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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 17th, 2004, 03:02 PM
ESS
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Default Cruise Satisfaction

Reading the various reviews as well as message boards, one is struck by the difference in satisfaction that cruisers rate their cruises. Some ships and cruise lines are so good or bad that there is a general consensus as to the level of satisfaction. The majority of cruiselines and ships seem to have reviews and message boards that vary wildly. I have a theory regarding this matter, and I would like some feedback!

It is my contention that there will be a direct co-relation between cruise satisfaction and the cabin one travels in. For example, my wife and I are more than happy to book an inside cabin at very low prices. We have been on two cruise in the past two years and have another one coming up in December. The most we have paid for a cruise is about 440 dollars each for a seven day cruise. This is much less than our fellow travelers who have windows, balconies, and suites. We all arrive and enjoy the same ports at the same time, we all eat the same food at the same places, we all enjoy the same entertainment, we all get to use the same excercise equipment and we all get a chance to be annoyed about the same chair hogs at the pool.,

Except for the cabin catagory, my wife and I enjoy the same cruise ammenities as do all other passengers who have much more expensive cabins. Thus when the commediane is not very funny- or my steak isn't cooked just right, I am going to be less critical than a cruiser who is paying double or more for a more expensive cabin. After all, I am paying much less for everything else that other cruisers are paying for, and thus my expectations are not going to be as great. Or perhaps as I am paying so much less for my cabin - everything else still appears to be a great deal even if not absolutely perfect.

Have the cruise lines done any research about the above theory? Is there a greater level of satisfaction with less expensive cabins? Do you agree or disagree with this theory?
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Old October 17th, 2004, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

ESS - I think I'm going to have to refute your theory. Those of us that pay more for a different cabin do so knowing that the additional cost is for the added value of different accomodation. In my mind, and this is just my personal taste, the ship is a destination in itself so for me having a suite is part of the vacation.

The gripes here are just gripes, some serious, and some people post just for fun. I come here because when I read anything to do with cruising, it puts me in my "next cruise" mood, and that is priceless during my day!

This brings me to my point. That is, anyone who goes on a cruise vacation, and their negative experiences outweigh their positive experiences, will simply conclude that cruising is not their "cup of tea", choose not to do it again, and be on their way. Most of the people posting are repeat offenders (cruisers) and obviously enjoy their cruises, have done many, and will continue to do more. This means that on their "balance sheet" of every cruise experience looks something like this:

Me Inc.

Assets: had a whale of a time

Liabilities: a few minor inconveniences

Net Cruise Worth: Pretty damn good

We just like to ***** a little but in the end, will continue to love cruising!

banker
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Old October 17th, 2004, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I also disagree. Satisfaction is most closely related to how closely expectations held align with the promises suppliers actually make.

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Old October 17th, 2004, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Interesting post, ESS. I'm not sure I agree with you, but I think, for some people, there might be some truth in what you are saying.

I have heard many comments about people "getting their monies worth" on a cruise.

dorothy

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Old October 17th, 2004, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I gotta agree with BANKER.
Gripe all you want, the overall best vacation value is still the cruise.
Those who have cruised have certain expectations, and when
someone changes the outcome, they get pissed. ( Joemo = Guilty as charged )
By the way, I'll be posting pic's in the gallery any day now, from Conquest
and Radiance.

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Old October 18th, 2004, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

ESS I think your theory is interesting, and I do believe that for some cruisers it would be valid . I do think that some cruisers expectations are just not in line with reality, expecting piping hot haute cusine while dining in a dining room that serves 300 or 400 meals at a time is a good example.
I suppose we will never know why some people complian, It does seem funny when you can actually read two reviews of the same ship, same date sailing and the two reivews are totally different!
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Old October 18th, 2004, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Some people are just harder to please - same ship, same dates - totally different outlook. We don't care as long as we are on vacation we don't sweat the small stuff. The ship didn't sink and we had lots to eat - enough for me. TTFN Jennifer
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Old October 19th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I think there is some truth to what ESS has said, but more so in Banker's reply. Some people might book a suite or significantly higher category cabin than usual to celebrate a special occasion. Automatically, that raises expectations, so if the cruise comes off with even just a few hiccups, the effect might be more pronounced.

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Old October 20th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

On my cruises I have had inside, outside and balconies. I enjoyed every cruise regardless of where the cabin was. Yes, the ocean views and the balconies added more to the enjoyment of the cruise experience but I still had a great cruise. I will say I really enjoyed the balcony for having coffee in the early morning and watching the sunrise. When I had an inside I just got up and went to Lido for early coffee and sunrise.

