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Cruise only- When things go wrong


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Finally we're home after the disasterous end to our 12 night Venice Med cruise aboard Brilliance of the Sea's.

 

This will be long and I'll try to keep it factual and leave my personal opinions out of it. I feel that it somehow highlights the problems that can occur as a cruise only passenger vs. the air/sea packages offered, although experiences varried greatly among the air/sea passengers we encountered along this 2 day journy getting home. For the sake of keeping it as simple as possible, I'll attempt to go with chronological order of events as they occured in our case.

 

On 10/26, I checked my E-mail and wanted to confirm a pick up at the pier from the driver we had hired to get us to the airport. This was when I first learned of the fisherman's strike and Barcelona and that they were blocking the port. They had sent this E-mail on 10/25 and I first read it on the afternoon of the 26th.

 

Concerned, I checked with guest relations and was told that there was indeed a strike by Spanish fisherman and that the port was blocked. RCI was monitoring the situation and I should not worry. This was the first time I was told, "Don't worry, we'll take care of you."

 

Later that day an announcement was made and we were asked to fill out forms which had our flight information on it and turn it in to guest relations. As I understood it, this was so that RCI could notify our airlines that there might be a problem and begin working on getting alternative travel arrangements made. Many passengers also understood that this was for independant cruise only passengers and that the air/sea passengers did not need to fill this form out.

 

On this form was a check box for transportation vouchers if you wanted to purchase them for $23.00 per person. Since the deadline had already passed to purchase these vouchers, I took my form to guest relations to confirm that I could still purchase transfer vouchers for disembarkation.

 

When In handed my form in, I asked about the vouchers and guest relations confirmed that yes, I could still purchase the vouchers. I also asked once again about air arrangements and stated that we were cruise only passengers. He explained to me that the form was so they could notify our airline and they would be working on making additional arrangements for our travel home. I again reiterated that we were CRUISE ONLY passengers and was told for the second time, "Don't worry, we'll take care of you." At this point I'm getting a little nervouse as I'm not sure if I should believe that they would truely take care of me or if I needed to get on the internet to search out additional arrangements.

 

As the night progressed, it begain to become clearer that the odds of getting into port on time to make our 10:40 AM Delta flight were growing slim. Initially we were told we would divert to France but a definate decision would be made in a couple of hours around 9:00 PM. That later decision was to sail for Barcelona and that they'd been informed that negotiations were continuing into the night. They expected the dispute to be resolved.

 

Not 100% convinced that I was safe in my travel plans and that I might be needing to search for a later flight or hotel room, I went one more time to guest relations and was told once again, "Don't worry, we'll take care of you."

 

10/27 came and we were anchored outside the port. The strike had not ended. There were infrequent updates and tons of rumors around the ship. At breakfast we learned that the air/sea passengers had now been requested to fill out the flight information form. Some expressed frustration as they had been told by guest relations NOT to fill out that form as RCI already had their flight information. The confussion was beginnning to kick into high gear.

 

The strike drug on, food became intermitant, the restrooms on decks 13, 12 and 11 quit working and were locked and tension began to grow along with the rumors. Still, most passengers remained calm, cooperative and cheerful. There was not enough updates IMO and those we did get seemed to indicate RCI was trying to take care of the passengers who had already missed there flight. This was probably wishful thinking on my part.

 

At 8 PM we finally disembarked. Nothing had been said to us as to what our options might be up until this point. We were told while standing inline that we would be handed information as we left the ship to assist us in our travels home.

 

This information was a letter that essentially said RCI would pay for two nights hotel stay while we arranged our own transportation home. They gave us two options.

Option #1, call your airline and make your own arrangements.

Option #2, call a phone # to connect with AT&T's international connections, then dial a 1-888 number to speak with an RCI representative. We could purchase airfare to JFK on one of SEVERAL charters they had secured for Friday morning or $700 for travel to our final destination. People accepting Option #2 would also receive $250 vouchers per person good for a future RCI cruise.

 

Once picking up our luggage, we had nowhere to go. Rumor had it that there was a festival going on and that there was no hotel rooms to be found in Barcelona. Not knowing where to go and never having received any transfer vouchers, we caught a cab and went to the airport.

