It has been interesting to read some of the responses/posts to my original post. I guess I have some reactions to some comments made and will address them in this latest post of mine.
As I stated in my original post, I am not one who goes out of my way to complain. I do not consider myself a complainer. Why then did I post this complaint a year after the cruise? Well, truthfully, I did not really know that message boards like this existed. I really had no strong urge to seek an outlet to complain about RCI. I happened to learn about this board by accident. After reading some of the forums and posts, I decided to voice my unhappiness and opinions regarding a particular RCI cruise (maybe deep down it was still unresolved for me).
As to the size of the cabins in the Sovereign, size was not my issue. My issue was the smelly bathroom that looked like it needed repairing and the bad service we experienced throughout the entire cruise. The cabin size was just fine. Your point is well taken on the age of the ship and the fact that I should have probably done some homework to learn more about the ship I was going to cruise on. Since my previous experiences with RCI were positive and in those cruises I did not look into learning how old the ship was, just what facilities they had (bars, places to eat, etc.), I took the same approach with this particular cruise. In the future I will keep the ship’s age in mind when deciding on a cruise.
As to your comment regarding expectations vs reality, well, let me just say that what I expected was to get the same level of service and type of accommodations on this ship that I had received on previous RCI cruises. Yes, you can make an argument that the age of the ship may be a reason why we had a smelly bathroom that was in need of repairs, but the age of the ship cannot be used as an excuse for the sub par service we experienced throughout our cruise. Since neither I nor anyone in my party received any discounts on our cruise due to the ship’s age (it was priced the same as other ships with the same itinerary), my expectation was to receive a particular level of accommodation and service that unfortunately was not part of my reality.
You ask what I expected to get from RCI for my complaint. As I stated in my original post, I really was not sure what to expect. What I did not expect was to receive an email response that looked like some type of form letter. A personalized email would have been nice – even a phone call would have been a bit impressive. Since learning about this board I have read posts in this and other boards. It looks like many cruise lines offer a voucher or discount toward the next cruise you take with them in situations like mine. Receiving something like this from RCI would have been nice. It certainly would have shown they cared about my complaints and sub par experience. Maybe they could have shown me they even cared enough about me as a consumer to ensure they got my future cruising business.
I can see by the cruises listed in your post that you are probably a seasoned cruiser and certainly more experienced than I am when it comes to researching cruises. Possibly you have never had any bad experiences with RCI, which is wonderful and why you seem to be a good repeat customer of theirs. My situation was not the same and that is a shame. Cruise lines are in the service business and when the level of service or accommodations expected is not what their customers experience (certainly within certain reasonable boundaries) then they really need to step up, take accountability and resolve it in a fashion that makes their customer feel like they really cared. That was not what happened to me and my party, and for that RCI fell from favor with us.
To Paul Motter:
Your comments make sense and I appreciate them. I will keep them in mind for my next cruises. First let me say that what my party and I paid for our cruise was well above $66 per day per person. Had that been what I paid, I might not have felt so bad about what we experienced. Your point on short cruises and staffing issues are well taken and valid, but when a cruise line charges you what we paid for this cruise, it is their responsibility to make sure what we get is what we paid for. If they happen to have these types of staff issues for short cruises (and since they are the experts they should recognize when this will or may occur), then their pricing should reflect it. My cruise pricing did not reflect this so I feel my expectation was appropriate and unfortunately RCI did not deliver.
In summary, my wife and I really enjoy cruises. Overall I feel they provide the consumer with wonderful value. Where else can you visit the countries/ports you do when you cruise, with the great food you get for the kind of price you pay? Fact is, the first cruise my wife and I ever went on was with RCI. It was great and made us embrace cruising even more. Hopefully you can see why this RCI disappointment was all the more disheartening. I guess when I call RCI about a cruise and get someone on the phone who gets a bit arrogant with me when I mention how other cruise lines give discounts to repeat cruisers, and I get told that they don’t need to do that because they are rated #1 – well let’s say when they don’t deliver they deserve to hear about it. My wife and I will continue to cruise. RCI just will not be one of the cruise lines we will place in our top three choices.
Best of luck and well wishes to all you cruisers out there.