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Doubt It

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  1. The travel industry has substantively reduced the quality of their product over the past years - and particularly in the past 10 years. The roll out of the segregation of "classes" has been an effective screen used by the travel industry to hide downgrades. Items that used to be available, for all, were migrated to the upper classes only. The significant jump in price to access these former common attributes is well above the rate of inflation. Another trend is the use of industrialized food preparation, watch for the Sysco trucks at shore side. A higher than ever % of food stuffs are made a shore, the notion of everything made on board is not valid. This reduces the quality of the product, and the food experience, but saves money for the travel industry. Evidence of the travel industry's success in their migration and cheapening strategy is in their share price. What is interesting that cruising 20 years ago on Celebrity was an event, the MDR was outstanding, the level of service premium. Celebrity still made money, enough to commence the S class segment. The customer won and the cruise line. Fast forward to 2019, cheap is the word and price increases routine on Celebrity. Cruise posters on CC, across all lines, note something has been taken away or cheapened. It was not always this way. Don't think going up the cruise food chain will help, check out the recent Oceania reviews and threads, a significant decline in Oceania product and service let alone their reputation for missing ports. Our family has significantly reduced our travel budget due to the above. Trips are much less frequent and significant analysis is undertaken to determine value for money. We are not accepting of the travel industry's overall downgrade.
  2. Thanks to the OP for this thread. I would say the cruise lines have little interest in what customers say - We are in the era of management knows everything and management is increasingly isolated in their executive suite. The recent LLP Q&A was laughable, but she had to be seen from time to time to assure us she is still alive. Take the current Oceania thread topic of the customer service survey. New approach. Apparently you have to do the survey on your 2nd last day of the cruise, not at the end - And - it has to be done on the on board computers - of which there are only 3 on the small R ships. Humm. I support the notion of having the survey sent directly to corporate (avoids on ship management manipulation) but using on board computers (which takes up your purchased time). Maybe some day it could be done on peoples devices directly, but I do not use my device while on a cruise.......... My impression this is a token activity by Oceania because they really do not care about customer feedback - because well they have the best food at sea, right>? I find that cruise lines are non responsive to customers versus land based hotels for example. I have always a much better response to issues from a hotel versus the mostly arrogant and non responsive guest relations people on many cruise lines. I have no issue with changes to cruising but I will choose to cruise or not based on those changes.
  3. Actually, no cruises contemplated, first time since 1989. Had moved up the food chain thinking a better experience, not. Oceania, not (read reviews these days, yikes), Crystal not bad, Regent excellent. But, all are downgrading and I and our friends got the impression that all cruise lines are anti-customer these days. Moved to land vacations; best trip of our life in June on a premium trip through Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France - then QM2 home from Hamburg to NY. Outstanding, well beyond any cruise. Excellent local food experiences, special cultural experiences organized for our tour, prepaid and organized attractions, luggage pick up at door of ones hotel room. Not a complaint. Had excellent premium wine included in the package (you could see it poured so you knew what it was) and then you could pick other beverages al a carte. We even had local Austrian wine and Swiss wine, excellent. Got a 3 week trip, including QM2 sheltered balcony, for less than my Oct 2018 17 day trip on Oceania - no contest which was the more rewarding experience; the land tour. My large Canadian TA in Vancouver says that cruise bookings are way down in her agency but land tours are way up; being booked by the younger set and the retirees. They are corporately moving to emphasize land touring and downplaying cruising. She also indicated that there is growth in the specialty cruises like Iceland, Canadian north etc but not the mass lines.
  4. Celebrity does not to have to change anything, consumers seem to be falling over themselves to book the product - and in so doing knowingly approve of the marketing tactics, costing and product. Apparently Consumers Reports mag is considering an investigation into deceptive cruise line marketing schemes, so the costing profile above is excellent evidence. We and our friends will not book Celebrity for many reasons, the beverage package reduced offerings and reduced bar staff and pours of cheaper liquors being just one reason.
  5. Another price increase. Read RiverEagle's recent cruise review. This review talks about the poor quality wine offerings in the premium package, as reported numerous times on this site and in other cruise reviews. This person decided that order a drink by drink and specify exactly what wine you want and insist on seeing the bottle as it is poured - provides better value than purchasing the beverage package - and that is before this price increase. Celebrity pioneered the beverage package and they are laughing to the bank while they laugh at the people who purchase it. Reduce the offerings and reduce the staff - sweet. Any service provider who makes it so complicated to purchase a product, is deliberately working to screw the customer.
