Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

A Compliment or Not? Cast Your Vote!

With the U.S. elections rapidly approaching, everyone is taking polls.  The candidates leading the polls tout the results and the candidates trailing the polls discredit the results.  Meanwhile, I am going to take a poll as well.  My poll consists of one question:

Are the following two sentences I recently received from one of our more spirited guests, via email, a compliment or not?  The sentences are:

I can always count on you to say “no” without actually saying “no.” As one of my favorite clients used to say “you have the gift of being able to tell someone to go to hell and make them look forward to the trip.”

Personally, I’m not sure.  I think this can be interpreted anywhere from high praise to condemnation.  So feel free to cast your vote, and to mention any all-time email favorites you have come across since email changed our world in the 1990′s.  It’s not yet 10 a.m. today, and I have already deleted 94 emails from my in-box. 


We go to Finland next week to take delivery of Allure of the Seas.  Suddenly everything is happening either for Allure or in relation to the timing of Allure’s events.  We saw the run through of Chicago: The Musical  yesterday at our production studio in Hollywood, Florida.  I told Lisa Bauer I wouldn’t write about it.  I lied.  It was awesome.  Yes, Allure of the Seas is the Ship of Entertainment.  Sorry, Lisa.

50 responses to:
“A Compliment or Not? Cast Your Vote!”

  1. Laura Ragsdale

    although it is very politely worded, I would not consider it a compliment.

    • Adam

      Thank you, everyone, for your insight and opinions on this poll. The majority of you feel this is a compliment, so I will take it as one. There was some valuable insight here, and some great perspectives. I am looking forward to hearing your insightful opinions in our next poll.

  2. Tina Moser

    It could be an off-handed compliment but it sounds more like sarcasm. It would depend on the situation. Has RCCL done something to really upset this person or are they the type of person that wants “something for nothing” and is not willing to take no for an answer?

    For now I think I would not take this as a compliment and dig a little deeper.

  3. Donna Magnine

    I think it was a compliment. In your position diplomacy and tact are a must. Being able to say no and have someone not resent it is a wonderful trait to have.

  4. Tammy Anderson

    I love your cruises, we took one for our Honeymoon on 2/14/2010 loved it and didn’t want to come home..
    Prefect trip! Tammy and Kevin

    • Adam

      Thank you for the compliments Tammy. Congratulations on your marriage, and we hope so see you again soon. We would love to have you onboard for a future anniversary.

  5. Heather Voegeli

    I’m not too sure on the first sentence but I believe it was meant to be a compliment. As for the second sentence…yup that’s a compliment!

  6. Steve Buch

    My version of the saying is that “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell and make them happy to be on their way.” This was told to me by a former co-worker with a thick Irish accent and it loses something in written form. So if you pride yourself on being tactful, then take it as a compliment.
    Incidentally, congratulations on the opening of L’Ecole Nouvelle Royal Caribbean grade school in Haiti which I read about on some travel site this morning.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your feedback Steve. We are delighted to have opened the school in Haiti, and we hope to continue positive endeavors in the future.

  7. michael grant

    I like the Taylor Swift idea/plan; however I would prefer rock music…like Green Day

    • Adam

      Thank you for your opinion Michael. We will keep it in mind for future performances.

  8. Paul Stoner

    Both my wife, Teresa and myself think RC is the best cruiseline going. That is why whenever we can we try to cruise with your company.

    • Adam

      Thank you for the compliments Paul. We are thrilled to know that you and your wife Teresa believe we are the best cruise line. We strive to bring the best possible experience to each and every one of our guests, and it’s rewarding to hear that we are able to deliver the WOW. We hope to continue creating these memorable experiences for you and your wife for years to come.

  9. Irene H.

    Without seeing it in context, it’s hard to know how the comments were intended. I’d lean towards compliment though because you have that option. :)

    Btw, just booked the Allure for next year’s family trip. Looking forward to it and trying to convince other family members to join us.

    • Adam

      Thanks you for your opinion on the poll question Irene. We hope you are excited about the adventures you will experience onboard Allure of the Seas. We are looking forward to seeing you soon.

