Bad Weather Blunder: A Lesson in Cruise Crisis Control?

August 25, 2011 | By | 50 Comments

We get it: With Hurricane Irene fast approaching San Juan on Sunday, port officials weren’t taking any chances. At midday, they ordered Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships to depart several hours early — even though not all their passengers had arrived.

Carnival Cruise Lines, whose Victory steamed for Barbados, had to leave 300 guests behind — but it also left in its wake an emergency support team. It attempted to reach out to every one of its passengers by phone, e-mail, travel agent, or emergency contact person, info that lines ask passengers for during the booking process. It arranged for hotel stays -– not an easy thing to do as a hurricane is bearing down upon a Caribbean isle -– and booked flights to Barbados for all of those who wished to meet the ship mid-cruise. Not only that, it paid the bill (about half the passengers took them up on the deal; the others accepted refunds in the form of future cruise credit).
And get this: Aside from a requirement to take care of passengers who bought air tickets through Carnival, the line technically didn’t have to do any of this. If passengers’ cruises are impacted by a weather-related event, they’re the ones who are expected to ante up the cash they need to catch up to their ships. They have no rights, afterward, to extract any compensation as a result of the inconvenience.
That, apparently, was what Royal Caribbean was counting on. Its performance has been one of the worst hurricane-related crisis response efforts I’ve seen in 14 years of covering the cruise industry. For one, Royal Caribbean made no attempt to contact passengers still en route. In a statement released only after CBS-TV’s Miami affiliate posted a story featuring an interview with a Serenade passenger who was left at the pier, the cruise line wanly excused itself by saying, “there was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time.”
In most cases, the 145 who missed the ship found out when they arrived at the now-empty port. With a hurricane approaching, Royal Caribbean did make hotel and flight arrangements for the 15 folks who’d bought its air/sea package. The rest, the statement says, “were advised of hotel availability in San Juan but the expense was their responsibility since it was a weather-related event.”
This takes my breath away. And it’s not about the fact that it didn’t offer to pay for hotels and flights (note to all cruise travelers: Buy insurance that covers weather!). It’s about dropping the ball in a risky situation. Clearly, I’m not the only one who is shocked at Royal Caribbean’s lack of responsibility to its customers. On Cruise Critic’s forums, its blog, and its Facebook page, travelers are incredulous.
This post from Louis Kadetsky on Facebook hits the proverbial nail on the head: “In this day of social media, Instant Messaging, television and radio (editor’s note: Not to mention smart phones), I find it unsettling that these companies can build and operate large and sophisticated ships but couldn’t have gotten the word out to their passengers.”
Especially since Carnival, which was in the same boat, managed to find a way.
Kadetsky continues, “Then, after failing to have a proactive strategy in place, and a program for that contingency, to cause further harm to their customers by leaving them in the lurch.”
On Cruise Critic’s Royal Caribbean forum, member Busman weighs in with a good-sense observation. “They could have sent an email out to everyone registered for this cruise, and/or sent a text message. Some of the people wouldn’t have gotten the message in time but some would have. At the least, it would have been a good-faith effort.”
I’d like to think, as a glass-half-full kind of gal, that there’s a compelling rationale for the way Royal Caribbean handled, or rather abandoned, its customers in San Juan. In an effort to give the line the benefit of the doubt, I reached out to a spokesperson Thursday for an explanation. She hasn’t returned the call.
Don’t expect a cruise line to save your vacation from a hurricane. Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance.
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    50 Responses to “Bad Weather Blunder: A Lesson in Cruise Crisis Control?”

    1. Mark Blei
      August 25th, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

      What’s quite apparent is that RCCL didn’t even did the least that the could, and that Carnival did absolutely everything they could , so bravo Carnival!

      I would hope that everyone who got left behind was carrying trip cancellation / interruption insurance. There’s simply no reason to go on a vacation without it.

    2. Brack
      August 25th, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

      Very disappointed in Royal Caribbean’s lack of customer care. I’ll certainly keep this situation in mind when booking my next cruise.

