Carnival’s got class | TravelResearchOnline

Carnival’s got class

I have never shied away from criticizing a company when it is deserved. Just take a look at my blog! But I am also fair and will give credit when credit is due. Carnival Cruise Lines has rightfully earned its fair share of criticism over the past year for their ever changing policies which are distinctly agent unfriendly. But last week, they may have redeemed themselves in my book.

We all know the story of the Carnival Splendor, the fire, and the Spam. While the media wanted to create a millennial version of the Titanic of this episode, they came up dry. The event was unforeseeable and as it played out, everyone (crew, passengers, and headquarters) realized that there was very little to be accomplished by panicking. Everyone simply dealt with the problem as best as they could. And it had a happy ending.

The passengers who disembarked received a full refund, a credit for a future cruise, and their transportation costs home. In addition, the bars were open on board and 100% of any onboard spending was refunded. Aside from the days lost from work, they were made whole and then some. Bravo to Carnival! Without a doubt, this will be the most expensive cruise that Carnival has ever sailed when you consider that the ship will be missing an estimated 10 sailings if they are lucky. No doubt Mickey Arison is wistfully remembering the “good old days” when the Mardi Gras ran aground on her maiden voyage!

In every business, mistakes will happen. Sometimes they will be unavoidable and other times they are simply a result of carelessness. It is how you deal with it that will make the difference to your customers. I would venture to say that 90% of the passengers on the Splendor are less than thrilled with the experience, but ecstatic about the resolution. If Carnival can capture those 90% and keep them cruising, it is a win. Celebrity recently canceled a cruise in the Mediterranean and they are feeling the heat for their seemingly poor response to the inconvenience.

Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill was the first person on board the ship when it was tugged into San Diego and he personally addressed the guests and apologized—that is class! How do you handle your problems? Do you take the bull by the horns, admit when you are wrong and do whatever it takes to make it right? Or do you deflect responsibility? Doing the right thing, under the wrong circumstances will make your agency stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

  8 thoughts on “Carnival’s got class

  1. Susan says:

    Kudos to Carnival for how they handled the whole situation….and the fact that they protected TA commission on all of the cancelled sailings.

  2. Txtvlgal46 says:

    The fact that Carnival handled this situation well is comendable. However, their continued pace toward company bookings and bypassing travel agents does not elevate them in my book.

  3. Sherrie Wilson says:

    Yes, Carnival handled the fire situation fine-l…However, now my clients are booking their “free” cruise. I called to see if commission would be paid on the new cruise before I booked anything, I was told yes, however, when booking the new cruise Carnival is actually taking the old commission out of the new commission and I get the difference – $10 per cabin! So I did all the work the first time and will do all the work the second time and Carnival really only wants to pay me for one cruise…..I should have let the book the new cruise and they would be doing all of the work….now I am basically working for free…..

  4. Sherrie Wilson says:

    Yes, Carnival handled the fire situation fine-my clients were pleased…However, now my clients are booking their “free” cruise. I called to see if commission would be paid on the new cruise before I booked anything, I was told yes. However, when booking the new cruise Carnival is actually taking the old commission out of the new commission and I get the difference – $10 per cabin! So I did all the work the first time and will do all the work the second time and Carnival really only wants to pay me for one cruise…..I should have let them book the new cruise and they would be doing all of the work….now I am basically working for free…..

  5. Sherrie Wilson says:

    Yes, Carnival handled the fire situation fine, my clients were pleased…However, now my clients are booking their “free” cruise. I called to see if commission would be paid on the new cruise before I booked anything, I was told yes. So when booking the new cruise, Carnival is actually taking the old commission out of the new commission and I get the difference – $10 per cabin! So I did all the work the first time and will do all the work the second time and Carnival really only wants to pay me for one cruise…..I should have let Carnival book the new cruise and they would be doing all of the work….now I am basically working for free– not so please now…..

  6. Debbi says:

    I held my breath waiting for Carnival’s response to the situation, and was thrilled when they came through like champs. They could easily have tanked the entire cruise industry if they had opted for the cheap way out of this. Good for them for having the foresight to rise above the immediate bottom line.
    Thumbs down to Celebrity for the cavalier way they canceled their Med. cruise.

  7. Christina Ferguson says:

    I am an agent who was on the above mentioned cruise. I understand the comments made above with regard to commissions, but please try to think in THIS PARTICULAR CASE about your clients being #1! I have to tell you all that Carnival was absolutely amazing in dealing with the situation as it progressed! You have no idea what your clients went through, and the kindness and professionalism throughout was above and beyond anything I could have imagined. John (the cruise director) was in constant contact with the guests, easing any fears or misconceptions anyone had. He, too, was amazing, and I commend him for his exceptional communication skills.
    Also, Carnival was in constant contact with our loved ones who were worried about us. They called my husband and couple of times to let him know what was going on. My niece called their “hot line” every 1/2 hour, and the operators were nothing but kind and understanding.
    I can’t imagine anything more Carnival could have done under the circumstances! I (and my sisters who were with me) applaud them!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am an agent who was on the above mentioned cruise. I understand the comments made above with regard to commissions, but please try to think in THIS PARTICULAR CASE about your clients being #1! I have to tell you all that Carnival was absolutely amazing in dealing with the situation as it progressed! You have no idea what your clients went through, and the kindness and professionalism throughout was above and beyond anything I could have imagined. John (the cruise director) was in constant contact with the guests, easing any fears or misconceptions anyone had. He, too , was amazing, and I commend him for his exceptional communication skills.
    Also, Carnival was in constant contact with our loved ones who were worried about us. They called my husband and couple of times to let him know what was going on. My niece called their “hot line” every 1/2 hour, and the operators were nothing but kind and understanding.
    I can’t imagine anything more Carnival could have done under the circumstances! I (and my sisters who were with me) applaud them!!!

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