Hurricane Irene’s Heroes and Zeros: 6 Cruise Line Crisis Responses

August 30, 2011 | By | 45 Comments

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For a week now, we’ve watched Hurricane Irene upturn itineraries, blow off thatched roofs on private islands and put cruise line crisis control centers to the test. Along the way, readers have provided a steady surge of feedback, posting first-hand reports from choppy seas, weighing in on the debacle in San Juan and scrutinizing how well your favorite operator danced with Irene. Literally thousands of comments and conversations later — on the message boards, Facebook, via reader e-mails — we know who you felt provided shelter and who left you out in the rain.
Hero: Carnival Salvages Cruise in San Juan
When the port authority of San Juan orders you to leave early, you leave early — even if it means “stranding” 300 Carnival Victory passengers. The forced departure? Out of the line’s control. But the response was within its jurisdiction, and the masterful way Carnival swooped in elicited near-unanimous approval. The line offered the 300 passengers two nights’ hotel stay and a flight to meet the ship in Barbados, the next scheduled port … for free. About half took the line up on its offer, and those who didn’t were given a full refund. While Carnival was under no obligation to provide such assistance for the weather-related incident, you loved the line for doing so.
“It doesn’t matter what the cruise contract says, it’s just makes good PR sense to handle things the way Carnival did,” posted Judy Galliher, one of hundreds of virtual back-patters, on Cruise Critic’s Facebook page. “You can’t buy this kind of good publicity.” Which leads us to…
Zero: Royal Caribbean Not Assisting 130 People in San Juan
Same situation, different response: Serenade of the Seas also had to bolt early, leaving 145 passengers in its wake. The 15 who booked air through the line were accommodated in hotels and flown to meet the ship in Aruba; the 130 others were given information on San Juan hotels and left to book and pay for any arrangements. There were two things that angered readers.
First, many were shocked when Royal Caribbean stated it was unable to communicate with missing passengers about the early departure. Echoing a common sentiment, mysparky called the excuse bogus. “Just as an airline can send out a text message and/or leave a voicemail on flight changes or cancellations,” he wrote on the message boards, “RCCL could have absolutely done the same. This wouldn’t have helped everyone, but there are some, no doubt, that it would have helped.”
Especially in light of Carnival’s response, not providing any compensation — no refunds would be offered for those who missed the cruise, said the company — left us speechless. But not you: “RCCL did not do enough in this case and now it needs to step up and make it right,” said bbbearden on the boards. “They did not even try.” The line has been mum since (despite several attempts to further question reps), and readers have noticed. “Sticking your head in the sand is no way to deal with this,” wrote Toshay Jones on Facebook. “They need to man up and admit they made a big mistake.”
Editor’s Note: After a week of saying it would not compensate passengers who missed the cruise, Royal Caribbean has just changed its mind.
Hero: Carnival, Celebrity Offerings “Refunds” for Missed Days
As Irene was swirling toward the Northeast, a number of lines had to delay Mid-Atlantic cruise departures by a day to avoid the storm. Celebrity Summit, for instance, arrived in its Bayonne, New Jersey, homeport on Monday, a day later than scheduled. (The cruise was extended while the ship waited for Irene to pass.) As a result, Summit’s week-long Bermuda sailing became a six-nighter. Carnival Pride returned to Baltimore a day early, on Saturday, and guests were required to disembark early. The ship was then moved to an alternate location as directed by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the next departure delayed to Monday. Both lines immediately issued statements saying passengers would be compensated in some fashion. (Carnival offered refund of one-seventh the fare; Celebrity offered $200 to $400 in onboard credit, depending on accommodation.) Neither were obligated to do so given contract stipulations on weather-related itinerary changes.
Many of you thought the lines had done their duty. “A responsible company that desires to maintain a decent reputation and satisfied repeat customers will refund a portion of the cruise cost to customers who lose a day of their cruise for whatever reason,” wrote DocF on a forum thread. “Nothing else matters and nothing else needs to be said,” he added, which was followed by 110 replies.
Zero and Hero: Delayed Refunds From NCL?
Again, context is everything. While the lines claim they’re not obliged to serve up any compensation for Mother Nature’s fickle tricks, you felt it would be a great PR move to do so. But NCL, which found itself in the same situation as Carnival and Celebrity, waffled while a 230-plus-post thread materialized, on which readers heatedly debated the merits of compensation. Forum poster Tbag124 summed up the emotions of impacted passengers: “NCL owes us nothing, that it’s in the contract, that the weather is out of NCL’s control, that they make decisions to keep us all safe … All that said, and especially given that Celebrity has already announced a credit for the SAME EXACT situation…..I really believe they should throw us an OBC.”
Many others, like Njhorseman, agreed. “I think would be a very short-sighted ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ decision to not provide an onboard credit as compensation for the missed day. The loss of customer good will in the long run is far more expensive than the cost of an OBC,” he posted. It took them a few days, but the onboard credit did eventually come. But … the line is not disclosing how much.
Hero: Cruise Ship Captains
The safety of passengers and hardware is the highest priority for a line, and many of you who were onboard during the storm commended the captains for keeping passengers in the know. “Captain Henrik ordered full speed the moment we left San Juan at 1 p.m. on Wednesday,” wrote Adrian Chinellato on our Facebook page. “They continuously updated everyone on the situation and weather reports and where the vessel was heading.” Well done to the captains.
Hero and Zero: Hurricane Season Cruising
The final casualty count shows that some 30 cruises were impacted — more than many of us are likely to take in a lifetime. On Facebook, we asked first-timers and old salts alike if Irene’s disregard for vacations would sour their taste for hurricane season cruising.
“Never again,” posted Gabriella Sciarrillo-Siegel on Facebook. “Got off the NCL Sky from Bahamas last Monday and had almost gone on a seven-day cruise to San Juan … one rocky boat ride and I’m done with cruising, trust me.” Lara Deke was just as blunt. “Heck no. I have only so many vacation days a year and can’t risk using them up in case of hurricane delays!” But many of you argued that it was worth the risk. But why, Angie McCullough Gonzalez? “Prices are just too low not to cruise this time.” Gonzalez also reminded us that the “ships sail AWAY from the storms.” Carolyn Arkell Terlouw agreed that some hurricane season deals are too good to pass up. “We sail quite a bit during the hurricane season. As a matter of fact we are leaving this week-end on Carnival Victory.” We’ll jump in here: If you want to cruise during hurricane season, here’s what you need to know.
Until the next storm….
When a hurricane threatens to disrupt your cruise, there’s one place to go for updates: Cruise Critic’s Hurricane Zone.
Don’t expect a cruise line to save your vacation from a hurricane. Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance.
So what’s hurricane season cruising all about? Check out our guide.
What should we talk about next in Sea-Mail? Tell us what’s on your mind at lido@cruisecritic.com.
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    Comments