    3. RG
      August 25th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

      Oh wow….I am so sorry to those passangers were left behind. And Royal Caribbean, how very very very disappointed I am in you. We are loyal cruisers to your line and this is just plain negligant in my book.

    4. Steve
      August 25th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

      Your comments are so important for people to read and fully understand. This is a sure way to completely ruin a vacation if you are not properly protected; whether through the cruise lines insurance policy or another.
      I give the highest coo’s to Carnival for going that ‘extra mile’ and looking at their guests as individuals with names. They made it a point to take control to satisfy THEIR guests – best they can. Wonderful!
      Now Royal Caribbean Intl, one of the most respected and rated cruise lines in the industry, should be ashamed of themselves. To turn their backs on THEIR guests at a time of emergency shows a complete lack of business ethics in guest satisfaction. It seems it is more important to know the reservation confirmation # than their name. BUT….
      Are they responsible and did Royal have just cause not to assist? As you state in your article, \Aside from a requirement to take care of passengers who bought air tickets through Carnival, the line technically didn’t have to do any of this. If passengers’ cruises are impacted by a weather-related event, they’re the ones who are expected to ante up the cash they need to catch up to their ships. They have no rights, afterward, to extract any compensation as a result of the inconvenience.\
      How is this handled by hotels, airlines & other vacation companies? Do they have to do anything? Should they do something? It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? As a travel agency owner and very strong producer for Royal, I would be extremely disappointed & upset if I had clients on that sailing.
      From a guests satisfaction view, Carnival scored A+, Royal scored F.

    5. Darkwolfe
      August 25th, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

      Whoa! Major fail on RCI’s part. Being a relatively “Loyal to Royal” customer, I’d suggest to others that feedback through Crown & Anchor be delivered strongly so RCI won’t make that kind of error again.

    6. Reggie Harris
      August 25th, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

      The fact that there was an approaching hurricane did not even enter RCCL mind. Here you have 145 people with only their luggage and a boarding pass and noone to help them. I feel sorry for the passengers that were unable to reach the ship early enough, but… they were given a time to be on the ship in their documents….oh yeah…RCCL only enforces the parts of the passenger contract that protects themselves.

    7. Sonya
      August 25th, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

      OMG! Way to go Carnival and keep up the good work. Say what you will about them when it comes to your safety they do at least try to help you out. (Thank you to todays technology) I was thinking about taking a trip on RC, but this just changed my mind. Once again…Way to go Carnival.

    8. RoseMary Wells
      August 25th, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

      In similar circumstances, I was on a Carnival ship during 9/11. Boy, were they between a rock and a hard place, There was no satisfying anyone.It was “Don’t make jokes this is a horrible occasion” to ” I came on a cruise to have fun, and you’re not being funny”. The passengers couldn’t understand why we weren’t being told more info–Terrorism, maybe? Carnival did everything right. Since we could not go back to NYC, they ended the cruise in Boston. Then we had a choice of three places

      close to NY where we could be taken by bus. We had free use of phones to call families. We were offered another cruise for less than 1/2 price. Kudos to Carnival. They did right then and then again this week.

    9. paul bernard
      August 25th, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

      Carnival did the right thing, demonstrating that it’s a trustworthy cruise line. RCI’s behavior was cynical, mercenary and despicable. We’re booked on two upcoming cruises, one on Celebrity, the other on Azamara but are seriously considering cancelling. Who wants to cruise with an outfit that’s capable of treating its passengers this shabbily?

    10. Marie Elise
      August 25th, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

      Way to go Carnival. Very disappointed about Royal Carribean. The cruise ship company should always be responsable for their passengers. They leave port before time, its their responsibility to see that all passengers be taken care off. I’m a Princess Cruise fanatique and I shall remain. NO WAY will I take Royal. Cruisers, please cruise with responsable companies. Its really too disapointing to miss a cruise. They should have known (every one knew) that a hurricane was on the way….Royal found the easy way out….

    11. Cruiseless
      August 25th, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

      RCI’s primary business is taking care of passengers once boarded (original port of departure. They knew a storm was coming and should have warned all passengers that an early departure was possible. There is no excuse for not taking precautions even if that meant making passengers unhappy by missing the port. Carnival is demonstrating a higher degree of professionalism as sea than RCI. Way to go Carnival. You have my business in the future.

