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MizDemeanor

Staffing Levels Diminishing?

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Posted (edited)

Today, I read a post that had some serious information from long time frequent and loyal cruisers who felt that there was inadequate staffing at venues on their recent cruises. We know service impacts the guest experience and Celebrity used to be able to state that they had a very high staff to guest ratio which may no longer be the case. 

 

Is the market so flooded with ships and larger ships that employees can no longer be located? We know its a tough gig for an extended period of time....

 

Or is it something else? 

 

What do you think?

Edited by MizDemeanor

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Posted (edited)

Just my personal opinion, but I think it's because the cruise lines are major corporations that want to make money.  Most major corporations try to operate with as few employees as possible.  The fewer people you have to pay the more money you make.  Everyone "doubles up" on the amount of work he/she currently does.  If someone leaves the department often times they are not replaced and their work is absorbed by current staff but the quality of work suffers because folks are over-worked.  This is happening everywhere - not just on cruise ships.  Cruise ships are no different than any corporation on land.

Edited by jcpc

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We did a 12 night cruise on Silhouette in December and saw great service all over the ship and no change from our previous few cruises. Sometimes I guess people have differing expectations. Ours were met.

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We were on the Edge in January and had the best service in our 24 Celebrity cruises, maybe because a new ship.  We will find out in 3 weeks when we are on the Eclipse.

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We were on the Reflection for 21 days in January and never felt there was a shortage of staff and we had a great time!

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4 minutes ago, jelayne said:

We were on the Edge in January and had the best service in our 24 Celebrity cruises, maybe because a new ship.  We will find out in 3 weeks when we are on the Eclipse.

I also sailed Edge in January and I agree that the service was fantastic.  I think it's because it was a new ship.  I sail Summit quite frequently and I can definitely see where on Summit they have cut back staff in dining rooms and other public areas (most notably bar waiters/waitresses!)

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we agree 100% that service on all of Celebrity ships is excellent, but, to be honest, we have noticed that there have been staff cutbacks in the restaurant service areas as well as room stewards.  The ones that remain work 3X as hard as in the past, and do their very best to give the excellent service that is expected.  We really appreciate them and thank them with extra cash gratuities at the end of the voyage.  They have really earned it

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Not sure if the issue is related to the relocation of crews to the new ship. But on that original post in a review, the poster was comparing to his long past experience. I can say the same thing for most, if not all, airlines with declining services in the last few decades too. Competition is getting higher while profit margin is getting thinner. Reduction in service and cost is inevitably. However, there would still be a tolerable limit or they will be out of the competition.

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2 hours ago, jcpc said:

Just my personal opinion, but I think it's because the cruise lines are major corporations that want to make money.  Most major corporations try to operate with as few employees as possible.  The fewer people you have to pay the more money you make.  Everyone "doubles up" on the amount of work he/she currently does.  If someone leaves the department often times they are not replaced and their work is absorbed by current staff but the quality of work suffers because folks are over-worked.  This is happening everywhere - not just on cruise ships.  Cruise ships are no different than any corporation on land.

The dirty underbelly of capitalism.

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2 hours ago, QueenofKrakatoa said:

The dirty underbelly of capitalism.

Yes, but then who would wish to sail with a line run under socialism :classic_wacko:

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Just life these days. I’ve gone from being a manager, to a manager, admin worker, and trainer, same salary just a lot more work.

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It's the nature of all of the ever growing cruise lines, accountants determine that by cutting staff you can save money, which means more profit for the shareholders. The consequence of having less staff seems to be ignored. Cruise lines seem are cutting back on the higher quality guest speakers, dance hosts and beginning to charge for more and more things that were once inclusive. 

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On Solstice last November it was very obvious that staffing was either down or badly managed.

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There really have always been staffing cuts.  When we first sailed with Celebrity in the early 90s four people served you every night in the dining room.  There was the waiter, assistant waiter, separate individual to take care of drink orders and the sommelier's. Service was extraordinary then.   Believe also there have been cuts in the bar service at the pool and other areas. 

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5 hours ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

Yes, but then who would wish to sail with a line run under socialism :classic_wacko:

All I'm saying is that we're seeing negative effects of capitalism now. You can't have the service that you used to because the company saves money by not giving it to you. 

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1 hour ago, dkjretired said:

There really have always been staffing cuts.  When we first sailed with Celebrity in the early 90s four people served you every night in the dining room.  There was the waiter, assistant waiter, separate individual to take care of drink orders and the sommelier's. Service was extraordinary then.   Believe also there have been cuts in the bar service at the pool and other areas. 

 

Don - We actually had these four people serve us in the MDR during our recent Silhouette cruise and they were all fantastic!  One thing I did notice - the maitre d' (or whatever the manager of his allotted tables would be called) came around to our table maybe only once during our 12-night cruise.  On our last Celebrity cruise, which was back in 2008, the maitre d' stopped by all his tables pretty much every night.  Plus, I remember he was always in a white tux jacket, and this time, our guy wore a boring brown or grey suit all the time.  I'm not complaining about that, believe me!  However, I did notice that the reason he couldn't make his rounds to all the tables was because it seemed a lot more people had things to complain about! 

 

I think staff members are also run a lot more ragged these days because more people feel entitled to a certain level of service, and they won't hesitate to voice their opinions.  For instance, there was a large table fairly close to us in the MDR with three loud, boisterous families most nights (who also wore t-shirts and hoodies and jeans on NYE / evening chic night, natch).  They weren't so close that we could hear them, but they were close enough that we noticed how they were constantly sending food back and ordering other things, and the maitre d' was at their table every single night.  Of course staff members won't have time for other guests if they have to pay so much attention to this one table.  I just don't remember people complaining and expecting so much in the past.  It seems that some people think that, just because they are on vacation, they are royalty all of a sudden and their demands take priority over everyone else's needs.  I would hate to work in the service industry these days, so my hat is off to anyone who does work in that industry and can still manage to have a smile on their face!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, QueenofKrakatoa said:

All I'm saying is that we're seeing negative effects of capitalism now. You can't have the service that you used to because the company saves money by not giving it to you. 

