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Cruising and Ethics

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, clo said:

Well, that's fine, of course.  But do YOU do things to try and make a difference?

 

A difference at what?  Someone's cause of the day?  

Anyway, with truly due respect, it is neither your nor anybody else's business what I do or don't do.  I'm a big believer in Matthew 6:1.

Edited by Toofarfromthesea

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You buy a trinket souvenir from a kid in the market thinking you are supporting her family and the local economy when you could actually be contributing to her being pulled out of school because like you other tourists can’t resist that cute little face. In Tanzania they had campaign urging tourists to not be overly generous in tips to safari guides as it has tempted teenagers to drop out of school in hope they can be that lucky.


Doing good while travelling isn’t always straight forward. If you really want to make a better impact as a tourist the best thing is to do is some research first. Before any trip I always look up what are the community concerns in terms of impact of tourism to the place I am visiting so I can see if I can make more informed choices that hopefully make me a better tourist. Like in Sicily they’d prefer it if you shopped at addiopizzo businesses, in Venice they would prefer it if you bought one authentic mask rather than ten cheap knock offs and in French Polynesia they’d prefer it if tourists choose local pensions over resorts. Sure it isn’t going to fix all the problems and there are always going to be things we can’t control as tourists but I think it is still worth looking at how we impact a destination and if there are better ways to do things🤗.

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On 7/27/2019 at 3:17 AM, DarrenM said:

My biggest concern with cruise ships is the welfare of those working for us to make a cruise magnificient.

 

I really feel for the waiters and the cleaning staff. Their lives are incredibly hard, and I find myself feeling sorry for them, and embarrassed that they are there to serve me. Nobody serves me when at home, not with the constraints there is on their lives.

 

I know there isnt an answer to this, but I have the utmost respect for these people, as its just by pure luck that I turned a different corner at soem point in my life, otherwise I could have been living like that. I didnt do well at school, only attended college part time, and didnt go to University.

 

I consider myself fortunate.

As a professional mariner, I find this attitude of "feeling sorry" for the crew, and feeling that some "destiny" forced them to "turn a corner" in their lives that "forced" them into serving on a cruise ship to be demeaning to the same people you claim to worry about their welfare.  To say that some "divine providence" "saved" you from being in the same "slavery" as the crew, is downright disgusting.

 

Going to sea is a different lifestyle, whether on a cruise ship or a cargo ship, and it is very difficult to compare with land based employment or lifestyles.  Crewmembers choose to go to sea because the benefits outweigh the hardships, and those who don't, leave the industry very quickly.  Everyone on a ship works the same, there are no days off, or weekends, but you are compensated for your time, and while it may not be at a level that would attract a lot of people in your country, or mine, it does attract a lot of people in the countries where the crew come from, as it is a very decent salary, typically middle class.

 

I made a decision 48 years ago to pursue a career at sea, and it has provided my family with a good life, even though it came at the cost of being separated for long periods, and missing family milestones, and affecting my relationship with my sons, which has only recently been repaired as they gain working experience and understand that the sacrifices I made to our family life gave them the good life they had growing up.

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8 hours ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

To be fair to voluntourism there are good ones that that are focused on progressing communities not just keeping them dependant on charity. The thing is like everything you have to your research so you are making the best choices.

That makes a lot of sense.

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On 7/27/2019 at 12:17 AM, DarrenM said:

My biggest concern with cruise ships is the welfare of those working for us to make a cruise magnificient.

 

I really feel for the waiters and the cleaning staff. Their lives are incredibly hard, and I find myself feeling sorry for them, and embarrassed that they are there to serve me. Nobody serves me when at home, not with the constraints there is on their lives.

 

Just noticed this one from yesterday. Comments like this again highlight a complete lack of knowledge regarding the highly regulated life of the modern crew member. Reading this you would almost think cruise ship hiring practices are akin to the days of the Royal Navy's "Press Gangs".

