Helpless Cruiser Syndrome

Since I just got back from a cruise last month, this article jumped out to me when it appeared in my news reader:

“Art Auctions on Cruise Ships Lead to Anger, Accusations and Lawsuits”

The bad news is that lots of people go on cruises and buy pieces of art at auction that are apparently worth a lot less than they are told on the ship. The good news for Princess (the only cruise line I have any sort of loyalty to) is not part of the problem mentioned in the article.

I feel sorry for these art buyers that they feel swindled, but I also wonder why they decided to make such large purchases on a cruise ship where it’s hard to make phone calls or get on the Internet to do research. I know I’m in a much lower income bracket than most cruisers, but I usually spend LOADS of time online researching purchases that I regard as substantial. And obviously these people regard their art purchases as being substantial, because they were upset enough to demand refunds and file lawsuits when they found out that the art was not worth as much as they thought.

There is an explanation for all this, however. When on a cruise, some people seem to fall victim to what I will call “Helpless Cruiser Syndrome” (HCS) I saw it all the time as a tour guide. People can be extraordinarily intelligent and resourceful in real life; but have everything taken care of for you on board for a few days, and even the most resourceful people can become remarkably sheep-like.

Cruises can be fun, but beware of HCS. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying a pretty penny for something like this: