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RCCL Continues to Minimize Customer Loyalty and Customer Service


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On 4/3/2019 at 4:00 AM, billcancel said:

Not sure what a flounce is but ok.  To be clear I am NOT losing perks. They are giving others the opportunity to pay for my perks. Thats is what I have issue with. This is NOT a pity party not looking for that. Just looking to raise awareness to other loyal customers to be on alert to this activity. Thats all. And you say if I have customer service issues speak about it. I have for over 5 years and have been in direct communications with Michael Bayley and his direct team to work on the issues and to no avail. Rather have been dismissed by corporate.  Not sure how anyone can feel that after 20+ years of being a loyal RCCL customer and experiencing what I have experienced would not reach the conclusion I have reached.

They are doing the same thing you have, Bill, PAYING FOR A PERK.  I am not sure what your fuss is all about.  I am  Diamond Plus, but I don't feel in anyway offended....   

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2 hours ago, Joseph2017China said:

Been sailing RCCL since 1990. Other than missing the chocolates on pillows, and midnight buffet I think the customer service is still as great.  The only perk, I really care about is those that save me money.  Free drinks, free picture and free 24 hour wifi.  Those are free.  Everything else that I get, if someone wants to pay for it, let them as long as I get my free stuff. 

Don't forget the D balcony discount.  In my case the D+ on my 11 niter on the Anthem is worth $350.  Pretty good sum in my eyes to go along with on board booking bonus of $275 and an add'l $275 in OBCs from my TA. 

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I am a Diamond member. I have been cruising since 2003. I agree with the original poster. The KeyProgram is not a good thing for most of us. It is a way for the cruise lines to cater to those who are the wealthiest. The middle- income person will gradually be priced out of the best parts of cruising. In fairness, I do not fault only Royal for this new aspect.

As for the customer service aspect of Royal, after many years of being loyal to Royal, I switched to Celebrity a few years ago after two issues I had with them were unsatisfactorily settled. I still sail with them, but only when price, port and convenience are above any others,

 

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On 4/3/2019 at 12:19 AM, billcancel said:

Im writing this to see if other loyal RCCL customers have experienced  drop in customer service over the last few years.  I cruise on average 4 times a years and have been exclusive to RCCL for 20+ years.  Over last 5 years I have noticed serious drops in customer service. I have made every attempt to work with RCCL to help them improve and they have not done anything to make things better and have just dismissed my concerns. Now to make matters worse they are selling my diamond plus perks to new cruisers with this new "KEY" Program.  I am do disgusted as to how RCCL handled this that I cancelled my most recent cruise and will never cruise with them again. Is anyone else experiencing this? If so please share here so that we can perhaps get RCCL to start listening. Dam shame that after 20+ years of being a loyal customer to RCCL have been dismissed by them. And my parting "spanking" from RCCL for cancelling was a $500 penalty.  They are giving me $300 in FUTURE Cruise credits for cancelling. Not sure why I need future cruise credits since i will never sail with them again.  Most disturbing and really intrigued to see if others are feeling the same or have experienced this drop in customer service.  Kind Regards.

 

 

 

We were booked on the Oasis of the Seas TA that was supposed to leave on April 21st for Barcelona.  It's been cancelled of course due to the crane accident.   The customer service and Royal's response to this situation while we were floundering around with the ship pulled out from under us (ha!) has been absolutely outstanding.   To me, that is far more important than someone else being granted the ability to buy front of the line access.

 

You were not given a $500 penalty for cancelling.  You were given the normal $200 for booking with a non-refundable deposit.   No one is stopping you from using the other $300 but yourself.

 

I'm sorry that I sound a tad defensive on their behalf right now but it's been a very stressful couple of days and they have been nothing but great through it all.  Just wanted everyone to know. 🙂

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56 minutes ago, trivia addict said:

I am a Diamond member. I have been cruising since 2003. I agree with the original poster. The KeyProgram is not a good thing for most of us. It is a way for the cruise lines to cater to those who are the wealthiest. The middle- income person will gradually be priced out of the best parts of cruising. In fairness, I do not fault only Royal for this new aspect.

As for the customer service aspect of Royal, after many years of being loyal to Royal, I switched to Celebrity a few years ago after two issues I had with them were unsatisfactorily settled. I still sail with them, but only when price, port and convenience are above any others,

 

You do realize that Royal and Celebrity are owned by the same parent company.  