    45 Responses to “Hurricane Irene’s Heroes and Zeros: 6 Cruise Line Crisis Responses”

    1. Andy Smithers
      August 30th, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

      What RCCl did was stupid. I took them off as a FB and will not cruise with them again!

    2. debby sainsbury
      August 30th, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

      to be honest andy I agree with you. I thought I’d never sail with anyone but RCCL but they were real villains here. What were they thinking of? Come one refund the people and make it right… you are in the wrong RCCL. You know it

    3. Sheri
      August 30th, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

      I have sailed with NCL, RCCL & Carnival. I am shocked at RCCL, one of the largest cruise lines out there!! As for NCL, I have been on 5 of their ships and while sailing last November, the shore excursion booked through the line, left without us. I sent in a verbal and formal complaint and followed up, not expecting anything but n apology and never received even that!! I told them right out I was very disappointed in them!! I think it’s great the cruise line tries to help of the passengers as much as possible when stranded!!

    4. Dee
      August 30th, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

      There’s a thread on the Royal Caribbean board called “Serenade early departure 8/21 – what I heard and saw” where a poster who was on Serenade says that RC DID call folks to let them know the ship was leaving early and that they were offering 30% off on a future cruise for those that missed the ship. If that is true, I’m not sure why RC’s PR rep wouldn’t mention that or won’t return calls. It’s not the package that Carnival offered, but it’s better than nothing. Right now everyone thinks RC did nothing based on their spokeswoman’s comments.

    5. Henry
      August 31st, 2011 @ 9:38 am

      I too was stunned by Royal Caribbean’s response. As a long time Royal Caribbean customer and a Diamond Plus member of their loyalty programme I can’t help but remember all the times they talk down towards Carnival as a product. Actions speak louder than a Cruise director’s words !

