My wife and I are long time and frequent cruisers, having taken cruises on 4 different cruise lines. For the past 8 years, we have been "Loyal to Royal" as Crown and Anchor Diamond members, and have taken as many as 4 cruises ... Read More
My wife and I are long time and frequent cruisers, having taken cruises on 4 different cruise lines. For the past 8 years, we have been "Loyal to Royal" as Crown and Anchor Diamond members, and have taken as many as 4 cruises with RCCL in a single year. We were looking forward to our 5 day cruise to Mexico this March, which was the fourth time we have had a March sailing, and was our first time onboard the Independence. We were booked in a Junior Suite on the 10th deck. Up until now, we have never complained or even had a bad experience on an RCCL ship.
As soon as we arrived onboard, we were confronted with large numbers of college students on spring break. They were lined up at the bars, sometimes 5 deep, all had unlimited beverage packages, and all were being served as many as 5 drinks at a time. We were unable to get a drink after a 30 minute wait. One of the students, who was standing next to us at the muster drill, was bragging that he had already had a dozen drinks in the past two hours. By 9pm that first night, there were college students vomiting in the passageways and in the casino.
Night after night, we witnessed girls dancing naked in the public areas of the ship, with one (with her skirt hiked up and no underwear) giving a lap dance to the producer of the onboard entertainment (Grease) in the Schooner bar. We even saw crewmembers in the Schooner bar (wearing name tags), with one male having his hand inside the skirt of another (female) crewmember.
We saw open drug use onboard this ship, with passengers distributing Xanax and pot to other passengers. The parties were so loud at night, that many passengers onboard were calling security multiple times at night to stop the loud yelling and pounding on the walls and doors at 3 in the morning. Passengers who were not part of the Frat parties were being bombarded with food thrown from higher levels of the ship.
We have video and pictures of many of these events, but cannot post them because they are NOT family friendly. We were onboard with my wife's brother (his second RCCL cruise), his girlfriend (first time cruiser), as well as a couple and their 7 year old child (first time cruisers). They were having trouble explaining all of the out of control behavior to their young daughter.
During breakfast in the Windjammer, the waiters would ignore tables that did not have scantily clad college girls sitting at them.
No matter how drunk or crazy things got, the crew kept serving them alcohol. We complained to the staff, as did my wife's brother, and the Guest Services Manager offered us a 30% refund in the form of a future cruise certificate. Without being asked, she said that she wished she could do more but that was all she could do under company policy, and recommended that we contact shore side guest relations.
That was when things got interesting. Our calls resulted in the following comments from post cruise relations, the guest loyalty office, and the executive office:
- RCCL can't control what other passengers do
- They paid for the cruise, just as you did
- This is March, and you have to expect this sort of thing
- Yes, we have a guest code of conduct, but there is little we can do to enforce it
- We are sorry this upset you, but this is to be expected when college students are aboard. Maybe you should book cruises during other times of the year
After these calls, my wife's brother received a total of 75% as a future cruise certificate AND a beverage package. My wife and I called and were told that, per corporate policy 30% was the best they could do. We told them that we knew this was a lie, and then they said that each guest's experience was unique and they could not comment on other guests, and when I pointed out that he had just told me that corporate policy restricted the certificate offer to 30%, and that he was obviously lying and that we felt like our continued loyalty was not valued and that it seemed like RCCL wanted us to cruise elsewhere in favor of spring breakers, he said that it was our prerogative to go with other cruise lines.
To say that I was appalled would be an understatement. If this is what RCCL is seeking, and going to promote during their March sailings, then passengers (especially those travelling with small children) should be warned at the time of booking. I think that we are going to complete the June Alaska cruise (our third in the past 12 months) that we have already paid in full, and then realizing that we are no longer the type of cruisers that RCCL is targeting, will move on to another cruise line, one that is more family oriented. Read Less