Having done 6 cruises on Carnival, we have never had a bad cruise. As with anything in life, things are not always perfect and I am not one to complain unless a situation warrants. We had decided to take a quick cruise for my birthday and to spend time with our children since we had not had an opportunity for a family vacation this summer. Selected Bahamas and thought we would try Royal Caribbean for the first time. August 24th sailing. Unfortunately tropical storm Isaac had developed and was already in full force by the time we arrived in Miami.
My job and expertise is in meteorology as a dispatcher with a major airline. I had concerns about the cruise itinerary having worked the Caribbean and the forecast for our day of arrival in Nassau with heavy rain and wind. Royal cancelled the first port Coco Cay and told us the cruise would leave as scheduled to Nassau, and if we choose to cancel we would lose all our money since THEY determined it was safe.(not sure who they are). We left as scheduled and the sea was very rough. The next morning we were told they could not dock in Nassau due to winds and that we would be sailing at sea for 3 days with no stops. The ship drifted slowly east on the north edge of the storm with off and on squalls and winds at times of 50 knots or more. We had one child sick due to the rough seas and by the end of the cruise our daughter was running out of formula and diapers and they had none on the ship to purchase. The general store was closed due to rough seas and the alcohol fell off the shelves and broke. On several occasions during eating in the buffet the ship tilted and food fell off the tables.
On several occasions my children were hurt from falling. Being a smaller ship and the cruise director pulling at strings to come up with on board activities, there was nothing for the children and more lounge and adult type activities only for adults or those over 18. My 12 year old girls were not really into the poster board, glue and glitter in the teen lounge. And my 13 month old was not allowed in the sea water pool with swim diapers. POINT IS, it was a bad cruise and in my opinion not safe but things happen.
Tropical Storm Isaac was a very strong consistent storm and the track never deviated much from what was forecast from the time it developed, the Bahamas forecast was always to be rain and winds and I feel Royal should have given us the opportunity to cancel our itinerary and reschedule. One would think Royal has their own meteorologists on staff that knew the situation and what would be expected. Many folks may have cancelled if they had been told we may just go sit out in the middle of the Atlantic for 3 days and ride out a rough and very dangerous storm. There were many people upset, first time cruisers that will never go again and many people that had travel plans messed up and had to pay many additional fees to get families home since the ships could not return as scheduled. After all that The Royal Caribbean CORPORATE OFFICE, made a company decision they would offer No replacement cruise, No discounts on future cruises and No refund of any kind even after taking us out in dangerous conditions. It seems the crew did what was a directive by corporate management.
These upper level executives are now taking a position they will do NOTHING for those of us who were rocked for 3 days out in the middle of the ocean. This clearly shows Royal Caribbean cares more about their bottom line rather than the customer. My wife and I spoke to 3 agents at corporate relations, they were very sympathetic with the situation but said there is nothing they could do to satisfy our frustration because the CORPORATE Management had taken a company directive that NO CUSTOMERS would be reimbursed in any way.
Being an avid cruiser this is not a common situation and the cruise line loses nothing and stands by their customer service commitment by taking care of those who had a bad experience. We were not asking for our money back and will definitely cruise again, we simply felt we should have been offered some form of satisfaction on another 3 day cruise or a discount of some form on a longer cruise. This is not a situation where the weather just got bad on a cruise, this storm was already well developed and the track well defined. The cruise should have cancelled or at least given us the option to cancel and change our cruise dates. The cruise staff did the very best they could given the situation. Shame on the management of Royal Caribbean International for their decision to care more about themselves rather than the passengers and crew. We will continue to Cruise but never again with Royal Caribbean. This is simply our experience. Happy Cruising!!