      As for not being contractually obliged to help out customers, I’m not sure that’s the right way to approach things. The danger is that people see cruise holidays as a potentially “risky” vacation and so decide to spend their money elsewhere. The reality of course is that cruising is one of the most all inclusive and safe environments possible. The trouble with this is that is attracts the less independently able traveller. Those people do not want to be left stranded at the quayside. It reflects rather badly on you. It’s also a lot easier for the cruise line to use their buying power to sort out rooms and air transport.

      A very big mistake.

    6. Cruise Critic
      August 31st, 2011 @ 9:56 am

      @Dee, we’ve seen the thread and were looking into what the reader heard about compensation — but we’ve literally sent a dozen e-mails to the line asking for comment/follow-up/clarification. Nothing. No response. It’s befuddling. We’ll be putting together a follow-up story as soon as we have something more concrete.

    7. theresa
      August 31st, 2011 @ 10:05 am

      I feel that the passenger should KNOW they are traveling during hurricane season and also REALIZE the consequences. In all fairness, the cruise line should ALWAYS go above and beyond to help its passengers, no matter what the situation. Royal Caribbean has always been more expensive to cruise on, they have always had a higher standard than the rest and in this case, what they did was just sad and pathetic. They WILL lose alot of customers. Carnival, like was mentioned in previous comments, was always looked down upon as being the party ship, etc. and look how nice they were during an emergency situation! Kudos!!! As for NCL, we have taken the last 4 cruises with them, I am sure they did SOMETHING for the passengers, okay, it could be more or less than what others did. To do nothing at all in such an emergency situation – there is NO EXCUSE!

    8. theresa
      August 31st, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      P.S. Dont think because you purchase INSURANCE that you are covered for ALL situations, weather related incidents may NOT be covered! Read before you buy!

    9. Len Puthoff
      August 31st, 2011 @ 10:25 am

      How did Princess handle these situations?

    10. Paul Windle
      August 31st, 2011 @ 10:51 am

      RCCL’s response just took them off my list of companies I’ll use for cruising. I’ve sailed with them, Princess, Holland America and Carnival. Royal Caribbean will not see any more of me or my money.
      BTW… As Len Puthoff asks, How DID Princess (and Holland America for that matter) deal with this?

    11. Karen
      August 31st, 2011 @ 11:07 am

      I am shocked to hear how RCCL treated their passengers. we have cruised with them numerous times and ALWAYS had wonderful service. I wonder what they did for passengers who were off the boats while their children were in the child care on the boat. They must have had a few children whose parents were unable to return.

    12. woodenduck
      August 31st, 2011 @ 11:15 am

      I was totally shocked when I read what RCCL did or rather didnot do for their passengers during Irene. I have traveled on RCCL for over 10yrs and usually book 2-3 cruises ayear, most times with a group of 6 to 8 couples. We always tell our friends to buy the extra Ins.not only because of weather, but medical, lost luggage and the dreaded flight delays. But I think RCCL needs to look at their PR to keep their returning members happy as well as their new cruising members. It has made us think twice as much as we will miss RCCL we are switching to Celebrity. WE always book Jr. Suites or sometimes Grand Suites because we love to use our balconies. Our last 2 Cruises we were unable to enjoy our balconies because of the smokers next door. Again PR wouldn’t help us just sent us a form letter. Celebrity dosen’t allow smoking on balconies so we decided not to fight but to switch. WE will miss RCCL’s friendly Staff. Some we have gotten to know quite well. Maybe RCCL will take a page from Carnival and Celebrity

    13. Linda
      August 31st, 2011 @ 11:23 am

      I have never sailed on RCCL …

      (and never will based on personal experiences of hearing their Cruise Directors on two different occasions ridicule Carnival passengers over the public address system as they debarked in a port… it is perfectly ok for people want to ridicule the “product” , but to ridicule someone who might be a prospective client just reeks of stupidity. So why would I want to spend my money with someone who ridicules me in public? I won’t!)

      However, all that aside, I have to say that I am with RCCL on this one.

      This is what the proper travel insurance is for.

      IF you have something that you can not afford to lose….then insure it properly or don’t buy it.

      That goes for cars, houses, vacations, jewelry, boats etc.

      While this is a small matter in the big scheme of life, sadly this is a mentality that is becoming an epidemic. People acting in an irresponsible manner and then expecting someone else to pay for their irresponsible behavior.

