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Old May 26th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jzozzaro
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.

To FL_Cruiser64:

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).
More often then not when you see a poster with the first post running a barrage of complains (especially if the cruise was a year earlier) it is a troll or a simple pot stirrer. Most of them do not return to the thread either. It was an assumption by me based on the past on several message boards (I do run my own very successful forum as well). You returned. So the troll/pot stirrer assumption do not fit you anymore.

Originally Posted by jzozzaro
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.
I have seen your comment in regards to Grand Suite not so grand as a size matter. Thus informing you that cabin sizes are much smaller on a 20-year old ship than they are on a newer vessel.

I do encounter a few problems on my cruises as well. They are not perfect.

Originally Posted by jzozzaro
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.
I received different levels of services throughout my cruising life. I don't expect the level to be constant or increasing every time I set foot on another ship. The reality is that you deal with the human factor as well as the mechanical/electrical factor and mother nature on a cruise ship. All have flaws with humans being highest factor of flaws.

Heck based on expected service I should sue my neighborhood restaurant every time I go there because the service is never the same or at an acceptable level and neither is the food. I get different waiters, the kitchen has different cooks and sometimes they change food suppliers.

I cruised the Navigator twice within a 5 month period (Nov 07/March 08 ): same ship, same itinerary. The level of service was so much different the second time around.

As a matter of fact the level of service on my cruises fluctuated dramatically from ship to ship.

The reality is, for most, that they expect perfectionism and/or constant excellent service. That is not possible. You don't even get that at your local grocery store. In my opinion society as a whole has changed that for some reason everything outside their own little world has to be absolutely perfect and don't you dare change the level of service.

Originally Posted by jzozzaro
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.
Do you know how many people are cruising a month? Just the Sovereign you were on, which sails sold out almost every cruise? In a week that's 5,000 people just on the Sovereign. With the Majesty and Monarch you are looking at 15,000 every week. Add all the other ships to it (I believe 18 more ships) and then extrapolate to a monthly number. Do you know how many people could possibly e-mail customer service? Unless you are willing to wait two or three weeks don't expect a personalized message. But here we go again between reality and expectations. People expect a personalized message asap not considering that others expect the same and it is logistically not even possible to send out personalized message in a reasonable time frame.

So based on "your research" what other cruise lines do (giving vouchers or discounts) you expect that every complaint results in a compensation?

My first question is: did you research other cruise lines compensation? If you did, couldn't you research the ship you are going on (age, problems)?
If you did not research compensation from other cruise lines, how do you know? Your own experience?

I am not an advocate for seeking compensation for every little crap which could go wrong. I sailed with sewer smell, I had clocked up bath tub drainage, even once had standing water in the bathroom. I told my stateroom attendant, he/she told maintenance and they tried to fix it. In some instances they were able to in others they weren't because the problem was not caused in my bathroom (remember, just because it smells in your bathroom or you have standing water it may not be a problem located at your end).

90% of the time if you have a plumbing problem at your house a plumber can not necessarily fix it right off the bat. But you expect such service on a contained area such as cruise ship.
Originally Posted by jzozzaro
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.
Seasoned cruiser? Maybe. I see it more as "a cruiser". I cruised when cruising was "flawed", when technology was not as advanced. I learned to understand what cruising means and took a cruise with the good and the bad. I learned that once you leave the dock a ship operates on its own, no outside help. Everything is contained to just the ship. The great experiences are created on the ship and bad experiences have to be fixed ON the ship with the materials and personnel available.

Many who cruise today entered the cruising market in the last 10 years when newer, bigger ships were build. Many who began to cruise within the last 10 years are not interested to learn how ships are working and functioning and to learn the difference between land based vacations (and its endless access and supply of outside resources) and a cruise ship (and its "what you see is what you get").

Perfection can never be archived, ever. Even if I have the "perfect" cruise, others on the same ship may not.

For every thing has to be a compensation these days: the ship motions to much, a little smell, a missed port.

"Cruisers" have definitely changed.

It is emphasized by "all those internet writers" as well. Those who consider themselves cruise experts and the main stream media. They don't want to write about good things. Bad things sell. A stabilizer broke? Don't want to hear from those who still enjoyed the cruise. They want to write about those who hate it it, even if they are in the minority. A recent article about the Grandeur comes to mind where a woman complained that the Grandeur was going through a storm and blamed the captain. Yet, no report or info was made from those who gave the captain a standing ovation for guiding the ship safely through rough weather.

I certainly wish you good luck on your cruises on other lines. Just be aware though that these problems you just encountered last year on the Sovereign you will eventually encounter again.

PS: This post is no slam against you nor is it intended as such. It is just my opinion. Sometimes written words in a forum are taken the wrong way.
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