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Nearly 20% report problems on cruises

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(CNN) -- A cruise can be a stress-free escape from day-to-day life, promising all-you-can-eat buffets and nightly entertainment at a reasonable price.

But some high-profile incidents aboard ship have led to rough sailing for some cruise lines, with a new survey showing that 18% of passengers report experiencing a problem on their trip -- and walking away unsatisfied.

Nevertheless, overall customer satisfaction with cruise lines remains high, according to the survey from J.D. Power and Associates.

Conducting its first report on cruise line consumer satisfaction, the global market research company wanted to see how the industry ranked in customer service relations after a series of events that captured headlines.

Among the recent bad news: The Costa Concordia hit a reef off the coast of Italy in January 2012, killing 32 people.

Then there was February's Carnival Triumph cruise, which experienced an engine fire in the control room that led to a loss of electrical power for five days.

In May, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas caught fire, forcing the ship to cut short the trip.

"It is important for cruise line companies to understand their strengths and weaknesses in the service they provide to their passengers," says Ramez Faza, senior account manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D Power.

"Cruises in general are not something you get on to go from point A to point B," Faza says. "It's more for the experience."

Problems on cruise ships can vary from complications with a passenger's food to the steward being late to clean your cabin, says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of x.

Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Holland America Line came in first, second and third, respectively, in customer satisfaction, while Carnival ranked last in the report of eight cruise lines.

The survey measured seven factors that affect a customer's experience: service, state of the room, food, the efficiency of boarding and departing on the ship, entertainment, cost and excursions.

"When you're on ship for a long time, there are bound to be problems," Faza says. "I think the biggest thing as a company is the ability to recover."

When Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas had a fire in May, the cruise line didn't waste time in notifying customers of its recovery plan. Less than an hour after the fire was extinguished, company representatives tweeted details that passengers would receive a full refund of the fare paid and a certificate for future sailing.

Though cruise lines are catering to the majority of their passengers' needs, Faza says the firms need to be more aware of positive and negative feedback and work on customer retention.

Customers are often voicing their opinions regarding service through social media.

"The ability to voice your opinion has made a huge impact," Faza says. "It's important for companies to even address these opinions and acknowledge their customers for the good and bad comments."

By Alisha Ebrahimji, Special to CNN

For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more


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"Problems on cruise ships can vary from complications with a passenger's food to the steward being late to clean your cabin, says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of x." This statement coming from a website that does nothing about members that are really nothing more than "Trolls" that are there just to insight anger in unsuspecting members and their staff does nothing about it!! cc also has a problem with responding to messages sent to them via their "Contact Us" link when it comes to reporting these infractions (they don't). So, any statement made by them in my opinion is MOOT!!! Now, to my feelings on this report.......

Complications with food and the steward being late to clean your cabin? REALLY???? I would like to know how many of the people taking the poll were experienced cruisers or first time cruisers. If you are not happy with your food in the MDR, you can have it replaced with the same served correctly or you can order something else. Your cabin steward does not have a specific time to clean your cabin!! I have always been amazed on my past 9 cruises on how it seemed our cabin steward was peeping at us from down the hallway waiting for us to leave so he could clean our cabin. There were times I would leave our cabin, then forget something and go back to the cabin minutes later just to find it cleaned perfectly!!! And, your cabin is not the only cabin they clean!! If you have spoken to any cabin stewards, they would tell you there are those passengers that are just right out SLOBS and those passengers cause the steward to spend more time cleaning their cabins and delaying cleaning yours. I have found that you will ALWAYS find passengers on a cruise that will not be happy with ANYTHING!!! I'm sure YOU have too!!.

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I agree, Tim, and have said it all along, the majority of complaints are from people with unreasonable expectations or on their first cruise and didn't know what to expect. An engine fire is a "problem". The steward not cleaning the cabin in a timely fashion is an "annoyance". Unfortunately, the media likes to confuse the two.

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We agree with the comments above. This article seems to be pretty loose with how they defined a “problem”. Also, on every cruise we run into people who never go to any of the shows and never eat anywhere but the buffet (and this still surprises us for some reason). I wonder if any of those folks responded to this survey…

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This is a rather interesting topic...

We have only been on 5 cruises - 1 Carnival, 2 Norwegian and 2 RCI. On the duplicate ships we have noticed a different "climate or culture" on each ship. Example: We went on a Norwegian ship in Alaska and did not find the ship itself that enjoyable - the staff were not really friendly and a couple of staff members snapped at me when I asked questions. From that point on we just made sure we did not have a lot of interaction with the staff, but we considered it a great cruise because WE'RE CRUISING ALASKA!! How could we not? The other Norwegian ship we were on, the staff were so over top helpful and friendly we still consider that our #1 top cruise. The captain would be out and about talking to cruisers every day, asking about their experience and if he could do anything to help improve it. I saw an officer (not sure what kind, but obviously an officer due to the stripes on his uniform) - stop and clean up spilled ice cream in the hallway himself. I'm sure he could of just ignored it or reported it for someone else to clean up, but the ship must be that important to him that he just took care of it himself.

As for the complaints...well I think other posters have hit the nail on the head.

A fire on board, running a ground with any injuries or loss of life - these are serious issues that the company needs to investigate and fix. These are safety issues and must be addressed. Are procedures being met, are inspections and repairs being done as proper maintenance? That sort of thing can not be tolerated (by any company), but especially where the consequences can be so dire.

The other complaints...I had a woman complain to me once about there not being any mashed potatoes on the buffet - for 10 minutes she went on and on about this. I mean really...mashed potatoes! You are just looking for something to be unhappy about...


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Hi Naomi! I think your experiences on Norwegian show how really important it is for the upper management and officers to “lead by example”. It looks like their work ethic, dedication and pride was definitely reflected in the entire crew!

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