I read with interest your article about the cruise industry and the satisfaction level of its passengers dwendling. I completely agree. My husband and I recently sailed on the Celebrity Millennium. We found this trip to be one of the most disappointing we have ever had. The attitude of the staff, generally speaking, (there were some exceptional staff members) was the if you don't like it what are you going to do about it. The service was definitely not up to the standards that we have had from Celebrity in the Past.
We are giving it another try, although a long time off, October of 2002. We have booked the Galaxy. I really hate to think that the Cruise Industry have forgotten what has made them one of the fastest growing areas of travel in the world. And I really hate to think that I will one day decide that it is not worth the struggle and discontinue this much loved and much needed vacation.
Unfortuantely, I have to agree with your sentiments. We too are giving Celebrity another chance too also on Galaxy. We sailed Millie last year (inaugual season in Europe). Sure hope you copied the President & VP's at Celebrity. You make valid points. I expressed similar feelings last year and received a note from Richard Sasso. Pleasing everyone is very difficult, but with so many births at sea to be occuppied, they need to constantly remember Customer Service is there prime concern.
I actually disagree.. Do the cruise lines occassionally run into problems in their customer service areas? Sure.
Maintaining consistency in a service based industry is likely the #1 challenge of owner/operators. Staff turnover is one of the facts of life we in the service industry have to find a way to deal with, and it can drastically affect the product.
However, I still believe that the VAST majority of cruises going out week after week debark mainly happy passengers at the end of each cruise, and with good reason! It is still a superb vacation experience, and still the biggest bang you can get for your vacation dollar.
No question there are changes happening that we possibly dont care for, but as we recently found out with Celeb's T. pool issue.. if we speak up when they occur the cruise lines will listen if the voice is loud enouh.
As well,I believe part of the problem is "our high expectations". Everyone seems to head out on a cruise demanding perfection. There are some perfect cruises I imagine.. but I think we're making too much out of some of the less than perfect experience.
I havent had the perfect cruise yet.. nor have I had one I wouldnt happily repeat.
I agree with you Kuki. I believe some peoples expectations are much to high. I believe no matter what industry you look at you will find great, good mediocore and bad employees. The same with the product. You can not make a perfect product. The only expectation I have on a cruise is to have a good time and that is based on me. It is whether I want to look for things that are not perfect or enjoy the best parts of the cruise. I have not had a bad cruise yet but I have had a different cruise each time even though they may have been with the same ship or cruiseline.
I go to enjoy the cruise and not worry about the things I think are small problems. A cruise is the best vacation I have ever had.
I agree with Kuki. From what I've read on this board, as well as others, sometimes first time cruisers have an image in their mind of what cruising used to be...class levels, higher percentage of staff to cruisers...kind of Titanic style. In todays market, that's just not the case. When booking my first cruise, back in 1983, my TA gave me some excellent advise; look at the brochure's - what you see is what you get. If the pictures show lobster, steak, high quality food and the people are dressed in the manner you prefer, that's a good indication of what you'll find on board. If you want that type of cruise, you have to pay for it. If you don't want to spend that kind of money, don't expect that kind of experience.
Bottom line...your cruise is what you make it to be!
My first cruise was a world cruise, thanks to my godmother, in 1959. Things have changed radically and I like it better now than I did then. I wish the cruiselines wouldn't institute all these extra charges for everything though. That's a real pain. In 1959 I went to sea with two steamer trunks! It was formal every night at sea, yuck. Entertainment was horse racing and music for dancing. When we crossed the equator we went through a neat ceremony with a "sea urchin", really a crewman covered with engine grease who pushed us into the pool and gave us a hearty hug. We were told before it started to wear something disposable. Food was deliciously prepared but without much variety. Plain food mainly, seafood, beef, lamb and chick. Lots of caviar and smoked salmon, yum.
Today you can get an amazing variety of food onboard. There are movies, cabin TV, shows, not to mention occasional horse racing and music for dancing. Cabins on the new ships are uniformly comfortable. In the old days sometimes you got crammed into something I wouldn't use for my cats. Beautiful ports and shore excursions haven't changed a lot and I hope they never do.
Still, I will be trying cruises other than the usual, Raddison, Royal Clipper and back to Clipper cruises which I love. These guys are real special.
Please everyone do not misunderstand my sentiments. I love the cruise vacation and agree completely that it is the best vacation out there. I only was responding to your quiery that it seems that sometimes we do have a disappointing experience. All of us fellow cruisers hopefully go into our trip with the expectation that we are going to have the best cruise ever, whether it is our first, second, third etc etc. You usually get what you expect. And you can have a great time when the trip is less than perfect. Trust me I am not a negative person nor do I embark on a ship expecting to not encounter a minor problem from time to time.
Perhaps it was because the Millennium was having some problems and the staff was just sick and tired of all of the complaints I have no idea and there were some very very positive parts of our trip. But I came away disappointed non the less. I am sure that there will be some other disappointments along the way but I will not consider any other form of vacation any time soon.
Not to worry. We know we're all cruise lovers. I'm sure none of the comments were directed personally to anything you said. It's simply discussion/conversation, and that's exactly what these message boards are for!