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I am a Diamond member. I have been cruising since 2003. I agree with the original poster. The KeyProgram is not a good thing for most of us. It is a way for the cruise lines to cater to those who are the wealthiest. The middle- income person will gradually be priced out of the best parts of cruising. In fairness, I do not fault only Royal for this new aspect.
As for the customer service aspect of Royal, after many years of being loyal to Royal, I switched to Celebrity a few years ago after two issues I had with them were unsatisfactorily settled. I still sail with them, but only when price, port and convenience are above any others,
 


I don’t get this...Celebrity IS Royal???? And your loyalty levels translate between the two??

And At $20/day, The Key is HARDLY targeting the wealthiest! This is exactly what the middle income families should want! The ability to get perks at a reasonable price without having to buy an expensive suite or vacation many many times on cruises!


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On 4/3/2019 at 7:02 PM, Justmekaren918 said:

Boarding line of Diamond and up perk has been after 1st board! Unless you get there in the very beginning u r now shuffled to main line, which on Oasis last September looked to be hours long & out the door & this solo with disabilities would not have been able to stand in that line! Now it seems I have to buy the Key or stand in that line to board Harmony in September. That is what Royal has done! Now ur caught up!


I don't buy it.  Disabled people don't have to wait in lines -- I know, I often cruise with a disabled friend.  And Diamonds still get to board before the unwashed masses -- there just may be a hundred people boarding before you now.  

If you don't want to wait in a line to board, don't get there before boarding starts.  Show up at noon, walk right in the building, right to security, right to check-in, and right on the ship.

 

 

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I like the Key. 

 

Not to buy it, I don't need it. 

 

I like that Royal has found a new revenue stream that has zero impact to me.  Additional revenue from a new source means they can continue to keep fares low for the rest of us.  It means they won't have to make cuts in other areas to keep fares low.  Relative to other goods and services over the last 20 years, cruise fares are pretty reasonable today for my needs.

 

Ask not what the Key has taken from you, but what has it kept in place for you to enjoy?   Take the Key away and I fear we will find out.  

Edited by twangster
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37 minutes ago, twangster said:

I like the Key. 

 

Not to buy it, I don't need it. 

 

I like that Royal has found a new revenue stream that has zero impact to me.  Additional revenue from a new source means they can continue to keep fares low for the rest of us.  It means they won't have to make cuts in other areas to keep fares low.  Relative to other goods and services over the last 20 years, cruise fares are pretty reasonable today for my needs.

 

Ask not what the Key has taken from you, but what has it kept in place for you to enjoy?   Take the Key away and I fear we will find out.  

Got that right. My base cruise is 1/3 what I paid in 1980's, dollar for dollar. Extras people buy choice I dont but keeps my prices down. Now Disney World on other hand was $30's per when I first went, 4 times that now. My kids were little was cheaper spend vacation at Disney then on a cruise, now its other way around

Edited by ONECRUISER
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1 hour ago, ONECRUISER said:

Got that right. My base cruise is 1/3 what I paid in 1980's, dollar for dollar. Extras people buy choice I dont but keeps my prices down. Now Disney World on other hand was $30's per when I first went, 4 times that now. My kids were little was cheaper spend vacation at Disney then on a cruise, now its other way around

My base price for my last cruise in October was over double what I paid in 2014, dollar for dollar for a much cheaper, value wise, experience. Cutbacks and cheaper ingredients.

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It comes as no surprise to experienced travelers that some folks are better shoppers of cruises than others when it comes to prices. Often it comes down to taking the time to do good homework/research up front, which some people are willing to do while others are not.

 

There are plenty of resources to accomplish deals on a cruise, as well as airfare, excursions, etc. On our last 10-day cruise (14 day overall trip), we saved $5,400 (about 50%) on the overall trip "sticker price" cost. We sacrificed nothing in terms of the wonderful experience, comfort, excursion quality/quantity, etc. - in fact many of the aspects of the trip were better/upgrades due to alternative choices at  lower price via advance research. On just 1 excursion alone...we saved $388 per couple (72%) by directly booking an excursion that was exactly the same as the cruise line version (tour components, time, locations, etc.) through a private company . It was probably the best & most memorable excursion ever for us, and yet, at a huge savings.

 

We have booked out last 3 cruises for less money per person per day (in nice cabins) that we did 10 years ago. 

 

Top money-saving tips:

 

1) Book early - it's no secret that the best prices (and cabin selections) come a year or more in advance.

2) Use private tours whenever possible - you nearly always pay an extra premium price for a duplicate excursion through the cruise line.

3) Research every port destination for choices in excursions - time, transportation, tour company experience & reviews, etc.

4) Before locking down a cruise, determine the cost of air or other transportation to the port.

5) Avoid holidays, spring break, and other peak period weeks - the higher demand lowers availability choices  and raises prices on both cruises and air travel in many cases.

