I took a one-week Disney Cruise with my family from NYC to the Bahamas and it was the greatest vacation I’ve ever had. It was also an unparalleled experience in customer service, attention to detail, proactivity, and fun.
Before I talk about the cruise I want to give some context to why this was so fascinating to me. Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach has what he calls the “Four Seasons Rule.” He and his wife, Babs, decided that when they are at home they never want to have to do anything that they wouldn’t have to do while staying at the Four Seasons.
No trash to take out, no beds to make, no shampoo or wine to keep stocked, no repairs, etc…now obviously to do that you need to hire a lot of different people and put a bunch of systems in place.
Essentially they’ve setup one of those yard sticks at carnival rides that tell you if you’re kid is tall enough to go on or not. If the task at hand is below a certain level, it’s not something Dan wants to have to deal with.
It’s a version of one of the fundamentals of the Less Doing system whereby I teach people to create artificially restrictive limits on themselves in order to force innovation and eventually, effectiveness.
Except in this case instead of saying you can only take an hour to do something, or you can only spend $100 dollars on a project, this version says that unless the task requires involvement above a certain level, then there is no involvement at all.
That’s how we felt the entire time we were on the Disney Cruise.
Some of my favorite highlights:
1. The boys all got bracelets that were locked to their wrists and essentially acted like LoJack.
They could use them to access the various kids clubs on the ships and once they were in they were “secured” and couldn’t leave until a parent picked them up.
Inside they were treated to events, activities, visits from Disney characters, meals, whatever they wanted. It was a really flexible and honestly spoiling (for us) solution.
If the kids were getting crazy and needed to let out some energy, kids club. If we were sitting at a meal and one of them wasn’t having it, kids club. If we just needed a little adult time, kids club. Totally amazing, and they loved it.
2. The level of personalization was beyond anything I’d ever seen.
Even though we ate at a different restaurant every night, we always had the same two waiters, Pedro and Franchescha. They referred to all of us by name, knew our preferences, and had our favorite drinks waiting on the table when we arrived.
3. Our room was cleaned or organized no less then three times each day.
Each day we had an itinerary of the next days events and the rooms were spotless. A unique feature of the Disney Cruise staterooms is a split bathroom. There are two small units, one has a sink and toilet, the other has a bath and sink. The idea being that you can still bathe a child so someone uses the toilet in private.
4. The unending access to food and drinks was not as dangerous as I thought.
The food was not astounding but it was really good, really available, and you never had to wait for anything. So of course the first day I totally gorged myself but for the rest of the trip I did a lot of grazing.
It was really nice because it meant that if one kid wanted to go on the water slide but another one wanted to sit and watch a Disney movie on the outdoor movie screen I could go back and forth between the two, stopping at the shawarma stand for 30 seconds to get a lite “snack” to keep me going.
Also the idea of having to sit down to a full on meal — with four children way more interested in the guy dressed like Captain America than eating — would normally be much more stressful.
5. The level of coordination is unlike any I had ever seen.
We were sitting in the grand theater about to watch a live show and one of my boys said he wasn’t feeling well. As I picked him up and rested him on my shoulder he quickly proceeded to throw up all the way down my back and pants and onto the woman in the row in front of us.
Mortified, I tried to apologize while expediently moving towards the exit. In the 9 seconds it took for me to get to the door of the theater, two people were already on their way in to clean up the “protein spill.” (Disney has their own language, for example there are no employees at Disney, only cast members).
We got to our room about two minutes later and my wife was feeling really bad for the woman we had pretty much drenched in our sons vomit and wanted to get her a gift card to the on-ship boat.
I called the front desk no more than 4 minutes after my 4 year old got sick on a boat with 3599 other people on it and asked the representative if they could try to find out who the person was.
I was told that she had just heard from one of her colleagues and that the guest was staying in room XXXX. I was shocked that they had that information, again making us feel like we were the only ones on that ship.
6. I figured out a couple minor but important hacks.
The showers on cruise ships are very very small. I realized the first day that I could go to the locker room of the very ample gym/spa and enjoy a sauna and shower that was nearly the size of our entire stateroom.
In addition, my youngest still has the occasional bottle and storing milk would have been a pain. The “beverage station” on the boat had unlimited soft drinks, tea, and coffee. Which meant there was a milk dispenser with unlimited access, problem solved.
One of the biggest things for me is that it was the first time in my memory that I was fully disconnected from the internet (by choice because you can pay for WiFi on the boat) for more than two days.
I had just relaunched my Less Doing brand and I only needed to implement one system in order to set my mind at ease. I setup Intercom with a company email and set an autoresponder on my personal email that any request should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then I had a couple of very trusted team members monitor activity on Intercom. Not only could they respond to inquiries but in my absence they were actually able to close business for us.
That week with my family was an experience I will cherish forever. I highly recommend anyone with the opportunity, take a Disney Cruise.https://upscri.be/6892b4?as_embed=true
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