    12. Steve G
      August 25th, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

      I have to say that the WOW factor was completely absent from RCCL’s handling of the situation. How can a company that builds Oasis of the Seas with all of it’s remarkable technology actually claim they were unable to contact the passangers before they were left behind? That is unthinkable. Keep in mind this wasn’t a port of call….San Juan was the EMBARKATION port. Whenever I fly, I get text message updates from my airline. Surely RCCL has this capability. Either there was no contingency plan or RCCL needs to pay for fuel. Remember RCCL, without passengers you won’t need much fuel. Carnival gets it: they care about their customers and demonstrated that fact quite clearly.

    13. Cruise Critic
      August 25th, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

      Steve, I have to say that your comment really rings true for me and I’ve been covering Royal Caribbean for a long, long time. The ships indeed have a WOW factor but this — this is just … I’m out of words. And yes, you’re absolutely right: If airlines can send text messages (I was on a Continental flight recently that was delayed and I got a text message about it before the crew knew) so can a cruise line.

    14. kate
      August 25th, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

      This was a unique situation in that as consumers we got to see how two different cruise lines reacted to the exact same situation.

      Not only did Carnival have more cruisers impacted and still manage to really go above and beyond, but just the simple act of trying to reach people shows their committment to passengers.

    15. Brenda Marie
      August 25th, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

      I will be cruising with RCL Serenade for the first time in October. I will buy all the insurance I can can LOL and pray I have a good time.

    16. Kim
      August 25th, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

      Having been an operations manager for a hotel in a major chain for 9 years, I’m shocked and apalled by how cruiselines do NOT own up to responsibilities to their guests! I’m not talking LEGAL responsibilities, rather ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY and SERVICE ORIENTED/PUTTING THE GUESTS FIRST/EXTENDING HOSPITALITY for heaven’s sake! Having been a regular cruiser for ten years now, I’m nothing short of AMAZED by how cruiselines can manage to weasel their way out of any type of responsibility! Okay, so it wasn’t the cruiseline’s fault – but it wasn’t the CUSTOMER’S fault, EITHER! I’ve cruised Carnival several times and must note that they weasel out of responsibility, too, such as cancelling excursions and not telling us until we go to the meeting place and then all the other excursions are full or have left already. Alsc, cancelling ports on the trip, but not notifying customers until we read a blub in the national newspaper and call Carnival to inquire and they say they were going to notify customers TOMORROW! That’s happened TWICE! What a coincidence, huh?! The ONLY thing they’ve done is quote the fact that they are NOT responsible and that ANYTHING can change at ANYTIME and ANYWHERE and that LEGALLY they are not responsible. Ditto Royal C, Celebrity, Holland A. A reputable hotel wouldn’t think a second about footing the entire bill COMPLIMENTARY! I was taken back by Carolyn Brown’s “Not only that, it paid the bill …” – Of course they paid the bill! It’s the only reasonable thing a cruiseline SHOULD do! Well, we’re leaving October 2nd for our 3rd cruise with Carnival and want to state emphatically that IF it were with Royal C, I would cancel at the very last moment (since I always buy trip insurance) and will NEVER cruise with those jerks again! NEVER! To those great employees of RC, please go get jobs with other lines – Carnival would probably be a good place to work at the moment. RC management has shown us loud and clear what we mean to them: Money. Period. I hope every passenger with trip insurance “gets sick” moments before their next RC already booked trip! They deserve it. I’m sure THEY have insurance to avoid any losses, but it would send a strong message, don’t you think? APALLING!!!