6) Leverage loyalty programs - the perks are real and can save you more than just discounted cabin rates - even some excursion prices come into play, such as a cabana rate at Coco Cay for example.

 

As we transition from Emerald to Diamond in a couple of months...we continue to also transition savings. More savings, perks, and discounts are real.

 

Don't sweat the small stuff. 

Edited by CRUISEFAN0001
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14 hours ago, trivia addict said:

I am a Diamond member. I have been cruising since 2003. I agree with the original poster. The KeyProgram is not a good thing for most of us. It is a way for the cruise lines to cater to those who are the wealthiest. The middle- income person will gradually be priced out of the best parts of cruising. In fairness, I do not fault only Royal for this new aspect.

As for the customer service aspect of Royal, after many years of being loyal to Royal, I switched to Celebrity a few years ago after two issues I had with them were unsatisfactorily settled. I still sail with them, but only when price, port and convenience are above any others,

 

 

What did the cut from you for the Key?

 

What did you lose?

 

And you paid also, just over time, by cruising a lot of times.

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11 hours ago, brillohead said:


I don't buy it.  Disabled people don't have to wait in lines -- I know, I often cruise with a disabled friend.  And Diamonds still get to board before the unwashed masses -- there just may be a hundred people boarding before you now.  

If you don't want to wait in a line to board, don't get there before boarding starts.  Show up at noon, walk right in the building, right to security, right to check-in, and right on the ship.

 

 

I have to say, boarding has gotten easier (at least our experience) for us.  We arrive early and most times NO wait....or a handful of cruisers in front of us.....sure the line into the building looks long, but moves through quickly to get to the last spot and viola we are up the escalator to ship.  In November and February took 20- 30 minutes, from walking in building/dropping off luggage to onboard -- that isn't a long time and I walk slow (not disabled, just short legs and small steps)

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3 hours ago, CRUISEFAN0001 said:

It comes as no surprise to experienced travelers that some folks are better shoppers of cruises than others when it comes to prices. Often it comes down to taking the time to do good homework/research up front, which some people are willing to do while others are not.

 

There are plenty of resources to accomplish deals on a cruise, as well as airfare, excursions, etc. On our last 10-day cruise (14 day overall trip), we saved $5,400 (about 50%) on the overall trip "sticker price" cost. We sacrificed nothing in terms of the wonderful experience, comfort, excursion quality/quantity, etc. - in fact many of the aspects of the trip were better/upgrades due to alternative choices at  lower price via advance research. On just 1 excursion alone...we saved $388 per couple (72%) by directly booking an excursion that was exactly the same as the cruise line version (tour components, time, locations, etc.) through a private company . It was probably the best & most memorable excursion ever for us, and yet, at a huge savings.

 

We have booked out last 3 cruises for less money per person per day (in nice cabins) that we did 10 years ago. 

 

Top money-saving tips:

 

1) Book early - it's no secret that the best prices (and cabin selections) come a year or more in advance.

2) Use private tours whenever possible - you nearly always pay an extra premium price for a duplicate excursion through the cruise line.

3) Research every port destination for choices in excursions - time, transportation, tour company experience & reviews, etc.

4) Before locking down a cruise, determine the cost of air or other transportation to the port.

5) Avoid holidays, spring break, and other peak period weeks - the higher demand lowers availability choices  and raises prices on both cruises and air travel in many cases.

6) Leverage loyalty programs - the perks are real and can save you more than just discounted cabin rates - even some excursion prices come into play, such as a cabana rate at Coco Cay for example.

 

As we transition from Emerald to Diamond in a couple of months...we continue to also transition savings. More savings, perks, and discounts are real.

 

Don't sweat the small stuff. 

As you say "Don't sweat the small stuff", but money and cost are not small stuff.  As you say, and I agree, some people are better cruise shoppers than others and then they blame us 'good/savvy shoppers' for their overpriced cruises (LOL).

 

Over the course of our 27 cruises spanning 15 years, we have had some great prices that were lower than cruises we booked in years past.  In our future when we won't need to travel on holiday times (most expensive) we should be getting better deals/prices.....but I can NEVER say, that I booked a cruise for a price that I did not think was worth it.

 

That is the other issue....if people think a cruise is overpriced.....don't book it....but if you book it....don't bellyache.  

 

 

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On 4/3/2019 at 5:00 AM, billcancel said:

Not sure what a flounce is but ok.  To be clear I am NOT losing perks. They are giving others the opportunity to pay for my perks. Thats is what I have issue with. This is NOT a pity party not looking for that. Just looking to raise awareness to other loyal customers to be on alert to this activity. Thats all. And you say if I have customer service issues speak about it. I have for over 5 years and have been in direct communications with Michael Bayley and his direct team to work on the issues and to no avail. Rather have been dismissed by corporate.  Not sure how anyone can feel that after 20+ years of being a loyal RCCL customer and experiencing what I have experienced would not reach the conclusion I have reached.

