Sail Dates - 7/13/13 - 7/15/13
I purchased 2 Groupons for $199 each with each one being for 2 person/2 night Bahamas cruise. Because my son and his family had never cruised before, I thought a shorter trip would be better and looked at this as a good opportunity. My additional costs ended up being $389 for port charges and the cost of my grandson not covered by the Groupon and $120 in gratuities for a grand total of $907 (excluding onboard purchases) only to have the experience that we did.
Pro's of cruise line - The wait staff and housekeepers onboard. Lunch in the Rio's restaurant.
Con's of cruise line - Ironically, the Customer Service staff and the conditions of the ship.
Approximately 4 days prior to departure I called customer service line and was advised that my son and his family would not have to pay a $100 deposit for their 3 year old son (they were paying their onboard account with cash). At the terminal, we were told otherwise. When I explained to the clerk that we had been advised differently and they had brought enough cash accordingly, his only resolution was to waive everything except the $42 gratuities for my grandson. I told my son not to worry about it, that we would handle it once we got on the ship.
Once we boarded, I went directly to the Customer Service desk and advised the clerk about the situation, she promptly reached for her calculator, entered the amount of their deposit, subtracted the amount of gratuities and informed us matter of factly that this still left them $116 (family of 3, for 3 days). Before we ever left port, I called the customer service line and explained what was happening and my dissatisfaction. I questioned the amount of our tips and was told that we should be paying $24 per person in gratuities, not $42. I went back to the Customer Service desk and had the difference applied back to their cabin deposit.
The most disturbing, upsetting event came on Sunday evening. My daughter-in-law is 3 months pregnant and began bleeding. We immediately went to the Medical Center on board but it was closed. We informed a staff member that we were having a medical emergency and that we needed to see someone. He knocked on a door across from the medical clinic. When the nurse came out she informed us that she had been eating her lunch. When we explained to her what was happening, her remark was "I need to explain the fees to you before I get the doctor". The base fee was $145 to see the doctor and an additional $40 because the clinic wasn't open. We explained that we didn't have the money to pay but this was an emergency. She did get the doctor who checked her and they put her on bed rest until we reached port. I was told that once I had been given a copy of the report that a Promissory Note could be done and to go see the Customer Service desk. When I went, they had completely wiped out my sons' account and acted like I should be thankful that all that was remaining was a balance of $71.94. I explained that if they took all of the cash out of their account, we didn't have parking money at the terminal (couldn't pay prior to departure because the credit machine was down) nor would we have enough gas money to get home (we live in Tampa - 4 hours away). I kept asking "how can you all do this?" "we're going to be stranded". All I got was blank stares from the staff and a repeat of the fees. At no time was an alternative offered.
My son ended up finding me at the desk and advised that he had tried to use his card and it was declined. I explained what had happened and obviously he became upset. I was crying, he was yelling and security was called. The Head Bookkeeper was called and she initially just kept reiterating the fees and looking at me. I kept explaining that we were going to be stranded when we reached port.
Ironically, it was other passengers that reached out to us while their staff stood there and stared. A couple from Georgia walked over and reassured us that if this didn't get resolved by the cruise line, they would pay for our parking and give us gas money to get home. I don't know if this is what prompted a resolution from the Customer Service desk, but they did refund the medical bill to my son and we did a Promissory Note for the full amount. I was taken into the Customer Service Supervisor's office where, for an hour, we really just went back and forth. He advised that if I had told them upfront our situation that they would have acted sooner. I told them that in fact I had advised them of it and that until the situation was so escalated that security had to be called - NOTHING was being done by their staff.
After I left, I spoke to a member of the security personnel who advised me that after her contract was up, she would no longer be sailing with this cruise line. I was also advised that the Captain of the security team felt that the situation should've been handled differently by the cruise line. As a matter of fact, he apologized to us the next morning and stated "I was very uncomfortable with how it was being dealt with by them". Bottom line - everything was resolved with a Promissory Note - but a fellow passenger had more compassion than their staff and I was tied up for HOURS dealing with it.
Conditions of the ship and other things:
Deep puddles of water on the ship causing astro-turf carpet to buckle (Safety hazard). I've traveled other cruise lines and when there is standing water, they brush it off the ship.
While having my own issue at Customer Service desk, a fellow passenger was complaining that she had sewage coming up through her shower drain. On the morning we arrived back in port, my husband used the restroom and was not able to flush.
In the Gift Shop, a display rack was being secured to the ceiling with a necktie.
The comedy show required and additional fee. I have never heard of having to pay an additional fee to attend an entertainment show while onboard.
While speaking with other passengers, it became very clear that those with no prior cruise experience were enjoying themselves and those who had traveled with another cruise line stated they would NEVER book with you again.
It has been over one week since I emailed the cruise line and to date have not even received an acknowledgment that the email was received. I am mailing a hard copy today. I copied Groupon on the original email and they responded in under 24 hours!!!