      These cruisers knew they specifically booked this cruise in the middle of hurricane season.
      So IF they could not afford to lose the money for the cruise, they should have insured it.

      For Carnival to “step up” and be a “hero” is sending the wrong message. And it also sets a very dangerous standard, because now every time someone misses a ship for any reason (and does not have insurance)…they are going to expect Carnival to pay for their irresponsible behavior.

      Yes, they got some good publicity now….but no good deed goes unpunished….I fear it will come back to haunt them….

    14. Mike Kidd
      August 31st, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

      We had a terrible situation last April with Spirit of the Carnival line. They left us on a bus for over 6 hours without food, water, or compensation. Shame on you Carnival. You are the worst.

    15. Sandy Bell
      August 31st, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

      It certainly isn’t nice that RCCL won’t compensate any of the left-behinds, BUT, come on people, on 8/22 it was apparent that there was a Tropical Storm brewing. If you plan to sail the Caribbean from August to November, be prepared. I live in Florida and took a Caribbean cruise to Nassau/CocoCay on 8/19. I checked the weather BEFORE leaving 8/19 and when I was in Nassau! Remember, from August to November, ‘There be hurricane’s out there.’

    16. Milo
      August 31st, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

      After a dozen or so cruises, we were big fans of RCCL. On our last cruise, because of sailing dates and itinerary, we discovered Celebrity, which we decided was our new favorite. Now reading about the incredibly shoddy treatment that RCCL offered its passengers (especially compared to Carnival, which we had always heard was a step or two below RCCL)the line is removed from our consideration list. Come on RCCL, no one expects you to give away the store, but you’ll have absolutely no profit if you turn your back on your customers. Maybe they saved a few dollars by booking their own air (I certainly have), but at least they chose to cruise with you (but probably never again). Punishing them because they did not add even more to your margins is outrageous. And with all of the information you demand from every passenger, it’s not a matter of not having contact information…it’s a matter of not bothering to do it. I hope Celebrity never disappoints to this level.

    17. Carol Dooley
      August 31st, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

      There were 7 in our party last week on Carnival Conquest out of Galveston to The Bahamas. We were told by the captain on Monday that we would be heading to Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Progresso instead because of Irene. We specifically picked this cruise for the itinerary. Only thing refunded were port charges for places we didn’t visit. Had we been told on Sunday before leaving that the itinerary had changed we could have cancelled with Travel Guard. Did Carnival know on Sunday that they would be avoiding the Bahamas? Probably. So, we visited places we had all been to before (and had no desire to return to)but we were safe and all in all had a good time.

    18. Jim
      August 31st, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

      Prepare yourself, people. That’s what travel insurance is for. We’ve had two wonderful cruises with RCCL and are planning on many more. If you don’t like what hurricane season can give you, then don’t go during hurricane season!!

    19. Brian
      August 31st, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

      I was wondering did either of the ship warn/remind their passengers that the hurricane was coming and the ship might be forced to leave with little warning?

    20. Lucie Jackson
      August 31st, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

      As someone just about to start cruising, I find this info regarding RCCL and Carnival a huge factor in my future cruise choices. I have crossed RCCL off my list completely. It also informs me it’s a smart idea to allow at least one day on either end of a cruise for weather related issues and always have adequate insurance. Thank you Cruise Critic and all the contributors. This is a very valuable and informative website!

    21. Carol Dooley
      August 31st, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

      we had insurance but a change in itinerary after you sail means no refund

    22. Chris
      August 31st, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

      I wrote to RCCL several times on this issues as it upset me. After many responses where they took no blame and offered no guest satisfaction, this email came to me from their guest services:
      Thank you for your email.

      The following is an update to the previous information:

      - all guests who were able to downline and board the ship will be given a Future Cruise Credit for 30% of the cruise fare cost

      - as this was a weather-related event, any guests that were not able to board in San Juan, and did not down line, should check with their travel insurance provider to inquire about coverage; guests will be provided a Letter of Credit from Royal Caribbean International for any difference in compensation not covered by the insurance provider, up to the cruise fare amount

      - our offices will be contacting those guests impacted, who did not join the ship, to review the offer; once we receive the final list of impacted guests the call outs will begin; the Future Cruise Credit and Letter of Credit offers will take 6 to 8 weeks for processing

      Please be assured, management is aware of your concerns. Mr. Reid, thank you for contacting Royal Caribbean International.

