Members of the cruise sector have rallied to criticise a Which? report that ranked cruise lines.
The survey, released last weekend, gave MSC an overall customer satisfaction score of 54% – bottom of the 20 lines studied. Viking Cruises was top with 88%. It was reported by a number of national news sites.
More than 2,500 guests were asked to rate their experiences out of five across 11 categories including customer service, passenger-to-space ratio, description matching reality, cabins, food and drink, value for money, onboard entertainment and excursions.
A total of 46 previous MSC guests were surveyed by Which?, versus 139 for Royal Caribbean International and 107 for Norwegian Cruise Line, for example.
Clia hit out at the study, saying it was “disappointed and surprised not to have been involved in scoping out this piece of research”.
A spokesperson for the association added the report “appears very limited in the number of people surveyed, random in its approach, and therefore is not a true indicator of the incredible onboard experience, value and impeccable service offered by today’s cruise holiday”.
An MSC spokesperson said: “MSC Cruises is dedicated to ensuring every guest who travels with us has a memorable experience for the right reasons. As such, we were disappointed that some of the 46 guests surveyed were not completely satisfied with every aspect of their stay.
“We are very surprised by the comments in the report, as they are not in line with the holiday experience we provide and the feedback we consistently receive from our guests and trade partners.”
Steve Cartwright, managing director of Cardiff-based cruise specialist Passion For Cruises, told TTG he “couldn’t believe MSC had been rated so low”.
“They’ve always had great hardware and have improved customer experience massively and worked so hard with agents to communicate that,” he said.
Cartwright added the line’s Which? report ranking had “had no impact” on sales of MSC this week.
When approached for a comment by TTG, a Which? spokesperson said the number of guests surveyed for each line had “no influence on whether the outcome is more or less positive than would be achieved by a larger base size for the same company”.
“We are confident we would achieve the same verdict for companies irrespective of sample size,” they added.