We’re back! The cruise was fantastic. As we unpack & undo our sea legs, I asked my readers if they’ve ever had a cruise experience that exceeded their expectations. Bruce surprised me when he said he had – on the much maligned Carnival Cruise Lines. I asked him to share his story with all of you. I’ll be back Thursday with a review of our time on the Celebrity Summit.
It was 3 in the morning and my wife, Lauren, woke up to find I was not next to her. Normally, most spouses might think something of it but she went back to sleep almost immediately. It was the third night in a row this had happened so she was use to it by now. Without a doubt, she knew I was up on the lido deck. Yes, the lido deck — on a cruise ship — in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Why was I there? Well, have you ever been on a cruise? Two reasons: 24 hour pizza and 24 hour ice cream. Try to find something better at 3AM and you probably won’t.
Lauren and I booked a cruise on the Carnival Sensation to the Bahamas in October of 2011. We booked the trip thinking of the usual cruise ship stereotypes: ‘Uncle Eddie’ walking in a Hawaiin shirt with a beer in each hand. The handful of kids bouncing off the walls (and almost overboard) with their unlimited soda card. And, of course, the cheesy dance nights in the so called “club” on deck 7. Sure, we found all of this while on our week long cruise but what we found around every corner was something even more important: a level of customer service that far exceeded our expectations (Even if it was the cruise director trying to get us to dance).
From the very beginning we felt as if the customer service exceeded our expectations. We figured we would have to wait to board the ship for a while. When we arrived at the dock, we were escorted to a back office and checked in to the cruise that way. Apparently this type of check in is for loyal customers or customers staying in a certain room. We had booked a suite with a deck so we had the expedited boarding, etc. While being checked in the agent made sure everything was correct for the trip while another agent was there to answer any questions we might have had or to recommend any excursions. It was something we didn’t expect and being first time “cruisers” we appreciated it.
Once on board we met our cabin steward. He asked us if we needed anything and if we ever did, just call his phone. I had to only call once but when I did he seemed overly excited to help. He couldn’t wait to help us with whatever we needed. We saw him quite a few times on the ship just while walking around and every time addressed us by name. Pretty nice considering each cabin attendant takes care of 25-30 rooms, sometimes more.
Overall, what we thought would be a goofy, fun filled, cheesy, cruise experience, turned into something that was, well, a goofy, fun filled, cheesy, cruise experience — but with every single member of the staff going out of their way to address any concerns that anyone may have had.
Carnival Cruise Lines has been under attack recently for several (big) incidents which have happened on several of their boats. I can honestly tell you that even with the accidents, I wouldn’t hesitate to book a cruise with them tomorrow — that’s how much the customer service impressed us. In fact, Lauren and I are currently looking at cruises to Alaska.
I wonder if the Alaskan cruise have a 24 hour ice cream bar?
Bruce Bere is a world traveler that is on the hunt to visit all 195 countries. Changing careers from a futures trader to travel blogger 3 years ago, he has been to 15 countries and flown over 230,000 miles. You can follow him on his blog www.nonrevadventure.com or check out what country he is currently in by following him on Twitter @nonrevadventure