Class Warfare on the High Seas

Where to begin?

Cruise Critic asked yesterday on their Facebook page for opinions about the “ship within a ship” concept, such as The Haven by Norwegian. This is a private area of the ship with suites, a private restaurant, and higher service levels. It is more expensive than the rest of the ship, so it is more exclusive. I expected a few people who have stayed there to say, “It’s nice”,  a few to say, “Don’t care, can’t afford it”,  and all the Carnival fanboys to say, “Norwegian sucks. I would never travel with them.”

That wasn’t the case.

Apparently, a lot of people are really, really upset that there are suites on a ship. There were howls of protest, and calls of class warfare and elitism. Seriously?

I’m still trying to wrap my head around “It’s not fair.” I’ve flown over a million miles in First, Business and coach, and I’ve never sat in coach, looked at the front of the plane and thought, “The fact that First Class exists isn’t fair.”

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I stayed in the Haven on the Norwegian Breakaway last year. It was really nice. I liked having a butler, even though I really don’t have any idea what he can do for me. The concierge was great for getting seats for the shows and solving problems. The private restaurant makes it easy to get breakfast in the mornings. It’s pricey, but we got a last-minute upgrade offer on our Transatlantic cruise, and I figured since it was all sea days, that would be a good time to have some extra services. So, we spent the extra money.

We’re in the Haven this year on our Transatlantic sailing, as well – mainly because my Mom is going with us, so we needed a cabin that holds three people. We thought about just getting two cabins, but it was more cost-effective to just get one large suite with two bedrooms than two balconies next to each other.

According to some people, if we’re in the Haven, we shouldn’t be on a Norwegian ship at all, we should be on a luxury cruise line. Wow.

I’m going to tell my butler I expect him to check the door to the Haven every day for people with pitchforks and torches.

This has nothing to do with class. It has to do with the personal allocation of money.

People today associate money with class (the upper classes have money and the lower classes don’t – and it’s not fair), and the two do not necessarily go together in all cases. There are people who have money and will only sail in an inside cabin, because it’s the cheapest way to go and then they can take more trips. (I don’t have the time to take a lot of trips, so I tend to spend more on the ones I take.) If you go to South Dallas, there are people who live in shacks that could probably be condemned and there is an Escalade parked out front. Some people like driving expensive Cadillacs. It’s their prerogative. It has nothing to do with class. It has to do with how people decide to allocate their money, and what is important to them. Cars are more important than housing to some people.

I am going to spend more on my cruise than some of the other people on the ship. It’s my prerogative. It has nothing to do with my social status. I am not going to look down on the others on the ship and think, “I’m better than you.” I may think, “Wow, I know how to dress better than you”, but that’s a different discussion altogether.

I might be able to afford a luxury cruise line (where some of the complainers think I belong), but I choose not to do so – because it costs more than I’m willing to pay. It’s my prerogative.

I don’t understand people who think just because they can’t afford something, it shouldn’t be allowed. These people are pissed about suites on ships, and First Class on airlines. If you don’t want to spend the money, you don’t have to spend it. If you’re in an inside cabin or a balcony or a suite, the ship is going to the same places. You still get room and board included in your fare. You still get free entertainment. What is the issue?

If you persist in feeling bad about yourself, because you’re not in some exclusive area of the ship (or the plane, or the train), that’s between you and your shrink. It’s not my fault. You can’t deny people services they are willing to pay extra to receive just because you can’t (or won’t) pay the same amount.

As far as I know, virtually all cruise ships have different types of cabins at different price rates. Should ships be built with only one type of cabin so nobody feels bad? Suck it up, Buttercup. This isn’t fourth grade soccer where everyone gets a trophy. This is real life. In real life, companies cater to different people by having different price points.

An interesting question – how many of those complainers would turn down a free upgrade to a suite, because, after all, the suites should be eliminated? 

If you are going to complain that people in the suites are trying to get away from the riff-raff, you are probably admitting you think that you are the riff-raff. That is just sad. Really, you should have a higher opinion of yourself. Even if you can’t afford to stay in the Haven.