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These are challenging times for the cruise industry. Unlike the US airlines who received tons of money from the government, the cruise lines took the brunt of the pandemic on their own and have yet to fully get back to the levels of bookings they had before COVID began.
Thus we have seen a bunch of “Shrinkflation” happening and many of the cruise lines have copied one another with these changes. For example, WSJ.com reminds us that NCL
“[implemented a] 9% head-count reduction in current and planned shoreside roles”
Other changes including reducing onboard talent on many ships and ending costly extravagant theatrical shows. This is a bit disappointing as entertainment, even over the top entertainment, is one of the exciting things we expect when we get on an NCL ship. What else.
As I posted about the loss of “free” specialty dining nights, that can be very expensive to buy on their own, from the “Free at Sea” promotion is also a real bummer. I think NCL made this change because most would not notice it and it seems they got away with this switch without impacting future bookings.
The other change to daily house keeping, unless you are in a real suite, I am totally fine with. I really don’t “need” turndown service or a second round of cleaning for my room or even towel animals for that matter. This cut should greatly lower the amount of crew to clean and these positions have been hard to fully staff recently anyway.
It seems the next item NCL is going to cut, again according to WSJ.com, is the size of some foods. They report that:
“Examples given include swapping out 9-ounce burgers for 7-ounce burgers…”
I think they need to go even further. I mean think about this fact that a McDonald’s quarter pounder burger is just 4-onces pre cooked weight. While I rarely ever eat at McDonald’s I would never order a double quarter pounder but that is basically what NCL has reduced the burgers to. I still see a ton of food waste by providing too much food at each serving. After all, if someone wants more, they can order another meal vs. just tossing out so much of what was presented.
What are some other things I could see NCL cut that I would find totally acceptable and not impact my choice to sail with them?
On the food side, ending afternoon Canapés service for suites. These afternoon “treats” if you will are most days dry, not very tasty, and just not needed. You have had a huge breakfast, lunch and soon dinner – why do I need this around 2-3 PM when it does not taste that good to begin with. For many this is the only real daily interaction with their butler so I understand why they do it but think they would be better off dumping it.
Restricting the number of drinks per day on the drink package. For example, Carnival limits you to – get this – 15 drinks per day. I can not imagine drinking that many drinks per day. Beyond that this would also have the added positive impact of ending or at least reducing those who have a package going and getting drinks for those who do not.
Limiting bags to 1 per person (checked) unless in a suite. I say checked by meaning that you have the bag dropped off port side and then staff at some point during embarkation day brings it to your cabin. Luggage is a real pain for those onboard both arrival and departure day. Why not charge a fee if you want more than one bag?
These are the few things I think NCL could implement and not just save some money but maybe even make a few more bucks along the way. What do you think of the changes they have already put in place and my ideas for other changes? – René
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