 

On the cab ride home I decided that our best option was option #2. We had travel insurance and I had already read through and understood that they would pay for the least expensive, most direct flight home. I had heard others speak of finding airfare from $2,000 to $7,000 per person for the one way flight home at short notice. I did not know how true those figures were but I was pretty sure that $700 per person was about as good as it would get AND, as the letter said, RCI had secured "several" charter flights for Friday.

 

Once at the airport I attempted to dial the "toll free" number we had been given. I was asked by a recording for our AT&T phone card number. This confused me and after several attempts, I just held on until an operator eventually came on the line. This is when I learned that the 1-888 # could NOT be dialed toll free from outside the USA and that I would need an AT&T phone card, that would be charged for the call, in order to complete the phone card. Since I didn't have an AT&T phone card, I had no way of completing the call.

 

At this point, now 9:00 PM, I called the emergancy phone number from my travel insurance company. I told them what was happening and they imeadiatly recognized the number as a stateside ONLY number. They then confrenced called my through one of their stateside lines and I was finally connected to an RCI representative.

 

At this point I told the RCI representative that the phone numbers give did NOT work, the insurance company rep confirmed my statement and that I was connected through them via a confress call. The rep had no clue that they numbers would work and said they'd get that corrected right away.

 

I told the RCI rep I was on the Brilliance of the Sea's and I wanted to purchase option #2 that had been offered. They took my credit card information, passport information, cabin # and any other pertinant information to book us on a flight home. I was told that we would receive the $250 vouchers in the mail and that I would need to call back in 2 hours to receive my flight information.

 

At this point, the insurance representative asked for a direct number I could call. They were not able to give me one.

 

Once the RCI rep hung up the phone, our insurance rep began looking for a hotel room. He confirmed the rumor I had heard, there was nothing available. They have a travel agency within the company and I was told he wold turn it over to them to find me a room for the night. I was told that I could call back as often as I felt necessary to see how things were progressing on the room but that it would probably take at least 1 1/2 hours for find something.

 

After 90 minutes I called the insurance company back. Initially, they had not found a room. He confrenced us directly with their TA and while on the phone, she located a room at the Prestige Congress hotel 5 miles from the airport for $185. We took the room and gave her our credit card information. We were told we needed to grab a cab and hurry to the hotel as the room was an unsecured no show of a previous reservation.

 

Before hanging up, I asked to be connected again to RCI to see if they had my flight information. We were connected with the same person we had spoken with earlier and he said he had nothing more to tell us at this time but they would have all the details of the flight within 20 minutes and to call back. Again, the insurance rep asked for a DIRECT number to be called and we were told they did not have one yet. The time was now approx. 11:00 PM

 

Once we arrived at the hotel, we got settled in and I began trying to contact RCI again. This time we were put on terminal hold. Eventually a different RCI representative answered the phone and I explained my previous conversation concerning accepting option #2. She found NO record of our request and had no information to give us.

 

Once again I gave RCI our credit card information, passport information et.... and was put on hold. Eventually she came back on and said we had been booked on a flight for tomorrow. I asked her what time and was put back on hold again. When she came back, she said the flight left at 10:45 AM on Friday. I asked her what airline. She put me on hold again. A few minutes later she told us Iberworld. I asked her what terminal and was put on hold again. A few minutes later she came back and said terminal A.

 

At this point the insurance rep interjected and asked her for flight numbers, confirmation numbers and reservation numbers. We were put on hold AGAIN! This time she came back and told us they didn't have that information.

 

Needless to say I was less than comfortable with the arrangements RCI had made or the information they had given us. At this point it was 01:10 AM and I needed to get some sleep. We requested a 7:00 AM wake up call for the next morning.

 

By 07:30 we were on the hotel shuttle to the airport and arrive approx. 07:45. At the airort, I went to the information desk to find out where check in for Iberworld would be. She asked for a flight number and of course, I didn't have one. I did give her the flight time and she attempted to look it up. In her information, the only Iberworld flight for the day was schedule to leave at 11:55 AM.

