Royal Caribbean Complaint - Lost Luggage/Customer Service
January 30, 2006
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Re: Our experience during a recent cruise
Dear Sir / Madam
Our family recently completed a cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas, departing from San Juan on December 31st and returning on January 8th.
This was the 6th cruise for my wife and I, our 5th with Royal Caribbean, and the third cruise on which our children accompanied us.
We chose Royal Caribbean because of the exceptional experiences we have had on our prior cruises. We have been your biggest fans, and have recommended Royal Caribbean to anyone who would listen. We were especially impressed with the programs for teens.
We chose the Itinerary of The Serenade of the Seas because of the Ports of Call. These are some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, we had visited these islands before, and we wanted our children to enjoy the experience.
We booked our trip from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to San Juan, Puerto Rico through Royal Caribbean’s Air/Sea. We were told, and understood from your corporate information, that if we booked our trip through Royal Caribbean’s Air/Sea program that we need not worry about missing our Ship’s departure. This was of concern to me as the departure point was San Juan. I was slightly more concerned because San Juan was not on the mainland, and that, if we missed the departure, that the cost of catching up with the ship would be borne by ourselves.
What transpired was that our flight routing was Edmonton / Vancouver / Atlanta / San Juan, beginning on the evening of December 30, 2005, and arriving in San Juan just before noon on December 31, 2005, our departure date.
We waited for our luggage at the San Juan airport on December 31 until approximately 1:30 PM. We filed our claim for lost luggage with Delta, and proceeded to the Ship.
The bottom line is that we did not receive the luggage for our two children for the entire trip. The luggage for myself arrived on the fourth day, and the fifth day for my wife.
We spent the first two days of the trip attempting to find clothes to wear. We missed dinner the first night as we were rushing around San Juan on New Year’s Eve, trying to find a store to purchase anything that would see us through the next few days.
I wish to note at this point, that my wife and daughter enquired on board about bathing suits for themselves. ( bathing suits being a staple on board). They were informed that The Serenade of the Seas DID NOT SELL A LADIES BATHING SUIT ON BOARD. NOT ONE. NOT MERELY A SMALL SELECTION, BUT NOT ANY.
I find this inconceivable. As a result, my wife and daughter were unable to enjoy the weather that we came for.
I learned firsthand, and for the first time in our cruise experiences, what the mandate of your Customer Service Department is.
Tell the Customer whatever it takes to get them to go away. It doesn’t matter whether the stories are consistent from one day to the next. It doesn’t matter whether it is factual. Just tell them whatever it takes to make them go away.
I visited Customer Service each day. When we first advised of the missing luggage, we were told to get what we needed and it would be looked after. We proceeded to do just that. We did not abuse the opportunity, purchasing our necessities from K-Mart and Marshalls. We logged onto the internet onboard to track the status of our luggage with Delta. We were told that laundry services would be provided for our clothes. Again, we did not abuse the opportunity and only laundered clothes necessary for continued clothing onboard.
As the trip continued, not only did the answers become less consistent, but I was advised that, if I had a problem with how we were being treated, I could call the Royal Caribbean Customer service desk in Miami. When I asked whether I would have to pay to make that call from my room, the representative said “ Yes Sir.. $7.95 per Minute”
I actually did call the Miami customer service number, but after approximately 5 minutes of being on hold or being transferred, I gave up. You can check your telephone records to confirm that this call was made.
I was informed at one point ( Wednesday I believe) that Royal Caribbean would compensate us for $400 per person. I actually phoned our travel agent that day and advised her of this conversation.
The next day when I went again to ask about the status of our luggage, I was informed that Royal Caribbean would offer $100 per person.
The bottom line is that;
- We intentionally booked our airfare AND cruise with Royal Caribbean, on the premise that we would be guaranteed connections. In past, we have booked the travel ourselves, have gone a day early, and have never encountered a connection problem. I believe that Royal Caribbean, in an attempt to minimize costs, routed us at the last minute. I have no doubt that the connections from Edmonton and San Juan, and the short period of time from arrival to boarding had a bearing on our situation.
- The Customer Service Representatives were, at best inconsistent, and at worst, uncaring and smug.
The most insulting event occurred this week, when we received a letter from Alice Norsworthy, Senior Vice President Marketing for Royal Caribbean. Alice congratulated us on our elevation to Platinum status in the Crown and Anchor Society.
I can only presume that elevation to this status may entitle us to be treated with slightly more understanding than on our last trip.
I cannot express the extent of my disappointment and anger regarding this event. After numerous wonderful cruises with your Company, I am left to wonder how I could convince my family to cruise again.
Paul Martens C.A.