Sometimes, no matter how much we try to help our clients, there are just some things that are completely out of our control.
I had finally convinced a long time friend that she needed to do a cruise. So she and a 30-year friend booked their first cruise with me to Alaska. It was a 10-day ‘end of the season’ cruise that was actually lower in price than some of the 7-day cruises – it was truly a good deal.
Through the 10-month course of servicing the booking, it became quite apparent that both of them had over-extended themselves. Even though they were getting a good deal, it was still more than either of them should have spent. Since she was a friend, I tried to get them to move to a lower category, but they wouldn’t hear of it – claustrophobia and needing the fresh air of the balcony were more important than actual costs.
Between their initial deposit and their sail date, I don’t think a week went by that one of them didn’t email me with some kind of question about something. They were totally obsessing about this cruise – I was afraid that no matter how good the cruise actually was (or wasn’t), that they were setting their expectations too high! They assured me this wouldn’t happen.
As we neared their departure date, strategies for shore excursions at each port were discussed, and whether it was best to book them with the cruise line or independently – no rock was left unturned. Excitement mounted as the countdown continued – they were both so excited and going to have the best time ever!
The day before she flew out, I sent her a ‘Bon Voyage’ email making sure there were no last minute questions. Nope – everything was under control. Even got a text once they were onboard talking about the excitement and energy of everyone on the pool deck as they were getting ready to set sail – it was game time! Bon Voyage! Ah – now I can sit back and relax and let the cruise line take over.
Two days later, their first day in port, I got a text from her, “Just between you me and the icebergs, I sure picked the wrong traveling companion…” Wow! Apparently even though they had been friends for 30+ years, they didn’t really ‘know’ each other anymore, at least not enough to know that their traveling styles were different. My heart sank. No amount of preparation or pre-planning could have seen this one coming.
Each day I got a text updating me with what she was doing and the wonderful people she was meeting without her roommate. At least she had an out-going personality and was able to make new friends easily.
Now that they are back, she told me that she wasn’t impressed by the overall cruise at all. This confirmed my earlier fear that their obsessing about the cruise before departure was setting them up for a disappointment. I’d bet money that if she had had a different, more compatible roommate, she would have disembarked with a completely different opinion about cruising.
It’s just sad to think that with all of the planning, emails back and forth and the money that was spent on this cruise, that something as simple as having a roommate with complimentary traveling styles was not factored into the equation.
Susan “Smitty” Price, ACC, is a cruise coordinator with Priceless Cruising, a home-based operation out of San Luis Obispo, Calif., that specializes in river and ocean cruises. She is an active member of the SLO Chamber of Commerce, SLO Women’s Network, two quilt guilds and the Alzheimer’s Association. Contact Smitty through PricelessCruising.com, Facebook, LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org.