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Royal Caribbean Website Woes: Trials & Tribulations Of A Frustrated Crown & Anchor Member

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By Dave Beers (CruiseReviews Editor) — Let’s begin by saying the frustrated Crown & Anchor member is yours truly.  This article didn’t start out that way.  It was about a reader who had repeated problems with her cruise history vanishing from Royal Caribbean’s website, but her problem magically got fixed two days ago and somehow it now plagued me.  Read on.

All of the cruise line websites have quirks and annoyances, but I get more complaints about the Royal Caribbean website than any other.  Most are little things where the user can’t find something and they have to jump through hoops to locate the information.  A lot of this has to with the seemingly endless penchant to tweak the websites, change how things are accessed, or where things are located.  To be fair, this need to tweak is not the exclusive territory of Royal Caribbean.  They all do it and quite often it doesn’t seem to improve things from a user-friendly point of view.  Carnival recently changed their website for the worse and the Norwegian Cruise Line website is a disaster area.  But regardless, when it comes to gripes Royal Caribbean leads the list.

A major source of angst over the past few years has been the Crown & Anchor portion of the RCI website.  For the longest time, cruise credits either didn’t show up in the user’s account, or were exceedingly slow in appearing.  Sometimes several months would pass between a cruise ending and the credit appearing.  While the cruise credits were indeed in the member’s Crown & Anchor account, they were not transferring to the website.  People like to see their cruise history and thus the frustration sets in when their account is fraught with errors.

Within the past year my experience has been that this cruise credit problem had been fixed.  My account has been promptly updated and I’ve had no problems.  However while checking the Royal Caribbean website to research the reader’s complaint – that her cruise history kept vanishing – I discovered that my account was now screwed up too.  My cruise history was gone and I was getting messages saying my name didn’t match the Crown & Anchor records.

I got error messages such as “The last name or surname you entered does not match the last name or surname that we currently have on file for the Crown & Anchor number you entered. Please contact the Crown & Anchor Loyalty Desk.”

I decided to test Royal Caribbean’s ability to respond to messages sent to them from within their website, so I sent them a note detailing the problem.  I immediately got an e-mail automatic response which said “Thank you for contacting us. This is an automated confirmation that your email has been received. Our representatives will reply to your inquiry in the order in which it was received. Please reply only if you need to provide additional information related to your original email. Follow-up emails regarding the status of your query may further delay your response.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to service your request.”  Providing additional information may delay their response?

Six days elapsed before I received a personal reply, which came in an e-mail which said “Thank you for your e-mail.  We apologize for any delay in our response.  While we would be more than happy to assist you with the error you are receiving, we are unable to troubleshoot issues with the website through an e-mail response.”

Paul recently told me that, these days, too many people have a fear of picking up the phone but it is the fastest way to clear up a problem.  One ten minute call can resolve what days worth of e-mails can’t.  He is absolutely correct on that.  Too bad Royal Caribbean can’t simply say call them if the problem is related to their website.  Instead we accomplished absolutely nothing and it only took six days.   And so I called them and the problem was resolved in less than 10 minutes.

The problem?  My online profile had somehow been changed from “David Beers” to “Mr. David Beers”.  The pulldown menu for “title” went from saying “select one” to “Mr.”  I am not kidding.

For the readers….have you had problems with cruise line websites?  Which ones do you think are best or worst?

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Comment from Lisa
Time August 23, 2010 at 12:36 am

I have never had any problems with any of the cruise line websites……..maybe I am one of the lucky ones (and I hope I haven’t jinxed myseklf now! lol)

I guess I am old enough to realize that most problems can be fixed with a phone call…….you just must make sure you have all your info at your fingertips.

So many people now rely on electronic technology to clear up problems…………and while it may work for some, sometimes a human to human contact can be much more effective.

Comment from wooly101
Time August 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

From a disabled persons point of view, I find RCI’s web site the most accessible. Next comes HAL but the others are largely hit and miss. NCL is the worst. Cruise lines should offer a simple interface experience.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time August 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Part of the reason people shy away from making phone calls to customer service is the set of annoyances it brings with it. Wading through a ream of “press X for this” “enter your number followed by the # sign” menus – only to then be on hold for what can be a long time – it makes an e-mail preferable.

Comment from John M
Time April 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I am going on my first cruise ever next week on RC’s Allure of the Seas. I must say RC’s website is one of the worst websites I have ever used anywhere. Even if this was 1999 I would say that. It is painfully slow, anciently designed, takes numerous attempts to find things, often does not work for no reason and when it gives you a reason it gives cryptic messages that mean nothing to the user. Oh, did I mention that when using phone support you have to completely log out of the site when customer service needs access to your account? This is barbaric for any sort of electronic data management these days. It is also very annoying and inconvenient.
The website alone almost made me cancel the reservation. If they can’t build a decent website how can they possibly have a decent cruise. My friend and travel agent assured me the cruise would be fine so I am sticking with it, but Royal Caribbean has some a completely pathetic job with their site.
The worst part in all of this is RC’s apparent disregard for the issues as it seems this problem has endured for years. Sad…

Comment from Mary H
Time August 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Well, looks like 3 years have elapsed since this posting was started and I’m sad to report that the RCCL website is still horrible! I’ve never experienced so many problems in planning trip. Even our reservation# shows a different trip than we are actually booked for…. when I called about this they “reassured” me that we are, in fact, booked for our destination… that seems like a really strange “glitch”. And don’t even get me started on trying to make specialty dinner reservations for a group of people from different reservations. I thought my computer was going to explode. 😉

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