  10. Larry C. Beierle

    We are Diamond members and still enjoy all of our cruises with RCL. We have our 60th cruise booked for August, 2011 (sorry, but on another line because of a birthday celebration).

    • Adam

      Thank you for choosing to sail Royal Caribbean, and being a Diamond member Larry. It is understandable if you must cruise another line, we just hope to see you soon on another occasion. Take care and we hope to see you soon.

  11. Michelle

    I can’t say that is an actual compliment, I would take it as one though, but then again, my skin seems to be thicker than most.

  12. Mike Brick

    I would not take it as praise. I give you high priose for asking for our input. I love everything about RCCL. I am a loyal Diamond Plus member.

    • Adam

      Thanks for your feedback Mike. Also, thank you for the praises as well as being a Diamond Plus member. We’re all a part of this “community” and as such it’s great to hear everyone’s opinions and feedback.

  13. Catherine Falco

    It is both. The compliment is that you have a gift with words as well as giving people bad news by looking at the class half full instead of half empty.

    It is not a compliment because it paints you in the light of only delivering no’s and negative information.

    That is one reason I do not like email. You can not tell the person’s tone therefore it is much easier to read into the words without the voice.

    Hope that helps you!

    • Adam

      It’s a very valid point you make, Catherine. We will take all the responses into consideration. Thank you for the insight.

  14. Wendy Telep

    No not a compliment. That sounds like an angry customer that is trying to be diplomatic at the same time. Instead they should have just taken a few days to calm down and then write an appropriate email to you. Of course that is easier said than done some times.

  15. sandee wright

    It’s a slam… big time… AND a complaint… all from a disgruntled guest. It makes me a little nervous that you didn’t recognize such an unhappy guest when you received this complaint. I suppose your message for the rest of us is, “If you’re unhappy, don’t be nice or even wry: just state the problem with precision and how you want it resolved.” The only thing left for you to do is apologize to that guest.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your feedback Sandee, I appreciate it.

  16. will mannes

    I lie in bed at night and all i seem to think about is those seven wonderful days but those seven days were almost a year ago, yet I can still smell the coffee in the morning and hear the chimes in my head
    every night thank you Royal Caribbean for making me
    feel alive for seven wonderful days.

    • Adam

      Thank you for those very kind words, Will. We are delighted to know we were able to provide such a memorable experience. Take care, and we hope so see you again soon.

  17. Mary McTevia

    Wow, I’ve gotten some weird emails in the past, some very touching and some completely WRONG. My all-time favorite email would be from you, “You’re coming to Finland to help bring back Allure of the Seas!” Well, that’s not in my in-box but one can dream.

    You’re doing good Adam.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your kind words Mary. I am honored to know that your all time favorite e-mail would be from me :)


    After reading that I decided it’s probably more of an insult than a commpliment. However, if you wanted to take it as a compliment you could also, since it’s pretty much saying ‘you’re good with your words’.

  19. Pat sweeney

    I’d take it as a compliment. You can’t always say yes and apparently you have a way of schmoozing people even when you say No. I think that’s a great quality to have…

    My favorite e-mail is this… “When they made you, they broke the mold… and then they beat the hell of out of the little old mole maker…”… I’m taking that as a compliment, too.

    Can’t wait to see Allure… I’ve got 2 trips booked on it already… I’ll be watching for news on the crossing next week.


    • Adam

      Thank you for your thought on the poll question Pat. As for that email, that sounds like a funny way to look at it, but it’s a great compliment indeed.

  20. Michael H

    I’m not sure how I’d take it as a CEO but as a parent I’d consider it an unqualified compliment.

  21. Nancy Whitney

    I would like to thank RCCL for my recent upgrade. We are cruising B2B2B on the Grandeur, then the Majesty, then the Oasis and we were upgraded from an inside to a boardwalk view balcony. On the Majesty we will gain Diamond status and feel the balcony on the Oasis will be a great thank you from RCCL for our loyalty. Thank you again for recognizing us in this way.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your continuous high praises Nancy. We are thrilled to know that you will be a diamond member soon, it is great. We will be looking forward to seeing you on all three of your upcoming cruises, and once again thank you for your undivided loyalty.

