Housekeeping tends to be one of those topics often shied away from by hospitality companies and cruise lines. It’s the not-so-glamourous, yet essential tasks carried out every day, normally behind the scenes. Housekeeping may be viewed as mundane and not overly interesting, let alone “exciting”. That is unless you’re speaking with Gerald Mosslinger, Seabourn’s Senior Vice President of Guest Operations. Then housekeeping – especially since Seabourn restarted operation back in July – offers an increased level of guest interaction.
Until recently, the ultra-luxury cruise line’s housekeeping was undertaken by individual staff assigned to a bank of rooms. Now, in line with recent enhancements to the guest experience, Seabourn is using a team mentality when it comes to servicing guest suites. A two-person team consisting of a Suite Host and a Suite Attendant has replaced the former solo Suite Stewardess role.
“I am super excited about this,” Mosslinger tells LATTE from his home in Seattle.
“I think it’s a really meaningful change for our housekeeping department.”
Mosslinger says the concept “goes back to being at home and making your own bed with your partner. It is always easier when it’s two people from each side. Things just go faster, and so we applied the same principle there.”
But aside from the obvious time saving (ie. many hands makes light work), Mosslinger said importantly there’s increased guest-to-crew interaction.
“This change hasn’t been driven by any efficiencies, or that we were cutting any additional people. The real benefit is that we’re providing better service to the guests,” Mosslinger said.
“The goal as we become more efficient is that it gives us more face-time with our guests. Guest interaction is so critical so the two-person housekeeping team was a ‘no brainer’ in my mind.”
Mosslinger adds that another advantage of the team approach to housekeeping is a greater level of accountability that comes with working in a team, plus keeping each other motivated.
WiFi now inclusive with Seabourn
Recognising the demands of its diverse clientele, Seabourn has done away with one of the major bugbears of travellers – having to pay for WiFi. The cruise line now offers all-inclusive complimentary WiFi in the cost of a voyage, and has tripled its bandwidth onboard ships, and meaning unlimited minutes for all guests.
The included “Surf WiFi Package” enables guests to have one device per guest, for web browsing, email and checking/posting to social media. There is also an elevated option (at cost) dubbed the “Stream WiFi Package” that permits up to four devices per guest, the same inclusions as the ‘Surf’ package, plus video streaming, internet telephony and VPN/cloud storage services.
“We used to give WiFi away at times with the purchase of a cruise for promotional purposes, and this path is really moving Seabourn with the times and ensuring guests can always be connected,” Mosslinger said.
The base WiFi inclusion also ties in with the technology enhancements and Seabourn Source app that guests can now utilise on their Seabourn ship. In addition to using the app for ordering coffee from Seabourn Square, guests can make dinner and retreat reservations, view the day’s itinerary, book spa treatments, access Shore Excursion tickets digitally, and much more, all from their own mobile device.
Another guest benefit stemming from Seabourn Source is the ability for guests to communicate with other cruise passengers, without having to pass on a mobile phone number. Once a fellow passenger accepts a request from another to connect, they are able to use the app like a messaging service.
“For families and groups it’s a really great tool. In the past, a family may try to sync their day’s activities (massages, shore excursions, etc) and plan to meet back at a certain location and time. Now they can communicate with each other throughout the day and align their schedules to coordinate a meet-up,” Mosslinger said.
Mustering without the crowds
On the subject of gatherings, another Seabourn innovation to improve the guest experience on its ships is the switch from being physically present for a safety briefing with dozens of other guests, to “e-mustering”.
“The days of lifeboat drills, where everybody is at a certain location at a certain time in the afternoon of day one on their cruise, perched together on the outside deck like sardines are over,” Mosslinger described to LATTE.
“Now guests come on board and they need to watch a mandatory safety video at their leisure in their own suites, report to their muster station to have their names ticked off a list within 30 minutes of their ship departing, and they are good to go. This is a big improvement for the guest experience, the SVP said.
Quizzed by LATTE how Seabourn monitors if a guest has watched the video, Mosslinger said the cruise line has a record of when the safety video is viewed to its full completion.
“We do reach out to guests that have not watched the video. We’ll individually reach out to them. There’s a system in place. We couldn’t offer e-mustering otherwise,” he said.
See next week’s LATTE to hear what Mosslinger has to say about Seabourn’s new streamlined embarkation processes.
With two ships already back in service, Seabourn recently brought forward the return of Seabourn Encore by two months to 19 February 2022. Seabourn Encore will operate a series of new 10- and 11-day itineraries to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean roundtrip from Lisbon, Portugal over the northern winter and spring.