 

And passes along a lot of those savings in the form of fares not being significantly in creased over the last 12-14 years. At least that is my experience. :classic_biggrin:

Edited by bookitdanno

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6 hours ago, MasterNotCommander said:

accountants determine that by cutting staff you can save money, which means more profit for the shareholders.

 

Accountants would prefer an increase in revenue, rather than cutting staff. If every guest paid an additional $100 per 7 day sailing, that's an additional $250,000 on a sold out 2500 passenger ship.  That pays for a lot of staff. 

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Posted (edited)

Years ago a coworker told me that every time we got a raise the company go 3 times as much work out of us.  I said that was BS as I didn’t work any harder than I could.

 

As the years went on I understood what he meant.  They got more productivity out of us.   When I hired in the plant had 195 millwrights.   Thru  the years the size of the plant grew 4 times the size and the amount of millwrights decreased to 65.  This resulted in the use of man lifts instead of ladders and picks, and scaffolds, cranes instead of rope and cabin falls.  Large fork lifts  that could move equipment instead of rollers with men using pry bars and etc.   jack hammers instead of sledge hammers.  in some ways we didn’t work as hard and it was a lot easier because of the equipment.  

 

when I started working in a office we had a receptionist, secretary and etc.  The receptionist and secretary were elimated as we all started using computers and did our own typing and sent out emails.  Outside visitors could no longer walk in so we had to go to security to get them.  The list can go on and on. 

 

The manpower may be cut but it really doesn’t mean they are working harder just more efficient.    It may not be noticeable to the public but behind the scenes in a restaurant one example would be the washing dishes by hand and now a dishwasher.  More effient and probably cleaner.   The kitchens may be laid out more efficient, ordering system easier ...

 

Happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

Edited by miched

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The question is how much is someone wanting to pay for the service.  Its always a balancing act with resorts/hotels/cruiseships.  That's why there are different tiers and what is expected.  Celebrity has changed over the years and it is clearly seen with the service.  In truth I have never had bad service on a celebrity cruise and I am always aware of how the staff is working, just use to it from when running hotels/banquets etc. I think it also is with the lines getting more and more ships the staff does get spread out more and the great/good ones are spread much thinner now.  Just throwing more staff out there is not the answer but having them trained correctly etc is .  And with cruises not exactly having any down time its not an easy balance.  I always tend to find a few staff get to know them in the areas I enjoy going to...ie pool, world class bar, martini and acknowledging them for there work does wonders for service moving forward every day. To many people, only my opinion nothing more, do not acknowledge and act like they are the only ones who are important. 

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2 hours ago, QueenofKrakatoa said:

All I'm saying is that we're seeing negative effects of capitalism now. You can't have the service that you used to because the company saves money by not giving it to you. 

You seem to have some mis understanding of economics.  It is the Corporation's Fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for the benefit of their investors/stockholders.  However, cutting staff, services, etc. will not generally achieve this goal because the consumers/cruisers react to changes ("elasticity").   In simple terms, consumers will take themselves and their money to a different company that provides a better product.  And the beauty of Capitalism is that such a company will exist or be created to fill the vacuum.   Under many forms of socialism there may be no incentive to create a new and better product.  Or look at from a different point of view.  Would you be willing to go on a Venezuelan cruise line?  Oops.  Are there any Venezuelan cruise lines?

 

The system only fails when the consumer (cruiser) becomes "loyal" to a particular product (cruise line) and accepts a consistently diminished level of service.  So the fault lies not with the cruise lines, but with the customers that empower them by continuing to support the product "no matter what."   You are not getting the service that you are used to....because you are willing to settle for what you get.

 

Hank 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I did notice a difference on Silhouette in January. On Solstice class ships we are fond of sitting at night on the lovely balcony area aft of the Ocean View buffet to admire the stars and enjoy some tea. Over the years as time went by, that area used to be staffed with a crew member to keep tables clean and sweep the floors. On the ships with a bar there, the bar was attended. Now those crew members are gone on Silhouette. Once in a while a crew member will come out and make a quick stab at checking tables. 

 

What is unpleasantly noticeable is that the shallow gutter by the rear railing is now filled with dirt, crumbs and small food items, straws and the like. We have never ever noticed this lack of attention to ship's cleanliness before on any Celebrity cruise. This area did not appear to be cleaned our entire ten night cruise. I tend to feel that this might be symptomatic of either lack of sufficient staff or of supervision. 

 

We  can talk about profits and bottom lines, but if I begin to feel that Celebrity ships are no longer the immaculate ships we used to enjoy and admire, we will be looking elsewhere. If enough passengers feel the same way, the staffing cuts will have an impact on profits as fewer people book cruises. 

Edited by Silvery Seas Cruiser

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Celebrity used to advertise a staff/passenger ratio of 2 to 1, now they advertise a ratio of nearly 2 to 1, so I’d say, yes,  they are diminishing.

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On our recent Edge sailing there was more than adequate staff on board.  We never felt neglected!  The staff in the Oceanview Cafe was IMO much better than any other Celebrity ship I have sailed.

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2 hours ago, mfs2k said:

 

Accountants would prefer an increase in revenue, rather than cutting staff. If every guest paid an additional $100 per 7 day sailing, that's an additional $250,000 on a sold out 2500 passenger ship.  That pays for a lot of staff. 

 I bet most of it goes in the pockets of the executives.

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