 

Similar to the Chief, with over 40 years at sea, my comments are based on personal experience and not pre-conceived ideas based on what the media want me to believe. Is embarking on a life at sea difficult, most definitely yes, but in this modern age, if you want to progress in life, so is life ashore. At sea, the challenges may be different, but they also have numerous benefits not readily available to those working ashore. Based in UK, you have NHS coverage, but very few have dental coverage; however, these poor crew members you feel sorry for, receive better medical/dental care when working. How about daily commute - many ashore commute many hours per day, whereas my last ship the commute was a mere 5 seconds. 

 

If the welfare is so poor, why do a huge percentage of crew members return for multiple contracts?? They may work long hours, but compared to their home countries they are very well paid, their accommodation is vastly superior to that available at home, they get 3-square meals per day, minimal daily commute to/from work and free medical & dental coverage.

 

Most crew members, regardless of rank or rating, have a strong work ethic and a huge desire to succeed and as a result we often enjoy comfortable lifestyles, in which ever country we reside. Regardless of whether the crew reside in westernised or developing countries, they experience a standard of living much higher than their shore-based peers.

 

The crew don't require your pity, as the greatest majority are very happy aboard the ship, or else they wouldn't return.

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Several years ago we spent some time speaking with an expat who had a tourist operation in the Caribbean.  He filled us in on the extent to which the cruise companies ensure that every dollar possible sails away with them when they leave port.  The cruise lines go to extraordinary effort to ensure that there are as few independent operators as possible and to beat down the operators that do subK  with them.     Not to mention the cruise lines have get rebates from some island Governments on port taxes paid by cruisers and charged by the cruise lines.  Is it ethical for a cruise line to charge me a $50. port tax knowing that $40. will be rebated back to the cruise line simply for guaranteeing a certain amount of visitors to the island? 

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I do make some ethical decisions when I travel.  I try to leave as small a footprint as I can.  No single-use bottles (unless it is an area where the local water supply is not recommended), I bring my cloth shopping bags to avoid plastic bags.  I either walk or use public transportation - I don't use private excursions (unless it is the only possibility in a location) with just add more cars and vans to the crowded streets.  I don't buy "made in China/Vietnam/etc" stuff.  In Florence, I shop very carefully as much of the leather goods are "made in Italy" in sweatshops by Asian laborers in a town in Italy (look it up).   I look at how many ships will be in a port at a time and try to choose itineraries which will disgorge massive quantities on a port.  

My hotel and the resorts surrounding it all hire seasonal labor.  They are either Jamaican, Filipino, or Eastern European (Montenegro and Slovakia this year).  The big majority of them circle between winter resorts then summer resorts.  We have one very nice Jamaican man, 72 years old (!) who spends Winter as a housekeeper/houseman at our hotel and the Summer as a housekeeper/houseman at a resort on Nantucket.   Any resort you go to will have the same thing - it's not just cruise ships anymore.  One of my housemen is a 20-something kid whose father is a steward on an RCI ship.  The kid makes more than dad for the same job.  We have bellmen from the Philippines - they send their money home and fly home every few years.   

I tend to gravitate to the staff and can relate to them because I know what they are doing because of my interactions with my foreign staff.  I know they are doing a job and I will thank them and be gracious to them - I don't expect anything and I don't complain - everyone can have a rough day.  

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Posted (edited)

I don't think the issues the OP posted are unique to just cruise travel, but rather travel to most popular tourist destinations.

Edited by marco

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18 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

A difference at what?  Someone's cause of the day?  

Anyway, with truly due respect, it is neither your nor anybody else's business what I do or don't do.  I'm a big believer in Matthew 6:1.

Never asked WHAT.  And I'm a big believer in all the untruths in the Bible.  Hey, you brought it up, right?

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15 hours ago, ilikeanswers said:

Doing good while travelling isn’t always straight forward.

Profoundly good IMO.  Thank you.

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8 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

The crew don't require your pity, as the greatest majority are very happy aboard the ship, or else they wouldn't return.

And, as I understand it, many of them are sending money home.

 

Also I find the term "serving" off-putting.  Think of all the things that you pay people to do for you.  I don't consider them "serving" me.  

