Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oceania Cruises - Exceeding Expectations; Especially When It Counts!

I know Oceania Cruises has a basic mantra of making things right, but its communication regarding the effects of the devastating Chilean earthquake on its cruises has been exceptional.

I have clients who are about to embark on the Oceania Insignia on a lengthy South American cruise.  Of course concern over what would be happening with the cruise has been significant.  Obviously bombarding Oceania with calls when it could not possibly have definite information in an every changing situation would have been counterproductive.  So I thought:  patience.

As if reading my mind, Oceania sent out an email and a fax (just to be sure the information was received) with an update, an explanation and a note of appreciation of the client's concerns and the stresses involved.  All in all three well-timed emails advising that things looked good and all plans were for the cruise to go off as scheduled.

Then yesterday I received the latest email.  Not only did it have information as to both disembarking and embarking guests, it gave details of some of the logistical concerns.  For example, it explained that if you arrived at the port after 3:30 p.m. you and your luggage would have to be tendered to the ship because ships with relief supplies were scheduled to arrive and the dock space was needed to offload the critically needed materials.  This was followed by a facsimile and then, in the early evening, a telephone call...with a note that Oceania would have a phone line open for questions until 9:00 p.m.

There is literally no more that could be asked of a cruise line in this situation.  Bravo!

BTW, I called my clients immediately...as they were arriving at the airport for their flight to Santiago (scheduled to arrive the day before the cruise, of course)...and advised them to arrive at the ship as early as they could to embark (probably around 11:30 a.m.) so that if there was a problem such as the early arrival of a relief ship, they had a better chance of embarking from the dock rather than a tender.  I advised that it was better to wait in at the port or on the ship than having a clearly chaotic situation with tendering just so they could spend a couple of extra hours on land.  (I bit of conservatism can avoid big hassles.)

I will keep you posted on how the embarkation went.  And, if you want to follow the cruise on the Oceania Insignia you can do so on The Gold Standard Luxury Travel Forum.