 

This concerned me since we were told 10:45 and the letter indicated there would be SEVERAL charter flights available. I did NOT want to miss my flight.

 

I went over to the phones to call RCI again and bumped into someone else from the cruise. I complained about the bad phone number and this person gave me a corrected phone number to call. Apparently, they figured it out and gave those disembarking later the correct number to call.

 

I called that number and got through easily. I explained the story to this point to the RCI rep and was told we were indeed confirmed on the Iberworld flight, that there was only ONE flight that day and that the flight # was 9711. They could not give me a confirmation number or reservation number.

 

Airport infirmation then confirmed the check in area and I started to walk that way, finding many RCI cruisers there. They direcected me to RCI represenatives who had set up a booth for information. I was told I needed to get a sheet of paper that would have our conecting fligh information on it.

 

When I gave my information to these reps. I was told I was NOT on the list for this flight and they had NO information on myself or my wife. I explained I had just gotten off the phone with RCI and was told I WAS on this flight. All they could say was they didn't have that information.

 

Having nothing to lose, we remained in the check in area. I figured the worst that could happen was they would tell me I couldn't get on this flight and I'd have to start the process all over again. I might as well take my chances and stick it out until the bitter end to see if I could get us on this flight. Besides, little that was told to us previously had been accurate. Who knew if the reps at the airport were up to speed or not.

 

Eventually, we were told the flight was being delayed and was now scheduled to leave at 11:55 AM, which was the information I had received at 07:30 AM from airport information. The day drug on and eventually, we began a VERY LONG check in process which lasted well beyond the scheduled departure time.

 

During this time rumors ran wild among those of us who were indenpently booked guests and the air/sea package guests. Some had connecting information, some did not. Some were told they weren't on this flight and sent to a hotel, others, like us, were gutting it out to see what would happen.

 

At some point the rumors got the better of me. I left my wife in line and went back to talk to the RCI reps again to see if they had any additional information. At this point there were other people standing at the desk, none which were very happy. I was told we were NOT on this flight and that we needed to get out of line and come wait by the desk to see if they would have room for us with the others who were waiting there.

 

I told them I would rather wait in line and see if we were denied check in as to get out of line, only to find out the reps at the airport were misinformed. I was not going to get our of line only to have to return to the end of the line. At this point, I had seen enough to believe that the people on the ground were not in touch with the people at the emergancy center. At this point one of the reps decided to take our credit card and passport information and go check something else to see if we were on the flight. I returned to the line.

 

A few moments later, in a very slow moving line, I decided it was in my best intrest to call RCI's phone number again and see if I could squeeze a confirmation number out of them. In walking towards the phone, I spotted a rep I had not seen yet dressed in suit rather than the typical RCI uniform. I questioned him about my situation. By now the reps had secured a copy of the flight manifest and yes, we WERE on that list. I was very glad I had not gotten out of a very long line, only to return to the end of the line once they figured it all out.

 

Eventually, that 10:45 AM flight left sometime after 3:00 PM ( I think, we were very tired and hungry by this point). We still did not have connecting information but those who did, realized they would likely miss their connections. There were several people whose connecting flights were not out of JFK but were either out of Laquardia or New Jersey. The flight screen showed an estimated arrival time of 4:30 PM. Some had connections at other airports at 5:15 PM. Very few people could rest easy on this flight.

 

Upon arrival, there was a large contingent of customs agents which met the plane. Again rumors were rampent. It is the first time I've had a customs agent ask to see my passport as soon as I got off a flight.

 

Once through imigration I had my wife call RCI about connecting information for us while I went for our luggage. She was not very pleased. She was told we would be met by RCI reps once we cleared customs and they would have our information. She also felt the RCI rep was rude and short with her.

 

We collected our luggage and cleared customs. There were many RCI reps hearding up towards the exit and telling us to follow the other RCI reps directions. None would give us any additional information.

 

Outside, we were then told we were being put on busses to go to hotel rooms for the night. At the hotel, we would be given information out our new flights out tomorrow.

