Monday, January 5, 2009

And Now for Some Good News - Seabourn's First Wave of New Crew-in-Training Has Arrived

In its ongoing effort to put consistency of product above gimmicks, pricing and freebies, Seabourn has announced the its first wave of "cadets" from its Seabourn Academy have just boarded the Seabourn Spirit for intensive, hands on (or as Seabourn calls it "on-the-yacht"), training as the cruise line gears up for the launch of the Seabourn Odyssey.

As Seabourn explains it:

"So how does Seabourn continuously get honest, sincere and downright “gushing” reviews from their past guests? Well, they take training very seriously, and ensure their staff is completely versed on Seabourn’s incredibly high customer service standards. But with Seabourn’s expansion and the rise of luxury cruises in general, it’s challenging to always find the “best of the best.”

As a result, Seabourn created its own Seabourn Academy. Because Seabourn’s training is centered on close-up management and on-the-job experience, the training includes shoreside orientation and a rigorous three-week training period on one of the existing sisters. After they graduate, the cadets are assigned to Odyssey, Spirit, Pride or Legend. They will go aboard all three Seabourn yachts in small groups over a three month period. By the end of 2009, another 200 new recruits will have completed a Seabourn specific training program that will prepare them for a prosperous future and career with Seabourn."

It is refreshing to hear how Seabourn is working so hard to proactively assure a consistency of excellent service while the President of Regent Seven Seas felt obliged to write an open letter apologizing for its service failures and its present efforts to corrects its systemic problems and while Silvesea felt compelled not to challenge the accuracy of this blog about its service decline, but to purportedly explain it away.

Will Seabourn's service be perfect and without error during this training period? No way. Will the cadets make errors? Of course, but probably only once. While no guest wants to be part of a training program, the fact is every time a new crew member arrives on board, there is a training process which the guests are subjected to...as is true in all service business from restaurants to law firms. The key is for excellent proactive training rather than reactive corrections.

Pamela Conover, President of Seabourn, in marked contrast to the statements of the executives of Regent and Silversea, wrote to all past Seabourn guests on December 11, 2008 and stated:

"I continue to have abiding faith in the redemptive power that travel brings to people's lives. I honestly believe that it is one of the most important elements of an enlightened life. It enhances perspective, bestows knowledge and produces heightened awareness of our place in the great family of humanity...

I urge you, especially at this time, to give yourselves the gift of travel, understanding that life is to be lived and that each day is an opportunity that comes but once. It would be our privilege to assist you in enriching your life, by making your travel dreams come true."

I don't know about you, but I most certainly feel more inspired (rather than compelled) to travel after reading that; and knowing the effort Seabourn makes to assure your "travel dreams" bring you the "redemptive power".

Or we can discuss cut rate fares on the lesser desired cruises with inconsistent faux luxury service and food.