    17. Kim
      August 25th, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

      To comment #1 Mark Blei: You state: “There’s simply no reason to go on a vacation without it.” when referring to cruise insurance. How about COST? A family of 4 might pay $75 per per person – that’s $300 for trip insurance – not a drop in the bucket for young families. I’m middle aged and know better and can afford it, so I don’t think twice about buying insurance, but come on…do people pay for hotel room insurance? I’ve never even heard of it and I work in the business! If we don’t have the room for whatever reason, we pay to put them up at another hotel for the night and comp their next night with us! Flight insurance? Very few do…because we KNOW that if the flight doesn’t take off, they will pay to either put us on another flight, (even with a competing airline),or put us up in a hotel and pay for meals until the next flight out. I’ve had airlines pay to bus me home from a nearby major city when the airport closed in Denver and guess what? I never purchase flight insurance! Delta has put me on American Airlines and paid for it when it was due to mechanical breakdown. Braniff (remmeber them?)has put me on Continental and paid for it when their plane couldn’t leave Chicago for Denver and paid for it! Why is it that cruiselines have so much fine print and boy do they cling to it?! Sure, legally they CAN, but why would they? Rest assured that many on both Carnival and Royal didn’t have trip insurance, but at least Carnival did the only right thing. Okay, I’ll get off and stop hogging the space. I’m so blown away by RC’s lack of empathy, service, and downright cheapness.

    18. Tamara Johnson
      August 25th, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

      I sailed with Carnival in 2009 during the “Swine Flu”. Carnival contacted my travel agent who let me know what options. I received an e-mail also. When arriving at port, you received a flyer about the cruise. There were people who still didn’t know about the changes, yet they were directed right to a supervisor to assist with changes.
      I’m glad Carnival step up to the plate and this will make a great impression with the cruisers,esp when booking again or telling friends and others about what happen.
      As for RCCL stating they couldn’t imform people. Please!!

    19. Tammy Quintanar
      August 26th, 2011 @ 1:48 am

      Definitely won’t be booking with Royal C. ever again. They were my favorite line. Guess I’ll give Carnival another look!

    20. Christine
      August 26th, 2011 @ 8:07 am

      I’ve sailed on Princess, RCI, Celebrity and booked my upcoming cruise next month on Carnival. So far, RCI has been my least favourite of the 3 lines for various reasons.

    21. Jen
      August 26th, 2011 @ 9:24 am

      I was very much “Loyal to Royal” and hadn’t given Carnival much thought. Recently though, just due to some inquiries and follow up a possible cruise- I am starting to lean toward Carnival. This little incident certainly helped seal the deal. What poor management and effort by Royal to their customers. I had stayed on Royal for loyalty rewards (paltry as they are)in hopes that one day I might actually be rewarded for my loyalty. But I can see how they reward their passengers after this debacle in San Juan. Now, it’s whatever cruise has the best deal and best itinerary. No loyalty to a line that can’t even have the common decency to “TRY” to contact their passengers.

    22. Robert
      August 26th, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      What RC is telling us is: the customer comes last. They better turn this PR nightmare around and fast.

      They won’t be getting any of my business.

    23. Jenn
      August 26th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

      Hurricanes aren’t new and neither is disaster planning with all associated communication plans. It is 100% apathy that led RCCL to blow off their customers. That type of attitude comes from the top and heads should roll on this one. First, I’d fire the PR rep who publicly stated that they couldn’t possible contact all of their passengers. Seriously? That’s your statement? So much more damaging than anything else in this story. Second, I’d be figuring out what leaders in charge of planning, customer service, and IT let the ball drop.

    24. Patti
      August 26th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

      I must say: I too have been a “Loyal to Royal” customer, even after breaking a tooth on a pit in a cherry jubilee dessert of theirs(in front of 7 other people at our table)and I was only offered asprin for pain and an envelope to put the tooth in, unless I wanted to see the ship doctor at my expense. (they had no dentist)
      After arriving home (days later) and seeing my dentist and paying a thousand dollars for a cap, I finally received $500.00 towards another cruise with them (which really didn’t cover the dentist bill)and it took a lot of writing and talking and time to even get that!
      However after this episode of them not contacting people and/or helping them, I’m starting to think it’s time to change cruise lines…Not only do they have the biggest and greatest ship such as the Oasis, they also have the Allure just as big, but they can’t help their passeengers?…SHAME ON YOU ROYAL CARIBBEAN! (and that’s saying it nicely)

    25. Jcool
      August 26th, 2011 @ 11:25 am

      I am not surprise that Royal did this. we have been on Royal we felt like their were all about the money. If they want to make more money they need to care about their customers to that would make them more money. The only reason I took Royal was because their smoking policy. But I like Carnival better. Yes Royal haves better boats but Carnival has better workers.

