Monday, May 7, 2012

Group Trips: Dealing with Control Freaks

I must admit, I freaked out a little when I checked my page stats and realized that my Aggravation of Planning Group Trips post was the most-read and that the majority of viewers found it through Facebook.  Oh, goodness - are people reading about themselves?  Will they get upset?

Now I don't care.

The first thing about this entire cruise that pissed us off was that it was always Rachel's idea.  Rachel took her first cruise at five years old.  Well - one of the moms swears that it was her idea - that she'd been planning this since her daughter's 5th grade graduation.  You've been planning your daughter's high school graduation trip since she graduated elementary school? (Yeah, right) Get a life, sister!  She didn't want this to be a mother/daughter cruise - she wanted it to be a family cruise because her husband and son couldn't deal with being left behind.  Of course, with the cruise we had picked out originally (7-night Freedom of the Seas), she complained that it left the day after graduation and her husband didn't want to drive through the night.  There are two solutions to that problem - drive halfway down the night before, spend the night in a hotel, then drive the remaining distance... or just drive down in the morning.  You don't have to be onboard until 3:00 PM, and we live 8 hours from Port Canaveral.  Totally doable!

We think that the real opposition to the 7-night is that it was expensive.  It would've cost over $1000 a person, and it's understandable that it could be out of budget, especially for the girls not going with a parent.  We knew that it was expensive, but everyone knew the price and acted okay with it when we booked.  One thing that I've learned over the years and have gotten better at, but I suppose some people will never learn - IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, SPEAK UP!  In most cases, people want to make you happy and are willing to work with you IF YOU JUST TELL THEM!  Don't act fine with it, then go home and bitch to your friends and family.  But the thing is - nobody is going to know that you're not happy unless you tell them!

Now we get to the control freak part.

Out of everyone going on this trip, we have taken by far the most cruises.  This will be our tenth cruise and makes us Emerald Crown and Anchor Members (Royal Caribbean's loyalty program).  Having cruised regularly for the past twelve years, you'd think that people would go to us for advice... trust our advice... or maybe just decide to include us in their plans.

But no.

The person running the show is going on her third cruise, first through Royal Caribbean, and using a travel agent.  She's used a travel agent for all of her cruises and doesn't know how to do anything herself.

Not dissing travel agents, here - TAs are good to use, sometimes even if you do know how to book your own cruise because they can get you onboard credit and [should] be very knowledgeable about your vacation.  I just have a problem because this person hasn't told anyone that she used a travel agent.  She's pretending like she's doing this herself, but when people ask her questions, she can't answer.  The reason I know she used a TA?  Because I got her reservation number and found out through Royal Caribbean Online - My Cruises.  I bet she doesn't know how to do that.

Now, this lady is a crazy control freak.  And perhaps because she knows that we are more knowledgeable about cruises than her... she excludes us from everything!

I was trying to line up an excursion for the seven graduates because I figured it would be a safe way to give them freedom.  I researched excursions, read all about them, took the input from girls - decided on a highly-rated Segway excursion which was a good price because I'd be booking it directly through the tour company, rather than through the cruiseline.  We had four girls onboard, two declined, and control freak's daughter?  MIA.  Well, today we learned that two of the girls who were originally interested bailed.  Why?  Because control freak had set up a family excursion to Blue Lagoon (I'd read about it and rolled my eyes - would've been great when we were kids, probably, but not something I'd spend my money on as an adult)... which she invited everyone to go on with her... but us.

How immature and childish is that?  I mean, no, we wouldn't have wanted to go on this excursion - but to invite everyone but us?  How rude!

It's becoming hard to look forward to this cruise because we don't even like the people we're going with.  Which is the only reason we agreed to go on this cruise, anyway - so Rachel could hang out with her friends who are now ditching her.  We feel like we are wasting money on a ship and an itinerary that we have absolutely no interest in and would've never picked out on our own.

But, there are a few things to look forward to:

  1. My father, mother, and I are staying in a grand suite.
  2. My sister gets to share an adjoining outside stateroom with her friends.
  3. We are going to get crazy drunk and party like there's no tomorrow.

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