Carnival has unveiled a new program which allows passengers to get their cruise started sooner. For a $49.95 per cabin fee, guests in the cabin will get priority security screening and check-in, immediate access to their cabin, priority luggage delivery, and other VIP perks. Those with diamond or platinum loyalty member status get the fee waived. It is capacity controlled. Read about it here.
This new plan is beginning to sound suspiciously like Air Travel!!! If one starts doing this...others are sure to follow!!! Truly a sign of the times and of the economy!! Perhaps a new version of Carnival Airlines is also in the offing!!!
My informal analysis of Facebook and Twitter comments indicates this new program is not popular with upper tier Carnival VIFP members. Most are angry that they spent money to earn the VIP perks over many cruises, and now Carnival is simply selling the most important perks for $50 to someone who may be on their 1st cruise.
I don't need to be the first on the ship, have my cabin ready early, or even receive my luggage early. I walk onboard with my purse and a small roll-aboard containing any valuables. I am already dressed for dinner, as well. I'd much rather go up on deck and enjoy the ambiance of the ship than to spend the first half-hour or so unpacking. The priority tender service is attractive, yet not worth $50 IMO.
Blame them for wanting to make more money? No. But this is another example of big corporations doing away with simple good customer service. When companies stop valuing their loyal customers to make a buck then they suffer in the long run. American Airlines USED to be a great airline to fly. They had great customer service, were always on time and it was a joy to fly on them. After initiating fees for ticket changes, fees for time changes, fees for deciding NOT to use a frequent flier miles ticket, fees for every bag you pack, fees for curb side baggage check.... flying with them has become tedious and expensive. Their customer service and customer experience is now crap and guess what.. they are in bankruptcy.
Allowing people to "buy" the loyalty perks others paid a lot of money to "earn" basically tells the loyal customers that they are not worth as much to Carnival as they thought. As a VIP customer I feel slighted... does someone else "buying" the perk effect me? I don't know yet. But if it means a crowded VIP checking area that used to be mostly empty then yes it does affect me. If it means that I now will end up waiting for one or 2 people in what used to be an empty Guest Services Platinum/Diamond line, then yes it will affect me. Will this one change cause VIPs to stop cruising carnival? Probably not (although many are threating that). BUT the several changes and extra fee venues that Carnival has been initiating over the last year or two are building into something that is changing the cruise experience in a negative way. You used to be able to get on the ship and not have to worry if this restaurant or that restaurant was an extra fee. Now you do...
People are saying that Carnival has to do these things to keep the cost of cruising down.. I claim BS on that. They don't make the money on the cruise ticket. they make the money on the on board purchases. This is just another idea to generate extra spending where there wasn't any before...
They may have screwed up here though. When they changed the Platinum level from 10 cruises to 75 days they said that people will have a year or so to make Platinum under the old system of # of cruises. But why would I go out an book 3 or 4 cruises when I can take my time and buy those perks for $50 a cabin? The way I see it, they just deffered a bunch of bookings. Worst case they are allowing people who cruise multiple lines to be able to do other cruises besides Carnival now because they now longer will feel the need to make that 10th cruise before the end of the year.
We only have something like 50 days with Carnival, but I like the VIP perks so we have been going with suites on the past few Carnival cruises. I have to ask why I'd book a suite now, when I can get those perks for $50 instead of paying big money for a suite.