Carnival Cruise Line listened to its customer and made a major change few expected and now its rival may have to do the same.
When the major cruise lines began sailing again after their 15-month covid-related shutdown, they adopted all sorts of measures designed to limit touch points and support social distancing.
Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) – Get Free Report, Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) – Get Free Report, and the other major cruise-industry players tried to keep people farther apart and ensure that fewer people touched the same items, surfaces, and objects before those things were cleaned.
One practical way the companies did this was by marking a table in a common area “Used” after a passenger got up and flipping the card to “Available” after a quick cleaning. RCL and CCL also limited the availability of printed menus, pushing people to use their apps instead (menus have always been available by request).
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Not every change made during the pandemic period was based on health and safety protocols. Some were based on cost-cutting and/or environmental concerns.
Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean had been aiming to cut costs even before covid. The two cruise lines were examining waste from things like plastic straws and water bottles, and both have made some changes.
Another area where waste and environmental concerns (along with cost-cutting) have factored in is the daily cruise schedule that both cruise lines used to uniformly deliver to passenger cabins each night.
Carnival calls its printed schedule Funtimes, while Royal Caribbean uses the name “Cruise Compass,” but both are essentially the same and both companies stopped delivering them to passenger cabins after their pandemic return.
Now, Carnival has made a major change to that policy, which the cruise line’s loyalty ambassador, John Heald, outlined on his Facebook page.
Image source: Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Brings Back the Funtimes
Heald serves as a sort of middleman between passengers and management. He often notes that he has taken ideas derived from comments on his Facebook posts and from interactions with passengers and passed them on to what he calls the “beards” — upper management.
In this case, he had good news to report to his massive social-media following.
Many, many many many many of you have written to me over the past months saying how much you miss the Funtimes being delivered to your cabin.
So I must say a massive thank you to the beards for listening to the comments I sent them and so in the days and weeks ahead we will provide a printed version of the Funtimes in the cabin mail box the night before.
Obviously I should mention that the brilliant Hubb App continues to provide these and so much more.
That’s a huge give by the cruise line because it’s a lot of work to produce a printed daily schedule, which then has to be delivered to every cabin. But it’s also likely to be very popular given the more than 1,000 comments on Heald’s post.
“Yeah! I’ll be sure to bring my highlighter again!” shared Andrea Fowler Irland.
That was a popular sentiment, as a lot of cruisers like to mark up their schedules to plan out which activities they plan to attend.
But the most widely-shared sentiment was clearly variations of what Sara Root had to say.
“I prefer the old Funtimes! The app is nice but then you always have to have your phone. I used to read the Funtimes every night when we got back to the cabin.”
Printed Schedules Have Been a Fixture of Cruising
A lot of Carnival and Royal Caribbean passengers simply don’t want to carry their phones with them at all times. In some cases, that’s because they may not want to bring their phones to the pool or they’re worried about battery life. But for others, it’s simply a case of not wanting to use electronics while on vacation.
Royal Caribbean has generally gotten rid of its printed Cruise Compass, but in some cases it has been available by request for delivery to your cabin. On other ships, a limited number of copies are available at guest services.
In the absence of a printed schedule, Royal Caribbean, like Carnival, makes a variation of the Cruise Compass available in its app. Passengers do not need to purchase internet access in order to access the daily schedule in the app.
Royal Caribbean did not return a request for comment on whether it plans to follow Carnival and bring back a printed version of its Cruise Compass.