 

We were put on a bus and told we would be going to a Hilton hotel but not were the hotel was. We were on the bus for a little over an hour and realized we were being taken to New Jersey. We arrived at a Hilton hotel and began taking our luggage off the bus, only to be stopped and told we were at the WRONG Hilton hotel. Somehow, this surprised no one.

 

Once at the correct hotel, there were indeed representatives there to great us with new flight information. Unfortunately, there were problems with this. Once again, we were NOT on the list. We were given a 1-800 number and told to call the number at 06:00 AM. The time was underlined by the rep.

 

We were given hotel rooms and told there would be a buffet dinner for us free of charge. I thought the buffet was pretty good, my wife was not impressed. We were both tired so we went up to the room. I requested a 06:00 wake up call.

 

At 06:00, I attempted to call the 1-800 number I was given. This was just the normal 1-800 number for RCI, it was Saturday and we got a recording saying they were not open. Trying other selections I finally got a recording saying they would not be open until 09:00.

 

We went down for breakfast and I continued to call the number every 15 to 30 minutes, just in case. We ran into a few others there who had been told the same thing. One of which was a family who were all air/sea passnegers but their daughter was not appearing on any list and had no flight information and another who's husband had correct flight information to St. Louis but the wife had been booked to Syracuse. There was at least one couple who was very happy. They had a late flight out and the hotel was next to a subway station. They were going to use their time to do some sight seeing and go to the Statue of Liberty.

 

At 09:00 AM I began calling again. At 09:05 the phone was answered. I was told that I was given the WRONG number to call and that there had been people there since 07:00 AM. I was transfered to the correct departement.

 

Again, they had NO RECORD of me or my wife. Not even for the flight from Barcelona to JFK. I was once again asked for my credit card information et.... and I have to say at this point, I sort of lost my composure.

 

The rep backed up and said she would trust me that I had given this information several times and she would book our flights. We were FINALLY given a flight #, flight time, and confirmation number.

 

The flight left in 2 hours so we hurried downstairs to catch the airport shuttle to the airport. On our bus was a group of ladies who THOUGHT they were flying on American Airlines with us.

 

We checked in at curbside checking and were given our boarding documents. The ladies with us were told there was no such flight and they didn't have their reservations. I looked at their sheet of paper and it clearly said American (thing else) and a flight time of 11:50. I asked if this was a direct flight and where they were traveling to? They were going to Kansas City (same as us) and it was supposed to be a direct flight.

 

I recogized the flight time as a Continental flight that RCI had offered us but only as emergancy standby passengers. I had turned that flight down. I still wonder if they made their flight and if they got home. It was just one more example of misdirection in this long nasty affair.

 

What did I learn from all of this?

 

#1. Travel insurance saved my bacon and was largely responsible for getting me home by helping me connect with RCI when the information RCI had given me was bad. I will NEVER travel without insurance again.

 

#2. Alway book a day after as well as a day before the cruise. If we had booked a nights stay in Barcelona with a flight out the next day, we wouldn't have had any problems at all. This may not be fool proof but it does give more leaway in the event of unforseen events.

 

#3. The air/see passengers generally fared better than us but not always. A few had as many problems as we did but most had less hassle than we had.

 

#4. NEVER believe someone when they say, "Don't worry, well take care of you." Take care of business yourself.

 

Will I ever cruise RCI again? Yes, I have a cruise booked for December 1 and we are passed the final payment date. At least this one disembarks in the US so I should have less problems should our return be delayed. Besides, we enjoyed the cruise up until the part about getting home.

 

I do have two more cruises booked with RCI that I'm not 100% sure about. I still have a VERY BAD taste in my mouth from the lack of customer care received. It's true enough that I was a cruise only passenger and that RCI had NO obligation to assist us in any way, shape or form.

 

However, they continually stated they would take care of us while we were onboard the ship and they did offer us an option, for a price to get us home. After accepting their offer and giving them my credit card information for payment of services offered, I feel they were then obligated to fullfill their promise and provide us with timely ACCURATE information. In this respect, RCI failed miserably.

