TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- It's been a year of troubles for the cruise ship industry.
J.D. Power & Associates reports in a new survey that one in five customers experience a problem while on their cruise.
Despite that, the report says cruise lines are improving in customer satisfaction.
Florida-based Disney Cruise Lines ranked at the top of the list of J.D. Power's customer satisfaction survey, followed by Royal Caribbean.
Cruise lines were measured on seven key factors (in order of importance): service; stateroom; food; embark/debark; entertainment; cost; and excursions.
J.D. Power reports Disney Cruise Line ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 871 (on a 1,000-point scale), significantly higher than the report average of 824, and performs particularly well in the entertainment and food factors. Royal Caribbean International ranks second with a score of 838, and performs particularly well in service. Holland America Line ranks third at 835, also performing particularly well in service.
FULL RANKINGS (Based on 1,000-point-scale)
1. Disney Cruise Line (871)
2. Royal Caribbean International (838)
3. Holland America Line (835)
4. Celebrity Cruises (828)
5. Princess Cruises (826)
Report Average (824)
6. Norwegian Cruise Line (817)
7. Carnival Cruise Lines (810)
When it comes to problems on a cruise, the report says passengers experiencing zero or one problem (61% and 55%, respectively) say they "definitely will" take another cruise with the cruise line they most recently used. When two to three problems are experienced, the likelihood of customers taking another cruise with the same cruise line drops dramatically (33% and 28%, respectively). Among the brands above the industry average, 68 percent of passengers indicate they "definitely will" recommend their cruise line to others, surpassing the report average of 61 percent. A high level of satisfaction translates into customer loyalty and advocacy.
"Many cruise lines in the report have very high levels of passenger satisfaction, well above the report average; however, for more than a year, the overall industry has been dealing with a lot of negative news affecting customer perceptions, expectations and trust," said Ramez Faza, senior account manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power. "To raise the bar, the industry must focus on meeting the needs of the nearly 20 percent of passengers who experience a problem with their cruise line experience. Cruise lines need to understand the causes of customer dissatisfaction and determine what will motivate them to come back."
Price remains top of the list as to why consumers choose the cruise lines they do. The report says the average price paid for one person is $1,628.
"To retain existing customers or acquire new customers, cruise lines need to be extremely sensitive to the price point that is most comfortable for customers, while providing the highest level of service possible," said Faza. "It's all about perceived value for customers. Did they get their money's worth? Was the service better than expected? Simply put, cruise lines need to work harder to create an enjoyable experience in which customers feel they are getting a great value for the price. Cruise lines that satisfy their customers and provide them with a reason to cruise again are rewarded with loyal customers."