Princess Cruises announced this week that they would be bringing fleet and shore operations under one umbrella to achieve efficiencies and better alignment between the divisions. That’s good news for those concerned about pricing; the more efficient the cruise line runs, the smaller the odds are that tough times might mean reduced services to passengers.
The change brings shore operations under the direction of Senior Vice President of Commercial Affairs, Tony Kaufman. Kaufman already has direct responsibility for fleet operations, which includes the retail outlets, photography, spa and casino operations and a number of other products and services available on the ships. The line’s shore operations department includes shore excursions, port operations and passenger logistics in more than 300 ports where Princess ships sail.
“So what?” I can hear some of you say, wondering why I think you would care about such matters.
Simply put; Increasing cruise line efficiency in operations, regardless of how it is done, is critical in maximizing profits from what they do.
We want them to be profitable.
When cruise lines are profitable they give us stuff.
We like having stuff given to us.
This is along the same lines of tougher rules on fares, extra charges for top-end onboard amenities that the majority of passengers will never use or tightening up the cancellation policy. Most avid cruisers won’t notice the difference. Odds are you probably did not know who this Tony Kaufman at Princess was before today. Odds are you don’t need to remember who he is either.
But its no game of chance that we expect a certain onboard experience and cruise lines want to deliver it. In fact, we have talked a lot here about the frenzied effort by cruise lines to differentiate themselves from one another with branding-centered efforts. That is working. No longer are major cruise lines gravitating towards one median onboard experience that is indistinguishable from one line to another.
Now and coming up in the very near future, cruise lines are offering unique products that might not be for everyone but are keenly focused on meeting and exceeding our ever-more discerning tastes as the industry matures.
Cruise lines are right on track to keep sailing strongly into the future. Efficiently.
Chris Owen is a travel writer from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers. Certified a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Lines International Association, Chris can be found via the popular travel blog, ChrisCruises.net and on the long-running cruise information website, YourCruiseDream.com.