 

IMO, it's not that something happened, it's how a company handles the situation when something happens. They made an offer, I accepted the offer, they had trouble fullfilling the offer and created inconvenience and stress every step of the way.

 

I realize there was a hurricane and operations in Miami had been disrupted. However, the offer was made AFTER the hurricane had gone through Miami. I do not accept the hurricane as an excuse becaue of that. If the storm had happened AFTER the offer was made, that would be a different story.

 

I'm sorry this story took so long and I hope I did not interject to much personal opinion in it. It is what it is. In the end, we did arrive home eventually and at the price bargained for, but it was a very long journey made more difficult by misinformation at every turn.

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Man, that's some story. I don't have a lot of patience and the run around you got would have caused me to make many scenes and yell at far too many people even though, in my heart, I'm sure it would have gotten me no where, possibly even been worse off! The whole thing is just exasperating!:eek:

 

I'm glad (in the end) you got home safe and sound. I wish you better luck in the future.

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Dougp26364

 

OMG:eek: What an ordeal you and your wife went through. I'm so glad you guys are back and safe. And I thank you for posting your bad experience in such an informative way. I too learned a lot from your awful experience.

 

Thank you for your post and glad you and your wife are back safe and sound.

 

Linda

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Good GAWD!!!

THANK YOU for a VERY IMPORTANT piece of wisdom!

 

While I am so very sorry for your own ordeal, I want to express a sincere THANK YOU you for sharing this on the board and enlightening myself, and possibly many others, to the importance of travel insurance and staying over one more night when travelling on an international cruise!

 

DH and I have not yet gone abroad on RCI. However, I, personally, would have skipped the travel insurance AND booked an early flight out - because that's who I am (I mean, who I WAS)

 

Thanks to your experience, we are much wiser travellers!

 

Glad to hear everyone got home safe! A sincere thank you for sharing your story!

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We purchaed travelsafe insurance using the http://www.insuremytrip.com website. They were extremely helpful getting us home. I have yet to submit a claim so I can't comment on if all my additional expenses will be covered or not. Apparently, some insurance companie don't cover losses resulting from strike actions. I do not find this exclussion in my policy but, it is a specific stated risk policy. I believe our loss will be covered under common carrier delay as the ship was delayed arriving into port, which caused the loss.

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Hi Doug,

You guys had it easy. We also believed RCI when they told us we would be taken care of and would be bussed to a hotel in the greater Barcelona area, where an RCI rep would meet us and answer any questions we had. I didn't realise Barcelona was such a big city. We were dropped off at 12:30 at night in a 23 euro a night hotel, 80 kms outside the city. We had to stay up until 4:00 am waiting for our luggage. No rep ever showed up. There were approx 80 of us and the taxi fare back into Barcelona was 120 euros/taxi, i.e. two people with luggage. When we finally contacted RCI, we got a "You're on your own" message. The people with us were awesome. We all managed to get reservations on the charter, using international cell phones and pre-paid phone cards. The phones in the hotel couldn't be used for outside calls. My cell phone bill will probably be around $150. We also set up two coaches to go to the airport at the cost of $30/couple. We finally got home a couple of hours ago, Sunday morning.

Like you, I learned somethings. Never leave home without insurance and an international cell phone. Never, never let anyone help you if you can do it by yourself. I was very pleased when RCI said (three times) we'll take care of everything. They just lied and lied, with a smile on their faces.

I haven't talked with my insurance company yet, I just hope that they will pick up the $1400 flight ticket.

One thing you forgot to mention was the three hour delay after Spanish customs had cleared the ship. It was caused by RCI co-mingling departing and boarding luggage!!!

Still had a great trip, but we're rethinking our Jewel cruise next June and Vision cruise next November. I'm still upset about the deceit.

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Jbond,

 

I'm glad you made it home. I'm also glad you checked in and that it's not just my imagination running wild on this one. I did not realize the reason for delayed depature was RCI comingling luggage at the port. I'd still love to know exactly why our flight was met by the large number of customs agents. That can't be a good thing.

 

We did have some hassle clearing imigration when they noted the Iberworld flight number did not match the Delta flight number they had in their computer. It appeared that imigration had no record of this flight and I had to explain most of the sitution to the imigration agent in order to pass.