  6. There appears to be an increase in posts on CC regarding itinerary changes across all lines. A common theme is the lack of detailed information provided to passengers before and/or during the cruise. If the cruise line has nothing to hide (a new immigration protocol, ship congestion in port due to other ship movements etc), then the reason for the adjustment can be provided in an open and transparent manner. Weather is often the excuse, a specific excuse that does not always measure up to scrutiny. With technology, any service provider can easily contact their customers and provide updates. My last, and to be last, cruise with Oceania was a mess due to missing 3 ports and a delayed arrival in a 4th. There are 10 posts on this specific cruise on the CC review board, a record expression of dissatisfaction. Oceania made no effort to substitute ports along the central american coast line with the many available ports. From time to time a poster will trot out the "contract" as a defense of the cruise line, really? Good quality customer service does not need to hide behind a "contract".
  7. Chemmo, your comments summarize my feelings about Celebrity and cruising in general. The constant downgrading and eliminations year after year give me no confidence in cruising. Having cruised many years, there were decades where you booked knowing that the product would be as good as the previous year - those fab Celebrity lemon tarts with the small square of bitter chocolate on top would be there, again. The shrimp and avocado sandwiches in Baco upon entry to the Solstice in 2013 in Barcelona, oh my. Both gone. Celebrity was busy building the M class, S class - big investments, but still they provided a consistent, high quality product to everyone. In the past 5 years the industry is focused on cutbacks, on all lines while at the same time making the ships more Vegas, perhaps to distract patrons from the downgrading. The words "nickle and dining" were not routinely spoken or written about. It is not just the mass lines, the Oceania board right now has many comments about the downgraded food and service, which I concur. I am very suspicious about the intent of the cruise industry and simply do not trust them to provide what I paid for. But then, I am suspicious about many industries and their downgrading of products/services, think airlines. People all have different assessments, this is mine.
  8. Completed a Hamburg - New York TA in June. The food in the Kings Court and Britannia were not great, let alone good. Kings Court had the cheapest bread assortment I have seen anywhere, cheap salad ingredients, bland highly cooked meats and sides. There was 0 garnishing around the food trays - a cheap looking buffet. Rarely patronized it. A fail in comparison to HAL or Celebrity. The Britannia is the most glorious MDR on the seas. The menu however is again cheap - very small portions, minimal garnishes, bland taste, hard and dry proteins. The french onion soup consisted of a dry mix with water, a few onions - a strong chemical smell. It was served with a small round dry cracker with a few sprinkles of cheese. Seriously, it was sent back. All the food was a disappointment and more so when one is sitting in that glorious MDR. A fail. However, the Alternative dining venue option of the Smokehouse, Coriander, Aztec (located in a part of the Kings Court) - was the Best Food At Sea I have ever had - better than anything on Oceania, Crystal etc. For $20 pp, it is a steal. We are astounded with the Alternative dining option and will eat there always on the QM2. In fact, there were Grill patrons eating there and they said the food was more interesting, tasty, presented with flair than the heavy meat and potato food of the Grill. One gentleman said he will no long book the Grill, rather a veranda and eat at the Alternative option and the Veranda. The Veranda easily competed with Oceania's specialties and exceeded them with no effort. I am actually offended that Cunard would provide such cheap, unappealing, uncompleted food in the general food areas and MDR. It is an affront to the QM2. Many of the above pictures were from the extra fee venues so in no way should be viewed as representative of the general food on the QM2. The QM2 is outstanding.