    26. Gail
      August 26th, 2011 @ 11:44 am

      This certainly helped me make up my mind on what cruise line I will be sailing with. The blatant disregard that RC showed for their guests is appalling. The entire management staff should be let go. If I were on that board of directors I would be demanding some changes!!!

    27. Darelynn Clay
      August 26th, 2011 @ 11:51 am

      Way to go, Carnival! I’m going on my third cruise with you in October and was so glad to read this! You always do right by your customers and hopefully everyone remembers when they book their cruises….only downside is that you might start getting so crowded that we will need to book wayyyy in advance! I also remember …(and am surprised that it wasn’t mentioned)…how well you treated your customers when one of your ships in California caught fire. Sure it was your incident and not a natural disaster, but your customers were left better off than before it happened!

      After reading about what RCL did, I would never even CONSIDER cruising with them! I hope they are left with empty ships…there is NO EXCUSE for what they did. Even though there were hotels…it was still a hurricane in a foreign country! How frightened those customers must’ve been! SHAME on you, ROYAL!

    28. june
      August 26th, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

      For a company that is boasting & bragging about their high-tech behemoths Oasis & Allure I find it hard to believe that it was impossible to contact thier customers, and even if this was the case then they should have been apathetic and offer transportation to the next port. Shame on you RCI. I have been on Carnival & RCI ships and for the difference in the prices RCI always being the more costly one but less service my money is with Carnival next time. I hope all future cruisers will read these comments and think twice about loyalty to Royal from now on

    29. Popeduck
      August 26th, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

      Lesson learned: I resolve to always purchase trip insurance from a third party, when taking a cruise.
      Prior to this event, I was hesitant to book a Carnival cruise (probably because of their “party” reputation). Now I will not hesitate to book with Carnival.

    30. Arlene
      August 26th, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

      what I want to know is: WHY WOULD ANYONE cruise during hurricane season?

    31. Jim Smetzer
      August 26th, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

      Don’t forget, Carnival also owns Princess and Holland America. I have enjoyed the service of these ships as well! Great job Carnival Ships and the Carnival family.

    32. Kate
      August 27th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

      Carnival owns Princess, Holland America, Cunard , Costa and Disney cruises. They are the number one cruise company in the world for a reason- this kind of attention to service from them does not surprise me as a travel professional. I have customers all the time who rave about the service on board and off. The attention to their clients in this incident is admirable and not the least bit unusual.
      RCCL? They are putting big money into renovating the rest of their fleet over the next year- it would serve them well to spend some of that on training their customer service personnel and putting some better thought out practices into play.
      Regarding travel insurance- you should never leave the country without it.

    33. houstontx
      August 27th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

      My, My!! I am ashamed of RCL. I cruise (almost) exclusively with the RCI owned cruise lines. I understand that RCL may not have had a lot of choice in leaving the port early. Neither did Carnival for that matter.
      The big difference is Carnival did the right thing. RCL did not!!
      I wonder if that would have been a Celebrity or Azamara ship would they have done the same thing as RCL? Wish I knew the answer to that question. That could certainly cause me to change my mind about what ships I cruise on.

    34. fice
      August 27th, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

      Why some people suggest that travel insurance is a must ? Please, read the small print, these policies usually are intended to cover illnes, jobless and so on. Most policies state that weather, civil conmotion, strikes are not covered

    35. Tim
      August 28th, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

      I was formerly an avid advocate of RC Lines for many years. This year I have had my fill of their lack of concern and dedication to their customers.

      My family and I had a cruise booked with them for October in the Mediterranean, our forth in Europe on RCL. The cruise was scheduled as a round-trip from Venice – an 11 night cruise. After having travel arrangements booked for months now they called and changed the itinerary to 7 nights and ended in Malaga.

