Dear Disney Cruise Line,
You have an amazing product. All things being equal it rivals and often surpasses the quality and experience of most other cruise lines. Other cruise lines intentionally ‘dumb down’ their main dining room experiences in an effort to push people towards more expensive onboard options. Instead, you do (and always have) diligently tried to improve the included dining experiences on your ships. Your level of service not only exceeds that of other cruise lines I’ve experienced, but it far exceeds the experience to be had in Disney theme parks and resorts. The cleanliness of your ships has consistently been beyond expectations. Not just the expectations of your guests, but those of the CDC (DCL routinely implemented policies for cleanliness that exceeded CDC guidelines BEFORE there was a global pandemic). All of these things and much more were on full display during my recent 4-night sailing on the Dream. I will also address each of these things in upcoming articles, vlogs, and shows.
However, one place you fail consistently (and conveniently leave off your guest comment cards at the end of each cruise) is your woefully inadequate internet package.
It’s not just that the connection speeds are slow; it’s that the service often just fails to work. Inconsistent or dropped connections are commonplace. Failure to ‘logout’ when someone goes thru the proper procedure is a regular occurrence so that you end up chewing through your already overpriced data plans. This often requires a visit to guest services. A visit that is entirely avoidable.
For better or worse, we are a society connected. Our phones (and computers) are not mere accessories, they are our lifeline in many cases to our families, our friends, and our work. While the concept of completely ‘disconnecting’ on a cruise is attractive in theory, it is often unrealistic in practice.
Then there is our desire to share our experiences via social media – something I would think DCL would wish to make as easy as possible given the extraordinary nature of the experiences you provide onboard. On SIX different occasions, my attempt to upload a photo had to wait until I was in port because of one issue or another – all of them with the inconsistent, overpriced, and unreliable internet you provide. I was not the only one complaining about the internet on this cruise. Everyone I spoke with said the same thing. Were the complaints about this experience to be applied to any other aspect of your onboard experience, you would have moved heaven and earth to correct it. Where your internet service is concerned, not so much.
This isn’t a new issue. The internet onboard your ships has largely remained unchanged for more than a decade. The issues with it have also been consistent, and the complaints about it are ubiquitous at this point.
While your competitors have almost universally improved their onboard internet, you seem stuck in the age of dial-up.
I was on a Carnival cruise last year (my first one) and they offered a premium internet package for roughly $14 per day. The connection was not ‘metered’ (meaning it was unlimited data), it offered speeds that could support Skype and FaceTime calls, and it was consistent and reliable. This was CARNIVAL. The people that inspired the phrase “poop cruise.” THAT company provides better internet than you do and for a much more reasonable price. Similar stories can be had on Royal Caribbean, but you get the idea.
I will not pretend to know the logistics involved in updating or upgrading your internet services onboard. But I would imagine if virtually EVERY other cruise line has been able to do it, so can you but for some inexplicable reason, you’ve relied on the same dated, inefficient, infuriating experience for years.
You have an amazing product and allowing people to share that experience in real-time without having the requisite frustrations that have come to define your onboard internet would seem to make good business sense on many levels. I’m sure this has been discussed at length within the halls of your corporate offices. I’m sure there is someone there who has championed this idea and been shouted down by those who likely still throw rocks at the moon. It’s 2021. Your cruises are premium experiences. Your crew and service levels are above reproach. And your internet sucks. Please fix it.
Feature Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash
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