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A Royal Tarnishing


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What sucks is that I really enjoy Royal Caribbean's ships, I just strongly dislike the "evolution" of their business practices and disregard of customer feelings and concerns. Naturally, businesses evolve and change, but nothing they have recently changed has been customer friendly and as Adam Goldstein seemed to point out when a member expressed concern over the category changes, they frankly don't care.

 

It's hard to teach them a lesson by switching cruise lines since they ships are the best at sea, but like I said before, they've led us to lean towards land based resorts and all inclusives.

 

We too are booking more land based holidays again.

The costings for Indy and Anthem from the UK are crazy for 2014 and 2015, £4800 14 night for 2 in a D1 cabin, normally about £3700/£3800 with tips.

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Well time will tell if we are happy with RCCL or not, as we sail on the FOTS the end of April. It has been years since my friend and I went on RCCL, and for almost "4" days they had our luggage LOST. Hopefully, nothing happens like this again.:(

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I've only sailed Royal, but I've heard nothing to convince me thst thr grass is any greener anywhere else. (Except maybe on those Celebrity ships that actually have grass. ) I'm not as awed by the experience as I once was, but I still love it and can't imagine anything better for the price.

 

Sent from my SM-T217S using Tapatalk

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For those of you who complain about dealing with reservation agents at RC, may I suggest getting a good travel agent.

 

I am quite willing to book air travel, hotels, and rental cars myself, using their websites. But, when it comes to book a cruise, I deal with a travel agent. Our TA knows the ship, the cabins, the ports, etc.

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An article in my local S. Florida newspaper was talking about how the cruising industry is targeting the vacationing public that has never gone on a cruise before to fill their cabins.

 

The hope is for a portion of those 'newest cruisers' to fall in love with the experience and keep doing it.

 

DH and I will keep cruising because we love the vacation experience. I, of course, wish none of the changes that have occurred over the past 10 years had happened. But they did, and probably others will happen as well.

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I have just booked Allure for June and I must say other than the wait to talk to someone they have been very professional and helpful. I have called to get reservations linked, schedule My-time dining and it has all been without a hitch! 4 Stars!

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I have just booked Allure for June and I must say other than the wait to talk to someone they have been very professional and helpful. I have called to get reservations linked, schedule My-time dining and it has all been without a hitch! 4 Stars!

 

Which sailing in June on Allure will you be on? Join the Roll Call for the sailing that you will be on -- even consider participating in the Meet and Mingle event. It is just a little way to meet up with others on the ship, during your cruise.

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I've been on hold with RCI for over 2 hours today (1 hour this afternoon and an hour now as I type this ) just trying to pay my bill and also the bill of the family members that I'm traveling with. This has been a horrible customer service experience. I'm a tax accountant and I get better service from the IRS.

How hard is it to hire a few more people to answer the phone? I will go find a travel agent as someone suggested and I will start looking at other cruise lines (we're Diamond on RCI) If this lady tells me one more time that she appreciates my patience , I may scream.

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We too are booking more land based holidays again.

The costings for Indy and Anthem from the UK are crazy for 2014 and 2015, £4800 14 night for 2 in a D1 cabin, normally about £3700/£3800 with tips.

 

I see what youre saying, but its not the price for us. I'd gladly pay more if they upped the quality of the cruise, but IMO the quality of their product is dropping steadily.

 

I think we are moving towards high quality, more luxurious vacations the past few years, while Royal Caribbean is simultaneously dropping their quality and aiming their focus towards newer cruisers and families, which is unfortunate, because like I said, their ships are unparalleled!

 

I'm still extremely excited for our upcoming cruises, I just think we are moving one way and Royal Caribbean is moving the other... And it sounds like a lot of other Loyal to Royals feel similar about them in the wake of all of their recent unpopular decisions.

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Each individual change is really minor, but by the time you look at ALL THE CHANGES over the past few years (reduction in service, quality, pricing, limiting stateroom bookings, no in cabin movies, loss of a few loyalty coupons, touches like no flowers on the MDR table, no chocolates at night, no pen and paper in cabin, etc.... ),you really see a different product. Any one or even two of the changes is no big deal, but the summation of them all can be noticed

 

M

 

I agree. Well said!