      Sincerely,

      Kimberly
      Customer Service Representative

    23. Janet
      August 31st, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

      Having cruised with RCCL on 10 occasions (Diamond Member)and with Celebrity on two occasions, I am disappointed that RCCL did not do more, but remember it is hurricane season. Caveat Emptor! In September 1995 we took our 1st RCCL cruise in the Caribbean. We were scheduled to dock in Antigua, Sint Maarten/Saint Martin and St. Thomas among other ports. Instead we paid a maiden call to Trinidad where the locals welcomed us with open arms. They entertained us and provided tours of their lovely island. Instead of Sint Maarten/Saint Marten we docked in Ponce on the southern side of Puerto Rico where the Hilton Hotel offered us the use of their beach, including towels, free of charge for the day we spent there. And, instead of St. Thomas we docked in St. Croix where we saw a great sign in a shop that read, “Remodeled courtesy of Hurricane Marilyn!” Yes, we managed to sneak in following both Luis and Marilyn that year and before Noel and Opal arrived. Were we disappointed to miss the ports we had hoped to visit? Of course! But did it matter? Absolutely not! We had a fabulous time and RCCL could not have been more gracious! We were hooked! We will continue to cruise with RCCL in the future.

    24. Joy
      August 31st, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

      I was on the Disney Dream as Irene rolled through the Bahamas. We did spend some extra time at sea (avoiding the storm) and could not stop at the private island because of damage, but I was on our second b2b so I got to go the first run. Disney refunded any rentals we reserved for castaway cay and kept us informed and safe. I am not suprised. While I can find better cruise \deals\ elsewhere, I choose Disney and have never been dissapointed.

      I had some flight issues post cruise that the Trip insurance company gave me some grief about reumbursing, so…If I follow this claim process through and do NOT get reumbursed it will be the last time I buy trip insurance ever… Just like managed care, they have small print/and excusions (BS) designed to help them keep their money. Worthless.

    25. Robert
      August 31st, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

      I am so glad that I only cruise with Carnival. It seems that they showed the most class out of the cruise lines. It’s too bad I don’t see too many sales for them on the emails I recieve from your website. Carnival VIP status, here I come!

    26. Rick Stubbert
      August 31st, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

      I’m with RCCL on this one. Airlines aren’t responsible for volcanoes, Cruise Lines aren’t responsible for hurricanes. They are very clear that they are not responsible for the weather and suggest that you buy insurance. If you decide to chance and don’t – take your lumps. We should change one of our mottos from “In God We Trust” to “Wah, I want Compensation”.

    27. Jeff
      September 1st, 2011 @ 1:32 am

      Looks line Carnival has stepped up to the plate and did the right thing. Where its true that none of the lines had to do anything..and it is clearly stated in the passenger contract. But, with an eye on the customer satisfaction it went ahead and did what was needed. I had been in a hurricane a number of years ago on the now retired Regal Empress. The line kept us all informed, changed ports and gave all an onboard credit. Yes, it was disapointing but, what could you do. Perhaps Mr.Stubbert hadnt had his hard earned vacation ruined. I’d be willing to bet he’d be complaining if he and his family was more or less abandoned by a well known and respected cruise line. For the record..on my trip that was upset by hurricane Bertha..I did have insurance!

    28. Gary
      September 1st, 2011 @ 9:37 am

      We were on Majesty of the Seas during Irene. We had to leave Nassau at 6 pm (rather than midnight) and missed our call to CocoCay. The plus side is that we got to overnight in Key West. This was a big plus for some folks and for the crew. I am disappointed that RCCI did not provide some compensation for the people who were left stranded. I thought that our Captain handled the situation very well and kept passangers updated on the situation. I can say that we were very glad to leave Nassau with Irene bearing down on the island.

    29. Peggy
      September 1st, 2011 @ 11:49 am

      We were scheduled CCL to sail to the Bahamas and Key West FL last week. However, due to Irene we were rerouted to 3 ports in Mexico, of which were in no way comperable to the ports we had paid for. Due to the Hurricane season we took out insurance and so we contact Carinval prior to boarding and we were told that we were still headed for the Bahamas but they would know more tomorrow – duh, we are already at sea what can we do about it then. Two of the three ports we were taken to were well below what we had paid for and we received no compinsation for this at all; I am greatly disappointed in Carinval as they received all my money up front as they depand but did not deliver the vacation I paid for and gave me no choice to
      ot board or to be honest when we asked prior to boarding the ship. BUYERS BE WARE: Carnival will sell you insunance and tell you it is good for weather issue but when we tried to find compensation we were denied, so why both to buy it and so, so sad that we were taken to such crappy ports and expected to Happy about the situation and we were given NO COMPINSTAION IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. NOW I KNOW WHY OUR FRIENDS TRAVEL OTHER CRUISE LINES, GUESS WE SHOULD OF LISTENED TO THEM!! BUT LESSON WELL LEARNED AND WE WILL BE IN NO HURRY TO REBOOK WITH CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES!!