 

I have never seen such a mess in my life. While it might be true the initial insult was caused by the strike, RCI's handling of the situation was the abolute worst case of customer service I have ever seen.

 

I should add to my list of lessons.

 

#5 NEVER leave the country without an international cell phone.

 

In one respect I was lucky that all my calls were collect to the insurance company. I bought a 12 Euro phone card to access the pay phones and still have over 10 euro's worth of value on the card. The only time I spent any money on it was to call our daughter at home just before we boarded the flight to JFK. Otherwise, we had E-mailed our family from the ship right up until we were cleared to go into the port. My E-mail bill was considerably less than your phone bill. It will be interesting to see how RCI handles the billing for everyone using the computers onboard. My bet is they do not wave those charges.

 

In total I believe we have out of pocket expenses of

$185 for the hotel

$1,400 for the airfare

$78 in cab fares

$70 in meals

$50 in tips for baggage handling et....

 

Total is a $1,783. It could have been MUCH worse.

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RCI asked for your cc information so many times, I would call or check your cc bill online and see just how many times you've been charged for your flights and hotels. Sounds like you could have been charged at least 3 times for the same thing.

 

Customer service is not a priority with RCL. I believe they don't think it's necessary. They'll come down with a thump one day.

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Wow! What a nightmare. I have to say I admire your ability to keep your cool for so long.

 

Please keep us informed on subsequent handling of your claims. I haven't bought insurance yet for my next cruise, but intend to do so before making final payment. When time comes to pick an insurance carrier, I have the name of yours first on my list for customer service. I would like to find out if they now cover your expenses.

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as we'd never cruise or travel without it.

 

Princess cruise in San Juan on Thanksgiving weekend. NWA was purchased by them for our air. They were on strike for the 4 day holiday weekend & no flights with close to 10000 people there at the airport & not one NWA agent in town. So on the phone I got to CSA (our insurance) and they put me on hold, booked us on Contienntal leaving that night. So 10 hour wait, but we did get home. Princess never refunded our air, but CSA did! They also refunded food & a day room at a hotel so we dould shower & rest a bit before the flight. We got receipts for cabs also that we go the money. Well worth the $200 we paid for a 2 week cruise coverage with air.

 

Then 2 years ago flying RT HNL on DL using Skymiles booked 11 months prior, flights changed 6 times before we flew. In LAX TSA agent unplugged her station so everyone was kicked out of airport. ALl flights were cancelled. So again I get on the phone to CSA, they turn on CNN & see the live coverage of LAX airport cleared out. Seems the agent allowed folks to pass thru without checking their carryons. They estimated 7 hours for all to pass thru again.

 

CSA got us a flight out of Burbank on Hawaiian Air to HNL so we grabbed a cab to get there. On the flight & to our rental car in 30 mins later time. AMAZING! We never got he bill for the flight &Y DL paid them for it with our flight cancelled. We scanned them the receipt for the cab & they paid that too.

 

LOVE CSA!

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LOVE CSA!

I hope that I feel the same way after we've settled our claim. I spoke with a CSA rep today and it appears that we didn't have a travel interuption, but a travel delay. There is a major difference in coverage, like five times. Fortunately our anticipated claims will still be covered by a delay. One problem appears to be verification of costs. Hopefully CSA will accept credit card statements as to actual amounts. We'll see.

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We had a better experience even though it was a looooonnnnng 2 days. We did book a cruise and flight package and would never do a European cruise without cruise line air.

We are planning to get an international cell phone for our next cruise.

 

We were very frustrated by the lack of good communications in Barcelona. Once off the ship, we literally bumped into a port/cruise "rep" and asked where to go next. He led us to the check in desk where we were told which hotel, then he led us to the truck for our luggage. What they didn't tell us was that the luggage would not be delivered to the hotel ( 60 Km north of the city) and that it would be at the airport in the AM. Many of us waited until about 2 AM before someone at the hotel finally said that we would get our luggage the next morning.

