One subject I often see these days on various cruising discussion groups is dissatisfaction with a favoured cruise line constantly cutting back onboard and making loyalty a waste of time as they reduce perks.
When I began cruising in 2006, staying with the same line never occurred to me. I enjoy experiencing different things. In my first 12 months I sailed Cunard, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, P&O UK and NCL. I had so many booked before setting foot on a ship so it was a good job I liked to cruise! I have now sailed on 10 cruise lines and found they all have their plus and minus points.
While trying something new isn’t a modern phenomenon, it has become more prevalent over the past few years as people tire of what they loved becoming unrecognisable as they make changes to attract a younger demographic and more first timers.
MSC has introduced Status Match to lure passengers across at the expense of perks to their loyal Voyagers Club Black Card members who have paid the money all these years. The problem is, far too many won’t be going back due to the line being more international.
One bugbear of mine on main lines is taking away public areas and replacing them with cabins and pay restaurants while leaving less space for the increased passenger numbers. Royal Caribbean is probably the worst for that and if I only sailed with them, it would most likely make me look elsewhere.
With so much information at our fingertips these days, it’s very easy to be put off changing due to bad reviews or someone’s awful experience.
My advice would be to ignore it all and go with an open mind. Cruising, like everything in life, is subjective. One person’s best cruise ever is another’s cruise from hell.
I learned this lesson when I sailed on the 2 night inaugural of Norwegian Gem. I had read so many bad things about NCL I dreaded it. But I needn’t have worried. It was a fantastic cruise. I enjoyed the ship, the crew, Freestyle dining and have sailed Jade, Epic, Breakaway and Getaway since.
No cruise is perfect and I’m always surprised when some claim theirs was then attack those who had been on the same one, writing in detail the negatives they had encountered, which are agreed with.
So should you see if the grass as greener away from your comfort zone? I’d say so. You won’t know unless to take the leap into the unknown.
Bon voyage – whichever line you choose!