What do you want to see on board a cruise ship? Our surveys said . . .

//What do you want to see on board a cruise ship? Our surveys said . . .

They certainly love their market research at Carnival UK. Not content with asking every passenger to complete a questionnaire at the end of each cruise, they are constantly commissioning opinion polls to find out why people do – or do not – favour cruising, and topping that up with surveys carried out by students from Southampton Solent University.
All of which helps to fill the company’s annual Cruise Report – out this week – with dozens of statistics, numbers and percentages; some fascinating, some mundane, others simply bizarre.
Some of it may even be confusing and counter-productive for an organisation which includes a variety of brands – Cunard, P&O, Princess, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Costa and Carnival – under its corporate umbrella.
For example, a YouGov survey of 4,000 people concluded that Cunard’s three ships are the most recognised in the British market, and yet P&O is the “most recalled” cruise brand in the UK.
Helpful, or what?
I’m not sure either that it’s useful to discover that there is little difference between the number of men and the number of women drinking wine – although it must be more reassuring to learn that the fact that TV’s Olly Smith has personally selected the house wines on board the fleet’s ships encourages about 40 per cent of passengers to order it.
All the more reason his influence should be extended beyond the Glass House wine bar on Azura.
The executives in charge of the different brands were invited to suggest a money-no-object feature which has never before been seen on a cruise ship – surely rather galling for most of them, who do not have any new vessels on order.
Tennis fan Lynn Narraway, of Carnival and HAL, had her own personal reasons for suggesting a full-sized grass court – she wants Roger Federer on hand as a personal coach.
And Costa’s Marco Rosa came up with the most imaginative and innovative proposal. “I would love to see an underwater restaurant built – glass-sided – out of the stern,” he said. “With mood lighting, this would be a fantastic experience.” Without wishing to steal his thunder, I recall making the same suggestion a few months ago.
But I would love to see the market research (that phrase again) which P&O’s Carol Marlow says prompted her to recommend thumbprint recognition technology to replace cruise cards for embarkation and disembarkation, cabin access and on-board purchases. Can that really be uppermost in passengers’ minds?
Cunard’s Peter Shanks’ ideas for making cruise ships more family-friendly, with on-board school classrooms during term time entirely laudable. But his thoughts on young passengers using Facebook “to tell all their schoolfriends about their travel experiences,” sounds a bit like Gordon Brown boasting he had the Arctic Monkeys on his iPlayer.
They’re already doing it, Peter. And they don’t need any sophisticated (and expensive) internet facilities to do it when they have iPhones and BlackBerries.
The most sensible – and achievable – idea comes from the man at the top of Carnival UK. David Dingle wants to see Jersey or Guernsey build a pier capable of taking cruise ships – which currently have to ferry passengers ashore by tender.
However, I would question his wish to see either of the Channel Islands turned into “our version of St Thomas or St Maarten.” With row upon row of duty free shops primed and ready to welcome 20,000 and more passengers a day, those are among the least desirable of all the Caribbean destinations.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:09+00:00 31 March 2011|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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