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Each individual change is really minor, but by the time you look at ALL THE CHANGES over the past few years (reduction in service, quality, pricing, limiting stateroom bookings, no in cabin movies, loss of a few loyalty coupons, touches like no flowers on the MDR table, no chocolates at night, no pen and paper in cabin, etc.... ),you really see a different product. Any one or even two of the changes is no big deal, but the summation of them all can be noticed

 

M

 

Yes!

 

I feel that we should all write to them expressing our unhappiness.

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Ask anyone at Royal Caribbean if they care about repeat customers. Onboard, the Loyalty Ambassador will tell you how great it is, the benefits of returning, and what continuing to cruise will bring, at different tier levels.

 

At Corporate, I believe that, looking at the bottom line, they think first time passengers, know nothing about what Royal Caribbean was all about when many of us first sailed, will be their top priority. They know nothing about flowers on the table, better onboard credits, the old system of Next Cruise, chocolates on the pillow, and other amenties that we enjoyed...but are no longer available.

 

I picked up on this some years ago, when I first met Mr. Goldstein. Now, Royal Caribbeans stock is maybe at an all time high, and from the throne that Richard Fain has placed Mr. Goldstein........he can do no wrong.

 

There are many other cruise lines out there, and I have been spending my money on Princess, for one that cruises out of the West Coast.

 

I can only post what I see. That is not to say that I will not cruise on Royal Caribbean again, but when I do, at least I know what to not look forward to. (Pun intended).:)

 

Rick

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RCL does seem to be putting out conflicting stories - on the one hand they tell you at C&A events how important you are to them, but as others have stated it seems all of the current policies are geared to new cruisers that won't be complaining about changes they don't know about. When you talk to RCL staff they seem to feel the "old timers" are just not worth the effort to keep as loyal RCL cruisers.

 

When I spoke to Mr Goldsteins office about the solo pricing change I told them one thing that really "upset" us was how they made a huge deal of announcing the new double points policy, then within a month they quietly implemented the almost always 200% surcharge (even on a last minute 4 day cruise). As if we were too ignorant to notice?? That is what has happened with all of their changes, they just quietly implement something. And let's not even get into the cut backs on crew that result in terrible service in the dining room, poor quality food, reduced service levels, and just overall a less desirable cruise experience. As one poster mentioned, you go on board now with lower expectations, (but I will still have a good time.)

 

I still have 3 cruises booked with RCL, two of them were booked before the solo pricing change. Those cruises would now cost me almost 3 times more due to per person increases and the double solo charge (Even the Quantum now looks like an incredible value). The other had a low enough per person that even at double it was a good value.

 

IMHO RCL is not only shifting to new cruisers, but also to a younger demographic. For seniors who have been cruising for a while, we have been there done that in most of the cruise itineraries RCL offers. So many of us solos will not choose to pay 200% to go back to Nassau or to St Thomas for example. Younger folks or new cruisers may be willing to pay double to see these ports. I am not, so I will do something else. Also many younger cruisers do not have high expectations for the dining room experience, if they go down there at all (in shorts & flip flops :-))

 

It's also interesting that just as RCL is making this shift the options for many other types of travel are actively seeking senior and solo travelers with attractive pricing and deals. This includes land based tours (no solo surcharge) and European river cruises (small or no solo surcharge), that go to different locations than the usual Caribbean & Alaska. So in 2015 instead of my usual 3 or 4 major RCL cruises I will be doing only 1 RCL cruise, 1 European river cruise , 1 land based tour in Europe, and 1 land based tour in the US, each of which will cost me quite a bit less than an RCL cruise. If other cruise lines offer good deals, I may do one with them.

 

Let's see how their new policies work out. RCl may be correct and will be able to tell us "old timers" in the next year to take a hike, if we want a high level cruise experience switch to one of the deluxe cruise lines. In a year or so being on a Royal ship may be no different in experience than the "Fun Ships", who by the way put robes in every cabin, have pens&paper, chocolates on the pillows, beach towels in the room, and still do towel animals. Just saying.

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I'm on navigator and I am agreeing with these sentiments. We'll still cruise with Royal, but are lowering expectations.

