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Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby ksturman » 12 Nov 2019 21:51

Your comments are relevant. As I have said before it is down to the Cruise Director to organise these things. The one we had for the Baltic was a complete novice, thrown in at the Deep end when the recognised CD left. We need to bring on board some of the experienced cruise Directors like John Paton or Jo Boase to get things going again. Perhaps the we can have a daily programme suitable for a boutique ship
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby Arizona » 12 Nov 2019 23:17

I have to give credit to the chefs: we did have a delicious paella and also tapas, a great range of French cheeses and various French dishes, although in a low key setting.
As for the Cruise Director department, in order to do justice to the new ships Saga needs to find some new top class recruits for the Cruise Director department who can do more than just the minimum. These people are probably difficult to find but Saga needs to start looking quickly and encourage innovation to make these new ships really stand out. Labelling a ship “boutique” means nothing If there is no substance behind it. Yes Saga has a great product here: the ship is beautiful, a good size, well appointed (even luxurious) but then so are Viking and Oceania ships. What does “boutique” really mean.
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby newmember » 13 Nov 2019 16:49

Labelling a ship “boutique” means nothing If there is no substance behind it. Yes Saga has a great product here: the ship is beautiful, a good size, well appointed (even luxurious) but then so are Viking and Oceania ships. What does “boutique” really mean.(quote).

I pointed out via the questionnaire that in hotel-land, "boutique" is frequently taken to mean pretentious,expensive and impractical. Although it is not normally applies to hotels with over 500 rooms.....
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby Camela » 13 Nov 2019 23:34

I can't believe that in the cruise/hospitality/entertainments industry there aren't some great CD's waiting to be discovered. We've found on lines that we sail with regularly there are some lovely ones who we love to sail with and some who are meh! Those who go the extra mile are talked about and I always make comments on my end of cruise form. Maybe it depends on the agencies who are getting them the contracts?
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby judgegeoff » 14 Nov 2019 08:24

Camela wrote:I can't believe that in the cruise/hospitality/entertainments industry there aren't some great CD's waiting to be discovered. We've found on lines that we sail with regularly there are some lovely ones who we love to sail with and some who are meh! Those who go the extra mile are talked about and I always make comments on my end of cruise form. Maybe it depends on the agencies who are getting them the contracts?


Absolutely spot on Camela. In 2015 we sailed from Cape Town to Venice on the "MSC Opera", taking the western route up the coast of Africa. It was a long cruise, not helped by the African port calls being cancelled due to an outbreak of the ebola disease, resulting in an awful lot of sea days (although we did get to visit St. Helena, which was only reachable by sea in those days). We were extremely fortunate in having an amazing Cruise Director, South African Stephen Cloete, who was outstanding in keeping us all entertained. He organised many extra lectures, giving several himself and we did notice that his enthusiasm rubbed off on his entertainments team. He was a very clever, amusing and entertaining man and he certainly was a great asset to the Line.

Next year we are sailing from Cape Town to Venice again, but this time taking the (more interesting?) eastern route, but still with quite a number of sea days. I only hope we get a Cruise Director who is at least half as good as Stephen Cloete. If we do I shall be very happy!
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"Marella Dream" - Turkey, Greece and Israel 2019
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby Arizona » 14 Nov 2019 17:42

Re the Cruise Director on Saga: this role is particularly important because there are always going to be many sea days to be filled with the ships only operating from the UK. We had 3 days at sea each way to the Med. Saga has usually employed regular long standing CDs rather than agency people. The company puts a lot of time and effort into successfully training its own waiting and housekeeping staff, going out to the Philippines to select and train them. It needs to pay as much attention to the cruise staff. Just being personable is not enough.
Re the “boutique” brand: my experience of boutique hotels is quirky features like the bath in the middle of the bedroom, bathrooms without walls, funky decor, unfathomable lighting and stylish but uncomfortable furniture. As Newmember says “pretentious, expensive and impractical”. Surely this isn’t the image Saga should be aiming for!
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby Camela » 15 Nov 2019 15:32

It sounds as though Saga is 'doing an M & S'. Alienating its core market by trying to appeal to those who won't use them anyway.
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby newmember » 15 Nov 2019 17:53

Camela wrote:It sounds as though Saga is 'doing an M & S'. Alienating its core market by trying to appeal to those who won't use them anyway.


The problem for any company is that if they rest on their laurels they probably won't survive - and if they change, they will alienate many existing customers.
IF Saga can recover their joie-de-vie, make events feel spontaneous again and recover the personality that was felt in their old ships, then most of their existing customers will remain, and they will pick up a lot of new ones too.
If they continue with the current corporate feel, then it will end up less a "boutique" hotel, more like a large, faceless chain hotel.
Comfortable, excellent service and food - but totally soulless.
I could cry!
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby Camela » 15 Nov 2019 19:08

It is the USP that leads to brand loyalty and repeat business and of course gets talked about.
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Re: Spirit of Discovery: The Chic Mediterranean Oct2019

Postby Arizona » 29 Nov 2019 15:14

Re “boutique”:
I have just received an email newsletter from the magazine, World of Cruising, containing an article about an Azamara cruise to Norway. Interestingly this is described as a “boutique” cruise, so obviously “boutique” is the latest cruising “in” word. However the ambience on board sounds a lot more like the old Spirit of Adventure than the new Spirit of Discovery.
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