      We asked them why this was being done. RCL is planning a major overhaul of many of their ships and they wanted to get a head start. Really?!?! That’s a great reason to inconvenience thousand of passengers! The only compensation they offered was $100 per person for flight changes. There were NO arrangements for compensation for hotels. When expressing our discontent – they simply said sorry – it happens.

      Well RCL – it won’t happen again because we will never be using you again.

      This event in San Juan just further nails the coffin for RCL. They will be spending millions to refurbish their ships and have extremely unhappy customers. Hopefully, they will suffer for not only the financial burden they have put on others but also the danger they have left these poor passengers in. I hope that all those left behind were safe and found somewhere to ride out the storm.

      ****Just a warning about insurance – most policies do not cover all situations – read carefully to make sure you are getting a policy that covers weather and natural disasters. ****

      Fortunately, we were able to book a cruise with Holland America with a similar itinerary. Although, the price tag for the new cruise was higher – we could have lost more with the airfare and hotel.

      Holland America is a sister line to Carnival. I am looking forward to much better customer service and loyalty from my new favorite line!

    36. Angela Channing
      August 28th, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

      This is just another episode where I have seen the decline of RCI and Celebrity. I think I have reasonable expectations but there have been a couple of occasions where I voiced a concern and basically got a response that lacked empathy or did not resolve the issue. My most recent sailing on the Summit was a bit disappointing. The crew slammed a door at regular intervals (every couple of minutes) adjacent to our cabin starting at 6am. When I asked this to stop, I was told they would “try.” No apology. They kept slamming the door. I finally had to go down to the front desk and it was still a struggle to get them to stop. Our cabin steward made jokes about it to our faces. We responded by staring at him.

      I am dismayed at RCI’s handling of the San Juan departures. Thank you for listening.

    37. Dave
      August 28th, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

      Wow Royal Caribbean… what a message to send to your current and future cruisers “We only care about your money, the rest of you can kiss our Ship”. Well I can tell you this.. the next time I book a cruise I will not only remember this story, but I will allow it to affect my purchasing decision! This is the second time I have heard about Carneval going out of their way for their guests (remember the fire?).

      Carnival, you will get my business. RCCL, I’ll send you a postcard.

    38. Joanne Hice
      August 29th, 2011 @ 12:12 am

      Kim: I have cruised both Royal Caribbean and Carnival….preferring Carnival. With Carnival, I have always been advised more than once of changes in itinerary and excursions due to weather including cancellation of calls to ports and excursions. They also gave us letters advising how to get excursion refunds. I have always felt they went above and beyond. With this incident, I know they do.

    39. Karen
      August 29th, 2011 @ 12:39 am

      We have done several cruises with RCI over the years but this story is making us definitely rethink our next trip. When a crisis is occurring, it should bring out the best in people, or in this case, a company. Instead it looked like a corporate person(s) brought out the worst by punishing people because ‘they should have booked their air through RCI.’.

      CEO/COO of RCI…I am losing faith in your leadership. This is a no brainer. If you are taking this long to make things right with the affected passengers and to also fire your leadership that was responsible for this mistake, then how do we have faith in your future actions if another issue should arise?

    40. HeinBloed
      August 29th, 2011 @ 12:56 am

      One reason why RCI is at the very bottom of our preferred lines: Their reaction was: We EXTEND our apology and that’s it. – They do not feel responsible for small things which went wrong nor for big things. Reasons to stay away and go with lines who offered a great customer service and listen to their customers and react.

    41. Green Archer
      August 29th, 2011 @ 1:05 am

      It may not mean much to Royal Caribbean but they’re losing this traveler, my family, and big enough circle of friends who are well traveled as future guests in their cruise line because of this incident. It just shows me; bottom line they don’t care for their guests/passengers safety and well-being with this asinine strategy they pulled. And when this gets around either in blogs, word of mouth or other social networking, it’ll multiply like wild fire. So for those holding equity stocks with Royal Caribbean, you better sell at the soonest possible moment. They gotta be taught a lesson somehow.

    42. mbegin57
      August 29th, 2011 @ 7:07 am

      Well….settles it for me, STAY WITH Norwegian and stay away from RCL! How disaapointed those cruisers had to be. Bravo to Carnival.