  9. I view all cruise lines, mass, premium and luxury as all being aligned to reduce the product and increase profit; most certainly not focused on the customer. It is not only the mass lines like HAL. As a former regular Oceania cruiser, I have eliminated them as a supplier. Their recent menu downgrade, poorer quality ingredients, the precooking of the "famed" lobster, the creeping in of par frozen breads, dry crumbling scones, the frozen tea sandwiches on cheap white bread and the obvious cut backs in staff - have significantly downgraded the Oceania experience. Their prices have increased. Also it is the creeping Vegas style of the new ships on all lines - the obvious loss of the ship experience. Limited outdoor viewing areas, eliminating the forward viewing lounge (especially on Celebrity). I am in the target age market for the mass lines and find the Edge etc trivial and dumbed down. If I choose a ship, I want to be on a ship, not a Vegas hotel. The cruise lines can do what they want - and so can consumers. Our family and friends are moving from cruising to land based tours with private tours. Completed in June a outstanding tour of Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany and a QM2 TA back home. No cruise can come close to this experience. We ate in the best local restaurants, stayed in great hotels, never had to lift a finger other than pack our suitcase. The price was not higher than the same time frame on a cruise. For consumers with open minds about travel options and consumers who refuse to be loyal to any service provider - cruise lines watch out. Many savy consumers are not accepting your increasingly cheapened and dumbed down cruise experiences. I understand cruisers who have sailed for decades being sad to see the previous gracious experience slip away. But I am a relative newcomer to cruising, and I am not impressed. Many in my coveted age group reject fake and manufactured experiences, just the experience rolling out of the docks as newbuilds. Time will tell how the cruise line chase for the younger crowd works out.
  10. After many cruises on varied lines from mass to premium to luxury - we have ended cruising except for TA's aboard QM2 and perhaps a few speciality cruises to the Canadian arctic etc. After a very disappointing Oceania voyage that did not resemble the advertising, we advised our TA to not alert us to any cruises. People should be aware there are consumers leaving the cruise industry and replacing cruising with land tours and personalized tours with private car/driver/guide. Our TA advised, that land tours combined with personalized tours via their concierge group, is by far the fast growing part of their business. Many of her clients have indicated an intense frustration with cruising, a frustration that was not relieved by going up the food chain - my experience. Cruising is becoming Vegas at sea and the link to the ocean is disappearing; the Edge is an example. The artificial karma of new builds is designed to part guests from their money. Also, the constant cutbacks combined with increased pricing is not acceptable. It just hit me one day that cruising is fake. Another key driver for ending cruising is the dismissive behavior of cruise lines and the fact this industry is much more unregulated versus land vacation alternatives. We completed in June a land tour of Austria and Switzerland with post trips to Paris and Hamburg where we picked up the QM2. The land tour was spectacular and so well organized. Ate the best local food. The hotels were first rate. Simply the best trip I have ever taken, because I reflected, it was real. If one opens up the vacation frontier to consider something other than cruising - your enjoyment will expand and you will no longer worry about what HAL or any other cruise line is doing. If you get a cruise itch, check back to CC to see what is happening and then decide.
  11. JIMinNC: Thank you very much for the cabin number. This gives me comfort to know there is a quiet cabin. Happy sailing to you always. Doubt It
  12. To the OP, what cabin number were you in. I am very noise sensitive and have difficulty sleeping - so a quiet cabin is critical for me. Thanks
  13. Greetings folks: I have a 40th wedding anniversary in 2022, contemplating my first PG cruise. To maximize the best weather for this trip - what is the best time of year to go? I am somewhat aware of typhoon season down there during the northern summer period - so I assume that would not be the best time. Your assistance would be appreciated. Doubt It
  14. Thank you so much for your time to post this great report. We are considering our first PG cruise in the next couple of years. One of us is a geologist and I am a physical geography fan - so our trips are always first and foremost about the land and water and sky. Your pictures are wonderful. Wish PG would acquire another vessel. Also, I agree with previous posters about the vicious posters on Oceania. They must be affiliated with the company in some way. We have fired Oceania as they have a bad habit of missing/shortening ports - having experienced this numerous times, they will never, ever get our business again.
  15. Right on phoenix_dream. Celebrity allowed the Silly cruise to significantly vary from its normal product, and did not alert guests in advance of what they were purchasing - Celebrity fail But while aboard, Celebrity is accountable to enforce basic decorum to ensure the ship board atmosphere reflects the Celebrity product - Celebrity fail Parents fail - in any venue, parents are accountable to ensure their children mind their manners and conduct themselves in a respectful manner so as not to disturb others. A bit of more energy and excitement can be had in children's onboard venues - but out side these venues - behavior should be constrained. But many of today's permissive parents of "free range kids" have no rules. News flash, I am not interested in your kids and I am not prepared to be inconvenienced by them on a ship or elsewhere. When I think of a cruise with 600 kids, I think RCL. Enough said.
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