  22. gary cavasos

    Adam, I think that is a real compliment to you. It highlights a personality trait that many of us admire.

    • Adam

      Thank you, Gary, for your comment and kind words.

  23. Anders

    For your poll, I believe it’s a back handed compliment!





    • Adam

      Thank you for you suggestion Shari. We are thrilled to know that you are Crown and Anchor members and are loyal to Royal Caribbean. We’ve taken note of your suggestion and will keep it in mind when planning future itineraries. We will be looking forward to seeing you sometime soon as we know you and your husband will have a great time onboard. Until then, take care.

  25. Sherry Myers

    Dear Adam,

    Thank you for sharing your poll about those 2 interesting sentences. <> I was amused and impressed by your honesty, if these comments were really directed at you.

    Personally, I think those 2 sentences are condemning, but also very observational. The person who exhibits that sort of behavior might be the kind of person never willing to compromise or give in to others’ requests. People like that are always the “winner,” but so skillful at “spin” that the other person doesn’t even realize they’re the “loser,” so to speak. Unfortunately, that sort of behavior only goes so far before the “victims” realize they’ll never make any progress in negotiations with such a skilled manipulator.

    I surely hope you aren’t that breed of personality, but perhaps you’ve had to be in order to attain CEO status, as seems to be the norm in modern corporate politics. If so, perhaps you should acquire assistance from a better PR staff, as true public relations and corporate communications is a two-way street.

    By the way, my comments come from the heart. I am a BIG fan of Royal Caribbean, I frequently read your blog, and I’m literally counting the days (just 30!) until my next voyage with RCI (Freedom 11-21-10).


    • Adam

      Thank you for your detailed feedback on the poll question statements Sherry. It is definitely appreciated. We will be looking forward to seeing you this November onboard Freedom of the Seas.

  26. Camille Pagnotta

    It means your a con artist….able to sway someone your way…..not a compliment……

    • Adam

      Thank you for your feedback on the poll question Camille.

  27. Greg Fadick


    Rest assured, being able to “tell someone to go to hell and make them look forward to the trip” is very high praise indeed.

    As a business owner myself, I’m sometimes in the unfortunate position of having to tell a customer “no” simply because what they’re asking is impossible. To be able to do that without offending, and send the customer away happy is a skill not often seen in today’s world of vanishing customer care.

    Royal Caribbean customer service is always outstanding, from the time of booking until you walk off the ship.

    My wife and I are looking forward to coming back aboard in February, bringing a few family members along with us for their first cruise.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your opinion and kind words to our poll question Greg. We are delighted to know how you feel about our outstanding customer service. We’re looking forward to seeing you and your family onboard in February, and will strive to happily deliver the same customer service that you come to expect from our crew.

  28. Camille Pagnotta

    They said on the news this morning that the cholera outbreak in Haiti is worse now and that there is the possibility that it could spread to the United States….and that all people traveling to Haiti should be vaccinated…..that’s the problem…you are bringing thousands of people to Haiti and some of those people are going to contract cholera and bring it back to the United States …this is a real possibility…..

    • Adam

      Dear Camille, Royal Caribbean is currently monitoring the increase in cholera cases in Haiti. Cholera, a bacterial disease usually caused by drinking contaminated water, is not affecting Labadee or its surrounding areas. The water at Labadee is produced using reverse osmosis and is safe to drink. Also, coffee, tea and other hot beverages, as well as bottled or canned soft drinks, wine and beer, are available for guests.

  29. thomas Young

    Telling a customer no is never good for business. Doing it tactfully is good for your future endeavors with that customer. I always lead in with we are not in the business of saying no but I must in this instance. However I would call that response diplomatic sarcasm

    • Adam

      Thank you for your feedback on the poll question statement Thomas; that is definitely a good tactic

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