      RCL, you need a major course in customer relations and quality management. HIRE me, I’ll teach management the right way to deal with customers. CEO you need to take some lessons from the staff on your ships–THEY know how to treat passengers

    43. Anne
      August 29th, 2011 @ 8:22 am

      I am a travel agent who had clients that were supposed to be on that cruise. Never heard a word from RCI. My clients called me trying to find air to either Aruba or Curacao. Turns out they arrived at the pier and the ship was still there, however the doors were closed. They were NOT let on and were told the Coast Guard ordered this. They were told to go to a hotel where other passengers were but there weren’t any. No help at all from RCI. Unfortunately they didn’t have insurance even after my urging. They came home Tuesday after having no luck getting flights to Aruba or Curacao. I am working hard for my clients to get some sort of compensation from RCI.

    44. Stephanie Mason
      August 29th, 2011 @ 9:09 am

      Wow… From a customer who would rather cruise with Royal than any other cruise line, this is very disturbing. I agree with what most others have said and that Royal should have at least sent emails, texts, or even phone calls. I realize its not thier responsibility however they make millions of dollars off of customers. I am going on a cruise in October with Carnival (because of the desitnation) and I am glad it is Canival and not Royal. I will might have to rethink all my future destinations with Royal….

    45. Keith
      August 29th, 2011 @ 9:34 am

      My latest RCCL cruise makes me think that they have lost their way by making it a corporate priority to make every possible penny at the expense of genuine customer care… and the long-term loyalty of smart cruisers. The biggest, loudest, and latest is a cheap substitute for quality, value and ethics. This stunning abandonment of customers after they take their money is the last straw for me. I’m done with RCCL.

    46. Vickie Anderson
      August 29th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

      I am beside myself that a cruise line would do this. I worked for Holland America and don’t remember them ever dropping the ball. There are so many ways to cantact the guests and advise of the change in departure. Having the air through the cruise line as well as the travel insurance is a wonderful way to go, but the guests should have been informed regardless of the package they purchased. I think some of these cruise lines have forgotten that if the guests aren’t there, and the ship isn’t full, money is lost and you are on your way to ruin. People talk and word gets around about the customer loyalty! I think the lines need to remember this!

    47. Tom
      August 29th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

      I knew it was a reason I sail with Carnival. I all so always get the travel insurance, and get the air/cruise package. You just never know what may happen. I all ways travel in a group of three or more, so that’s a lot of money to risk.

    48. Susan
      August 29th, 2011 @ 10:37 am

      Some posted: “RC management has shown us loud and clear what we mean to them: Money. Period.”

      What else should we be to them? We have a business/customer relationship for the sole purpose of making MONEY. If we are pleased we continue to spend our money with them. If we don’t like their product then we take our money elsewhere. A business entity doesn’t “care” about customers. They make money or they don’t! This was a poor public relations move on Royal’s part for sure and if people are smart consumers it will cost Royal a LOT of business. Our power lies in our unwillingness to accept poor service or quality.

    49. Pam
      August 31st, 2011 @ 11:45 am

      We are frequent travelers of RCCL and will boycott future travel with them. Poor public relations, failure to even try to communication to the stranded travelers and the unwillingness to accept any responsibility for the travelers who did not book air and travel with RCCL is unacceptable. We will make sure our “Cruise
      buddies” are also aware of this.

    50. Kale Wright
      August 31st, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

      A dear friend who recently passed away had a saying that apparently RCI has adopted: \I feel for ya … but I just can’t quite reach ya.\

      RCI has been our preferred cruise line and we just booked a cruise with them a couple of weeks ago. We had originally planned to sail on Carnival (since we hadn’t been on one of their cruises before), and changed our plans when the price on a similar RCI cruise was lowered to within about $150 (more) of the Carnival cruise. Reading the reviews and knowing how much we like Freedom of the Seas, we felt it was worth it. Now, seeing their off-sea customer service, I’m seriously thinking we might have made a mistake. At least we have insurance, and will now give Carnival more weight in future cruise evaluations.

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