Sail Out to Help Out the Cruise Industry

Since lock down I have felt somewhat at a loose end in my capacity as Chair of CLIA’s "Travel Agent Advisory Panel". However, on Saturday evening as I sat waiting to be seated at a local restaurant for a date night with Mrs Nuttall, I started thinking...

And, quite rightly you are all probably sitting reading this (or standing) wondering "why has Phil got cruise ships on his mind when he is having dinner with his wife?" I will tell you in quite simple terms - the service was terrible!!

Sail Out Help Out

I am sure I now have your attention and hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have an understanding of where my train of thought was going.

Remember just how good cruise holidays are? And, remember the government’s "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme? Well, the government's scheme has highlighted just what we, as cruisers, have been missing this year. As much as we all enjoyed "helping out" and treating ourselves to something a little different for dinner, it's just not as good as cruising is it!?

And I don't mean that the food wasn’t good! It doesn't matter whether you were grabbing a cheeky hamburger at the "Golden Arches", tucking into a tried and tested favourite at your local restaurant/pub, or trying out somewhere that previously you would have saved for a special occasion. They all have the same thing in common - the service is simply not a patch on the service you experience on board a cruise ship.

Let's say that again - the standard of service at many restaurants across the world is simply not a patch on the service you experience on board a cruise ship!

Those who have never cruised before may now start asking questions, and those of you who are regular cruisers will be thinking, "you know what, Phil’s right". Both Paula and myself are now finding ourselves searching for that attentive attention to detail service that a cruise ship delivers.

Our Experience

On Saturday evening we were booked to dine at 8.15pm. We were asked to wait upstairs whilst our table was prepared and someone would come and take our drinks order. We were of course forgotten, and this set the standard for a very shoddy and unpleasant experience... including being seated on a wet (freshly cleaned) chair! We didn’t receive a drink until 9pm, and dinner was not forthcoming until 9.40pm. And, because they were not attentive or interested in us, they brought dishes we specifically said we didn’t want (and we are not talking cheap here).

A dining experience on a cruise ship is, in the main, a personal attentive experience where you are made to feel special and the person looking after you can remember 8 drinks, 8 items on a menu and your names without having to reach for a notepad!

You are not made to feel like you are doing someone a favour by being there and for the next 2 hours, you are the most important person/people in the restaurant. You can overlook many things when dining out, but the lack of care and attention to detail in the service industry in general is something that highlights just how good a cruise holiday really is. It is why it's so important we get our ships back doing what they do best - providing attentive service, incredible dining experiences and, hopefully now, commanding respect for the crew who are amazing human beings with such positive personas that make the cruise industry what it is!

So thank you Rishi Sunak for “Eat Out to Help Out” because it has really highlighted just what we are all missing; in fact what we are all craving - a great cruise holiday experience with great food and even better service from fabulous people.

Maybe the Foreign office should chip in and join the party with Sail Out to Help Out!

If you can't wait to get back to cruising, let's start planning all the adventures we can have in 2021 and 2022...

If you are still looking to book your 2021 cruise holiday, our website is your first port of call for finding your next river cruise! And, don't forget 2022 river cruises are on sale with many of our cruise line partners! Our team are here 7 days a week to find you the very best deal! So call now on 0800 810 8229 and book your next adventure!

And remember...

#SailOutToHelpOut

Phil Nuttall
CEO Travel Village Group