Jump to content

Staffing Issues Query


Recommended Posts

Was on Ovation last week in Alaska and they are not dealing well with higher passenger numbers.  Nearly every morning and afternoon in Windjammer the announcement of reaching capacity and having long waits to get in was happening since very few of their venues were open at these times.  Solarium cafe only opened once and after the second morning, remained closed.  
At Jamie’s for lunch on day 7, from ordering to entree was 95 minutes and another 25 minutes to dessert. 
Main dinning room had several new wait staff and assistants that never performed these duties; they tried hard and did a good job but wait times and incorrect orders were typical first 3-4 days of the cruise, then they got into a groove. 
Overall the wait times hurt the overall enjoyment of the cruise; it was our 14th or 15th RCC cruise and the first ‘disappointing’ one we ever had. 
Not customer centric when they are knowingly understaffed….. they tried hard and the staff worked hard to please people but they couldn’t keep up the usual standard of Royal that we have experienced in the past. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, LizzyBee23 said:

It has the same net effect, so perhaps this is a distinction without a difference.

Same net effect WRT experience, for sure. But there are many who are rightly pointing out that sailings with full staff counts that are reduced by covid outbreaks cannot “staff up” due to unpredictability and occupancy limitations. On the other hand, RCCL knowing of a staffing shortage and booking passengers beyond what the ships are capable of handling with their known staffing numbers is bad business practice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There we go.  Royal knew of the staffing issue.

So funny reading comments saying that we as the consumer should expect less and that somehow, we are out of touch with reality.

Bottom line is that although Royal is a business and they need to be profitable, they went months at lesser capacity cruisers and provided for overall satisfaction.  If satisfaction is the key to profit, full capacity is not the way to do it given the realities of covid, shortages of goods and services, etc.  Go less capacity and provide strong service.  

I hope that things turn around soon.  This post was never meant to be a downer post.  I will, and encourage others to, still try to make this a positive experience and have fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting statement from Royal Caribbean that is posted above.  One incorrect statement on our cruise was that as a first cruise to Alaska for Ovation, the weather was great most of the 8 days, only 2 days of rain, rest really nice so could be out and about.  
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just returned from a trip to Alaska on Ovation.  Staffing issues are REAL.  Lines are never ending.  Wait times are long.  They booked to capacity.  After 10 Cruises on RCCI, I may think twice on booking another.  They (the management) should take a look and lower the bookings until staffing can be corrected.  SAD at the once in a lifetime trip was tainted by a company we have been loyal to.  RCCI's shut down made them forget who their true customer guests are.  Do better RCCI!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I rarely post but as I am on an upcoming Ovation cruise, I wanted to weigh in. We have only sailed Star since the restart. Our first cruise was lackluster at best. Nothing comparable to a pre-covid Star (which we have also sailed) experience. We are a family of 3, not very needy in the request to Genie experience. What we dealt with was lost bags, poor service and slow wait times. Things everyone deals with.  We don’t care about the opinion of folks that sail every week and defend RCL due to Covid. Bottom line up front…we don’t all sail every week. We save thousands, spend thousands to give our families an amazing experience. It is RCLs responsibility to provide customer satisfaction. I do not need to understand I dang thing about their bottom line. They fail…someone will buy their ships and I will still sail. They are a business. I will support the best value for my dollar. Having been disappointed in Star, I can only imagine the disappointment for folks that dont have genies. For all you defenders of this company, You need to look at what keeps the ship afloat. Customer Satisfaction. I am tired of old timers telling me I should lower expectations for the company. They have ended many Covid related programs that protect me. Not to mention, FCC is expiring and Royal spent many months taking those 90 day deposits in the outset. Defend as you will, I am Diamond Plus and ticked. Not about brand loyalty but burned up about old timers telling new folks to expect less. They shouldn’t. Food for thought, my upcoming Ovation cruise will cost 51 per night. Doesnt sound like much until you divide it by 365. That is right. My upcoming cruise, without added excursions, cost 51 per night for an entire year. You are damned right I expect a Royal experience. Us whales keep the fleet afloat. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/16/2022 at 10:59 AM, CruisingNewb said:

OK.  So...not to betray Matt and this WONDERFUL website of his, but I spent an hour reading through another forum thread by someone who was on the Ovation right now.  Here are my takeaways:

1. No reports of Covid on board (at least from the posts that I read).

2. About 3900 passengers on board, which is about a little over 80% capacity if using max numbers).

3. Longest wait time for a meal in the MDR was 1 hr 45 min., but reports of a little over an hour were also present.

4. Northstar, from my research, prior blogs and vlogs, has been intermittently down since Ovation was in Asia.

5. Embarkation for the 11 am boarding took about 45 minutes (which is more than okay with me).

6. MANY people were NOT prpeared to board (ie: muster drill, ArriveCan, documentation, etc.)

7. Only a few shows were cancelled/not offered.

8. According to 10-42, one of our members, the Solarium Bistro was closed, but I am not sure if it was for lunch, or permanently for that cruise.

