Too much for me to keep track, but I'll save a few recent highlights, below.
OceanPatter;55895222 wrote:Keep on posting, backofficecruising. While somewhat acerbic, your comments are refreshing because: 1) they’re candid, 2) they’re gutsy, and 3) they offer a nice counterpoint to the more saccharine perspectives on this board.
Diversity in opinions is good.
And thank you, calliopecruiser, for reinforcing that sentiment. You keep things honest.
MalbecWine;55895510 wrote:“they offer a nice counterpoint to the more saccharine perspectives on this board.”
You have said what I have wanted to say since this thread started. Thank you.
eroller;55895698 wrote:I agree 100%! So nice (and interesting) to read something besides the two or three cheerleaders that seem to dominate this board. Very nice to see another perspective and one that isn't sugar coated. A realist.
backofficecruising;55895767 wrote:Thank you, I just learned a new word from you (acerbic), yes, I can be blunt and sharp at times.
I just want everyone to know how I feel, did not try to offend anyone.
MalbecWine;55896044 wrote:For some of us it’s nice to have a refreshing view point. Please continue to post and also on any cruises you are taking in the future. Not all of us are Stepford wives.
My next cruise is going to be with the Disney Cruise Line for the second time, now talking of success....Disney Cruise ticket price is at par with Crystal Cruises and I do look forward to a DCL Cruise more than a Crystal Cruises.
And yes, I understand they can be different products, but you know what? Not so different in terms of service, food and even luxury.
Of course there is the kids factor, but in terms of growth, there you have it, that is a properly run business with good American managment and a good place to send your money.
Disney Cruise Line it’s a good example of how to take the market and make it yours.
MalbecWine;55897156 wrote:Disney certainly has a good business model in all their ventures. A very well run company that caters to adults and children. Crystal is sorely lacking shoreside for sure. So many issues with PCPC that have been going on for some time. If you want to be the best, everything should be top notch for a six star line. The onboard experience is still very good but shoreside needs a lot of work.
Seabourn is our other go to line and they seem to not have all the issues that Crystal has shoreside.
Oh well, Crystal Shoreside team, don’t get me started.
Let’s put the Amsterdam office aside which is the one managing river.
To this day I don’t even know where ocean HQ is, LA or Miami?
If you ask them they are capable to point you to Malaysia or Hong Kong because they don’t even know what is going on around them.
All big egos trying to make a name for themselves, some of them already left after couple of years with the line whereas before they will retire with the line.
With Crystal, try to get a spa appointment before boarding, good luck, 100% you have to reconfirm everything once you are onboard, making everything redundant.
At least with Seabourn you can still call Seattle and get some service without having to repeat yourself like a broken record.
No doubt the onboard Crystal product is strong, but in my mind is because takes longer to destroy.
Soon, all the corporate mess and ambiguity will reach the onboard service...I think.
the hotel directors like Josef, Herbert, will soon be gone, and then, there you have it, let’s see who takes over with the same brand knowledge.
And even if they keep promoting and so on there is so much they can do.
Captains are ok to replace because at the end of the day their job is to navigate safely and do a little bit of public relations but Hotel Directors are something else.
Actually, I like that we discuss Disney because they have never bragged about growing crazy, they just do it.
FlyerTalker;55897566 wrote:Serious question: Are the long-term effects from the ER administration, and how they are impacting Crystal today and tomorrow, fair game for discussion? Not ER personally, but how her time at the helm has resulted in the Crystal product, and the Crystal situation, of today?
We can skip past the FFW* and AE** and other "memorable" interludes - but are we to just ignore the past ER years and imagine that it was like another Soviet-era Five Year Plan - disasterous but consigned to the black hole of rewritten history?
* = Flying Fjord Woman
**= All Exclusive
backofficecruising;55897670 wrote:I think so, EK, later EB, and later ER decisions are going to impact Crystal for years to come if not forever.
Unless of course Genting gives the new president 1Billion US $ to change things faster but that won’t happen because then is better to just buy another line.
Crystal lost 5 precious years and that is a lot of time to lose in this business.
Sometimes I wonder if that was a way for the Japanese to give the finger to the Chinese.
Let’s face it, the only winners so far is NYK, they built a brand, they run it for 25 years and they walked out with 550 million dollars net.
If you ask me, that is quiet nice.