Cruznut2

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Old October 20th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Valid theory to some degree. Yes, you enjoy the same amenities and shows, ect... I think you have to compare the time of the year also to get the full experience. If you are paying $440 for a 7 night cruise, you are going off season. That can be good and bad. The weather and the fellow cruisers play a big part for me in my cruise experience. You will pay more during the seaon for good weather. The other people who are paying more may generally be a different class of people than those who book off season to save money or the groups that are put together on a budget off season. Just my opinion...

PS I have had inside and outside (not balcony yet) and it did not play a big role in my experience either.

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Old October 20th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I can't yet say if ESS has a point, as we've not yet cruised (Celeb "Century", West Carib, Dec. 4 '04 - just about beside myself to go!!!!!). But for our first, I decided to go upgrade all the way (Concierge cabin w/ balcony, Penthouse Deck). If the cruise experience is all I've heard it is, and we get bit by the cruise bug the way all these cruise pros have, then it may be worth taking a less expensive room in order to cruise more often. Look for the "Century" review (and pics, too)sometime the week of Dec.12.............

Caroline
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I remember one story I had heard regarding cruise satisfaction. I was discussing a cruise a business associate took on Princess. He was very upset, and indicated that he would never cruise again. What was the problem?

This person had booked a suite, and was upset that he had to pay for a bottle of champagne. He thought that as he had paid to go first class - that he should be treated as such. This person did indicate that the rest of the cruise was very nice - but as a result of that incident he would never cruise again. At first I thought that my leg was being pulled - but he was quite serious!

Perhaps it is a blessing in life that I am relatively easy to satisfy.
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I have a feeling that ESS's second posting might be more on the mark than the first. It seems to me that many negative reviews appear to revolve upon one or two bad incidents which colored a cruiser's entire experience. To me that indicates a rather small-minded person, but I suppose we can't all be alike.

We've cruised 15 times and, as many folks have said ad nauseum, we've never had a bad cruise. Of course, we've had little incidents that disappointed us somewhat along the way. We've experienced embarkations that were long and unpleasant, and service personnel who were less than bubbly friendly. But we never allowed those situations to spoil our cruise (although I suppose a continually overflowing toilet might alter my thinking).

Maybe it is a matter of expectations which are too lofty and unrealistic. But if anybody expects to take a 7- or 10- or 14-day cruise and have everything go smoothly, then I would suggest to them that they take an owner's suite and dine with the captain every night.

Jack

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Old October 23rd, 2004, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I have seen as many examples of the reverse. Many people are not satisfied no matter what cabin they are booked in. They will always find something to complain about. I personally book balcony cabins or mini-suites. Why? Because I want the extra space. I know that for the most part, I receive nothing different than the person who books an inside cabin.

Many first time cruisers book the "$599 including air" special and find out that they are in a small inside cabin and expected to have a cabin like they saw in the TV commercial or the brochure. I personally know of 3 couples who have said they will never cruise again because of this. They, of course had the lowest category, inside cabins. If you start the cruise unhappy because you don't like your cabin then it will take a lot more to make you happy for the rest of the cruise.

Take care,
Mike

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Old October 24th, 2004, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

MIkeM - it just goes to show my one piece of advise for people about to cruise for the first time:

Research, research, research.....

I measured out 185 ft in my hard one day so that I could see the approximate size of my cabin!! Okay, maybe I'm a *little* obsessed.....


dorothy

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Old October 24th, 2004, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Don't worry Dorothy - I did the same thing!
Except I measured out 135 sq feet to insure that my wife and I could sleep together in the same cabin without having to "hotbunk" it!
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Old October 24th, 2004, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Personally, I think both ESS and Banker make good points. In the case of ESS, there is less "what a waste" factor if the cruise somehows fails to measure up. Sort of the "glad I didn't pay full price for that" syndrome.

However, like Banker, for me (us) the ship is the destination and we like the Suite life - actually it's more because I have to have a lot of square footage .. under 300sf and I can't go .. just too closed in for me. And yes, the big verandah is a necessity for me.

That said, my expectations for the cruise are not tied to how much money I paid but rather on whether the line delivered the particulars of it promises. If the agreement is that white gloved stewards will escort me to my cabin, then that is, to me, a part of the "experience" that comes with the price paid. If they say I will have champagne in my cabin, then I expect to see it - without having to ask. Neither of these things have a huge impact on my overall enjoyment. But both, though small, would affect my sense of the line's clarity that, like Holiday Inn used to say, "the best surprise is no surprise".

I would not base my satisfaction on a matter of "subjectives" quite so much - such as whether a comedian was funny or the vanilla ice cream tasted "funny". Those kinds of things really are, to me, just a matter of opinion and shouldn't be part of my overall evaluation. I read with interest the reviews and comments of cruisers and am freqiuently struck by the "soft" issues that seem to destroy their experience. I am personally more aggrieved by the failure to deliver a certain product on a consistent basis.