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8 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

The crew don't require your pity, as the greatest majority are very happy aboard the ship, or else they wouldn't return.

And, as I understand it, many of them are sending money home.

 

Also I find the term "serving" off-putting.  Think of all the things that you pay people to do for you.  I don't consider them "serving" me.  

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6 hours ago, slidergirl said:

I do make some ethical decisions when I travel.

I wish everyone would try just a tiny bit.

 

Great post.  I so appreciate it.

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1 hour ago, clo said:

Never asked WHAT.  And I'm a big believer in all the untruths in the Bible.  Hey, you brought it up, right?

Well, to be fair, I looked up the verse in question they referenced (how many of us know so many off the bat?), and it's about "not making a show of your religion (or righteousness) before others." So I'd say that's one of the good ones.

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On 7/27/2019 at 11:27 PM, babs135 said:

When we sailed into Burnie in Tasmania the local Mayor and entourage was waiting to greet us and handed out pins to those passengers who got off the ship.  Speaking to a local store owner he said the town was very worried as to what would happen with the mega ships as the port was not big enough for them to berth.  He went on to say that they depended upon cruise passengers to keep the tills singing.

 

I'm happy to report that we obliged him as DH bought several shirts from the shop.

Yep Mayor has been greeting ships in Burnie for as long as I’ve been cruising. No idea just how many mayors I’ve seen come and go, but they’re always there to greet me.

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4 hours ago, clo said:

And I'm a big believer in all the untruths in the Bible.  Hey, you brought it up, right?

 

Gosh, I do not understand the need to be so divisive.  

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Posted (edited)
On 7/27/2019 at 10:15 AM, Treatsea said:

I love to travel, as we all do, and recently I've been thinking much about travel ethics. Because I love to cruise that has compelled me to think about ethics of cruising. Recently, cruises have been getting a bad rap, with some suggesting you should never go on one. They cite things such as, worker conditions, environmental impact and impact on the destination ports.

 

I looked on here and was surprised that Cruise Critic didn't have an article on cruising and ethics. What is your take on the ethics of cruising?

Very interesting questions.

You are from the USA, so you are most likely very aware of the ethical conditions there.

 

Let's talk about worker conditions.

My Asian staff earn more on my ship than a medical doctor or university professor earns in their home countries.

How is that minimum wage thing working out for you in the USA? 

 

All my staff have full medical and dental coverage - 100% employer paid.

How is that Obamacare / Trump Care thing working out for you in the USA?

 

All my staff receive free flights to and from the ship.

All my staff receive free visas, training, housing, meals, uniforms, and laundry.

Sounds a bit like that terrible "Socialism" that your fellow countrymen are so worried about.

It works quite well on cruise ships.

 

On my ship, we have a large number of employees who have been with the company over 40 years. Can you say the same for your company?

 

Destination Ports

When my ship visits ports in many parts of the world, I (Hotel Manager) am visited by local Mayors, Governors - occasionally even Heads of State. Why? They want advice on how to convince more cruise lines to visit their country. Maybe they know something you do not?

 

Environmental Impact

Yes, unfortunately nearly everything we like to do has an environmental impact.

Did you know that the negative environmental impact of the American cows raised for your McDonalds hamburgers is greater than all the cruise ships on earth?

Did you know that Americans last year spent more money for bottled water than they did for gasoline? Those billions of plastic bottles will be with us for centuries.

Did you know that the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, where America did much of its Atomic Testing, are far more radioactive than anyplace on earth - including Chernobyl? The natives who were illegally evicted from those islands will not be able to return for several more centuries.

 

I seem to remember an old saying about people throwing stones.........................

Edited by BruceMuzz

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BruceMuzz said:

Destination Ports

When my ship visits ports in many parts of the world, I (Hotel Manager) am visited by local Mayors, Governors - occasionally even Heads of State. Why? They want advice on how to convince more cruise lines to visit their country. Maybe they know something you do not?

