Sunday, November 1, 2009

Seabourn Cruise Line's Use of the Press - It's Not To Write Fantasy, But To Assure Delivery Of It.

You have read my articles complaining about cruise lines sucking up to the press with free cruises and another benefits so that unrealistically glowing reviews and awards are pushed upon the public as if they were both accurate and news. 

I have recently been very harsh as to Silversea's use of the press during the seatrial of the Silversea Spirit; with a lack of proper accommodations or any service being spun as something good, discussion of spaces being wonderful when they are incomplete and not a single word of concern or issue mentioned.

On October 30, 2009 the Financial Times (the preeminent London business newspaper) had an article written by a journalist invited on the Seabourn Odyssey for her initial run after delivery on her way to Venice, Italy.  Claire Wrathall wrote, in part:

All credit, then, to the upmarket US brand Yachts of Seabourn, part of the cruise giant Carnival, that rather than try out the latest addition to their fleet, M/V Seabourn Odyssey, on eager-to-please friends, family and staff from head office, they decided to test it on an international party of people conditioned to find fault. Though it would be naive not to see it as a PR exercise (no one was paying and they treated us royally), the point of the trip was to elicit criticism of the sternest sort...

Our views were canvassed relentlessly, never formally, but in 48 hours I must have been asked about everything from what I thought of the bed linen to the after-dinner entertainment.

This did not surprise me to read.  Seabourn has no problem admitting it isn't perfect.  In fact it is almost scary how readily it admits it is not.  Every glitch is recognized...and if the head office hasn't heard about it before a guest comment is received it wants to know why...and quick effort is made to correct it. 

Seabourn is obsessively self-critical and welcomes comments of concerns, issues and complaints. And then it acts upon them in many ways, from why it happened to how a guest perceived it, to how to make it right both from an operational standpoint and with the guest.  It is how Seabourn consistently provides outstanding service and cuisine.

And now you know, in part, why I don't have much tolerance for the glowing reviews when they are not earned.