    30. Carol Dooley
      September 1st, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

      Peggy, we were on the same cruise and had Travel Guard Ins. I called and they said I was welcome to file a claim but they didn’t think anything would come of it.

    31. Kelly
      September 1st, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

      We sailed last week on NCL to Bermuda last week and although we had to leave the port early, we were given credit for the missed time. In addition, all passengers were given 10min of phone and Internet time to contact family or friends. This was my first experience with NCL and I found that they did a great job in a unpredictable situation. The captain was very available and informative. The cruise director kept passengers engaged and made a crappy situation better! I would cruise with NCL again, I just willnever book a cruise during hurricane season again. This was our first and last cruise during hurricane season. The best time we have found is the end of March, and April. The ocean always seems to look like glass.

    32. Michael Golden
      September 1st, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

      RCCI was totally wrong in handling the situation. We Cruise, but I don’t think I will ever cruise RCCI and I will tell others not to as well. That is no way to run a business. A cruise line you are not.

    33. Louise Brisson
      September 2nd, 2011 @ 8:57 am

      I’ve been on 3 cruises, Costa, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. On our last cruise which was with RCCI, they lost my mom’s luggage. She is 73 years old and had to spend the whole week in the same clothes she boarded with. They offered her $100.00 to shop on the ship. They would not compensate her more than that! She had a miserable trip. We are taking another cruise this year and it certainly won’t be with Royal Caribeen!

    34. Cruiser from Maryland
      September 2nd, 2011 @ 9:52 am

      We don’t travel during hurricane season because of ‘hurricanes’. If you travel during hurricane season then you aren’t guaranteed ‘smooth’ sailing. Why take the chance that your vacation will not be as perfect as you planned? Reading these posts should make you want to buy the insurance they offer even more. Threatening to change cruise lines won’t do any good. There are plenty of fellow cruisers out there who will gladly step in and take your vacated suite. We will continue to cruise with RCCL and will definitely purchase the cruise insurance.

    35. beachbummers
      September 2nd, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

      We sailed on the Disney Dream. After watching the weather channel for 2 days we called Disney the morning of the cruise and were shocked and honestly disappointed the cruise wasn’t canceled. Having been on a few cruises and living on the Jersey shore my entire life, I’ve seen bad ocean weather and knew there would be problems. I’d rather have a canceled cruise with a full refund ,than go on a bad cruise at full price. No, Disney can’t control the weather, but there’s no way this ship should have sailed. Corporate greed.But the fine print in the cruise contract says they can change anything they want to. They sailed knowing full well Castaway Cay was getting hammered and the Dream wasn’t stopping there. Of course Castaway Cay is the highlight of any Disney cruise. The first night we sailed out of port into 25 ft seas, with winds at least 25 mph. We were rocking and rolling. The shipped hugged the coast on the way down. Dinner that night was an adventure. Puke everywhere in the hallways. These were the people who couldn’t make it back to their stateroom. It’s a shame because the food was very good. This was surprising. We sailed on the Wonder 2 years ago and the food was terrible.
      Nassau was our first port and our second port. Yes, the ship left Nassau Friday night only to return Saturday morning. Nassau is a real crap hole. The only thing it has going is Atlantis. Without that, it might be another Haiti.The locals are scary and always following you around trying to sell you stuff. Disney puts out a warning note telling you to avoid alleys and less traveled areas etc. The kids were so disappointed.
      This “cruise” was a disaster.

    36. Joe King
      September 4th, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

      So why don’t CLIA and ASTA and Virtuoso and Signature and the big consortiums come out with a statement condemming the Roy Carib lack of concern for stressed out customers flying into the teeth of a hurricane only to be ignored by Roy Carib? I mean come on, not even a rep at the port to tell the stressed out pax that oh by the way we left?