 

Your response is a little harsh on Americans🙁. Why single out Americans anyway? So on another point I was thinking what heads of governments want don't always represent what the constituents want. I personally would not use their enthusiasm as a gauge of whether cruises are good or bad for a region. Venice is a prime expample of this. It is pretty clear the locals want restrictions on tourist numbers but the mayor and heads of the Veneto region seem intent on increasing numbers.

Edited by ilikeanswers

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55 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

Your response is a little harsh on Americans🙁. Why single out Americans anyway? So on another point I was thinking what heads of governments want don't always represent what the constituents want. I personally would not use their enthusiasm as a gauge of whether cruises are good or bad for a region. Venice is a prime expample of this. It is pretty clear the locals want restrictions on tourist numbers but the mayor and heads of the Veneto region seem intent on increasing numbers.

The OP is from America, questioning the ethics of cruise companies.

I am from a cruise company, comparing the ethics of the poster’s country.

It is not my business to question what business is good for another country.

It is THEIR business. 

Australians seem to have very strong opinions about certain nationalities coming to live in Australia. Should that be my business? Definitely not.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Donald said:

The OP is from America, questioning the ethics of cruise companies.

I am from a cruise company, comparing the ethics of the poster’s country.

It is not my business to question what business is good for another country.

It is THEIR business. 

Australians seem to have very strong opinions about certain nationalities coming to live in Australia. Should that be my business? Definitely not.

 

The OP might be from America but I think the question is of a universal nature so I don't see what someones nationality has to do with the discussion🤔. As for the views of Australians I would be hesistant to judge 20 million people's opinions based of the 0.01% that end up in the media. Lets face it if you are not extreme you are too boring for TV😂.

Edited by ilikeanswers

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The poster who made comparisons between the cruise industry and American social policies/political policies was making many assumptions about me. There seems to be this idea that as Americans, we're all supportive or complacent about the countrywide policies when it's simply not true. I do not consider myself responsible or complicit about the fact that there is a low minimum wage, and I as individual can't do much to change that. It was interesting, for example, that this poster mentioned the company I work at, as there is no such thing - I don't work for any company.

 

When I originally opened this topic, the objective was to get discussion going about cruising ethics (and it has), since I'd encountered it in various travel circles. I wanted to know what frequent cruisers thought about the ethics of cruising to try to get several perspectives. I was/am just trying to play devil's advocate.

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We had a couple of lengthy discussions with one of waiters on NCL Epic a few years ago.  We liked to get our breakfast food from the buffet and go down to the Italian Restaurant to eat it.  Very few cruisers knew of this hidden gem to eat breakfast at back then so the waiter generally took time to talk to us while we were in there as it was usually a slow time for him as it was his job to keep the are clean.  He was from India, was unmarried with family back in India that he sent money home to.  He was extremely happy with his job and the funds he sent home provided his parents with a car that only a couple of people had in his neighborhood.  He even had to hire a driver for them since no one knew how to drive.  He also paid for a lavish wedding for his sister.  He said in his neighborhood they were considered well off.  I commend all the workers who have the work ethic to work on these ships away from their homes and families for long periods of time.  It is a choice that they make but it is one that improves the lives for them and of their families.  I applaud anyone with that type of work ethic to better themselves. This worker was not looking for pity.  He was proud of what he has accomplished for his family.  As well he should be.  The only workers on the cruise ships I feel bad for are the ones who are treated poorly by the cruise passengers....just because their jobs are to serve the passengers does not make them your personal servants as some passengers like to think.  All workers should be treated with respect, kindness, and dignity.  I respect the cruise ship workers for the jobs they do for themselves and their families but I do not pity them for the decision they made to do so.  

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15 hours ago, clo said:

Never asked WHAT.  And I'm a big believer in all the untruths in the Bible.  Hey, you brought it up, right?

 

No, actually YOU brought it up by asking me the question.  And asking someone IF they do something is no different than asking what.  Does saying, 'of course I do wonderful things but I'm not going to say what' any different, under the untruths (?) of Matthew 6:1?  

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