Johngold
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

Expectations

I have a couple of questions to ask in the Forum

1) Based on the current cost of the majority of cruise lines for short cruises (ie) Carnival. NCL, RCI ) Are we as travelling public expecting too much for the low cost?

2) As travelling public will we accept the same levels of service and quality of product from our local restaurants and Resorts?

 

I'm just asking because I see a lot of comments in the reviews about poor service from one passenger and glorious reviews from another..... on the same cruise.

 

Are we all going to be like that when we review our fabulous cruise on the Allure of the Seas in January 2018   ?????

Tags: General questions about service.

15 Answers

akaGrandmaJo
Contributor Level: Staff Captain

I think my opinions are skewed because I missed the "glory days" of cruising, having started in 2013.  We are laid back and low maintenance no matter where we vacation, so we have been more than satisfied with the service and experiences we have had with Carnival.

Except for our cruise on the Triumph last fall .....that one made me think we might have to rethink our addiction.  Embarkation in Galveston was the worst we have experienced, the ship felt crowded (and I thought the Sunshine never felt crowded), and the mood of the ship was just "off".  Entertainment was feast or famine.  We still found ways to enjoy ourselves and had a good time, but it wasn't what we have become accustomed to.  Then our cruise on the Breeze in February was awesome as always, so we still enjoy our addiction :)  

Our experience on the Triumph did give me a better understanding of why people who have been cruising much longer than we have are disappointed about the level of service and amenities today vs when they first started cruising.  

meghad23
Contributor Level: Captain

As for 1) I think that with a cruise, that title of "cruise vacation comes" with a certain level of expectation in general so I would say that even tough a shorter cruise is cost wise more appealing to the budget friendly folks, they are expecting the same level as a suite guest on a 14 day cruise, so Yes 2)That is a good question, and I think It's a mix of yes and no... I think it goes to the idea of entitled for people. if we are going to any place where we are a guest, majority of people will expect a level of quality and service be it a restaurant or resort. I'm not sure if I cruised during the "Glory days" of cruising as I started in 2007ish and took a break before continuing, but I would hope that with my previous experience on the ship and cruise line, and interactions with the people on this site we would have a splendid time no matter what!

OldGreyWolf
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

I believe that much has to do with today's overall expectations in general and that there are some the just go with the flo and enjoy what the day alots and then there are those that are hard to please and not often satisfied with the days bounty always expecting and wanting more. It is just a reflection on society in general.

Have you not been on a cruise and witnessed a passenger having a meltdown over something that you felt was a minor annoyance or no annoyance at all?

Sometimes the bad reviews have merit. With out a doubt there are problems on cruises. But not all of the bad reviews are due to bad service or otherwise. Some are due to expectations being high and tolerance for faults being low.

Just my 2 cents CDN which is worth little enough these days. (after taxes worth even less)

Cheers, 

JusMe
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

Expectations can make or break a cruise.   The first time I went on Carnival I had very low expectations for food and service because well,  it was Carnival and I had been loyal to Royal.   By having low expectation I was surprised that the food and service were good.  After that I have  gone on Carnival 6 more times and am about to book my 8th Carnival on the Vista for next year (concert series cruise)  

 

Now my first time on NCL  (the Star) was very bad,  they switched our cabin class and did not give us the cabin type we had reserved, bad service in the cabin, bad service in the MDR and not good food.  2nd time on NCL (the Pearl) expectations were very low (but so was the price 350.00 for 7 night in cabin by myself) turned out the pearl had good service in cabin and MDR and the food was much better then the star so I was brave enough to go on NCL a 3rd time,   big time mistake,  the Star still had bad food and bad service but my expectation were high from the Pearl.

 

New cruisers that hear stories from old time cruisers or people that cruise premium cruise lines like Celebrity, HAL or the Evil Mouse will have high expectations and think Carnival or NCL will give them that kind of food and service.  I can remember my uncle used to say service was so good if he took out a smoke a arm with a lighter would come out of a wall to light it for him,  that was back in the 70's on Sitmar line. 