Genting spent 550 million, they got a president that wasn’t chosen by them and they were push to spend more millions growing fat and without a clear direction.
eroller;55897703 wrote:I got married to my husband on a Disney cruise (DISNEY DREAM). It was fabulous and after over 125 cruises on just about every cruise line, Disney was the only cruise company I would trust with my marriage. That and we are also big Disney fans. We don't have kids so it probably seems odd we love Disney so much, but their attention to detail is second to none, and the ships are absolutely stunning. I often say they are wasted on the kids because the ships are just too nice for them to even notice. I also love they actually enforce their adult-only areas, which I guess on a ship filled with kids is very important. Sometimes we dine in Palo (adult only) every night and it's just wonderful. Remy is probably the best dining experience I've ever had at sea. Truly gourmet.
I've sailed with DCL six times now, and I look forward to more when the new LNG powered Disney ships come online. They will be fabulous I'm sure, slightly larger than the Dream Class but with the same amount of passengers. Now if only DCL would offer an adult only cruise! LOL Next on my radar is Virgin Voyages. I've already put down a deposit. The first ship will be adult-only, there will be no gimmicks (slides, rock climbing walls, etc), but Virgin promises to be something completely different. Even the cabins. I can't wait.
Back to Crystal, I think they are going in the right direction under the new leadership. Plans are being scaled back and they are taking a closer look at finances. They had no choice after the last leader. I remember how many on this board were so enamored with the previous leader and thought she was fantastic. Like she was a celebrity or something. Ridiculous. Now they are quiet about her. I give her credit for being ambitious and being somewhat successful with expanding the Crystal brand, but that is as far as I will go. The rest was completely off-putting.
BWIVince;55898337 wrote:How on earth is NYK a winner? Short of having a brand they were proud of, which is a warm fuzzy, they spent $800 million on ships that fully depreciated with service to Crystal (not counting almost as much in renovations to the same ships), lost money for twenty-something of those years of operation, and sold the company for a fraction of their investment. That’s not a bad amount to get for a brand with few assets, but considering they didn’t make money anywhere else in Crystal’s history that’s a horrible return on investment.
backofficecruising;55898517 wrote:Who says that NYK had loses for 20+ years? Popular culture? Rumors? or are those facts?
They created a brand from zero and sold for 550 million and they got to keep one ship (Asuka 2)
And for 20+ years they employed people and run a good, healthy business, sure, some years they had loses that they wiped out with their logistic business but that is their business altogether.
BWIVince;55899001 wrote:Crystal’s management and NYK’s financial reports said so, and said so clearly. It’s a publicly held company, and even with the cruise operations bundled together the reports frequently threw Crystal or both lines jointly under the bus. It certainly was clear Asuka may or may not be profitable on a given year, but it wasn’t like Asuka was to blame for the divisions financial problems any more than Crystal was overall.
If you look back on threads here you’ll find dozens of threads talking about Crystal’s financial losses for years. I honestly can’t remember a year prior to 2011 that they DID post a profit, but I’m sure there must have been at least one. The absolute worst period was 2003-2005, when overexpansion resulted in mass layoffs and downsizing, that that’s forgiving the 90’s which were considered a startup period.
Selling a company for $550 million when you poured 4+ times that into it (after profits) to prop it up over the years is NOT a win.
backofficecruising;55899615 wrote:I don’t have all the details but I seriously doubt that they lost money year after year, why would they build ships in 1995 and in 2005 if they were losing money continuosly?
What I do recall is that they went from a 3 ship to a 2 ship operation around 05-06 and no one lost their job, in fact they did a good job keeping all the onboard staff, and they held the 07 financial meltdown quiet well.
Again, massive layoffs? Do you have any concrete details on this?
NYK or any other Japanese company for that matter don’t have the mentality of laying off people when things are difficult, is quiet the opposite, and it’s in their culture.
nancygp;55899735 wrote:You seem to have quite a bit of insight regarding crystal over the years. Did you ever work for crystal?
backofficecruising;55899775 wrote:No, but I have sailed with Crystal since 1992, we go back almost 26 years now and I have/had close relationships.
If I ever worked for Crystal I would have post an AMA on Reddit
BWIVince;55899903 wrote:Well you can seriously doubt it all you like, but since I AM well versed on the details and was sailing those years (as are many others here), they most certainly did proceed with an expansion that failed. As a matter of fact, when it started becoming clear that the business plan didn’t support the new inventory and cost structure, the former president was canned and the CFO was promoted to that role to try to instill some financial discipline and try to turn things around. Ultimately he’s the one who had to make the tough call on the downsizing after trying several Ways to make it work, but it became clear their inventory problem wasn’t just short term residue from 9/11.
