Carnival Cruise Line considers a massive onboard change


Many frequent cruisers strongly resist change. They may ultimately come to embrace innovations or changes to traditions, but at first it's hard to get them to accept them. Social-media pages devoted to cruising are filled with comments from people lamenting that their fellow passengers no longer dress up for dinner and that some dare to wear shorts or hats in the main dining room.Related: Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise issue warning for cruise fansLast year, when Royal Caribbean changed its dinner menus, at least partly to speed up service, many customers were upset not just about the smaller menus but also the change in pace. Some passengers wanted dinner in just over an hour while others relished the traditional lengthy service, which took closer to two hours.Some changes, of course, are easy to embrace. On Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has made its elevators more efficient, an improvement it's hard to be upset about. Even the crustiest cruiser who still wears formal wear to dinner likely appreciates not having to stop on every floor and not being crammed into a packed elevator where the person getting off is always at the back of the car.Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) , however, has subtly floated a massive change that its passengers seem very mixed about.

Royal Caribbean made major changes to its main dining room menus last year. Image source: Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty

Carnival asks about a change to room keys    Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald knows that if he comments on his Facebook page, he's going to get a big response. A May 24 post, however, may have surprised even him as it received more than 1,500 reactions and 5,200 comments. The post was simple and very short by Heald's normal standard."Wristbands – more and more people asking for them to replace the Sail and Sign cards. Are you one of them?" he wrote.Traditionally, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean give customers credit-card-like room keys that serve as the way they open their cabin doors, as onboard identification for getting off the ship, and as a method of payment. Royal Caribbean has offered wristbands for an added fee on select ships that provide many of those services, and Virgin Voyages uses what's closer to a bracelet with a digital charm as its take on a room key.Want the latest cruise news and deals? Sign up for the Come Cruise With Me newsletter.Disney World has long offered a wristband option for access to its parks and access to its Genie+ and Lightning Lanes on rides. The company's Magic Bands even serve as room keys in some of its hotels, but they're an option, not the only choice.  Carnival passengers have very mixed feelings.Some respondents to Heald's post cited Walt Disney as the best way of doing things."Yes!!! Should be an option. Band or card. Your choice. Just like my favorite theme park," Jennifer Longo wrote. "We have used a wristband-like device at a certain resort in Florida that is run by a mouse. I actually really like it. I would like the option to have either one, The card or a wristband," added Shawn Baumgarner. Others were mixed about it."I personally like the sign and sail card for memories, but for the actual functions on a wristband, I like it better," posted Charles H. Painter Jr. Some liked the wristband concept for a really practical reason."At least with a wristband I wouldn't forget it or lose it. The number of times I have lost my sign and sail card or forgotten it even when it's attached to my bag," Kat Elstad wrote. Sandy Latour echoed that logic."Switch to the wristband. It’s easier. The all-inclusive resorts already do it this way and it cuts way down on people losing their room keys. If there is someone who absolutely can’t wear one for whatever reason have a card available in those circumstances but otherwise — the band is so much easier," she wrote.Sign up for the Come Cruise With Me newsletter to save money on your next (or your first) cruise.A lot of posters preferred the cards for reasons including tan lines and sensory issues."Card all the way! It’s easier in the casino than a wristband plus I absolutely hate wearing things on my wrist due to sensory issues," posted Dylan Flint. "Nope, can you say heat rash and allergic reactions? (wore a wristband for just a few hours at Universal Studios for Nintendo World games and the result was an itchy and red wrist for a good 24 hours.) Thanks, but no thanks," added Merika Campbell.

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