While my husband and I enjoyed our cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit from 2/1-2/15, we experienced some cabin reservation issues with the back-to-back cruises that we feel other cruisers would like to know about and could benefit from before they book with Celebrity. First, this was a repeat back-to-back cruise from 2013 - exact time of year, exact ports. One difference was this year we booked through a travel agent, Vacations to Go. Our cabins were not assigned until January, three weeks apart, and they were not the same, even though they were purchased in July, as was the 2013 cruise, and the reservations were linked.
We are Elite members with Celebrity and this was our fifteenth and sixteenth cruise onboard a ship under the RCCL brand (5 Celebrity and 11 RCCL). We are also stockholders.
In December, when we realized only one cabin was assigned, my husband called Celebrity and was told he would have to contact our travel agent and then was promptly hung up on. He called the travel agent and she called Celebrity who told her she would have to wait for the second cabin to be assigned. She would then have to call back and try to coordinate cabins so we would not have to move our cabin midcruise. He also told her our first cabin was unavailable the second week, so he knew that would be an issue. However, Celebrity would not correct the issue then. Three weeks later the second cabin was assigned and no change was available. We were doomed to move midcruise.
It was suggested we contact the Captains Club, Celebrity's loyalty program. We did, as we thought the problem might have been that when Celebrity posted the payment charge for our cruise in early October (payment was due in November) they doubled charged us and it took two credits to straighten out the error. We thought perhaps our cruises had become unlinked at that time. We contacted the Captains's Club and were promised a 48 hour response. Then we were notified it would take longer and we should not contact them again as it would just slow down the response. That was January 17th, the cruises are past, and we are still waiting for a response. When we got onboard, the Captains Club hostess on board also tried contacting them. Ten days into the cruise she had not heard back and to the Summit's credit they offered us a dinner in a Specialty Restaurant. Enjoyable, but our vacation so far had been filled with aggravation talking to various officers, only to have no one get back to us. We even completed an "Attention to Detail" card for the Hotel Director who wanted us to "provide the crew the chance to act now versus learning at the end of the cruise of a missed opportunity". At the end of the first week we got a thank you from him confident that his staff had met our needs. Funny thing is no one even talked to us from his department regarding the room issue!
Unfortunately, this cast a shadow over the whole vacation and the move between rooms was not as simple as promised. We lost Friday night packing up, and on Saturday the passengers inside the room we were to move to, were staying onboard and moving to a higher class room, so their luggage was still inside when it was time to move.. This necessitated us moving my husband's medical equipment and our valuables to the Guest Relations Desk so we could exit the ship and go through customs before returning and retrieving them. All of this was unnecessary and not the way to treat loyal cruisers, nor their staff who had to deal with the luggage and an unecessary move.
The cruises were complicated by several large groups that had booked. In talking with many of them, we discovered that the groups needs kept changing as new passengers came onboard, others decided way after our July booking to stay for two weeks when they originally booked one week, etc. It is our belief that we could have also lost our linked reservation as Celebrity tried to meet the larger groups' needs and please them in any way possible, since financially they were more important to them than our reservation for two. This became clear to all Elite members when they were kept outside of the lounge for their cocktail hour for 20 minutes while a group was allowed continued use of the lounge on the last evening.
Although we will never know what happened to cause our reservations to become unlinked, our suggestion would be to book directly with Celebrity Cruise Lines if considering a back-to-back cruise (as we did in 2013) as a cabin number is assigned at that time. The Summit is a lovely ship and it is very sad that Celebrity's Reservation Department does not play well with travel agents and that it's loyalty program does not step in to reward its regular cruisers with the courtesy of a response when they are contacted for assistance prior to a cruise. Our cruise could have been memorable as in 2013, instead it was an eye-opener as to "how important and valued you are" when a problem surfaces.