I think you’re remembering this incorrectly, with all due respect. The whole point in transferring Harmony was to reduce the inventory they needed to sell and cut costs of staffing nd operating, which was bleeding them dry fast. Why would they continue to employ an entire ships worth of crew and HQ back office support positions that they didn’t need? I think you’re remembering that not everyone from Harmony lost their job, because they were able to displace others in the organization and I’m sure there were some volunteers, but I can assure you that officers, contract crew, and HQ employees alike saw their jobs go away when Crystal cut their operation by a third.
backofficecruising;55899979 wrote:what is contract crew? You mean onboard staff such waiters, stewards etc?
BWIVince;55900024 wrote:Correct... Different departments are staffed differently, but by that I mean mostly the hotel staff — dining room, restaurant, bar and housekeeping non-officers. I assume the same worked for the deck (operational) crew, but I don’t have firsthand knowledge of how their downsizing worked the way the customer-facing positions were cut.
backofficecruising;55900065 wrote:Virgin Voyages is definetly a good product to follow, their leadership have an outstanding record, Tom McAlpin is going to do it right, and if you like DCL you will like Virgin I’m sure, I’m also thinking if to take one of the first cruises.
Yes, the celebrity, she was loaned a toy to play with and she basically thought it was hers.
Next that needs to happen is a purge at a corporate level to remove all her friends, like in politics.
Then Crystal can breathe again and sail into the sunrise.
cruisr;55900071 wrote:I have to ask @backofficecruising. Whatever can Edie have personally done to you? Is is actually Edie or Crystal that you think has wronged you. You seem to have a lot of anger towards both.
As an aside, Vince is correct. NYK lost money in owning Crystal. The financials support that. This continued with just about all the Presidents, including Greg, who came from Finance, not Sales and Marketing.
backofficecruising;55900114 wrote:Ok, but in theory those positions are laid off contract after contract, nothing guarantees their return.
Crystal HQ is maybe of 100+ employees, so massive lay offs could only be of maybe 10-20-30 max?
I just want to point out on the word “massive”, sure, someone must have lost their job with restructuring the company but I don’t think it was massive.
Keith1010;55900410 wrote:Vince you are correct in what you have said including NYK financials and those of Crystal Cruises when NYK owned them and in the challenges related to reduced levels of staffing at sea and on land.
I do remember this very well and as you correctly noted it was also discussed on these boards over the years.
However, I did a few Google searches to pull up years that Crystal had losses. Most of the information is available on the internet. Some of us used to read the NYK annual report and it would have one or two pages on the cruise line part of the business and would take about the financial issues including losses.
Crystal did have many years of financial loss.
Positions were lost with the consolidation from three to two ships. Some contracts were not renewed and some decided not to return. The advantage of contracts is you don't call it a layoff. In addition some of the higher level officers did work cooperatively with one another changing up the amount of work time by working less time at sea to minimize some of the impact. Some positions were eliminated on land and also openings not backfilled.
A few years following the 2008 crash even NYK had a couple of years of very bad performance and they lost money for one or two years. Oh I remember those threads that between their losses and the losses of Crystal some would that meant the end of Crystal Cruises and maybe even NYK. Of course very trying times. Many years before that it was 9/11 eventually followed by the tech collapse.
Cutbacks were made in many areas. Initially they were ones that were transparent to guests on the ship so as not to impact performance. Eventually some of the cost cutting measures were more obvious to the guests. Other cruise lines had to take similar approaches as did many businesses on land.
A few positions on the ships were eliminated but you can't eliminate too many as that would clearly impact service, etc. In time positions at headquarters were eliminated in conjunction with consolidating departments. And the positions eliminated were at all levels.
And once again several open positions were not backfilled on land.
Many years ago cuts started to be made. You remember the cuts made to the Crystal Society Program. I want to say that was around 2004. We were still relatively new to Crystal but you would think the sky was falling down with the comments on the CC board and by many Crystal Society Members who we met on the cruises following this change. This one was discussed on board for a few years. It used to be that the program included many gifts, and on board credit on almost every cruise associated with the program. That was also back in the day that you could get certain perks with say American Express and a consortium if you were booked with a consortium and also used say the American Express Card.
