Okay, I am going to go 50/50 on this one.
First, I agree, cruise line surveys in their current form are a joke. There is a saying that you can only manage what you can measure. They don't measure what they can manage -my expectations. Are my expectations reasonable or unreasonable? Have I watched too much Love Boat and expect a lot of intimate interaction with the senior staff? To be extreme, let's take the case of a couple who only do luxury cruises but agree to take part in a family cruise on a Carnival (to name a line) Mr. A thinks a Carnival cruise will be full of a buch of drunken animals while Mrs. A expects everything to be just like the luxury cruise line. Both passengers will have the same set of experiences but the expect ions on Mr. A will be exceeded while Mrs. A will be sorely disappointed.
And don't get me started on the point Mike made above about the CD and usually the maître d priming for high score, talk about skewing statistical validity.
Now to the point where I disagree. When a manager is not able to review a work product it may be necessary to ask others even some of those receiving service about their worker. In a cruise ship dining room this should not be necessary. There are several layers of management in place right in the work location. Other crew do not have as much direct supervision. Housekeeping managers may not be able to pop in to cabins to see how well stewards are doing their jobs. Likewise, many bar staffs are very small though management might be able to rove and do a decent evaluation.
That said, I think cruise lines do cast way to large of a net to do their surveys. If you opt out that is fine and dandy. The interesting thing is, as some cruise lines have shifted from paper on board surveys to on line surveys with a smaller sample size, I have seen some passengers complain if they did not receive a survey. Apparently they felt their voice was no longer being heard, that they were somehow less special.
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield
Carnival: Glory 2004, Destiny 2008, Splendor 2009, Freedom 2011, Valor 2012, Dream 2013
Celebrity: Summit 2011
Princess: Ruby 2010, 2014, Caribbean 2013, Coral 2014, Regal 2014
Star Clippers: Royal Clipper 2015