Did you cruise for 20 plus years just to get perks or was it for a vacation? Perks are not a gaurantee  to anyone. But they are a nice bonus. I cruise for my own pleasure and don't cruise just for perks.

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On 4/3/2019 at 5:00 AM, billcancel said:

Not sure what a flounce is but ok.  To be clear I am NOT losing perks. They are giving others the opportunity to pay for my perks. Thats is what I have issue with. This is NOT a pity party not looking for that. Just looking to raise awareness to other loyal customers to be on alert to this activity. Thats all. And you say if I have customer service issues speak about it. I have for over 5 years and have been in direct communications with Michael Bayley and his direct team to work on the issues and to no avail. Rather have been dismissed by corporate.  Not sure how anyone can feel that after 20+ years of being a loyal RCCL customer and experiencing what I have experienced would not reach the conclusion I have reached.

 

While I'm sure you're long gone, I would be interested to know more details about the issues you felt were important enough to have invested 5 years discussing with top management that went unresolved.  How were you dismissed? What did you experience that led you to the conclusion you have reached? 

 

Speaking vaguely about the deterioration of customer service without substantiation won't go very far in getting people to agree with your opinion.

 

I am sure that it must have been something important to you to make the statement you will never sail with them again after being a customer for 20 years.  I, for one, would be interested to know what it was to make such a decision considering you still continued to sail during your 5-year pilgrimage of problem resolution having been treated dismissively the entire time.

 

I hope you'll respond to better understand how your specific issues were not addressed and how RCCL failed you as a customer.

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People sometimes don't get all the facts before spouting off here on CC and there could be some other underlying issues so I won't drag Bill too much. The same happened when Carnival introduced FTTF. Once the initial dust settled the complaining died off. If that was Bill's tipping point maybe he should reconsider.

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15 minutes ago, Big_G said:

People sometimes don't get all the facts before spouting off here on CC and there could be some other underlying issues so I won't drag Bill too much. The same happened when Carnival introduced FTTF. Once the initial dust settled the complaining died off. If that was Bill's tipping point maybe he should reconsider.

Still don't know what the Ops problems are and what was C&A benefits lost with the intro of the "Key" program.  To me the Key program is not worth the cost vis a vis the benefits accrued.

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10 minutes ago, nelblu said:

Still don't know what the Ops problems are and what was C&A benefits lost with the intro of the "Key" program.  To me the Key program is not worth the cost vis a vis the benefits accrued.

 

I don't think he full understands the program. 

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I am hoping I can hide my card with the Key on it as I get on, so I don't have all the disenfranchised D and D+ rabble screaming invectives and throwing rotten fruit at us usurpers who have forced them to wait days to board and relegated them to steerage.

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30 minutes ago, mayleeman said:

I am hoping I can hide my card with the Key on it as I get on, so I don't have all the disenfranchised D and D+ rabble screaming invectives and throwing rotten fruit at us usurpers who have forced them to wait days to board and relegated them to steerage.

 

Not form this D+ member who is also a stockholder.:classic_biggrin:

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I'm Diamond, as well as the other members of my family. We only get to cruise about once per year..twice if we are lucky. We enjoy the priority boarding but with the improvements in debarkation, it's not a deal breaker. Everyone seem to be able to get on the ship without waiting in the chairs for forever, like it was in years past. With the exception of our Med cruises, we've never been in a hurry to be off the ship at ports. We book with outside vendors and we've never had a problem with getting to our excursions on time. We do like the treats we receive as a thank you in our cabin. We usually have a beverage package so we seldom go to the Diamond lounge. We enjoy the Diamond discount on balcony cabins and we consider that the biggest perk for us. I usually use the discount in the Logo shop for Diamond member. We go in enough time to see the shows to get a good seat and we reserve before going on the cruise, so the perk for the Key doesn't bother me and wouldn't benefit me. They have to make a reservation and all seats open up 10 minutes before the shows start. We do the combo package with the drink package for our WiFi.  I haven't noticed any decline in service from the crew of Royal Caribbean over the years. We've always appreciated the great job done by the crew members. If someone wants to pay for a Suite and get perks, or to pay for the Key to get perk, it doesn't take anything away from my cruise experience but I wouldn't pay to get the perks. It's a gimmick that doesn't hold any appeal for me but as long as they have people willing to pay for it, they'll sell it...and they'll continue to raise the price.

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