It is with deepest regret that I find myself in a position that necessitates the time and effort to relay my utter disappointment for my recent cruising experience with Royal Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas (dates- 17 Sept 2011 through 24 Sept 2011). This cruise was my second cruise, and has undoubtedly ruined any plans I would have had for future cruises. I had originally booked this cruise as part of a family vacation with 14 other family members and friends. I had great expectations for this vacation as the ship appeared amazing and we were assuming that we would receive first class service. Nothing could have been further from what we experienced.
I had booked the vacation directly through Royal Caribbean and was subsequently assisted by Maria Umpierre, my vacation planner. My experience with Maria was fine; however, everything that followed was the catalyst for this letter. To begin, I had pre-arranged through Royal Caribbean to have the ‘Grand Romance Package’ for my girlfriend and I to enjoy upon our arrival, and I had intended for this to be a surprise. I was informed that I would have flowers, robes and a welcome bottle of Champagne and strawberries in the room prior to our arrival and was very disappointed that I had to call for the Champagne and strawberries, as someone had failed to deliver these to our stateroom. The packet for this package was incomplete, as it was missing the coupon for the breakfast in bed, which I subsequently had to contact guest services for. I was then directed to three additional departments, as no one seemed to know who I needed to speak to directly. Eventually I was able to reach a manager in the room service division, who delivered the coupon and gave me the appropriate instructions to acquire this service. The Canapés and post dinner chocolates were delivered on both formal days TOGETHER in the mid afternoon. (Apparently the staff did not understand that one was pre and the other post dinner). In addition, I found that the guest services division seemed very unhelpful and at times rude (via telephone conversations) throughout the cruise.
While we found the ship itself to be quite amazing, the level of customer service in general was deplorable. We would often at times find ourselves asking questions of staff members and having anything but friendly responses, and I would reiterate generally rude or indifferent attitudes. Note: (There were exceptions to this; however, not many.) For example our state room attendant Michael always had a smile and was very personable and accommodating. The second example was our wait staff at the family meals (dinner primarily) were also very friendly and accommodating. The quality and selection of the food however in the main dining area was mediocre at best. We had envisioned elegant and elaborate meals and were again disappointed by the overall presentation including the facility appointments. For one of the largest cruising vessels in the world we found ourselves pondering why more attention was not given to create the ‘wow’ factor. Our impression of a large percentage of the remaining staff in general was that they really did not enjoy their respective jobs and seemed indifferent to making our experience memorable. The most disturbing group by far were the bartenders. While we enjoyed many cocktails and a premium wine package at seemingly outrageous prices, the simple act of having the bar staff pour glasses of water when requested seemed almost a burden for most. This was particularly disturbing due to the fact that we were cruising in very hot climates and needed to remain hydrated.
In addition, while most of the on board activities were enjoyable, I had a particularly bad experience with a staff member who was taking our sea passes at the Flowrider attraction. I had previously had a blue wrist band attached to my wrist by another attendant and had decided not to use the Flowrider. I asked this gentleman (unknown name) to please cut the band off as I had decided not to follow through, and instead of simply cutting off the band, he sarcastically asked why I wanted the band off. I explained that it was because I decided not to use the Flowrider and that I had paid for the cruise, and asked again that he simply remove the band. He rolled his eyes and made another unnecessary comment and removed the band. It became apparent that the level of customer service in general on this ship was lacking greatly and I had subsequently spent a great deal of money on perhaps one of the worst vacation experiences I have had to date. It is incomprehensible to imagine that in the state of our economy with as many people that are unemployed and eager to work that Royal Caribbean settles for individuals who seemingly do not want to work or do not enjoy the opportunities that they have. Perhaps it is a training issue as well? Having owned two small businesses I have come to value the highest level of customer service and make every effort to deliver this to my customers. I have always established a culture of caring and helpful employees in my own businesses, and I am shocked that Royal Caribbean has failed on the most basic levels to achieve this same standard particularly on the Oasis of The Seas. Lastly, as if to add insult to injury, our last experience upon debarking the ship on the 24th of September further demonstrates the non-existent level of customer service. Once we had cleared customs, as we walked out onto the sidewalk to find our shuttle to the airport we were greeted by a Royal Caribbean employee (unknown man) who was literally screaming at all of the passengers to move away from the door. He continued to walk among the passengers yelling (no exaggerations here) as people walked through the door. This was the first and last time for what I will describe as our “Royal Disappointment”.