Bulletin Board: ‘If You Can’t Have Fun on a Disney Cruise …’

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Some readers dinged me for not doing enough advance research: “Looks like he would of had a better time if he’d done his homework before hand. Some very bad planning on his trip,” wrote MM on Twitter. ” And a reader, Tarin Olding, asked: “U don’t do any research on the destination/industry before u experience it write critically about something u put no effort into? Entire online cornucopia of boards, FB groups (including cruise specific ones), websites, podcasts blogs to help you!”

Guilty as charged. But I will add that it was an intentional decision: I wanted to go into the trip as a total novice, to learn things the hard way. (For one thing, I figured it would make for a more entertaining story.) There are definitely ways to game the Disney cruise system — and we should probably do a follow-up article on that.

Still others felt the piece stank of snobbery: “Just curious, but did you have to pay extra on your trip to learn to look down your nose at people with differing tastes or did that come free?” wrote Suzanne Claire of Pennsylvania. “You seem to think you’re too sophisticated for the Disney cruise,” wrote Nate Sanchez on Twitter. “You criticize the food, the help, the fanfare.” (For the record, I specifically noted how great the crew was — friendly, helpful and genuinely enthusiastic.)

I can certainly be a travel snob, though I also made a point of noting how many people love these cruises — there were plenty of repeat customers on ours (members of the Castaway Club, in Disney parlance). I just won’t be one of them — though my daughter has other ideas.

The article also started a discussion about the place that cruises have in the travel landscape. “Sorry to be a downer, but I found this article disturbing and depressing,” wrote Doug Hill of Philadelphia. “It confirms that the cruise experience is all about consuming, while the ocean you’re cruising on and the islands you visit are all in the process of being destroyed by consumerism.”

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A number of other readers suggested visiting national parks as a more substantial and responsible alternative. (I’m inclined to agree, though of course the two aren’t mutually exclusive.)

Finally, there were those who simply thought the problem lay with the writer. “If you can’t have fun on a Disney cruise, that’s your own damn fault,” wrote Kyle Baker on Twitter. At least in my case, that is very possibly true, Mr. Baker.

But the most eye-opening and inspiring comment came on Twitter, from d_twit:

Whatever experience I had, I hope d_twit’s daughter goes on many cruises to come — and I would love to read her review.

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