On April I left the UK to travel to Tampa Florida for a 15 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean@s Radiance of the Seas. I was looking forward to this great experience because I was going on holiday with some old friends with whom I hadn't holidayed for forty years. It was a sort of extended reunion.
We were also celebrating one of my friend's 60th birthday. She had chosen a cruise as her celebration instead of a party. All three of us were excited and looking forward to spending time together as well as the experience of going through the Panama Canal.
The entire holiday was booked via Royal Caribbean, including the flight from Heathrow to Miami and on to Tampa. I was due to spend a night at a Tampa Hotel before boarding the ship the following day. However, from the start there was a lack of organisation and care. I, along with other travellers were left stranded at Miami Airport overnight, and we had to sleep on the airport floor. Although I had managed to contact Royal Caribbean, their staff showed no initiative or care. They simply did not want to know. Royal Caribbean did not accept any responsibility for our experience. And offered no explanation for the lack of customer care.
Although, in general the majority of staff on board were helpful and courteous. I found that there was a lack of organisation and interest from a number of staff. Some simply believed in the hype that Royal Caribbean represented. For example, each evening a 'Cruise Compass' was delivered to our cabin. This detailed all the activities for the following day. However, on these were not always available when I turned up for some activities, and the staff had an 'I don't care' attitude which I found most unacceptable.
Disembarking was yet another farce. It was all very disorganised and as a result, we disembarked with only a hour to catch our flight. In addition, I found that my case was badly damaged and surprise, surprise, Royal Caribbean staff were disinterested, unhelpful and downright rude when I complained. I did however, receive compensation for my damaged suitcase after I telephoned and made a complaint.