In the wake of a serious passenger backlash that quickly mushroomed into an online vendetta, Norwegian Cruise Line has reversed a policy that prohibited diners from taking restaurant and buffet food back to their cabins. The change of heart comes just weeks after the rule was rolled out in a bid to keep ships clean and hygienic.
Andy Stuart, President and Chief Operating Officer at Norwegian Cruise Line explains that the idea first came to light after Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. President and CEO Frank Del Rio noticed dishes stacking up in hallways during one of his recent cruise voyages. After raising the issue with Stuart the pair decided that introducing the ban would be a simple solution. The line described the policy as being put in place “For our guest’s well-being, and to maintain a beautiful clean environment for all our guests to enjoy.” Unfortunately, passengers didn’t agree.
Controversy over cabin feasts
While the line claimed the policy was put in place for health and safety reasons critics maintained it was actually designed to force passengers to fork out for the newly introduced $7.95 room service fee. Stuart admits that while the timing of the two policies was a complete coincidence, the issue was “clearly important to guests.”
Pete of StoryBookCruises.com says, “We thoroughly love going to the buffet, picking up some fruit, vegetables, crackers, cheese, etc. and then carrying it back to our balcony where we will enjoy a private cocktail party for the two of us as we pull out of port. Or I like to go up to the buffet in the morning to get some coffee and pastries for my wife when she gets up. Now I’d have to pay for this? Yep, it’s all about the money.”
To keep passengers happy the line has now decided to withdraw the new policy and allow passengers to eat wherever they please, including their cabins. To resolve the issue of mess and hygiene crew members will increase the number of ship wide corridor sweeps and cleans carried out on a daily basis.
Norwegian serves up fantastic summer deals
While Norwegian did receive negative press as far as the anti-takeaway policy went, Stuart was quick to highlight the fact that this summer is shaping up to be one of the line’s most successful seasons yet. “The number [of people]who booked during this time period, with a much more inclusive product than ever before, is astounding,” he says. From 2016, Norwegian Sky will also be re-categorised as an all-inclusive ship where passengers can enjoy complimentary fine dining meals and alcoholic beverages.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Chris Goldberg, Ephidryn