Posted August 2nd, 2017, 12:53 PM
Yeah these things. And I am one of those that got upset with the changes about the past guest parties. First I was demoted from gold to red (one cruise only then I got back up to gold). Then they disinvited golds from the past guest party, just as my DH finally turned gold. I get why they did it and that there are a lot of golds on the ship. And they can't afford to open the party for them. But give us something else. It will be quite a while before I make platinum. Maybe never, because although I have been on a lot of cruises, I like to shop around. I still plan on trying NCL and MSC when the right deal comes along. And if I could afford it, Celebrity would be my cruise line of choice. So just because I cruise does not mean all will be on Carnival. And I will vacation other places besides cruises...
Of course I would not choose a cruise line based upon repeat guest perks, but if they think it does not factor in at all, they are wrong. Its not the driving factor, but it does contribute to the value of the experience. Right now Carnival is not always the best value for me. And its the little things that have chipped away at the value. Bring a couple of those little things back or give me something new and it may tip things back to Carnival. There was a time that I only cruised Carnival. If you look at my signature and cruise history, you will see that my first several cruises were Carnival. I only started "cheating" recently.
You, as a consumer, have every right to cruise with other lines. That's not a bad thing, competition is good. But can you see the contradiction you create when you say you want more loyalty perks from Carnival, yet you're someone who isn't necessarily loyal to their brand? Look at it from their point of view. If they have a bunch of cruisers who say they want more loyalty perks but are only going to be kinda sorta loyal, they're not going to want to reward that.
I'm sure they know perks factor into the decision making process for a lot of cruisers. What they want to get away from are the ones who base their loyalty primarily on the free perks they're given. I can't blame Carnival for feeling that way. They see a lot of loyal customers badmouthing the company, threatening to sail with another line, or actually leaving and sailing with another line, all because they're upset about their free perks. They're not enough, they want more, etc. They don't want that kind of PR from people who are supposed to be loyal. Can you blame them? They'd rather cultivate a relationship with cruisers who become loyal because they enjoy the brand & enjoy the product. Sure perks are great and I don't think they'll ever go away, but they simply don't want to have to rely on perks to create loyalty. From a business standpoint, all the free perks cost them a lot of money. If they want to build loyalty based on a good product, I think that's a good thing because a good product benefits all of us.
From what I've read, it looks like they're taking a good look at revamping the lower tiers of the loyalty program. Simply put, that's where loyalty begins. They want to get the first and second time cruisers to become third time cruisers because that's when they feel someone begins to become loyal to their brand. As a newer cruiser, I'm not going to complain because it shows they recognize us, too. At the same time, the free perks aren't what's going to keep us coming back to Carnival for years to come. We're more interested in the overall product. Without a good product, they have nothing.
I'm also fully aware that Carnival knows new cruisers are to their benefit because we didn't cruise with, for example, chocolates on the pillows or tablecloths in the MDR, so we're not going to complain that they're gone. Honestly, even if I had cruised with those things back then, I wouldn't be complaining about them now because things like that aren't what's going to keep me coming back. Along those same lines, I'm sure there's things we enjoy now that probably won't be around in the future. It's just a matter of deciding if those things are a big enough deal to take our business elsewhere.