Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Back to Real Life

We’re back from our cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy to Cozumel and back! Had a great time, but now are having to get used to making our own beds, cooking our own food, and running our own karaoke machine again. Bummer!

Everyone, staff or Rancher, has a special memory of this year’s trip—Kyle dedicating a song to Alaina on the karaoke stage and then sweetly singing it, or our three decidedly non-hirsute contenders in the Hairy Man Contest (who were the crowd faves anyway).

For me, same as last year and the year before that, I carry away the memory of the unfailing graciousness and helpfulness of the on-board staff and crew.

Yes, I know they’re chosen, hired, trained, and paid to be accommodating. But really, who in the hospitality business isn’t? I’m still impressed.

We’re a high-maintenance group overall, with picky eaters, endless financial matters to negotiate, lost key cards and other little setbacks. And we’re not big spenders. Cruise lines depend on on-board sales to make a profit, and would go broke in a flash if they relied on the likes of us to buy enough jewelry and drink enough liquor to keep the fleet afloat.

Yet we were (and always have been) genuinely and happily treated like royalty by everyone, from the bursar’s office staff to the cabin stewards.

I noticed an article titled “Treat Your Family Like a Customer” in a business magazine shortly before leaving on the cruise and immediately thought “not!” But now I wonder: What would happen if we treated not just family but everyone the way we were treated by the Carnival staff?

Would the world be a better place or a worse place?

If nothing else, I think it’s fair to say at least some of the crew we met on-board weren’t feeling quite up to par, or were preoccupied with some worry, or were just plumb mystified by some of the behavior they had to witness or deal with.

Most of them spend nine consecutive months a year away from their homes and families caring for strangers on a large floating hotel. A lot of people could work up a pretty good grudge over that, I imagine.

That’s why I insist on the “recommended” gratuity (at a minimum) due each Carnival employee be paid by each person representing Down Home Ranch.

Not only do they rely on it, they more than deserve it for showing the rest of us how to make the world a better place.

So congratulations, and thank you to Carnival Cruise Lines, and all who work aboard the good ship Ecstasy.

You made our dreams come true.


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