 

I can understand why the long term cruisers grumble so much.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

 

 

 

Did you try the new TEST menu in Chops currently on the Navigator? Charge now $35, most steaks a-la-cart, onion soup and crab cake gone and my favorite?????? Baked potato replaced with TOTS!

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The role of "Loyalty Ambassador", when it was first created, was to promote the Crown and Anchor Society and look after those members in the program onboard.

Although they are still the face of Crown & Anchor, they have become more like booking agents for the cruise line, with much less emphasis on the "Loyalty" part. That, IMHO, speaks volumes.

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IMO the whole thing started when they took away combining of discounts....its been one thing after another since.

 

 

***

 

 

Agreed. Since the stockholder credit, ncc, etc. stopped being combinable it has been an avalanche of changes.

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I personally think royal is actually trying to quietly get rid of the diamond plus and above crowd. These are expert cruisers who truly know how to game the system, and spend the least amount of money on board. The fact that RCCL has so many people who are moving so quickly up the crown and anchor line is probably worrying them as these are lifetime statuses. This crowd gets the most amount of perks and spends the least. Before when cruising was super expensive it was very cost prohibitive to get to those levels. Now cruising is so cheap and affordable the diamond members are growing like weeds, and RCCL is scared and trying to find ways to reduce the numbers. They would love more than anything is to see the diamonds leave and replace them with younger people who actually spend cash on a ship and buy there 20 dollar photos.

 

I personally will leave royal if they get rid of the diamond happy hour. That is my personal line in the sand.

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Interesting thread. I've not yet cruised, and was considering RCCL as I live in Tampa. But I would solo, as husband is not interested (I routinely travel without him-good at being by myself!) I did check prices on RCCL vs Carnival and even though Carnival's marketed image doesn't really appeal to me, I was swayed by the $200 cheaper price for the same itinerary. Probably will not do RCCL because of this.

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I see what youre saying, but its not the price for us. I'd gladly pay more if they upped the quality of the cruise, but IMO the quality of their product is dropping steadily.

 

I think we are moving towards high quality, more luxurious vacations the past few years, while Royal Caribbean is simultaneously dropping their quality and aiming their focus towards newer cruisers and families, which is unfortunate, because like I said, their ships are unparalleled!

 

I'm still extremely excited for our upcoming cruises, I just think we are moving one way and Royal Caribbean is moving the other... And it sounds like a lot of other Loyal to Royals feel similar about them in the wake of all of their recent unpopular decisions.

 

The quality of many products seems to be changing in todays world. I nor my husband are happy when the brand of shirt or slacks or skirt that I have been buying for years, all of a sudden is being made of a material that isn't as good a quality as before. It is happening all around us.

 

At the same time, many family earnings haven't gone up much at all over the past few years....so there are many challenges to overcome to continue vacationing -- whether on land or on a cruise.

 

It is good for you, that you would gladly pay more.

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On the Legend last November (worst cruise I've ever been on for many reasons) it was brought home to me that the position of Loyalty Ambassador is no longer accurate. I signed up in the appointment book, went in to get assistance on an issue where the new double points had not posted for my last cruise. Figured they could make a quick call or email (since it would be very expensive for me to do so from the ship). When I sat down at the desk and started my question, she cut me off and asked if I was booking a next cruise. When I said no, I was asking for some help and by the way I am Diamond, she got up and said they were only doing bookings that day, I could come back another time. I was shocked. I came back another day about 10 minutes before the time they were to close, no one in the room waiting, again started my question, was told they were closing. I put this incident on my comment card and told the C&A also, no response.

 

It's almost funny, but over on the Carnival cc threads there is a big ruckus about their loyalty program changing, also seems to be because too many people are reaching the higher levels. I agree that RCL wants to weed out its upper level folks, not because we don't spend as much ( I know how much I drop into the casino and spend on the specialty restaurants) but because we have "unrealistic" expectations based on what used to be. The common theme seems to be the cruise lines push their loyalty programs until they are too successful, then drop benefits to push us away and they can start with the next folks. Sure hope the newbies don't get fooled by the loyalty program false advertising. Lesson learned for many of us is if you get loyalty points fine, use them (or play the system as some folks call it ) but don't expect any loyalty from the cruise lines, IMHO.

