My mother-in-law purchased a cruise vacation for 7 family members, spanning 4 generations (4 of whom include veterans). We drove 6 hours from Tampa to Miami to catch the Majesty of the Seas for a cruise from 12/13/2010 to 12/17/2010. Both the deposit and remainder of the balance were paid ahead of schedule. This was her first experience with Royal Caribbean, whom she booked with on a referral. Myself, my fiance, and his 7 year old son had never been on a cruise, and we were so excited and had been looking forward to this trip for months. We had issues with our GPS, and were running behind schedule, but we finally arrived at the dock at 4:40, and the departure time was 5pm. We were already checked in (we had done so 2 days before online) and had our luggage tags on our bags. Our documentation failed to stress that if we were not at the port a minimum of 1 hour before departure, we would not be allowed on the ship.
The security supervisor explained this regulation, and without much outward sympathy suggested we call customer service. In a state of disbelief that they could do nothing to help us, we got back in the car and drove another 6 hours back home, not getting in the door until midnight. When my mother-in -law called customer service the next day, she was told that not only was she not eligible for a refund, she also was not eligible for a credit to use towards a future cruise. The only thing she can do apparently, is call for a refund of the taxes she paid, once the ship docks back in Miami on the 17th.
The customer service agent would not refer her to a supervisor, even though she requested to speak with one. I have worked in customer service for over 10 years, and I have never heard of such a shocking lack of empathy from a company, especially around the holidays, and towards a family of veterans. We were not looking for a refund of the more than $2,000 she spent, we were asking for credit with the company to be used for a future trip. I do not believe it is right that Royal Caribbean should be allowed to keep so much money without providing any services, and such appalling customer service.
Neglecting to inform the customer of the importance of the deadline for boarding is one thing, but then refusing to work with that customer to rectify the situation by at least honoring the money they have spent is reprehensible.