Give Thanks, Not Attitude

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a post about why it’s better to live happily.

Pardon the cliche, but there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wait for the storm to pass, all the while complaining about their circumstances, and there are those who have learned to dance in the rain. This was exactly the case a couple of weeks ago on a rainy Cozumel afternoon. I was heading to lunch with a group from the ship and we saw a group of 10 or so friends dancing in their bathing suits outside a bar in the rain. Jimmy and I took special notice of this groups attitude, and spoke about it in length that day. We concluded that everyone has a story of a sunny day on the beach in Mexico. But these guys have a much more unique story. This group, literally were able to dance in the rain.

Unfortunately whenever anything doesn’t go exactly as planned there will always be the type of people who try to complain their way to a freebie. Even with something as simple, and out of anyone’s control as rain, you hear people grumbling about why the captain was not being able to avoid the rain clouds, and that they should have their cruise refunded. I get it… Kinda. This is your vacation and you expected a weeks worth of sunny days, and margaritas on the beach. Still have your margarita, and still go to the beach. Let’s be honest, you were going to get wet anyway.

Last year, a few contracts, and ships ago, I was asked to speak with an unhappy guest about the musical offerings on board. This person claimed that they hadn’t seen a single live musician on the ship the whole cruise, other than the DJ which wasn’t their scene. I offered to this guest the other options which we had which included acoustic soloists, duos, piano bar players, caribbean soloists, Latin Trio’s, and my own personal six piece band. I explained that I had played each night of the cruise in the exact room we were speaking in. This guest went on to say they had spent hours in this room every night and had never seen a band play, and went on the accuse me of calling them a liar. They continued that earlier that year they had been on multiple different Carnival cruises, and each ship had 4 or 5 bands (not true) soloists, duos and trios playing around the clock (not true) and a classical group playing mornings at the coffee shop (not true) I offered to walk this guest through our daily entertainment schedule which is delivered to their room each morning to help them find musical offerings for that night, and where to look for the remainder of the cruise. This was met with  “There you go calling me a liar again” as they walked away from me. I later learned that this guest had had similar conversations with multiple managers of multiple areas claiming things between there not being enough swimming pools, to not having anywhere to eat… If you have ever taken a cruise, you’ll know there is nothing BUT places to eat. What this taught me was that there are certain people who don’t want to be helped, and are looking for reasons to complain, and they are complaining for one reason – to be comped.

On a different contract there was a situation where, unfortunately, a guest had a medical emergency, and later died. In an effort to get this guest the medical attention they needed and deserved, the ship had to turn around and return to the port of call we had just left a few hours prior, and in turn we missed one of our scheduled ports of call. As you can imagine, this is a necessary judgment call that had to be made, and most of the people understood completely. However, there was a small percentage of people asking for comps, refunds, and in one isolated case a guest who got aggressive, grabbing the collar of a friend of mine’s shirt, who worked in a guest relation position, and said “who cares about that guest, they’re already dead.” Then expected to be refunded for their vacation. All the while doing this in front of their young kids. I never want to come across that I have a leg up in something as difficult, and complicated as parenting, but come on, you need to think of the example you’re setting, and that your actions are being instilled in these young minds as correct ones. A life in the balance always takes precedent of a vacation destination. I don’t care how much you’re looking forward to snorkeling.

Getting back to my rain metaphor- a friend of mine that I met as a guest on a contract about a year ago and have since stayed in touch with, let’s call him… Theo, decided to cruise again with his friends and girlfriend a couple weeks ago. He told me prior to coming that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend in Cozumel. Obviously this is an exciting time in his and his bride to be’s life. However, Day of Cozumel, it was once again raining. Now, one thing that anyone who knows Theo can tell you, is that he would never let a little rain ruin his parade, and he didn’t on this day either. I wasn’t there at the moment he got down on one knee on the beautiful resort beach in Cozumel, and asked the love of his life to marry him, but I did get the story and get to see the pictures taken both during and after. She obviously said yes, and both the story and pictures were beautiful. Theo was able to dance in the rain.

I have always been more of a “Bees with honey, not vinegar” type of guy, but there are some people consistently trying the opposite. Whether you are dancing in the rain, making lemonade out of lemons, or whatever other cliche you can throw out, the point is that there is always a positive that you are able to turn out of a seemingly negative situation. Though, it’s up to you to put that spin on it. Find out your own way to dance in the rain.


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