The public forums on CruiseCritic came in for some criticism recently when it was revealed that Royal Caribbean had been providing perks to some of its regular passengers to encourage them to provide positive comment about its ships.
Other cruise lines cried “foul” because they and the users of CruiseCritic expect the views and reviews on the message boards to be impartial. As indeed did the people running CruiseCritic, which is owned by internet travel conglomerate TripAdvisor.
But I have discovered a British cruise line making rather better use of the forums, which are frequently packed with people asking questions about ships they are planning to sail on, or ports of call they expect to be visiting.
Someone at Fred Olsen’s head office in Ipswich has been answering queries, such as “Is Spitfire beer available on the Braemar?” and “What is the easiest way to arrange a supply of oxygen on the Balmoral?”
Well done to Fred Olsen for taking the initiative and living up to your latest slogan, “It’s all about the people.”
Back to complaints about Royal Caribbean for a moment. They have upset some of their loyal customers by changing the privileges available to them.
Passengers will now have to have taken 25 previous cruises, rather than 10, in order to gain access to the exclusive concierge lounge on all ships in the fleet apart from the Independence class.
The concierge offers a short-cut to obtaining dinner reservations and booking spa treatments or shore excursions, but the best perk is the free cocktail hour each evening. Passengers in suite accommodation retain access to the lounges, regardless of their cruise record.