Readers Disagree With Cruise Talk on Best and Worst Concept

A few weeks ago, following my opinion piece on the same subject, I posted a poll asking the following question:

Do you think that there are best and worst cruise lines?

My thoughts were that though each cruise lines has slightly different features to appeal to different preferences, they all produce a very good product, and when value is figured in, it is hard to say that in general one cruise line is the best or the worst.

However by a more than two to one margin, our readers disagreed with me. Here are the results:

* Yes, even when you figure in “value” some cruise lines rise to the top, while others are objectively horrible. (72.0%, 70 Votes)
* No, I think for the most part cruise lines are basically the same with differentiating features to appeal to different market segments. (28.0%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

For a long time, I was under the impression that certain cruise lines were the best and certain cruise lines were the worst. However, I have tried to be more open minded when it come to judging cruise lines. After reading many glowing reports from cruisers who had fantastic cruises on a line that I would not have even considered and horrible reports from people who had sailed my favorite lines, I came to the conclusion that the cruise lines are all close to the same when it comes to overall quality and value but that they just feature different characteristics in order to appeal to different market segments.

Even members of my own family disagree on whether or not the cruise lines are more alike than different. My parents just finished a one week cruise on Holland America, and reported that they didn’t find it to be any different or better than Royal Caribbean or Carnival which they have frequently sailed in the last five years. My husband, on the other hand, won’t consider any other line than Celebrity saying “I know I like Celebrity, why would I risk a lesser vacation on another cruise line.” My Mother-in-law, says “Cruise? Don’t care what ship, its a cruise.” For me, it seems that the most important aspect in terms of quality and value is making sure that the needs of the cruiser matches the product offered. I’m not convinced that Celebrity, the line we’ve sailed for our last 5 cruises, is the only line that offers a product that can meet my wants and needs. I’d definitely try another cruise line should we find a price and itenerary that meets our needs.

Most of our readers felt that even when considering value, some of the cruise lines are objectively better than others. One reader commented earlier that some cruise lines spend less on food and services while charging around the same cruise fare per passenger, making those areas a little lacking in overall quality. I’d love to have more comments from our readers regarding what aspects of one cruise line make it better than others they have sailed.

We’ve also started a new survey. Royal Caribbean is currently experimenting with a tethered blimp or aerostat, that would offer rides to cruisers on the Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s massive new build.
Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, writes the following in his blog:

“This idea is to put an aerostat on board tethered to the ship. The idea is interesting, but it has such a cornucopia of practical issues that I give it less than a 50% chance of being used on Oasis. If we don’t use it on the ship, I will consider it just another of the many ideas our people develop that didn’t work. On the other hand, if it is successful and we do decide to use it on the ship, I will consider it another of my better ideas. Remember, this is just one of many experiments we undertake and, unless we actually decide to go forward with it, one that you will never hear about again.”

Which brings us to our next survey question: “Would you be interested in taking a tethered blimp ride on your next cruise vacation?”

We look forward to reading your survey response and comments.