Customer Service – Carnival Style

Carnival SpiritLast week I was away on one of my favorite types of vacations, a cruise.  The destination is rarely the reason, it is the comprehensive nature of so much being included and the incomprehensible levels of customer service.  I feel like an important person all the time I am on that ship.

I’m what would be called a veteran cruiser, and have racked up quite a few trips since my first one in 1983.  Most have been on Carnival Cruise Lines, because their service has always been consistent.  Not every cruise line has afforded me that expectation.  I attribute this service level to a solid training strategy, and a lot of coaching.  You see it in the constant communications with every employee, with supervisors being coached by their managers.

This past cruise lived up to my service expectations from embarkation to debarkation.  Unfortunately what was disappointing was the entertainment and food quality.  But here is why I don’t go running and screaming about what wasn’t up to par.  Sure I completed the online comments with details, as it has been the custom at Carnival that these are read and considered.  Yet I also understand that entertainment and food quality is a local problem with that ship.

Service training and standards are the same for all of their ships so there are processes in place to ensure consistency.  An individual chef can tweak a standard menu and change the quality, just as an individual entertainment director can make a bad hiring decision.  Feedback can correct ship issues, and so I try to focus more on what is harder to control.

On an average cruise ship these days you are looking at 1000+ crew members in the service side of the passenger experience.  I am always so amazed at how well they achieve such a high engagement level with so many employees.  I’m sure they have their issues like any organization, but you hardly ever see or hear anything.  And given how some passengers behave and think they are royalty at times, it is amazing still that more employees don’t completely lose it.

So once again, hats off to Carnival Cruise Lines!  If you haven’t taken a cruise before, make it a priority this year!


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