Please read my post again. The cruise lines alone are to blame for their own problems. Nobody else.
The powers that be decided to go for the mass-market, lowest common denominator, quantity over quality business model - just like the airlines. Unfortunately, middle America loves lowest common denominator, preferring low price rather than high quality. The most financially successful cruise lines operate very much like McDonalds and Wal-Mart. The American Market supports that model and encourages other cruise lines who want to make a profit to do the same.
I'm not sure where you got the idea that the airlines and cruise lines are partners there days. We were friendlty for a few years - but now we are bitter enemies. We are essentially competing for the same discount traveler market.
In the 1960's it was cheaper and faster to FLY somewhere.
Today it is cheaper, safer, and less hassle to CRUISE somewhere.
If you think the airlines like the cruise lines, check out the seat and itinerary you get when you purchase your air through the cruise line. The airlines intentionally sell us the worst air packages (but very cheap) so that you will choose to buy directly from them next time.
The airlines are definitely NOT our friends - nor our partners. The airlines and cruise lines are curently locked in a battle to the death to win over discount travellers.
I really do not like NCL. They are arrogant, not service-oriented, treat their employees badly, and make many errors in their business. But if you think they are the only cruise line having problems finding good crew, you are sadly mistaken. When I worked for RCI, Princess, HAL, and Renaissance, we faced EXACTLY the same recruiting issues that NCL faces. EVERY cruise line has slashed salaries and benefits to their employees in order to cut costs and attract discount cruisers at a profit. EVERY cruise line has lost their best employees to hotels, airlines, and other hospitality companies that have not reduced - but actually increased - salaries and benefits.
Should the middle class (that cannot afford to take an expensive cruise) expect to receive good service on a mass-market cruise ship??
But they should also expect to pay for good service. Quality costs money.
When the cruise company company effectively reduces service salaries by 50% over a 20 year period, you must expect and assume that service staff will not be as good as before. When 30% of today's cruisers tip nothing at the end of the cruise - further reducing salaries by another 30% - you must expect and assume that service will suffer as a result.
You get what you pay for .
McDonalds prices get you McDonalds service.