I'm back from the Caribbean, having survived the rough seas off Haiti aboard the Celebrity Millennium. I would have to say that the service on board was quite good, better than we have experienced on Celebrity's sister line, Royal Caribbean. However, some of the clientele seemed, well, naive about the ways of genteel society. Or even polite society. Or even civilization. This includes Americans (whether they spoke English, Spanish, or Yankee) and non-Americans alike. I have observed every instance of the bad behaviour that the rules below would attempt to cure. Celebrity did not seem interested in educating anyone, lest they lose a potential customer for an upcoming cruise. Therefore, I have purchased the overloaded boat above, renamed it the USS Dalai, the first of the Lama Cruise Line ships. The rules for the ship are as follows. Itinaries will be published shortly.
SHIPBOARD RULES FOR THE USS DALAI
- The overriding sentiment aboard this ship is that your rights end where those of others begin. We realize you paid an excessive amount of money to be on this lovely vessel, but that does not buy you the freedom to do whatever you please. The other two thousand passengers also paid their fee, and you do not have the right to interfere with their vacation experience.
- This ship operates on the concept of lines and waiting one's turn. Most of us learned this by age 5, but many seem to have forgotten how it works. We have enough provisions to keep all of you well-fed and properly entertained. It does you no good to push ahead of someone else.
- The ship represents a closed environment, and disease can spread rapidly. We give you the option to receive a full refund BEFORE the cruise begins if you become ill and do not wish to bring your pathogens aboard. As a minimal screening, we will take the temperature of all passengers at the pier before they board the ship with hospital-grade instruments, and there will be a limited physical examination. If you are found to have a febrile illnesses or other communicable disease, you will be offered a full refund if you agree not to board. If you insist on boarding, you will be issued a mask and gloves, and you will be quarantined in your stateroom until you are determined to be non-infectious. Violating quarantine will result in your expulsion from the ship at the next port and you will forfeit your entire fare.
- Similarly, a minimal level of cleanliness is necessary for the health of our passengers and crew, and it will be enforced. You MUST wash your hands after using the restroom. We find it rather distasteful that anyone would even consider returning to the dinner table with fecal material on their hands, but sadly some of our passengers don't seem troubled by this, forcing us to take draconian measures to ensure a modicum of cleanliness. Handwashing will be periodically monitored. Obviously, we cannot and will not check to see if you wash your hands in your own stateroom, but public restrooms will be subject to spot checks by security. A warning will be issued for the first offense, a citation for the second, and you will be expelled from the ship for a third offense, forfeiting your fare.
- Deck chairs are for everyone's use. Unfortunately, there are not enough chairs to accommodate everyone at the same time. Therefore, you will be allowed to occupy a chair for a maximum of two hours if others are waiting. You may reserve one (and only one) chair next to the one you occupy.
- The ship's elevators cannot simultaneously serve all passengers at the same time. We ask you to be patient, and not crowd the elevators any more than necessary. When the elevator stops, please allow people to exit before getting on, or step off the elevator if necessary to allow them to pass.
- We know you love your children, and think they can do no wrong. Please keep in mind that your children are YOUR responsibility, not that of the ship's personnel. We realize that children are not "little adults," but repeated bad behaviour, running, screaming, pushing in line, and so forth, especially in your presence, reflects badly on YOU. We have seen parents actually encourage such behaviour, and act proud of it, which goes completely against the mores of most civilizations. As per Rule 1 above, your rights, and those of your children, end where the rights of your fellow passengers begin. The most eggregious behaviour may result in your entire family being put off the ship at the next port, with forfeiture of your fare.
- Strollers and luggage carts need to be used with care and courtesy. Repeatedly butting them into other passengers, using them to block elevator doors, trying to roll them down stairs, etc., will result in their confiscation for the remainder of the voyage.
- We will do our utmost to provide the finest service on the seas. We are not perfect, and we may miss the mark here and there. We request that you not become hysterical when this occurs. We will provide grievance forms for these situations, and a partial refund will be issued if deemed appropriate by an unbiased third party arbitrator.
- Respect other cultures. If a shore excursion takes you to a church, for example, and signs clearly state that one must cover one's head, arms, or legs, and not take photos, please heed these requests. They are not in place to annoy you, but to maintain the sanctity of the place of worship.
- At our entertainment extravaganzas, the show is on the stage, not at your table. Please respect the others attending the show by keeping your voice down. Those who feel the need to shout over the music will be asked to leave the venue.
- Enjoy your cruise!