What happens when things go wrong on a cruise? As with any vacation, occasionally some aspect of your trip will go awry. It's happened to all of us -- the cruise documents are late coming, you don't like your stateroom, or a shore excursion is sold out. So what do you do? In this series, we focus on the most common cruise ship problems and complaints we hear from Cruise Critic readers, as well as problems we and our shipmates have run into ourselves.Our format is designed to present the problem, offer suggestions that we hope will empower you to solve it and give advice on how to avoid the issue in the first place (where applicable). We tackle problems that happen pre-cruise, onboard and even post-cruise.One suggestion applies across the board. If you have a problem, try to solve it on the spot. Oh, and another thing: You know that tediously fine print that blurs before your eyes on page after page of that glossy brochure? Many of your answers can be found there. Read it before you go. We promise you'll be glad you did.Can't fix your problem during your trip? Check out our post-cruise section, where we provide tips on alternative avenues where, in a best-case scenario, a cruise line will finally respond to your satisfaction or, at the very least, give you an outlet to alert fellow passengers about your experience. And for those of you who use travel agents to book your cruises, know this: They can be powerful advocates on your behalf.Any travel experience presents the opportunity for problems to arise. If you can make informed decisions about how to proceed and handle them calmly, they shouldn't have a lasting negative impact on your vacation. Even better, you'll find yourself laughing after your trip about your crazy dinner tablemates, the time you nearly missed the ship and the $100 face cream you were guilted into buying at the spa.
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