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I personally think royal is actually trying to quietly get rid of the diamond plus and above crowd. These are expert cruisers who truly know how to game the system, and spend the least amount of money on board. The fact that RCCL has so many people who are moving so quickly up the crown and anchor line is probably worrying them as these are lifetime statuses. This crowd gets the most amount of perks and spends the least. Before when cruising was super expensive it was very cost prohibitive to get to those levels. Now cruising is so cheap and affordable the diamond members are growing like weeds, and RCCL is scared and trying to find ways to reduce the numbers. They would love more than anything is to see the diamonds leave and replace them with younger people who actually spend cash on a ship and buy there 20 dollar photos.

 

I personally will leave royal if they get rid of the diamond happy hour. That is my personal line in the sand.

 

No such thing as “gaming the system.” Any person, of any loyalty level, is permitted to accept and use all benefits offered. There is nothing wrong with that.

 

Further, RCCL created the C&A program, wrote the rules, created the tiers, added new tiers and benefits, held promotions to get folks to higher levels, etc.

 

enjoy

M

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The irony in all this is that if you bounce around the cruise boards you'll see the same discussions going on about loyalty programs. If you vote with your dollars and move to the another line, you'll probably never know what you've missed on that line...unless you're a CC addict of course.

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No such thing as “gaming the system.” Any person, of any loyalty level, is permitted to accept and use all benefits offered. There is nothing wrong with that.

 

 

 

Further, RCCL created the C&A program, wrote the rules, created the tiers, added new tiers and benefits, held promotions to get folks to higher levels, etc.

 

 

 

enjoy

 

M

 

 

Gaming the system might not have been the best word. Using the system to its maximal benefit is more accurate. The issue is that 25 years ago cruising was so pricey it was very difficult to achieve top tier status. Now it is so cheap people are reaching it in droves. The old system was sustainable and the new system is not in the long term for them as a business model. Hence why they are changing the systems before it totally breaks down. In the process they are weeding out some of the diamond plus, etc. that have used the system to maximal benefit for years.

Also with the internet now, people can easily discuss the easiest ways to maximize system usage.

 

For example, booking suites on b2b2b2b 3 and 4 night cruises. Old system, you would be nearly diamond after 2 weeks with 8 cruise points. New system you have 28 points and 52 more to go for diamond. Never woulda thought of that prior to the internet. Internet has allowed sharing of ideas freely in how to maximize benefits so the masses are using the flaws rather than a handful.

 

I am sure overtime it will continue to change and reset as time goes on to continually try and force the upper tiers to look to other lines out of frustration. They are gearing the system to where you need to spend more money to get better discounts, etc. which is more sustainable than someone who just keeps booking the cheapest inside cabin to get maximal benefits. They are a business and they need to maximize profits. Not keep customers happy, unfortunately, unless profits dip due to customer satisfaction. RCI is trying to weed out people who had the old expectation of cruising and replace it with the next generation with different expectations.

 

I for one who bought in at a share price of 6 dollars in 2009, am very happy. Am i happy with cutbacks, nope, am i happy with the stock, yep.

Edited by rimmit
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I personally think royal is actually trying to quietly get rid of the diamond plus and above crowd. These are expert cruisers who truly know how to game the system, and spend the least amount of money on board. The fact that RCCL has so many people who are moving so quickly up the crown and anchor line is probably worrying them as these are lifetime statuses. This crowd gets the most amount of perks and spends the least. Before when cruising was super expensive it was very cost prohibitive to get to those levels. Now cruising is so cheap and affordable the diamond members are growing like weeds, and RCCL is scared and trying to find ways to reduce the numbers. They would love more than anything is to see the diamonds leave and replace them with younger people who actually spend cash on a ship and buy there 20 dollar photos.

 

I personally will leave royal if they get rid of the diamond happy hour. That is my personal line in the sand.

 

:D:rolleyes::D

YEa that's why they are putting cl and dl on all the ships.

 

I can go to happy hour anywhere, why would anyone care about your line in the sand. It should be about cruising, if a HH stops that then you don't have any idea what fun cruising is.

 

If cruisegirl1 does not mind, I think this fits

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1950977&highlight=loyality+programs

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