I don't think most people perceive RCI's actions as negative. Quite the contrary the majority here, and perhaps just as importantly, some of the most seasoned travelers here believe RCI did "the right thing". Even I applaud them for their generosity, and I think that's exactly what it is, generosity. Legally I don't believe they owed most of those passengers a dime (exceptions for those who were physically injured of course).
I do believe that because of the spotlight focused on the industry at the moment, due in large part to the recent crisis aboard Splendor, most likely contributed to their handling of the situation. I also believe the current economic crisis contributed to both RCI and Carnival's handling of their respective emergencies. The companies need those ships to sail at about 98% full to turn a profit on each voyage, and bad publicity or poor customer service at this time could be a death sentence for a cruise line.
I don't really have a problem with RCI's response, as much as I do with what they were responding to. That is to say the whining, griping and complaining of their customers about a situation that quite frankly was beyond the ability of RCI to control. Yes apparently the captain said he made a mistake by trying to enter Alexandria in high seas. And yes that probably also contributed to RCI's decision on a full refund. However the "mistake" the captain made was an effort to give his passengers what they paid for, that is a cruise that was supposed to include an overnight stay in Alexandria, Egypt. Had he made no attempt at all most of those complaining, would be complaining just as loud if had not made the attempt. It was a real no win situation for him and the cruiseline. Customer complaints, grievances, and general belly aching has gotten way out of hand in this country IMO. We really have grown quite soft, complacent, privileged and spoiled I think when some of us expect compensation for bad weather on our vacation.
Indulge me if you will by allowing me to post an exert from The Only Way to Cross by John Maxtone Graham (which I mentioned earlier).
The Normadie was not tender. She was instead a snappy roller. Her large metacentric height meant that the speed of return to vertical was brisk......Helen Hayes and Ruth Gordan shared a cabin on the Nromandie's first east bound crossing. While waiting for breakfast to arrive, Miss Hayes was momentarily stunned as a heavy Lalique vase, it's base weighted with buck shot, hurtled off an adjacent bureau and struck her on the head. The resulting downpour of Nyack roses, water and buckshot revived her at once, in time to watch in fascinated horror as the plate-glass top of a circular table, dislodged from it's base, spun around the cabin like a giant demented half dollar.
Now the questions I have for everyone are; Do you believe that these two women blamed the French Line for this incident? Do you think they demanded compensation, or a refund of their fare? Do you think they threatened to bring a lawsuit against the company? Since the answer to all those questions is most likely no (because none of them happened). Why exactly are we entitled to anything different today when an act of God cause distress or discomfort to somebody. The somebody in question really should have a grievance against Mother Nature, not the cruise line.