      Their silence is deafening. And please, don’t spout out the they should have bought insurance line. How about instead of blaming the passengers that you lay the blame on the company who in very unusual and trying situation chose to go with their bottom line and fine print over helping their customers?

      I thought that CLIA/ASTA/Consortiums were suppose to represent the clients?

    37. Rachelle Schnall
      September 5th, 2011 @ 8:44 am

      MY husband, myself and 3 other couples were aboard the Celebrity Summit when hurricane Irene hit last week. The Captain was wonderful about givng us updates and our position throughout the cruise. We were given another day at sea to guarantee our safe return as well as the use of cell phones to make calls for an entire day at the cruise line’s expense. This was my first experience with Celebrity. Although I was not impressed with the staff, (except cabin steward), I was impressed with the decisions made for our safety.

    38. Amy Fink, Blue Ribbon Travel
      September 5th, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

      We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on Aug 27 from New York, just hours prior to Irene’s arrival. We learned that some 800 passengers were unable to get to the ship due to airport closures. Also, some 500 passengers disembarking on Aug 27 would be unable to get a flight out of JFK to go home. I don’t know how Princess did it, but they managed to accommodate all. Many passengers were offered a good price to stay on for another week and we met some who did that. Others elected to stay on for two additional nights and disembark in Nova Scotia. Princess worked hard to take care of all and I couldn’t have been more impressed, there were actually a lot of very happy people. NICE JOB PRINCESS!

    39. Marsha Breen
      September 6th, 2011 @ 7:26 am

      I don’t know why anyone is surprised that RCCL treated their passengers this way. Their customer service has been going downhill for a while now in my opinion. We quit sailing RCCL for this very reason and have started sailing on only Carnival. I suggest you loyal RCCL passengers give Carnival a try. They are not just a “party ship”. RCCL and its’ loyal followers have been perpetuating this myth in order to keep people from “jumping ship” over to Carnival. Carnival knows how to treat its’ customers.

    40. Barb
      September 6th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

      It seems to be the motto for this year…

      “CHEAPER IS BETTER”. Well, people…
      Cruises are cheaper during hurricane season and that’s the risk you take. If you don’t know when hurricane season is, then ‘Google’ it! Why should the cruise lines have to compensate the passenger for circumstances beyond their control? I don’t believe they have a direct line to Mother Nature. Sorry, but it’s in the fine print. Just read it!

    41. Tyron
      September 7th, 2011 @ 5:13 am

      Adam Goldstein has responded to the Hurricane Irene fiasco. In his blog he stated how they dropped the ball on this one but will be handling these situations differently from this point forward.

      http://www.nationofwhynot.com/blog/

    42. zductive
      September 7th, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

      The carriage contract is so one sided in favor of the cruise line that the passenger is always wrong. The ship doesn’t even need to be there to pick you up and you are at fault.

      Forcing everyone to buy insurance because they may be harmed by the cruiseline is obscene. Add a couple bucks to each ticket and then treat your passengers right.

      The problem is that the cruiseline will not tell you what the cruise plans are unti you are at the ship. Therefore, even with insurance, you will leave port with one set of information only to have it changed.

      The ship can be in constant contact with the cruiseline. Any statement that says that the cruiseline doesn’t know what the ship is going to do would appear to be a lie.

    43. supershrink
      September 8th, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

      Seeing all the bashing of RCCL I felt the need to tell you of my wonderful customer relations story. I have cruised many of the cruise lines a total of 15 cruises and was upset that the Voyager of the Seas did not provide 24 hr access to ice tea. I stated my concerns on the evaluation form when leaving ship and when I sailed again on the Voayager 3 months later there was ice tea available around the clock. Never did I think a cruise line would be so receptive but they were. I don’t think my platinum status had anything to do with it, but folks when you try to get a hurricane season bargain, you sometimes lose. I never travel in the Carribean during that season-try Alaska during that time.

    44. What if the cruise ship leaves you behind? | Travel Insurance Review
      September 25th, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

      [...] – Carnival paid for hotel rooms and flew them to their next port of call to rejoin the cruise (earning them a Hero rating by Cruise Critic), but Royal made that offer only to the small number of passengers who booked their air through [...]

    45. Selina
      September 26th, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

      I had joint the carriban cruise at 27/9/2011, because of the Irene Hurricane,I didn’t go. Is it any refund from the princess .

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