Friday, November 13, 2009

Wine Jail and Other Silliness

12 November 2009

Some cruise lines have adopted “penny wise and pound foolish” policies when it comes to carrying onboard your own personal wine for use in your own stateroom. On a recent Royal Caribbean cruise we were asked to come and pick up one of our suitcases from security because it contained contraband material. As far as I could tell, the only contraband we had was a bottle of alcohol free wine I purchased for my wife to take on our cruise.

After arriving at a lower deck covered with dozens of bags, I was asked by ship security officers to open the bag. They pulled out the bottle and advised me that I would have to pay a charge to bring my wine onboard. It was then the dance began as I advised the security guy that it wasn’t wine, it was grape juice! He had to check with two other officials before they found a bar expert who confirmed it was a bottle of grape juice. With a minimal “sorry,” the security guard allowed both my bag and the grape juice to be claimed by me without any charges.

Enlightened cruise lines like Holland America Line allow passenger to bring a “reasonable” amount of wine onboard for stateroom use. Because the cruise lines are so driven by onboard revenue, the bean counters have taken over parts of customer service. Those travelers who bring a bottle of personal wine onboard are still most likely to buy wine and other drinks from the ship. It’s time for the shortsighted cruise lines to wise up and change their silly policies, or customer will move to more enlightened brands—at least that’s my opinion.

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