I just returned from a vacation on the Allure, and wanted to share my experience. This is my second Royal Caribbean (RC) cruise, and my 7th cruise vacation. I traveled with a total of 15 people (6 adults and 9 young adults, ages 16 -23), and overall, we had a wonderful time. The ship is truly beautiful, the food is very good (and quite plentiful) and the entertainment is excellent. Although the Allure is the largest cruise ship in the world, it never felt overwhelming, and was extremely easy to "navigate." Both the design and the layout of the ship are excellent, and none of us had any difficulty finding our way around. The only time it felt a little crowded was during certain times on the Royal Promenade, or when we had to pass through the main pools on our way to the Solarium (the 16 and over pool at the rear of the ship). We also loved making all of our dinner and show reservations prior to boarding, and thought all the waiters and stateroom attendants were kind, helpful and extremely professional.
We also loved our Cruise Director, Ken Rush, who did an outstanding job. Ken is the friendliest, most informative, caring, accessible and responsive cruise director that we have ever met. He genuinely cares about the passengers, is very knowledgeable and has a terrific sense of humor! His daily morning show, The Morning Rush, is filled with great information and lots warmth; we all looked forward to watching and discussing this program each day!! By the way, I initially assumed that this was a pre-recorded program shown each week to a new crop of guests, but was amazed to learn that Ken does a new LIVE show each day!!
Unfortunately, while our vacation was wonderful, we did encounter some difficulty that nearly ruined the experience. Royal Caribbean lost the luggage of both my nephew and his girlfriend, and (at least initially) Guest Services treated them very shabbily. Citing company policy, Georgi in Guest Services (GS) refused to initiate a search for the luggage until 9 am on Day 2. The only compensation Georgi offered was a tee shirt for each of them, and a few small toiletries. Without recounting all the specifics, Georgi was extremely cold and indifferent to the situation, and his lack of compassion was truly shocking. In a monotone voice, Georgi said how sorry he was, but then told my sister and nephew to "be mature, let us worry about finding the luggage, and just go and enjoy the vacation." Of course, this advice struck us as extremely disingenuous, as it is impossible to enjoy your vacation when you only have the clothes on your back!
My sister had to fight with GS daily just to get some of the basics for her son and his girlfriend. After much haranguing, Georgi finally authorized the purchase of two bathing suits and sandals (but no cover-ups -- he told them to use the towels as their cover-up),and allowed each of them to borrow dressy clothes for the first formal evening on Day 2. It wasn't until they wrote to Ken Rush on Day 3, however, that things began to change. My sister was now dealing with a different GS representative named Nillson, who finally provided my nephew and his girlfriend with some money on Day 4 to purchase clothes and necessities. Nillson also generously offered some other amenities to the entire group to make up for all the difficulties, and we were all extremely appreciative (thanks, Nillson!!), however, RC should be ashamed of Guest Services for taking until Day 4 to treat my nephew and his girlfriend with the kindness and consideration this situation demanded.
Obviously, we understand that RC has a certain protocol to follow, but we believe that GS should have been much more responsive and certainly more compassionate regarding the situation. Merely repeating the phrase "I'm so sorry," without doing anything concrete to help is both offensive and perplexing. My nephew is 23 years old, and he and his girlfriend saved for the last year in order to pay for the trip. Had GS been more responsive and given my nephew a reasonable dollar amount to purchase clothes and necessities immediately (or at least by the afternoon on Day 2), I would be writing a very different review. The stress of the situation would have ruined the vacation for less affable and optimistic people; however, both my nephew and his girlfriend behaved with grace and patience, and we were all extremely proud of how they comported themselves.
By the way, the story does have a happy ending...sort of. Royal Caribbean finally found the luggage on Day 8 - aboard the Oasis. Although my sister repeatedly asked if the luggage could still be at the port, GS emphatically denied the possibility. Of course, upon our return home, RC informed her that the luggage had, in fact, been at the port for the entire week, and had then been inadvertently loaded on to Oasis for its sailing on August 4th. RC then informed her that it could take an additional two weeks for the luggage to be returned!! Considering the extreme inconvenience and stress the loss of my nephew's luggage had on their vacation, asking these two very patient people to continue to wait an additional two weeks is unconscionable. My sister is currently working with a very nice RC representative to expedite the return of the luggage. With any luck, their luggage will be returned soon.
Finally, most of us are experienced travelers, and we do understand that a certain amount of patience and flexibility is required for successful trips. Obviously, mistakes happen, and things can often go awry, but a bad situation can often be made better by a gracious approach and a sincere apology. Royal Caribbean's Guest Services had an opportunity to show just how much they value their customers' happiness and comfort, and they fell significantly short. The corporate offices of Royal Caribbean should take a long, hard look at their customer service policies and personnel, and take the steps necessary to ensure that no other passengers receive such shabby treatment.