Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another Cruise Ship Survey and Another "Why?": This Time Zagat

It has been announced to day that Zagat (of restaurant survey fame) is releasing a survey of cruise ships. the results, once again, make me ask "Why?" and "Who is actually surveyed?".

Preliminary information is that a mere 2,379 "frequent" cruisers (those who have taken 9.5 cruises on average). In a bit of irony that I just help but point out, considering the ships voted on, that hardly can be considered "a boat load" of votes. I am also fairly certain that there is no statistical validity to how those surveyed were chosen...if they, in fact, were actually chosen as opposed to voted (and said they had been on at least X number of cruises.)

Zagat used a 30-point scale measuring cabins, service, dining, facilities and shipboard activities. While it did break down the ships into various categories, the large ship/small ship ratings were merely a compilation of all of the scores. That said I would like to see the raw data because there are a heck of a lot of sub-category winners arising from those five categories.

For the large ship category (over 1,500 passengers) it was Cunard, Disney and Celebrity.

For the mid-sized ship category (200-1,500 passengers) it was Regent, Crystal and Seabourn.

While I must pause and ask, "Since when is a 200 passenger cruise ship 'mid-size'?" I must also ask with the results of most categories heavily focused on Cunard and Disney, "How many of these mere 2,379 have actually been on a Seabourn, Crystal or Regent cruise?"

The overall ratings were as follows:


.....................Large (1,500+)/Mid-Size (200 to 1,500)/Small (<200)

Top Rooms: Cunard/ Regent/ SeaDream
Top Service: Cunard/ Seabourn/ SeaDream
Top Dining: Cunard/ Seabourn/ SeaDream
Top Facilities: Cunard/ Crystal/ SeaDream
Top Activities: Disney/ Crystal/ Lindblad
Top Overall: Cunard/ Regent/ SeaDream

I am not sure how one is the Overall "best" cruiseline when it is not voted to have the best service, food, facilities or activities, but Regent "wins" that honor.

Similarly, I am not sure how Cunard "wins" for rooms, service and dining when the experience is markedly different dependent on which class of accomodation you choose.

That is, in part, why it is curious that Seabourn has been lumped into the mid-size category by 4 suites (8 passengers) which has never been the case in anyone's comparisons previously. But I guess you can make these things reflect whatever it is you want...which is my point.

FYI, the winners in the various large ship categories are as follows:

Top Fitness Centers: 1. Celebrity Cruises 2. Cunard Line 3. Royal Caribbean
Top Nightlife: 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Royal Caribbean 3. Cunard Line
Top Onboard Shopping: 1. Cunard Line 2. Disney Cruise Line 3. Royal Caribbean
Top Live Entertainment: 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Cunard Line 3. Royal Caribbean
Top Spa Services: 1. Cunard Line 2. Disney Cruise Line 3. Celebrity Cruises
Top Casinos/Gambling: 1. Cunard Line 2. Royal Caribbean 3. Celebrity Cruises
Top Excursions: 1. Princess Cruises 2. Celebrity Cruises 3. Cunard Line
Top Itinerary Choices: 1. Cunard Line 2. Holland America Line 3. Celebrity Cruises
Best for Kids: 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Royal Caribbean 3. Carnival Cruise Lines
Best for Families: 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Royal Caribbean 3. Carnival Cruise Lines
Best for Seniors: 1. Holland America Line 2. Cunard Line 3. Celebrity Cruises
Best for Singles: 1. Carnival Cruise Lines 2. Royal Caribbean 3 Norwegian Cruise Line
Best for Romantic/Honeymoon Cruises: 1. Cunard Line 2. Celebrity Cruises 3. Princess Cruises
Best For Weekend Getaways: 1. Disney Cruise Line 2. Royal Caribbean 3. Carnival Cruise Lines
Best for Budget Cruises: 1. Carnival Cruise Lines 2. Costa Cruises 3. Norwegian Cruise Line
Best for Expedition Cruises: 1. Celebrity Cruises 2. Princess Cruises 3. Holland America Line

I could go through each of these subcategories and "colorfully" express the obvious flaws in many of them, but that just might give this, yet another, survey some sort of credence.

You can read the survey at: Zagat Cruise Survey.