I recently told the the couple who left their balcony curtains open during an early-morning tryst aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines' (NCL) Norwegian Jewel. You guessed it: They were caught in the act by a window washer. The couple was outraged (they said they'd had no notice of the window washing; the cruise line said they did) and they were unhappy with the cruise line's offer of a 25 percent discount on a future cruise. The couple wanted two free cruises.
I put the Lovebirds' story up for reader comment, and boy did the feathers fly. My inbox was flooded with heated responses, most arguing that the Lovebirds should receive no compensation at all. Several readers suggested they should just laugh it off; others felt they were greedy. A couple of people sympathized with their plight — and a few felt bad for the window washer!
Here is a sample of the responses, edited for length and clarity.
Sympathy for the lovebirds
"I think they should get two free trips!"
— Chris Lyons, California
"I think they should receive one free cruise for each of them and maybe also some other compensation simply because the man was leering at them. How would you feel if someone was watching you while having sex? They are lucky it wasn't me because I would have filed a lawsuit!"
— Julie Ann Chandler
Fair is fair
"I think the Lovebirds' compensation was more than generous on NCL's part."
— Anna Healey
"They were treated fairly. Two free cruises as compensation is a bit greedy in my opinion. Good ole common sense would have prevented this situation."
— Jimmie Deal
"I believe these people are being treated more than fair. If I was watching from shore with binoculars do I owe them also? I think they, like so many others nowadays, just want something for nothing."
"The cruise company was reasonable. This guy is greedy and just trying for way too much. Two free cruises for a slight embarrassment, if there was any embarrassment?"
— Steve Brody
"As far as I'm concerned, they don't deserve even the money the cruise ship has already offered them!"
— Patricia Flores
"Amazing that two free cruises solves their embarrassment."
— E.R., Georgia
You can't get something for nothing
"I think what they are asking for is outrageous. ... Life happens. ... It's just another money-hungry person looking for a free ride."
— Shaun Miller
"I think the Lovebirds were very fairly compensated. Our society has gotten to be one of entitlement, vs. responsibility."
— Jeanne Steinberg
"They should be thankful they got anything at all from the cruise line. This is one more example of 'I refuse to be responsible and accountable for my own behavior,' and 'It must be somebody else's fault.'
— Jim McKenna
"Frankly, we need more 'I apologize' and go on, and less financial awards to discourage this type of nonsense. I know companies give in to try to save face, but I wish companies realized that many more people side with the company, in a case like this, than with the customer. The customer looks like the bigger fool here and if the company caves in, we all lose."
— C. Koontz, Baltimore
Mad at me
"Why did you write this? Now everyone will be trying to scam the cruise lines!"
— Harry Moscovitz, New York
Reading is fundamental
"If the couple cannot even possess the common sense to read clearly lettered notification regarding outside maintenance, they should be fined for stupidity!"
— D. Ferris
Close the drapes, for heaven's sake!
"The Lovebirds are getting more than they deserve. If you don't want to be seen, close the drapes."
— Ben Davis
"They caused the problem by not taking the precaution of closing the drapes and door to the balcony. They should not get anything but an apology from the cruise line."
— C. W. Wayne
"If the blinds are open and you are cavorting around, you have no complaint if someone sees you."
— Mike Wagner
"Who hasn't been caught once in their lifetime? The couple was careless ... they do not deserve free cruises."
— Jeff Brown
"They should be grateful pictures were not taken and put over the Internet."
— Jack, New Hampshire
"Personally, I think they want something for nothing. He was looking for an excuse to get a free cruise or he wanted to be seen, it was an ego boost."
— Ellen Hawley
"I personally feel the Lovebirds got what they deserved. I think they wanted someone to see them! I don't think they should have been compensated when they asked for everything they got! Stupid!
— P.J., Fort Valley, Virginia
"A very similar thing happened on our honeymoon cruise. Of course we didn't feel 'violated' and didn't ask for any compensation, nor did it ruin the cruise. We just ended up with a funny story."
— Barbara, Maryland
"I think that these 'lovebirds' should have filed their complaint and then laughed it off between themselves and their friends. The trouble with people today is that they want something for nothing. This is why so many people are studying law today. Wouldn't it be so much better if everyone could just laugh at themselves and just go on?"
— Ken Nutter, Wyoming
"If the Lovebirds had a better sense of humor, their vacation would have been enhanced by a funny story to tell. Instead, they 'ruined' the cruise for themselves."
— C. Wallace
Jealous of the lovebirds
"I'll bet he'll find the 25 percent off a future cruise to be a bargain. Since the discovery happened 'after they were intimate,' he got the best of both worlds. Wish it were me."
— Dan Jestic
"We would have loved their experience!"
— Keith Christensen
"I think the couple is being unreasonable. Especially since they are to blame for not closing the drapes. What is done is done, and customer service has offered a discount to them. Asking for two free cruises is out of the question in my opinion."
— Dorothy, Texas
"They are asking for a piece of real estate on the moon, instead of being more realistic. They should thank the cruise line and take the offer."
— Alex, Texas
"I think the man is trying to take advantage of the situation. Does he think he is the only one who has romantic interludes and is caught in the act?"
— Connie D.
"How ridiculous to expect two free cruises! Take some responsibility for yourself. I'm sure the maintenance man was just as offended."
— Jeanette Myers
"They are out of their minds asking for two free cruises. We were on the Princess ship that caught fire. Our room was just at the edge of it and the only damage done was by the firemen that had to go through our room. Princess made up for our losses very quickly and gave us a 25 percent discount on our next cruise. I couldn't be more pleased."
— Penny, Tampa
"I believe that the ship's captain should have had the authority to solve the issue immediately with the couple signing a release on the spot. Gave them too much time to seek advice good or bad."
— Larry Dowd
"Two free cruises is a little excessive. The 25 percent credit was nice, although if they don't take another cruise, the credit won't do them any good. A full refund or a partial refund on the current cruise may have been a good suggestion."
— C. Müller
Sympathy for the window washer
"I think it is inconsiderate for any couple to engage intimately in front of an open window and completely ridiculous that they think they should have any rights to privacy while doing so."
— L. White
"I feel for the maintenance worker who had to witness this display of pasty, middle-age canoodling. What about his rights?"
— Garth McGlasson
"The couple should be sent a bill for traumatizing the worker."
— Rod, Texas
"Freedom comes at a price. If I leave my blinds or curtains open, I can see out and others can see in. If I make a choice, I must take responsibility for the consequences. I believe they made their bed, and now must lie in it."
— Sandy, Boston
Me? I'm done with this story. I wish the Lovebirds the best. May they enjoy many cruises, keep up the morning exercise — and remember to pull the drapes!
Sound off! Do you have a comment, an idea, a complaint or a problem for Anita to solve? Send her an e-mail and you might find yourself in her next column.
And, if you are interested in joining the fastest growing travel message board on the internet, register at our Tripso Forums.