One of the biggest gripes after all the cruises I've been on is the Comment Cards.
FIrst off, and I'll probably get roasted for this, but I have never rated anyone / ship / cruise more than a middle of the road Average. This incessant spiel from everyone from the Cruise Directors down to rate everything as Excellent annoys me.
Don't get me wrong, I love cruising, but I find the experience exactly as I expected it to be not above or below. No one went over and above what their job entailed. The waiters waited on me, the bar staff served me drinks and the room steward cleaned the room. How does this rate as Excellent service or even above average.
Now that I think about it, the cruises I took years ago now would rate Excellent since the product has declined so much. I still like the cruise experience, and love being on a ship.
I didn't feel pressured to rate anyone as excellent, but fortunately for me, I *did* find some of the service above average. Not all of it mind you, but some.
I would always fill out a comment card based on my experience, not based on what the cruise director, or anyone else, wants from me.
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
I agree about the comment cards actually carrying some weight. The responses will drive company policy and in fact the comment cards were the impetus behind Carnival having hot and fresh pizza 24 hours per day.
Businesses want to know what the customers have to say. Good or bad. In fact, I prefer to hear what my customers didn't like so I know what to do to get better. It really does work and I encourage all to fill out those cards.
I don't know if I would say that I don't feel pressured to give an Excellent rating, that is all they talk about sometimes when it comes up. What I don't like about them is when they tell you not to mark a whole department down because of a problem. That is true enough, but I am also not goin to mark up an entire department beacuse of a single individual either.
That is the whole point of the cards. Even when you look at the way they are designed, they are set up to give that impression.
I'm not saying that there aren't people who work hard and enjoy their jobs. These people are noted on my cards. These are the people who go out of their way to make sure that either you are enjoying yourself, or providing what you need.
For instance, our last cruise was a back to back, and the women from the pursers office was just so pleasant about helping my partner and I go through the gauntlet of off the ship and back on. We both made special note on the cards to give her praise.
I have an expectation that I will enjoy the cruise. The card is so marked!
I have noticed a considerable decrease in the number of announcements from just a couple of years ago. Especially on Carnival. And they have not made any announcement in the cabins on the last two cruises either. So they must be listening.
I think if they take the time to print, distribute, collect the cards then they are also taking the time to read them. I think they could be designed better, but I have to assume they paid big money to some research firm to design the cards to give them the feedback they desired.
I wonder if they even read all those cards. You would think that after all the people who complain (and rightly so) about loud announcements, pushy selling tactics, etc., that the cruiselines would actually take the advice they so actively sought.
There are obviously less people complaining about these things on their comment cards than we might think because on most cruises the cruise lines are getting a 98% customer satisfaction rating from their comment cards.
Let's get it all straightened out here people.....
As an employee of RCI, I can attest to the fact that comment cards are beyond crucial for all employees and they are always read. It is the comment cards that determine whether a promotion is deserved and how an employee will be evaluated. Or it can mean an employee losing his job as well. How I know this is that as one of my tasks on board, I have to have staff meetings to discuss these comments.
It is like a letter of recommendation for most staff. I have known many people who were demoted due to poor comments as well as many cruise staff, who were able to get promoted becasue they generated such positive reviews.
So please keep in mind just how serious those comment cards are for the crew. Even the slightest negativity by naming the person will cause a negative reaction to upper management. Or please if you have something positive to say about a staff member....SAY IT AND INCLUDE THEIR NAME!
It's the same way all of you would like to be praised at work for something you have done .
Years ago on Carnival we felt VERY pressured to mark off " excelllant" on our comment cards for the dining room, in fact the waiter begged us to, it was most uncomfortable.
We have since sailed on Princess and since the cards were in the stateroom we have had no one approach us directly and solict an " excelllant " rating. We also do not go to the "debarkation " talks so perhaps that is where it is brought up.
I do think that with "personal choice dining" there is no one waiter to thank or listen to the begging so therefore it is just another reason to like PC diining.
I do find it offensive to be told that "anything less then an excellant" rating will " get me fired". If that is true then all I have to say is " do an excellant job".
That said we have had some excellant service, and we note that on the cards by actually naming the person who was excellant. We have never given anyone a " poor " rating, even when we have had one or two bad expericnes, we rate based on " overall service" not just one incident. Everyone has a bad day.
I guess I dont understand there are so many cruisers out there that are so unhappy with cruising. If I were unhappy with cruising or had to complain about every little thing I did, I guess I would quit going on a cruise. Instead of keep going and complaining about it all. I have always had the time of my life on my cruises. I have always paid my tips and have been happy to do so. After all they are treating me like royalty. I have never came home with any complaints at all. Just the fact that I had to come home and go back to work after having a wonderful vacation. I do understand there is a gripe board so we can complain about things. But some of the things that we are hearing are things that I would say just dont go anymore. But yet. They cant wait to get on another ship. Some people want everything for nothing. Tipping is such a small part of my cruise. If I can afford to cruise I can afford to tip. So look at it this way. U figure it into the cruise price in your mind and leave the rest of us to tipping and enjoying the giving. I feel it shows that I am so thankful for all the great service I have received. If I had a problem I would get it worked out and go on. Dont dwell on a problem solve it and go on. life is to short to keep up the complaining. If you dont like Carnival dont cruise Carnival. There are an awful lot of cruise ships of Carnivals filling up daily. Guess it cant be all that bad. For me It is the Best.... I have been on others and still come right back toCarnival..I understand to each his own.. But keep your unhappiness to yourself. I refuse to be unhappy because you r unhappy. Happy cruising..