Posted June 26th, 2018, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the reply which I think raises several questions.
Some time ago we experienced a few consecutive disappointing cruises that weren't up to Silversea's normal high standards we left it for many years. Our first return to Silversea after many years away therefore was a leap of trust and sadly was on the ill-fated cruise, you may be I believe referring to. It would be difficult to see how Silversea did any checking whatsoever to see whether the group of 220 were demographically suitably matched for your other passengers as they were just about as unsuitable as it was conceivably possible to be. A simple Google would have shown that they were self-employed agents earning an average part-time income of less than £10 per week and being offered all they can drink for seven days in the luxurious surrounds of Whisper was as though they had died and gone to heaven.
The details of how that cruise "progressed" is fleshed out elsewhere on Cruise Critic in great detail if you wish to read about what it was like, by several passengers, so I won't repeat it all. Let me just say that by taking 220 low income agents that were not employed by the company that had paid for the trip and who therefore had no employment sanction control over them and who simply wished them to get as "smashed" as they possibly could and party as hard as they could whilst Silversea continued supplying them with alcohol 24/7 could only make the experience of anyone else who took that cruise with reasonable expectations, would be extremely upset, disappointed and angry with Silversea for not giving them the choice and putting them through it. The group were largely drunk from before the safety muster briefing onwards for all of the seven days and nights. With 220 of them there was effectively nowhere on the ship to escape from them except confining oneself on an almost permanent basis to the suite which really wasn't what we paid for and were expecting. We would have far preferred to have been at home than on that cruise. A ship isn't like a hotel where you can simply repack and check out and go to another hotel. So trust is very important. The promises made on the ship that Silversea at head office understood exactly what had happened and would be generously compensating us evaporated once we got home and I and others feel deceived.
I do not believe it is possible for anyone who wasn't on the cruise to really understand what a truly dreadful experience it was. And by not offering them reasonable even if not generous compensation AND perhaps a future discount to reestablish trust seems to miss the point entirely and feels like contempt. Service recovery is all about firstly putting right what went wrong, and then seeking to create an opportunity to rebuild trust by incentivising future business when trust and confidence has broken down. Just using a customers loss as a marketing opportunity and not properly compensating seems to me to be an inappropriate response of a company with Silversea's credentials and reputational aspirations.
With respect to your comments about you warning customers and allowing them the opportunity of making an informed choice whether to book the cruise or not, then it seems to me from your general comments and approach that if ever there was a time that Silversea ever should have warned it's other customers then this group booking should have been it. But Silversea didn't do so and it seems therefore failed it's customers badly, and really from my contact Silversea's position is that it did nothing wrong in accepting this group booking and did nothing wrong when it failed to inform Venetian customers when considering booking the cruise so that they could make an informed choice and book a different one if they were concerned, and that Silversea had no responsibility for the light or more accurate no-touch management of the resulting carnage of a cruise that clearly wasn't what customers would have expected and shouldn't have been forced to endure.
Every company makes mistakes. Great companies admit there mistakes quickly and honestly and then does all it can to genuinely put things right. When they do so, the honesty and the situation handling should result in most rational customers being impressed and forgiving and even more loyal. Silversea's customers shouldn't be forced into litigation just to force Silversea to take responsibility for it's own failings. It should behave honourably towards it's customers and your people should treat your customers in the way that they would like to be treated as