Cunard Breaks the Rules
The weirdest welcome in 50 years of marketing!March 1, 2013 By Denny Hatch
On Sunday, Feb. 7, I opened the New York Times Travel Section and found an amusing piece by book critic Dwight Garner. The title: "Seven Days on the Queen Mary 2." One memorable paragraph:
A crossing on the Queen Mary 2 is the sort of thing people put on their bucket lists. More than a few passengers on our crossing seemed perilously close to kicking that bucket. The QM2's dance club pulled a frantic young crowd after midnight. But the average age on our crossing, I'd guess, was well over 60. There was an abundance of wheelchairs, walkers and canes, so many that if everyone had tossed theirs overboard at once they would have created an artificial reef.
Garner ended his 2,800-word travelogue with these two lines about his fellow passengers:
They all looked as if they would make this crossing again in a heartbeat.
So would I.
It sounded like a hoot. I'm up there in years. Peggy is considerably younger, but this was Our Crowd. We signed up with an online cruise company for a westbound transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2—Southampton to New York.
We were looking very forward to a glamorous week with Cunard, a company renowned for coddling ocean voyagers for 173 years.
The cruise company told me to register on the Cunard website.
After signing in, I was taken to the "Voyage Personaliser" landing page.
Here is what greeted me—in gray mouse-type. These are the very first words to me—a paying customer—from Cunard.
Terms and Conditions
Welcome to the Cunard Line ("Cunard") Voyage Personaliser. We hope you find it useful and enjoy your visits here. In order to help us make this the best web site we can provide for you, we have established some ground rules (Boldface mine) to maximize your experience. Cunard is a trading name of Carnival plc.
I'm 77, for Pete's sake. I have just spent several thousand dollars with these people and I am being talked to like an unruly teenager.
What followed were 1,318 words of legalese by a company suffering from serious paranoia and in thrall to nasty lawyers. A sampling (Boldface theirs):