The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

The Cruise Rant

Since you asked, some of the reasons I hate cruises.

  • I’m not particularly prone to seasickness, but it does bother my sleep.
  • I hate the beach (mainly the ‘out in the sun’ part, due to childhood bad burns) and most cruises are intimately associated with beaches. (I’ve been on Alaskan Cruises, that solved that problem).
  • Assuming you don’t go with a group, cruises are likely to be intellectual wastelands. I can go to a library much cheaper.
  • Despite being one of the staunchest libertarian/capitalists I know, the blatant consumerism is almost enough to make me start reciting Mao, Stalin and Trotsky. I’m not fond of shopping, in general. Combined with
  • Mandatory tipping (not included in the upfront fees, but tacked onto your bill, and amounting to an additional %10, above the automatic 15% added to purchases) also annoys me. As it happens, I thought the amounts for our waiters and stewards were about right.
  • 8 hours in a port is not enough to do anything but the most touristy of stuff. I could see spending a week in the Caymans, even though I hate the beach (since I could snorkel and do other things).

The following may just be particular to Carnival Cruises, who (I am told) are sub-par.

  • The food was OK in general, but could in no way be described as good. A few items were quite good (the Lobster Bisque stood out). They also had the worst cheesecake I’ve ever had. (I thought Cheesecake was foolproof, and could never be worse that OK. I was proven wrong). Bad fudge. Overcooked Salmon (according to my wife), terrible chicken nuggets (according to the kids).
  • Just to re-iterate … I ate deserts liberally (not at every meal, but every day) and nobody will describe me as thin. I also ate breakfasts (which I normally skip). I lost a pound last week, despite only spending 30 minutes in the gym. (The rocking did bother me on the machines, and I didn’t like the idea of messing with enough free weight to be useful).
  • The piped in music during dinner would repeat over the course of a meal. And it consisted entirely of Andrew Lloyd Weber and the Beatles, as interpreted by Zamfir.
  • The house bands were also not allowed to adjust their playlist from night to night. (They played well enough, so I assume they know more songs). If you had offered the poker table an option to shut the band up for $500/night, I suspect it would have been bought.
  • While I like poker, it was the only thing I could find to do, and I don’t like it to the tune of 3 hours a day (about what I averaged). I was bored with it by the last day or two. I would have been bored sooner, but the people were pretty amusing.
  • I hadn’t realized until today just how badly the smoking affected me (and the kids, too). It’s omnipresent.
  • Embarkation took 1.5 hours. They had a single metal detector/X ray machine. (This was Carnival, not the goverment). Debarkation, which required almost nothing from Carnival and instead went through the notoriously efficient US Government (Border Security, Customs, etc) took 30 minutes.

In the interests of fairness, what I liked:

  • The kids activities were good (judging from the kids reaction) and had no extra costs for the most part (beyond late night babysitting fees).
  • Offering unlimited sodas for $40 to a programmer is a deal that probably cost them money.
  • The stewards folded up towel animals and left them in the room to surprise the kids. If you delight my children, you’ve gone a long way towards placating me. (They sold a book on how to do it … it was overpriced, but we bought two. One to give to my brother for his kids). I especially liked the scorpion holding the TV remote.
  • The casino waitstaff were efficient and genuinely funny. They got tipped.


Written by taogaming

July 28, 2008 at 11:21 am

Posted in Non-Gaming, Rant

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2 Responses

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  1. The food thing: Most definitely a Carnival cruise issue. The food in every cruise I’ve been to has been exceptional – EXCEPT for Carnival where its barely passing.

    Additionally the bands in Carnival are also particularly bad. i don’t know where they get these people – but other cruise lines are much better at that.

    Unfortunately the uncontrolled commercialism is pretty much universal on the cruise lines – and REALLY REALLY annoying. I very much avoid turning on the TV because I don’t want to hear the cruise line ads every couple of minutes.


    July 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm

  2. I think I may have been on the same cruise you were on, and you are right the food was adequate but not great. In fact I probably saw you at the p-ker table since i spent a fair amount of time at the bl-ckj-ck table right next to it. I will say the best part of the cruise was the golf lesson I received. Caymans were the best. You can keep Jamaica and Cozumel.


    August 7, 2008 at 8:14 pm

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