I have never posted before. We just completed our 6th Disney cruise, and our 19th cruise overall.
The Disney Fantasy has experienced consistent "technical" problems since it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. These ... Read More
I have never posted before. We just completed our 6th Disney cruise, and our 19th cruise overall.
The Disney Fantasy has experienced consistent "technical" problems since it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. These problems continue to plague the ship. Again, on the January 18-25 sailing of the Fantasy, technical problems were experienced which significantly impacted the enjoyment of the guests on board. In addition, this sailing was impacted by adverse weather. It is not because of the weather or necessarily the technical problems that I am writing.
Disney's shipboard offering has significantly deteriorated. Royal Caribbean and Princess now provide better family activities and organized children activities.
Disney's complaint resolution process is very poor and they have demonstrated they do not care about their guests.
It is highly unlikely that we will never give Disney any of our money in the future, based on their lack empathy, honesty and poor guest experience.
Had Disney's shipboard and land-based staff decided to deal openly, honestly and transparently with their guests, our opinion may be different. However, Disney executives decided to "write off" the experience and concerns of more than 2,500 guests. They don't care if you are a first time cruiser or a repeat cruiser. They just don't care any more about the customer experience.
On the Jan 18th 2020 sailing of the Fantasy, there appears to have been significant staffing issues which resulted in a very poor guest service from the cruise director and her staff. Rather than be upfront, honest and transparent about the problems, the ship's captain lied to the guests onboard. We missed two ports of call (Grand Cayman & Falmouth) supposedly because of weather (though weather did not impact Royal Caribbean or Carnival at these ports), and many guests missed the "Star Wars Day at Sea" as they were sick in their staterooms because of the rockiness of the ship caused by the ship's technical problems.
No management personnel were available onboard to address the concerns of guests, and since returning guest relations staff have sent one inaccurate, unapologetic, empathy-lacking "form" email. I spoke with a DCL Guest Correspondent, who sent the "form" email and she said that management had made a decision not to deal with the poor service on board or the disingenuous statements because they had determined that all concerns were weather related. This is not true. Hundreds of guests have tried to work through Disney customer service channels, including Mr. Vahle, the president of Disney Cruise Lines, but the only response received was the factually inaccurate "form" email and selected calls reading from the "weather" script.
Disney apparently does care if you are a "social media influencer" as a number of such individual were scheduled for the January 25-February 1 on the Fantasy.
Because of the technical problems experienced by the ship on our cruise, all guests on the Jan 25th cruise, likely because of the social influencers on board, were given $150 shipboard credit and a modified itinerary because of the Fantasy's technical problems and its inability to maintain speed causing the need to change ports.
DCL management has acknowledge that there are more disgruntled guests from the January 18-25th sailing than is normal. This is a clear indication that there were problems far beyond weather. Management is trying to hide behind a weather narrative, when the real issue is how the ship's crew dealt with the guest experience issues caused by the weather and technical problems, and more importantly failed to deliver a quality product on board the ship.
From my perspective, Disney has historically had a stellar reputation of a company that truly cares about providing top tier entertainment and experiences for its guests. Our experience last week has now exceedingly tarnished our view of Disney because of the lack of transparency, honesty and empathy.
I understand that my family and I represent only eight guests, but more than 2,500 guests were adversely impacted. Many were on their "cruise of a lifetime". Disney Management doesn't care that many people saved for years and years to pay the premium charged by Disney.
I do want to state that part of our cruise was excellent, clearly up to Disney standards. In particular the Food and Hotel side of Fantasy operations were top-notch. Our dinner servers and head waiter were excellent. Our stateroom host was also very, very good.
It is the inaccurate, false and misleading information provided by the ship's captain, , and the Cruise Director, which have created the firestorm of disgruntled guests.
Most importantly, the guest experience on this cruise was severely lacking compared to prior Disney cruises. In part, this was because of a lack of staff and a lack of Disney zeal from the staff that were in evidence. It could be that there was a crew illness (this is the most likely explanation for the lack of personnel and lack of planned activities and lack of "weather related' replacement activities)--but why not be honest and say so? For one of the few replacement events there were no Disney personnel in evidence, only the puppeteer performing (for the third time of five appearances). The lounge for his performance was so overcrowded that the coast guard would have fined Disney had they been aboard.
