Things That Have Changed for the Better – and Worse – for Cruisers Over Time!

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Over the last couple of years, especially past the pandemic, several things have changed for cruisers all around. Some have gradually been improved and enhanced, as well as taken away, and others have changed from one moment to the other, leaving guests dumbfounded.

a cruise ship in the water

One of guests’ least favorite things to do once they were on board, however necessary, was to attend the emergency muster drill. I mean, it was opposite to everything a cruising experience generally is! You had to stand still, follow instructions, wait around, and it overall wasn’t a great start to the fun-filled vacation you had in mind. Many cruise lines have chosen to change that to a more one-on-one experience, which, in my opinion, is a lot more productive in knowing exactly what to do in case of an emergency. After all, it’s easier to find a lounge or restaurant than run around looking for a particular section of the open deck. This was, of course, initially caused by the pandemic and the attempts to avoid crowds, but it turns out it was a necessary change we hadn’t thought about. The only downside to this is the amount of staff assigned to the duties involved in such an operation.

Another thing that was improved over time has been the Internet connection quality. As technology has moved ahead, so has the satellite internet access. I remember 10 years ago going online was not only dreadfully slow but also quite expensive, and having an unlimited Internet plan was as far-fetched as having dinner with the Captain. It is now such a common amenity, it is sometimes included in the price of the cruise (as the crucial tool it is). In addition to this, apps have become increasingly powerful tools in most aspects of the on board experience, from making dinner and show reservations, to checking your spending, and so much more, cruise apps are only becoming more and more useful when cruising.

a large white ship in the water

Something that may not be noticed by guests, despite how important it is, is the complaint handling systems. Over time, the software used by cruise ships to keep track of issues reported by guests has allowed the on board management to keep things seamless when it comes to problems guests may face (or make up, seeking compensation). The result? Fewer cases which fall through the cracks, more accountability, and an overall increased guest satisfaction (hence, loyalty). After all, how issues are handled is in many cases more important than the issue itself!

However, not every change is positive. Whether due to environmental, health or economical reasons, many services have been discontinued or reduced.

One example is the towel animals as some lines are ending the practice. Both children and adults loved walking into their room and having a monkey on their bed welcome them in, and looked forward to the elephant they knew was coming up. Of course, when you think about the amount of rooms on board, this resulted in a huge laundry operation, and aside from the cost, cruise lines realized it was not easy on the planet.

Also, rooms used to be made up and turned down continuously, whereas now it is generally limited to one service a day. While it’s true in many cases that was already enough, many people have found this change to be less than pleasant.

a body of water with the sun shining on it

Finally, something that has been increasing for the last couple of years, and further justified by the time ships were out of operation due to COVID, is the prices on board. Cover charges, a la carte prices and mostly everything costs more now than very recently, and this is not exclusively due to cruise lines’ efforts to stay afloat (pun intended), but also because cruise ships’ suppliers have taken the same route. In addition, service charges, or automatic gratuities, have also seen an increase, which is not necessarily welcomed at a time when services are being decreased.

Overall, the cruising industry, much like any other hospitality business, is on a constant change. This doesn’t have to make it any less of an enjoyable experience, as long as you know what the rules of the game are… that week! – ThatGuy (onboard)

 

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That Guy
That Guyhttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
That Guy works for one of the major cruise lines and has for most of his career. He shares his unique insights from an insiders perspective and gives you a view few cruisers ever see or even think about.

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