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RCI Enforces New Guest Policy

August 27, 2002
Shades of Paradise? Royal Caribbean is jumping onboard the no-leeway enforcement regimen that Carnival's Paradise uses for onboard smoking offenders. Only in this case, Royal Caribbean's program -- dubbed "Guest Vacation Policy" -- has nothing at all to do with smokers. It's aimed at offenders of other on-ship misdeeds -- violent behavior, verbal abuse and possession of illegal substances, to name a handful.

Adopted fleetwide, the program operates on a three step plan that divides offenses into two categories: minor and serious.  Regarding the latter, first time miscreants get a verbal warning, second timers a written warning and third timers are unceremoniously booted off the island. Um, we mean ship. The point? "Ships are becoming small towns and little villages and you need these guidelines," says Helmut Leikauf, Brilliance of the Sea's general manager. On Leikauf's watch -- while serving in the same role on Radiance of the Seas in the Caribbean last winter -- six passengers were actually escorted off the vessel for violating the rules. Bottom line, says Leikauf, "you can't act this way on airplanes or in hotels so why should it be permitted on cruise ships?"

Passengers receive a copy of the policy, which also applies to behavior on transfers, shore excursions at the pier and on the company's private island, with their cruise documents. The policy precisely spells out what kind of offenses warrant the three-step program. Royal Caribbean's Guest Vacation Policy" even extends -- in somewhat distilled form -- to children. "You just can't have kids runing around wild," Leikauf says, though the company has not gone to the drastic third step in any case involving a pint-sized passenger.

Royal Caribbean, it would appear, is the first cruise line to put ink-to-paper on such behavior-related guidelines. Spokespeople we contacted at other cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises and Norwegian, had never heard of similar efforts on their own ships.

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