 

No rep ever appeared at the hotel but a fax was eventually produced that indicated a 5 AM departure ( we had arrived there at 11PM) . We know that some people missed the 5 Am bus because they assumed that because they had a breakfast coupon, they could sleep in and relax. The hotel never slid the message under their door and it wasn't their responsibility to let anyone know the plans.

 

RCI did take care of us but it was so disorganized at the Spain end. They couldn't find our name on the "list" at the airport until someone noticed the short list of people scheduled to go to the Sheraton in Newark overnight. Of course, after the check in fiasco at the airport ... not RCI's fault...but rather due to the airport's disorganization...which caused such a flight delay...the short list became a very long list.

 

However, the New York based RCI staff were very impressive, very visible and very organized and very accomodating to us. Once we walked out of customs, we were met with the kind of treatment and communications we had expected in Barcelona but didn't receive. We wondered if they had gotten the word that this was a very tired and frustrated group of passengers.

We hope that the cruise line works on contingency plans for situations like this. I'm sure that it was a rescheduling nightmare for everyone, especially since they couldn't put any real plans into place until the ship was allowed to come into port.

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Gosh I'm so sorry to hear about all of your troubles getting home. I haven't done a European cruise yet, but would like too. I'm glad I read your comments. I will book cruise air and possibly day in advance/day after and travel insurance. And international cell phone too! I sure hope you guys have no probs getting reimbursed!

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Oh my goodness! I have read some horror stories with cruise line customer service dissapointments but this takes the cake. I am so glad you made it home safe.

 

I am sure the cruise line or the travel insurance will take care you. In May I was on the Golden Princess as a cruise only passenger and the weather was so bad we did not return to NYC until a day later. I booked my own new return flight on line and Princess refunded my money for the flight with a copy of the receipt np questions asked.

 

The international cell phone is definitely a great idea.

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Wow. :eek:

 

I think you were incredibly patient and understanding, and there is no doubt you were caught in the middle of a horrible situation, full of misinformation.

 

I'm glad you're home, and SO glad you had the travel insurance and a representative to help you through the maze of bureacracy you had to deal with to get home.

 

I think you handled a potentially horrible situation with as much grace as possible. I hope that RCCL learns from this experience and puts some procedures into place, should, God forbid, this happen again.

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Oh boy , just reading over some of these threads, I was on the Coral with you jbond and was looking forward to your review of your cruise , so sorry to hear that it ended so badly for you and everyone..........by the sounds of it RCI really dropped the ball, hopefully they dont make a habit of handling crisis or problems in this manner. glad you made it home safe, not much thanks to them by sounds of it

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Thanks for the informative post. I'm so sorry you had to go through such a nightmare. I'm also glad you made it home safe and sound to tell your story.

 

Note to self, 1. never book a flight home from Europe the day you disembark a cruise. 2. make sure you purchase good travel insurance. 3. invest in an international calling plan for cell phone. 4. make sure you have all phone numbers in place. 5. cross your fingers you never have a travel fiasco like this one.

 

It is invaluable to read posts like this one. I have had a healthy distrust of cruiselines for travel planning (other than the actual cruise) for years, you reminded me why.

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A previous post made the suggestion that you call your credit card issuing bank to see how many times RCI billed your card for flights etc. Please keep us informed (if you don't mind) as to the outcome. From your manner in your OP I'm guessing that a follow up letter to the Powers That Be in the corporate office will follow soon. I would be interested to know how they treat you from this point forward. How a company handles a situation while it is current is one thing--RCI failed miserably here--but generally once the immediate crisis is over the actions are different. Again, any updates you can offer would be appreciated.

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The cruise itself was fantastic........don't let this turn you off from doing a Med cruise! The trip is port intensive but you get so much in twelve days and Barcelona is a great place if you do a pre or post cruise.

This strike was just something that the cruise line had no way of anticipating, just like weather delays due to hurricanes etc.

 

I think the biggest problem we all had was a communication breakdown.

 

Cruise Critic is a great way to learn about all of the things that can go wrong as well as all the things that go right!

We won't give up cruising because of this incident, but we will make sure we know what is going on.

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