Yesterday I wrote a Dear John letter to the cruise line I’ve chosen for my personal vacations for the past several years. Some shocking policy changes were a last straw for me and I finally had to say enough is enough; I’m moving on.
It seems that someone is always reaching a breaking point and jumping ship (figuratively, of course) for another cruise company. The good news for the cruise lines is there’s always a new customer to be had. The bad news is that it takes a while for a broken-hearted former customer to recover.
We turned to Cruise Critic’s Community Forum to find out what is driving once-loyal passengers away from the cruise lines they once loved.
Have you noticed this year that many cruise lines have been raising fees and revising policies, giving priority to suite class passengers and changing loyalty programs? We have. (Follow our Cruise News for more details.) In fact, we’ve noticed dissatisfaction on the Cruise Critic boards – and occasionally here in our own office. Sometimes there’s nothing left to do… but break up.
I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you. It’s me.
Well, actually, it is you. You’ve changed. You’re not the same cruise line I fell in love with.
The day we met was love at first sight. I’d been with enough other cruise lines to know I had met my match. You weren’t like the other lines. You didn’t require the same things of me as they did. I could be myself with you. No fancy dress required and it didn’t matter to you if I stayed in an inside cabin or a top suite, you treated all your passengers the same. We were perfect together.
But lately you’ve been distant. You’re pulling back, taking things away you once offered freely.
Cruise lines spend countless hours making sure their passengers have the best cruise vacations possible, but sometimes cruisers know what cruisers want. In our new series “If It Were Up to Me,” we ask ourselves — and the Cruise Critic community — what we would do differently if we were in charge.
This week: Imagine you are the itinerary developer for a cruise line. Where would your ships sail? Would there be port-heavy sailings, overnights or scenic cruising?
“I’d definitely overnight in Alaska,” says Colleen McDaniel, Cruise Critic managing editor. “I would love some time in the smaller ports — one day for excursions, another for time in town. That would be ideal. I love the flexibility of river itineraries, spending just a little time in some ports, a ton of time in others. I would love to see ocean cruise lines adopt more of that approach. Some do it already (Azamara and new Viking Ocean), but it’s difficult. I also wish they’d pay attention to regions and what’s popular where. For example, in Mexico, deep-sea fishing is a big deal, but you have to go early. Many ships don’t get into port until afternoon, so you can’t take advantage.”
Tip: Dinner for two in a cozy specialty restaurant, chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your cabin, walking along the top deck on a starry night… Cruises make the perfect romantic getaways. One way to set the mood is a little less obvious. If you’re venturing off with your significant other, pack some battery-operated tea lights. These flameless candles add a dreamy glow to any room — just be prepared to sleep in late the next morning.
Full Article: Read 6 more cruise cabin hacks that will change the way you cruise forever.
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In the My First Cruise series, Cruise Critic reaches out to first time cruisers who recently returned from their very first cruise to find out why they chose a cruise, how they liked it and how it compared to what they expected and where they want to cruise to next.
Planning your first cruise? Check out our First Time Cruisers section, geared just for you!
Want to be featured? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Mike Burkhart
Cruised with: Son, daughter and son-in-law
Ship & itinerary: Four-day Mexico itinerary on Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Triumph
Q: Why did you decide to take a cruise?
A: There are two or three people at work that have been on cruises and they had nothing but good things to say about it. I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a few years and this year, all of a sudden, I just put my foot down and said we’re going to do this.
Cruise Ship: Carnival Freedom
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Background: Hardworking 50-somethings sentrydriver and his wife decided to treat themselves with a cruise to the Western Caribbean. It was their third Carnival cruise in a row and seventh overall — and Freedom did not disappoint. Between good food, handcrafted cocktails and making new friends, their recent cruise left sentrydriver repeating, "You cannot find a better value."
Onboard Highlight: The Alchemy Bar, where sentrydriver and his wife gathered for "big city drinks" with new friends each night.
Port Highlight: Opting for a private snorkeling tour in Roatan paid off; the two lucked out having the reef to themselves, and the overall process went smoothly.
Don’t Miss: The beef duet of tenderloin and short rib in the Chic dining room.
Watch Out For: Many trivia games are held in the casino lounge area, which tends to get noisy and smoky.
More: Read sentrydriver’s full review for more details about the ship and ports of call.
Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.
Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.
Relaxing and trying something new are among (many) things I love about cruising. But I was interested to discover thousands of passengers shed a lot more than their inhibitions when they step onboard.
According to altogether revealing research by the American Association for Nude Recreation, around 30,000 people a year board clothing-optional cruises, available on several lines. A "nakation" – the name the organization gives to vacationing au naturel – is apparently a real thing.
My initial thoughts are that it would certainly cut down on packing and excess baggage issues, aside from the need for a bit more sunscreen. And travel agencies offering nude cruise charters are quick to dispel common misconceptions. For example, in formal dining rooms and speciality restaurants passengers do dress up, in every sense (who knew?). And in answer to the question everyone wonders about: all seating areas are spread with towels.keep looking »