Crystal is not alone. There was a time that people questioned if Silversea would make it. In fact, we looked at taking a Silversea cruise in 2005. But chose not to when they began to take a ship out of a time from their fleet well after schedules were published. They said for dry dock but I remember many of the regular Silvesea cruisers said that it was to save money because they were taking them out of service for something like six months at a time. We chose to book Seabourn instead.
Seabourn was bleeding money up until just a few years ago when they eliminated the Miami office. When that happened many of the Seabourn regulars were upset. They no longer could get responses from the Seattle office and things like shore excursions took the HAL approach which is you pay for them if you book them at home at the time of the booking and no longer on the ship if you book in advance.
Back to Crystal Cruises a label that was given to the CFO who was elevated to President of Crystal Cruises not too long after he assumed this position was was "bean counter" because his focus was on the financials and making cuts. He was not popular after making those changes to the Crystal Society Program. I can't post some of the other words that Crystal Society Members said after the program was significantly modified. Vince as you correctly noted he was elevated with the focus on the financials.
Back to NYK those last few years they were very effective at not making decisions or slow rolling decisions by taking months and sometimes years to make them. Another method of saving money without saying such. You don't have to say "no". You just keep asking more and more questions or say you need time to "study" it.
Vince your time as a customer goes back further then mine does and you have a terrific memory.
Simple searches on this board will bring up people talking about issues surrounding cutbacks, financial challenges for 13 or more years. Of course the same would apply to all cruise lines I can think of that have been around for a very long time.
I am reminded that most businesses face a lot of challenges when it comes to the financials and certainly those in the hospitably arena have been impacted from a variety of items mentioned.
Vince your background in these areas serve you well and I appreciate the thoroughness of your posts. We had similar challenges in the tech arena but clearly hospitality services has their own set of challenges more unique to that industry.
I agree NYK must have had their loses of course but no one loses money 25 years straight, not even someone who wants to lose money.
Edie (to me) is an insecure human being who makes up for that by being coercive.
All she did for Crystal is walk around like a celebrity, trying to explain people what travel should mean to you.
Have you ever shake hands, exchange words and immediately feel uneasy with anyone? That is her to me, I won’t get into the details but she does not deserve to be in this industry at all (in my mind and is my opinion and is based on facts) others like Ponant will think differently.
She “navigates” well in the industry because the industry is already flawed or let’s say under regulated so everything is valid.
She was lucky some Japanese people trusted her but believe me you she would have never passed the filters of a well set organization.
The decision of hiring her was soooo poor that at times I wonder if the Japanese did this as a good bye present.
And for the record, you are asking me and setting me on fire
I was happy just commenting about her business decisions and not her persona.
ijkh;55900412 wrote:agree. Member joined cc this month? With this amount of venom? Makes me wonder
backofficecruising;55900475 wrote:What makes you wonder? I already said I signed up to spill some venom....
You don’t need to wonder, let me tell you straight out.
FlyerTalker;55900645 wrote:Of course...it takes years of being on CC and thousands of posts before you can really be considered to know anything.
calliopecruiser;55900915 wrote:Wonder about what?
Seriously, I'm asking. You make it sound as if you're wondering if those opinions are true or not. Do you think that poster is an animated bot?
Roland4;55900933 wrote:Everyone starts at Post#1, but most don't come to a board with the expressed intent to be venomous! The amount of venom and bile this poster has dumped on the past president, including their Post #2 which was seriously offensive and was deleted by the moderators, is now verging on character assassination and is totally uncalled for.
BWIVince;55901267 wrote:I agree the word massive is subjective, but the company constricted by a third. To ME, that’s massive. But you’re right, they could have shrunk by more.
If you re-read my prior messages I was actually careful to include BOTH layoffs and job losses for that reason. An unrenewed contract, to someone who had applied for another or intended to apply for another and held status to expect renewal, is a job loss but not a layoff.
Keith and Nancy, thanks, I was starting to think I fell into some alternate reality last night. My memory is ok, but I have to confess again that I have a massive archive of books and cruise memobelia that I refer back to regularly to check myself. As I admitted last week, I can’t rely on my memory as much as I used to. New info regularly tries to battle for space in there every day.
In a previous post you said : do not feed the troll and here you are feeding me again.
You add bile to the venom, oh well, I will post again in 5 years to let you know how much I enjoyed the chocolates onboard Endeavor.
Oh wait, I don’t think I will do that.
Enjoy the world cruise
Whatever happened to the thread starter?