don't dwell on the negatives (in other words, are not pure rants), are not closed.

I suppose we could all wring our hands and commiserate every time someone drops by to unload their rant, but what purpose does it serve? You should note that the OP for that thread did a dive-bombing run on several forums with the same rant. Looking around briefly, it seems those other forums deleted the messages. At least we left them in the open, albeit closed.

None of us here in the staff are in the hip pockets of any cruise line. However we no doubt do have regular members who are. Some are vocal, some just lurk.

It may interest you to know that none of us on the staff receive any compensation. We all do this as volunteers. We do not receive marching orders from the forum owner. In fact it has been over a month since I last heard anything from the Internet Brands folks.

If you or anyone else has a problem with my administration of this forum, please feel free to contact Internet Brands. I'm sure they'll refund your subscription fee.
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Old 07-04-2008, 01:48 PM
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Hi Hank,
I sure am sorry to hear you feel that way about us. I try to be very fair and empathetic. I'm human and I guess I do make mistakes, but try my best to allow all points of view. As Lisa and Dave stated, the thread was not going anywhere, so we decided to close it. We've closed other threads that have either violated the TOS or plain taken a nose-dive in the wrong direction. We value your input and knowledge. Sorry we upset you, but I can guarantee you the cruise lines don't give me any perks for helping on this site, and neither does IB who owns this site.
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2008, 02:01 PM
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Just for the record, I find this board quite fair and open to posts critical of issues with the various cruiselines. I've made a few of those posts that could be viewed as critical of their personell at Corporate Office and Customer Service handling of issues many times. The staff of cruise-chat has never once notified me publicly or privately to knock it off or be less direct in such criticisms. I have never felt they have supported the "Cheerleaders" or diminished the detractors ability to voice their opinion. I have seen a little flaming on rare occasion, I'm probably guity of it on certain topics that are hot buttons as Sodey can attest. None of my hot buttons by the way are directed at defending any cruiseline for being negligent. Some post open themselves up to more critical replies by either tone or the sweeping nature of most rants. "Worst service ever", "Never cruise this line again", " is horrible". Then the thread has an endless litany of complaints, demands and advice that nobody should ever consider booking a cruise with .

Bottom line, I support and appreciate the staff and vast majority of the members of this site. I have visited many, posted on a few and like this site better than any other I've found. The reason is simple for me. I find more credible information, a more civil tone and a group of fine people able and willing to help others. Hank, you're among those helpful people that gives very good advice and makes me love this site.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 07-04-2008, 10:11 PM
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Hank,
Thanks for your constructive criticism. I appreciate you being up-front with your concerns about how we moderate Cruise-Chat. All I can say is that we try our best. After reading all the replies to your post, I feel there's nothing I could add.

Sorry you didn't like the fact that I didn't show any empathy; if I felt sorry for the person, I would have shown some. Don't expect perfection from me as a moderator any time soon—I'm still working on another list of my imperfections.

One of the others
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2008, 07:30 AM
 
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You da man, Hank. Next to you I am just another euro-hack. Your travel wisdom is coveted by many and I applaud your posts as some of the most educated and insightful that this board has to offer. Some of my posts have been censored and abridged.... (most of them deservedly) I consider it a privilege when one of the moderators takes enough time to read and edit one of my posts. If they edit one of your posts, so what? You still have an appreciative audience that devours all of your posts as true nuggets of wisdom.
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2008, 02:46 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Wow! I sure did not expect the entire staff to weigh-in on this subject. By the way, Hi DrL and glad to see you are back and active. So, why did little ole Hank, who is always a good boy, take a shot at the mods over removing the subject post? I do believe most of the mods know its not my style to whine. But, in this case, I found that post quite interesting and informative...although some of the responses did get a little out of hand. But, we personally have seen bad service on RCI in situations pretty similar to what was posted. In fact, of all the major cruise lines (and we do cruise on just about all the major cruise lines) we think that RCI has shown the most degradation in service, food quality, staffing levels, etc. Now, it really pains me to say this negative stuff about RCI, because it has traditionally been one of our favorite cruise lines (we are Diamond with them) and we still look for every opportunity to get on their ships (perhaps we are addicted to the booze in the Concierge Lounge). But, RCI cannot expect to keep cutting-back on many things (including service) and not expect some of their long-time fans to take notice. I could do a lengthy rant about the problems we see on RCI, but the list would be too darn long and I honestly do not want to be that negative. But the "day of reckoning" is quickly coming for the cruise industry. High fuel prices, coupled with a deteriorating economy, amid industry expansion, is going to quickly have a major impact on all the cruise lines. This is not the time to keep cutting-back on service, food, entertainment, etc. Short term the cost cutting will help the bottom line, but very quickly they are going to find that bookings start to suffer as their frequent cruisers gravitate to lines that provide a better bang for the buck. Ok. end of my editorial comment.

Hank
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2008, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Wow! I sure did not expect the entire staff to weigh-in on this subject.
We haven't. But I, for one, completely agree and support the comments the other staffers have made.

Sandy
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2008, 03:33 PM
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Hank,

FWIW, I have noticed cost cutting on RCI as well as Carnival. These are the only two brands I've cruised with since 2002 so I don't know about the others. I'll even say RCI has done a bit more than Carnival, and I had some examples on our recent cruise aboard Rhapsody. The recycling of leftover food, while understandable and certainly not a bad idea, took a bad turn on a few occasions in the Windjammer. My favorite example was the lunchtime "chorizo and pasta salad". In my book, chorizo is a spicy spanish sausage. What they did on the Rhapsody was take the unserved breakfast sausage links (definitely not chorizo) and cut it up and mix it with elbow macaroni and not much else.

There were other examples of food being called something other than what it was, but none of it has reached my level of intolerance yet. In fact I am striving to make diamond level in August with a 3-night run on Sovereign.

Using the drive-by poster template, I would have come into the forum and, based solely on the sausage, proclaimed all the food lousy on RCI and warning everyone to never cruise with RCI or Celebrity - just because RCI owns Celebrity.

I suppose it appears we are being sensitive to criticism, but we don't take it lightly when we close threads. It often involves a discussion on our private staff area. It is also a good thing to practice the old management rule of "praise in public, criticize in private". Hence our encouraging members who have a complaint to use the Private Message feature of the forum. I'll admit I fail to do so from time-to-time.
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