After much “encouragement” from my better half, I recently took a 4 day cruise from Sydney to Hobart on a large cruise liner that regular plies its trade at this time of year in Australia. How did the customer experience stack up?
While cruises are very popular, it is not my ideal style of holiday, I am more of a great outdoors man. I had visions of going stir-crazy within the first 24 hours –stuck on a 1000 ft. boat with no chance of escape. ‘How would I keep myself entertained?’ I worried. So I loaded my luggage with the essentials; a book, my laptop and of course my trusty mobile phone.
Surprisingly, I never opened my laptop (I found this also is a way to ensure ongoing marital bliss). The book lay unread and the mobile phone was only occasionally glanced at to ensure that Armageddon hadn’t struck the outside world.
I put this down to how the cruise liner had constructed the entire customer experience. The arrival on the boat was the start of a consistent and carefully constructed experience that was focused on keeping me (and the 2,500 other passengers) happy and occupied.
There truly was something for everyone; it was amazing that they could cater for so many different tastes and needs and still create an overall high level of satisfaction – on a boat!
There was a gym (I used it! once), swimming pools (tick), multiple bars (multiple ticks), cinemas (never got to them), dining rooms, cabaret shows, rock climbing (great fun), shopping (boring) and on and on. While some of the things didn’t appeal to me, they appealed to other people. There was an experience that was unique to me and also allowed the other 2,500 people to have their own unique experience leading to a high level of satisfaction for all of us.
So, how did the cruise liner achieve this personalised yet mass experience?
The things that stand out for me are:
- Clearly set expectations for the customer: information was distributed and communicated so at all times I knew my options.
- Multiple experiences available to each person as they wanted: despite being on a cruise, we still had control of our experiences and choice.
- Empowered employees: everyone is able to help you or find someone who can.
- Trained Staff: people knew how to do their jobs properly.
- A sense & culture of fun.
Is cruising my ideal holiday – No. Will I go on a cruise again? – Absolutely. The experience was definitely worth it.