The counselors at the children's Oceaneers club were not engaged. The shipboard entertainment was lacking in quality. Family activities, such as family karaoke, were scheduled at 10:45 pm at night rather than at 2 or 3 pm when families would have liked to attend. These are just some of the examples of the lack of service on this sailing.
The lack of information during the cruise, and the misinformation provided after the cruise, exacerbated the problems and concerns which naturally occur when multiple ports are missed because of weather or other technical issues.
The significant dissatisfaction of our family and most of the other 2,500 guests could have been avoided had the Captain, Cruise Director, and Disney land-based guest services staff been honest, empathetic and transparent. Just a few examples include:
* the Captain sent a letter stating that we did not tender in Grand Cayman because of weather. Royal Caribbean did tender. We saw them.
* The form email stated that the alternate location was on the other side of the island. Point of fact, it was 8km from the main port. No information was provided by the captain that it was Disney's choice not to tender--they could have; they just didn't, and didn't explain why.
* the Captain announced that we could not dock in Falmouth because of weather. the Cruise Director said we would be sailing to a replacement port, Ocho Rios. We didn't stop at Ocho Rios and no information was provided as to why we did not stop.
* The form email stated that conditions where not safe in Ocho Rios. Carnival did dock. Why was it safe for Carnival and not for Disney. Why did Captain Marco not explain what was going on?
* Third party sources, and a Disney employee on a disney blog, stated that the Fantasy experienced technical problems on January 20th, before or after leaving Cozumel. The form email claims the technical problems occured on January 23rd and therefore did not impact the missed ports (supporting the weather narative used by management). If the January 23rd date is true, why was the ship delayed in arriving at Grand Cayman, then again delayed in arriving at Falmouth, then again delayed in arriving at Castaway Cay.
* Third party sources show that the speed of the ship was 20% less than normal. Why did a technical issue that supposedly occurred on January 23rd, impact sailing speeds on January 21st and 22nd?
* The form email stated that guests were not impacted by the technical issue, yet many guests were sick and could not participate in the Star Wars Day at Sea activities because of the rockiness of the ship. The cruise was marketed as a Star Wars cruise--why does an inability to participate in a key aspect of the cruise not impact a guest?
* Why did the cruise directly crassly broadcast on the stateroom tv system that you should all be happy that you are getting off this ship.
* Why were there less cruise activity staff in evidence on this cruise than on any other cruise we have taken on any cruise line?
* Why were there not back-up activities scheduled to accommodate missing ports of call?
* After two unexpected extra days at sea, why would you not show some gesture of empathy such as providing free popcorn for the movie, rather than the normal $ 10 price. Small things can create significant goodwill. Lack of transparency or empathy creates distrust.
I could go on and on. The above items highlight the overall disengous response of Disney personnel, creating the lack of trust. The point is: DCL management appears to be totally supportive of a Captain and Cruise Director that do not meet Disney standards of honesty and care of the guest experience. This cruise did not meet Disney standards.
I have never posted before--but if I were a member of management, I would want to know the real facts. I would want to have guests trust in Disney. At this point I am not looking for compensation, as our family has decided we cannot trust Disney and we will not pay the Disney premium again in the future. The dishonesty, obfuscation, poor on board entertainment and organization, poor child activities are the reason for our decision to no longer give our hard earned money to Disney; not the weather--weather is understandable. Weather does not, or should not impact staff actions. I find it sad that Disney apparently does not care about guests and chooses to blame the weather for a Captain who lacks honesty and transparency, a Cruise Director and her staff who cannot provide a Disney level onboard experience, and a PR operation that cares more about "social media influencers" than 2,500 guests who were not provided with an expected Disney experience. When trust is breached, it is difficult to rebuild.
Unless you have money to burn and don't care about the ship board experience for you and your children, and you don't mind if technical problems with the ship cause you to miss expected ports, DON'T CRUISE WITH DISNEY. You will receive much better value and a much better family experience on other cruise lines. Read Less