All in all, it doesn't look that bad at all!!!! 😃

Now that you mention it, I don't believe Solarium Bistro was on my list (embarking next week) of restaurant choices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, HomosassaMarshall said:

Just returned from a trip to Alaska on Ovation.  Staffing issues are REAL.  Lines are never ending.  Wait times are long.  They booked to capacity.  After 10 Cruises on RCCI, I may think twice on booking another.  They (the management) should take a look and lower the bookings until staffing can be corrected.  SAD at the once in a lifetime trip was tainted by a company we have been loyal to.  RCCI's shut down made them forget who their true customer guests are.  Do better RCCI!

If you watch any YouTube videos from people sailing on other lines, the stories are the same. Staff shortages are everywhere and are not unique to Royal Caribbean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, natalie.gonzalez said:

that is sad to hear. we are cruising june 24 on ovation. 

June 24 is a long way out.  There can be a vast  improvement by then since I would think most staff would have already had Covid and recovered and any fresh staff that were hired will have at least a months experience, if not more, under their belt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

If you watch any YouTube videos from people sailing on other lines, the stories are the same. Staff shortages are everywhere and are not unique to Royal Caribbean.

if you watch youtube videos on any industry or simply observe your service industry surroundings, you know everything has been hammered by the great resgnation/covid. Cruise companies have to deal with visas and other country's covid mandates. I am sure its a nightmare to get staff back from all corners of the world. Cruising may never be what it was pre-covid. Also, I am sure alot of staff have simply rethought their career plans and left cruise service altogether. We all came back with 2019 expectations/desires for how things should be but have to face the reality it may never be that way again or it will be years. Yes they could book less passengers per cruise to mitigate some of it, but as TWangster said, they have billions of dollars in debt to repay. This is the new reality of cruising ya'll. 

https://www.thestreet.com/investing/carnival-cruise-line-crew-shortage-leads-to-cancellations?puc=yahoo&cm_ven=YAHOO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm loyal to no one and I fully acknowledge it sucks to be on a cruise and not get what you paid for. It's not okay. 

But as said many times in this thread alone, this is the state of the world right now. I'm feeling it in my own job - hiring for a job in my dept and usually get a bunch of resumes - I'm getting next to nothing. Add people getting sick and things are even more complicated. Friends in other fields seeing the same. My dogwalking company was short a few weeks ago and people didn't have coverage for their pups.

 

None of this is okay but for a while this is what it is. No, it doesn't make sense to me that cruise ships are at full capacity right now....but don't we all know this a risk when we book cruises right now? I canceled my march one because I wasn't comfortable around so many people at this time. I scheduled for September hoping for the best but knowing what I'm in for. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, natalie.gonzalez said:

that is sad to hear. we are cruising june 24 on ovation. 

So am I and a LOT of others.  It is the President's Cruise, so I have to imagine they are working through these issues over the next month and we may be fortunate enough to enjoy a better experience..... Obviously that does not help others.  But with the Alaska season just starting up, hopefully it is just the temp growing pains from starting up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand that the main point of this thread is about The Ovation, however this is fleet wide, and worldwide, seems like nothing is untouched.

We love cruising (preferred choice of vacation travel) and understand that during these times it is not always easy to have everything go smoothly Bottom line is on a ship you are a fully “captive audience”, and really don’t have any choices when shows are canceled, or venues are closed.  We sailed on the Allure a few months ago a few days not all most activities throughout the day into evening were canceled this included some venues onboard closed, no big shows. This was not listed in the cruise planner, and we heard the announcement mid-day.

When we do a “land trip” (very rare nowadays) and things go south we can easily move to a different place, go back home or stay.  Granted, we have not done much traveling over the last three years and on a ship, this is a totally different ball of wax.  You can always reach out on social media go to guest services, and that is about it, you can’t “leave and go to another place", check out, walk to another show down the street. I have never heard about anyone doing that on a cruise, leaving early by choice.

Lastly all the prices have increased greatly for onboard and shore excursions.  We do our best with vacation dollars, we live nowhere near a port, then you add the cost of testing and other expenses we hope that the ports of call are open and the staff aboard the ship can handle the full capacity.  I am not “ready” to say well this is the way it is going to be, that might make us change the way we travel with vacations.  You pay (in some cases) a premium price, I expect premium service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having read through this whole thread, a few observations:

1. FWIW, crew shortages, and worker shortages writ large, are not due to "the great resignation." In the US, it's simply a numbers game, and our friend from NZ alluded to record low unemployment there, so I suspect it's true in other countries as well. (FYI, I'm a "recovering economist" - former Chief Economist for a $50B financial institution.) US nonfarm payrolls are still some 1.2M below pre-pandemic levels, so we haven't yet recovered all the jobs we eliminated when we shut the economy down. AND - that doesn't account for normal growth over the ensuing 15 months, so that puts us another 3M or so jobs behind. We're at least 15 months out from equilibrium, unless a recession shortens that.

2. Crew shortages are affecting all lines. Tony at La Lido Loca has vlogged about this on Carnival (which has closed two popular dining venues until further notice), Cunard (which has canceled sailings), and NCL (which, I believe, has also canceled sailings). So being "done with RCCL" isn't much of a solution.

