To answer the question why do people select Crown Princess for their cruise vacation, Hotel Director Richard Harry explained that you first have to answer “the question why do they come to Princess.”
This is because Crown Princess is very much the epitome of the current Princess product. Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess may be younger ships but they were modeled upon the Crown Princess. Moreover, the features that have been rolled out across the Princess fleet in recent refurbishments were for the most part features that debuted on Crown Princess. Thus, “we are the optimum Princess experience,” observed Captain Nick Nash.
So, why do people select Princess? “What the company has been very good at is consistency throughout the fleet, which you do not find in some of the other companies. When [guests] come to Princess, they will have the same standard of product.” Mr. Harry answered.
While there is a great deal of similarity amongst the Princess ships, particularly Crown, Emerald and Ruby Princesses, the line does not just rely on its physical plant to achieve a consistent product. Captain Nash elaborated: “Most of our crew [members] are long term returnees. In fact, we have an award ceremony next week where we [will] recognize people who have been with us for years and there are 10 people coming up for 20 years. Some of the other companies have people who stay for only one contract and then they go. They don’t have the family loyalty that the Princess brand has amongst the crew.”
“[Princess crew members] appreciate how good Princess is and we get that across hopefully to the passengers. They have been here before, they are friendly, they are knowledgeable about the ship and they are giving that nice family welcome [to the guests]. They are all part of the family, the Princess family. That is something we are focusing more on than having gadgets and gimmicks.”
“We have very good facilities for the crew. We have a fantastic crew deck forward, we have the internet cafes, we have a lot of crew welfare things that a lot of companies don’t do. Then we have internal programs for them to better themselves - - computer based training, Princess University and they can move up through [the ranks]. And they can see a lot ahead of them and so they become very loyal.”
“Our people keep coming back. And they want to come back because of the benefits and it is a nice place to work. It is a hard job but we try to make it as nice as possible. Hopefully, because of that the crew is very friendly and respectful and that gets across to the passengers.”
Along the same lines, Princess calls itself “the consummate host.” As Captain Nash explained, the line works hard to ensure that this is a reality, not just an empty promotional slogan. The cornerstone of this effort is C.R.U.I.S.E, the line’s customer service program. Each member of the crew wears a C.R.U.I.S.E. lapel pin, and signs outlining the program are posted around the ship even on the captain’s desk.
C.R.U.I.S.E. is an acronym for Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing In Service Excellence. Each Princess ship has a C.R.U.I.S.E. committee made up of department heads who meet to discuss issues relating to customer service and to consider suggestions made by the crew for improved service. (There are cash prizes for the best suggestions). In addition, the program has a 10-point service credo the first of which says: “We strive to be the very best. We do the best job we are capable of doing all the time in every part of the ship: we are proud of what we do.”
“At the induction and at the training we really look to see that this is pushed through and becomes second nature.” Captain Nash continued. “Because people keep coming back all of the time, we are able to push it more and more. It is not as if we train them this week and two cruises down the line, they have left. People keep coming back. They constantly train and have seminars on it “
The point of all this is to demonstrate that everyone’s efforts are important to the success of the business. “It is trying to get it through to the dishwasher that his job is vital. If he is sending out plates that have not been washed, then the fact that I get the ship into every port and the waiters do a fantastic job serving the wine is irrelevant because the dish was dirty. So it is down to everybody that they have a key role.”
“This then gets across to them that we are the consummate host - - we are here to make sure that everyone has a fantastic time. And because of that we are able to build two brand new ships and there are more jobs for everybody so keep it up.”
Not only is Crown Princess state-of-the-art Princess physically but she exemplifies Princess’ focus on the crew. “It has always been a happy ship since launch. You can tell that in the crew,” noted Mr. Harry.
As for her physical plant, in 2011, the ship went in for her five-year dry dock. “It was mainly a technical one - - cleaning the hull, propellers, rudders, thrusters, painting the bottom so that the ship does not use so much fuel,” Captain Nash commented. “She is in quite good condition - - the hull is clean, the engines are all clean and tidy. We do constant maintenance of the engines. Technically, she is running very well.”
Cruise ship interview - - Princess Cruises - - Crown Princess - Captain Nick Nash - Hotel Director Richard Harry