 

 

 

 

My first cruise was back in 2006 and it was wonderful. I didn't really know what to expect and hadn't researched anything. When I took a break to do only land tours between 2008 and 2015. I know that's a long time but I have friends in London and Paris was spending long weekends in those locations. But when I had returned to cruising, I notice that things had changed. I want to say that the clientele had changed. I mean no offence to anyone but, now everyone is cruising. I mean the type of people you wouldn't want to deal with on land much less at sea. I deal with customers everyday and I wouldn't want to stand in the same foot space as some of them. With that in mind, when something is not right on a cruise you have to be professional and polite and have a little class about yourself. You have to use common sense to know that everything is not perfect and will "not' always go smoothly. This new breed of cruiser (thousands and thousands of them) are beating down the cruise staff. I'm not saying that the crew/crewmembers are not at fault on various ships at times but, look at what has happened to customer service in our regular everyday life.  That same ignorant customer is going to take a cruise and go crazy on some cruise trip over something that could easily be corrected/modified/compensated for.  Sorry to say, but cheap cruises attract all kinds of people who really just need to stay home.  That being said, even though I don't work for Cruiseline.com, I will conduct myself in a professional manor because I would be representing the company. Just as if I were on a cruise with my family.   

noname111
Contributor Level: Captain

 

Great questions!
 

1. YES. Consumers who are new to cruising often begin setting their expectations based on advertising hype. The opinions of friends/family who are veteran cruisers (and remember the old days of cruising elegance as a truly inclusive experience) also contribute. The cruise lines do themselves a major disservice as a result. We are very interested to know if statistics support our belief that the percentage of one-and-done passengers is on the upswing.  Even if consumers are not disappointed in the service level, they will likely be completely disillusioned with the uncharging and nickel-and-diming culture that has become the norm on common, popular lines.

We also believe there is a demographic issue in play (for US consumers anyway).  Many members of post-baby boomer generations have grown up with different parenting models.  The everybody-gets-a-trophy and consensual family decision-making models drive expectations throughout all aspects of subsequent life, including job hunting, performance, management, etc. These have been documented in business literature. It's an entitlement mindset. We do not believe that the cruise lines seriously factor this into their current marketing approaches (assuming the desired outcome is to cultivate life-long cruisers).

When consumers are disenchanted with their cruising experience, not only do they not return for a next cruise... they share their experiences with a well-connected social network. Ultimately, a below-expectation experience taints the very customer base which is being so aggressively courted today. You see it in the reviews of some cruisers on this site. How many cruising disappointments are posted as low rating reviews (with or without justification)? Prospective customers take these opinions into consideration (or they should).

On this point, we feel that adding a survey question to the point of "Based on the expectation set by the cruise line's marketing and advertising, did your cruise experience live up to the hype?" (or similar) would be a valuable. This tidbit of information informs cruise lines as to the over-hype risk of their ads. Of course, this applies to cruise lines that are serious about cultivating long-term relationships with their customers. If short-term revenue gain is the goal, this additional information probably does not add value.

Lastly, we see an increasing problem that seems to be associated with people not taking time to careful read and understand their cruise passenger agreement/ contract. How many times do we see complaints about missed ports, itinerary changes, beverage package limitations, etc. in posted reviews or on social media? Some people get all knotted about it but it is clearly spelled out in the cruise contract. Simply reading the cruise contract will help reduce the disappointment factor to some degree (but not all). Caveat emptor.

2. In line with the previous response (and assuming we understand the original question), YES.  We believe the same mentality applies across cruise and non-cruise experiences alike. Online reviews of restaurants and other businesses tend to reflect a similar mindset in terms of expectations versus reality.

3. NO... you will not be disappointed because you are a very well-informed consumer with scads of cruising experience. You know better than to believe the hype lock-stock-and-barrel.

Johngold
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

CruisingCM

Very good post.

Thank you

noname111
Contributor Level: Captain

Thanks Johngold.  My typos aside cruising remains the best value for our vacation dollar. We managed to enjoy all of our cruises over the years. Sure there were bumps but we are easy-going pragmatists. We read the fine print, don't over-expect, and roll with the punches. That approach has served us quite well.

Johngold
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

Agree,

Sometimes we have to remember that life is too short to worry about some things.

A newer saying went something like this.

"Don't pet the sweaty things and don't sweat the petty things."

I believe cruising to be the best way to get away, mainly because you are really out of communication range. Even on a good day, I can still be reached on a golf course.

On a rough day at work, I can't be reached when I'm poolside with an umbrella drink in my hand....Big Smile

Bubba54
Contributor Level: Captain

I was going to post my thoughts, but CruisingCM said it well. Great post!

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