It's an interesting little problem for people who try to deliver a product to a mass market and essentially live and die by the impact of an unknown standard for evaluation. We all use different markers to determine whether we "like" something or not.

If the line promises me a stage show and they deliver a stage show, then i am satisfied with their comptency. The fact that I don't care for the show only indicates my tastes and does nothing to devalue the line's competence.

I would be the guy who says, loved the ship, loved the service, hated the buffet but it was brilliantly displayed!

Cheers all!
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Old October 26th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Quote:
That said, my expectations for the cruise are not tied to how much money I paid but rather on whether the line delivered the particulars of it promises.
Love this statement, Steve! Well said.

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Old October 28th, 2004, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I wanted to comment on this.. In business (I run a software company) what I've found is that the absolute most important thing is meeting customers expectations. Companies that over-promise, and can't deliver it (even if their product is superior to ours!) always create rather angry customers. We've taken a policy of under-promising, but ALWAYS meeting expectations and it's been extremely succesful.

I think that's what happens here. Different customers have different (Far different) expectations when they book a cruise.. often those expectations are tied to one particular facet of the cruise, other times it's more complex.

For example, on my first cruise (Conquest last December) there where sevreal unhappy people that I noticed. The waterslide was closed basically the whole week, for example. Certain people had built that waterslide so much into their expectations about what the cruise would be like, that when it stayed close their overall experience was ruined.

Others (more commonly) tied their expectations to the food. The food on the conquest (in my mind) was suprisingly good.. some of it was uninspired, but I was able to always find 3 or 4 items that I really liked. Yet I heard a lot of complaints about the food, from those who had the expectations that they where going to be eating perfect 5-star quality food every night.

This is why well-researched cruisers are happy cruisers.. it's not that they are more prepared for the cruise (they are), but it's that their EXCPECTATIONS are much more in line with the reality of the experience. It's that simple... and there is a lesson here for the cruise lines. A lot of the 'blame' for this can be placed squarely at the feet of the cruise lines themselves.. they over promise incredibly. They make the rooms seem bigger, the venues larger, and the experience better than it can possibly be. That attracts business, but it sets the bar at an impossibly high level to consistently meet.
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Old October 28th, 2004, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

EES
I can only respond from my own viewpoint ..................... I have sailed in an "inside" & "veranda" cabin. I had different expectations for each cruise, and loved both of them. It's what I planned for & had researched for on each one. On HAL, the balcony experience with DH, coffee early in the morning, late night talks under the stars. On the Magic, fun with the grandkids, not much space or time to myself to enjoy a balcony, so didn't get one. It's what you personally need on any given cruise. Nothing works for everyone, just do what makes you happy & you can't go wrong! Different strokes, etc. Cathy

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Old October 28th, 2004, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Whoops .................. sorry, meant to say ESS ! Can you tell it's been a long day?
Cheers, Cathy

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Old October 30th, 2004, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Re: Cruise Satisfaction

I want to respond to Nick P's remarks. I think you hit it exactly right. Its one's expectations that make the difference. Often, you don't know you have these expectations until you are disappointed in something on the cruise. I am now a "wise cruiser", and know what I like and can't tolerate. This came after experiencing a cruise many years ago that I didn't like at all. Actually, it took many years for me to chance it again. When I did it was on the Silver Sea Silver Wind - the top of the cruiseline market in my opinion.

Just to give you an example of what I don't like about the mass market cruises:

Service, service, service! Poor service, waiting in lines, poor quality of food.......
Small cabins. Crowds. Having to say "excuse me" when navigating the ship...
Attitude of "conspicuous consumption", meaning the emphasis on ice sculptures, huge quantities of food that you know will be wasted.....
Assigned seating
Tipping.......
Art auctions and tacky looking boutiques with cheap merchandise piled on tables outside.........
Too many people!!!

Of course, you get what you pay for and in the case of SilverSea, most cruises will cost at least 3 times a mass market cruise. Sometimes though you can get 2-for-1s, and it is worth while searching.......For me, the extra cost and the all-inclusive nature of the cruiseline is worth it!

Like Nick said, expectations.........
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Old October 31st, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Satisfaction

Actually, I share the views of both ESS and Glenda.

Were I to take a mass market line, I feel the REAL values there are in the "$599 special" inside rooms. To pay $2000+ for a 300 sq. ft. balcony suite on the SAME SHIP with the same quality and aminities (or lack theeof) just makes no sense.

For the same $2000+ one can catch Silversea or Radisson on a "2 for 1" and get the balcony suite PLUS high quality service and inclusions.

Basically, I will put up with much more nickel and diming, tackiness, and service "glitches" when I've paid $599 than when I've paid $2000.

Thanks,
Richard
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