3. I fully empathize with everyone's concerns over this. You work hard for your money (queue up Agador Spartacus) and you expect to be treated right. Only the cruise lines' accountants can say for sure whether it was better to move to full capacity and be short-staffed (it ain't just covid, folks, visas have a lot to do with it), or remain below capacity. Reputation risk is hard to mitigate, because it's not transferable. Time will tell.

4. We are Diamond Plus with over 20 cruises under our belts, and have averaged a cruise a year since we got our sea legs. Our last cruise was Jan/Feb 2020, and we're having withdrawal symptoms, but we waited until the mask theatre ended. We're booked on a TA out of Barcelona on Jewel in late Oct. The good thing about a TA is that we don't really care if shows get canceled, activities get canceled, the Solarium Bistro is closed, etc., etc. We'll sit on the balcony of our aft suite and gaze out at the wide blue Atlantic, which is what we were gonna do anyway. And we don't eat in the MDR anymore (been there, done that), so we don't really care how long dinner takes. We figure a TA is a good first cruise back.

But for the rest of you - again, I empathize. Only you can decide whether it's worth getting back out there and accepting the glitches, or waiting. Again, switching lines isn't an option, because it's universal. And it's not just cruising. I've seen more restaurants close locally in the last six months due to lack of staff than closed in 2020 due to the shutdown, including upscale places. And service? My wife picked up fast food burgers last week, and hers had the bun, the cheese, the tomato, the lettuce, the pickles, and the condiments - but no meat. Things can always be worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/15/2022 at 8:53 PM, CruisingNewb said:

Totally understandable. A couple of points though. 
 

1. Ovation of the seas opened up to full capacity coming to the US. In the few weeks it took to get here from Asia, they should have known about staffing.

 

2. unemployment rate in the USA, especially hospitality, is up from prepandemic times.

 

3. have not heard anything about ovation having COVID issues, only serenade of the seas.

 

My query was if anyone knew info regarding how they will fix this. Not necessarily an analysis for justification.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2022 at 7:25 PM, HomosassaMarshall said:

Just returned from a trip to Alaska on Ovation.  Staffing issues are REAL.  Lines are never ending.  Wait times are long.  They booked to capacity.  After 10 Cruises on RCCI, I may think twice on booking another.  They (the management) should take a look and lower the bookings until staffing can be corrected.  SAD at the once in a lifetime trip was tainted by a company we have been loyal to.  RCCI's shut down made them forget who their true customer guests are.  Do better RCCI!

On last week's Ovation cruise, other than the long lines to debark and re-board in Juneau due to the delayed arrival (caused by a crew-member medical evacuation), we didn't feel like any waits were unusually long for a ship carrying over 4000 passengers. Guess it's really a matter of perspective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2022 at 5:25 PM, HomosassaMarshall said:

Just returned from a trip to Alaska on Ovation.  Staffing issues are REAL.  Lines are never ending.  Wait times are long.  They booked to capacity.  After 10 Cruises on RCCI, I may think twice on booking another.  They (the management) should take a look and lower the bookings until staffing can be corrected.  SAD at the once in a lifetime trip was tainted by a company we have been loyal to.  RCCI's shut down made them forget who their true customer guests are.  Do better RCCI!

Good luck finding a cruise line that is 100% staffed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the correct strategy to operate the whole fleet or operate a smaller fleet that is better staffed and provisioned?   Too many dissatisfied guests will reduce future bookings.    Overall prices are up and the effects of higher fuel hasn't kicked in yet. Of course, the industry (and other travel industries) is still being held back with health protocols too.   Many are not sailing because of the rules to get to/from home countries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2022 at 9:59 AM, LizzyBee23 said:

Posted on a FB group... Seems a pretty direct admission Ovation is understaffed in more ways than one.Screenshot_20220518-100327.thumb.png.7a5b5b73d0b6eb1f011b6c927ce933c5.png

As stated in another thread, canned responses are the norm.  Corp., is a robotic machine, nothing more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

My guess is that the actual number of dissatisfied, never booking again guests isn't any lower than normal and that most people would rather cruise with an understaffed ship than not cruise at all

Yep, many/most understand that Landside Royal vs. Seaside Royal has no comparison.  Seaside is much more responsive to your needs and desires.  If it wasn't for Seaside Royal, I'd probably move on.  Landside Royal is one disappointment after disappointment, bureaucratic nonsense after bureaucratic nonsense.  

Besides the inconvenience of being short crew, I'd like to know the impact of "SAFETY".  Is there enough crew to meet the requirements of ALL emergency situations.  Also, what information are they covering up/holding back. 

For example:  On my May 13th Alaska cruise on the Ovation, 2 of the 3 Genies, within 2 days of each other, supposedly "INJURED" themselves, by rumor only, one hurt his ankle and the other his back.  We told the remaining Genie that we hoped to see them on the ship somewhere/sometime and wish them well.  The remaining Genie said, "No, that isn't possible as they are restricted to their crew cabin.  Restricted sounds a lot like "Quarantined", to me.   Now, I fully understand that I could be way off base here and completely wrong.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...