This was our first cruise. A total of 8 with another family, children ages range from 5 to 9 years old. How could a company whose business is moving passengers throughout the Hurricane season be so unprepared for a port change? On a 5-day cruise to Bermuda, you have the ability to go to one of two places Bermuda or Canada. I understand they want to keep me and other passengers safe but they sloppily ran that cruise like this was their first time they encountered a tropical storm in Bermuda. Are you kidding me?
Since RC was following the storm, couldn't have made the call to go to Canada sooner then the day off the trip. I wonder if they have a plan in place to contact passengers besides the web site. Which had a document dated the same date as the trip July 24 2005 that the trip was going to Canada
No brochures for Canada on the ship? The staff on board was clueless about Canada excursions. That problem could have been solved over the 2004 winter with a one-day seminar for the staff, called
“What Royal Caribbean is going to do for our passengers if we get a Topical storm in Bermuda 2005 and have to go to Canada."
Oh I guess carrying Canada excursion brochures on board in a box labeled “use in case in case of tropical storm in Bermuda.”
That box just would have taken up too much space on a 3-football field size vessel. It would have cost them a case of wine on board.
Now that was just one example of poor execution from an experienced cruise company.
Operating any business is about execution, and they poorly executed the port change from the get go. Oh it was 59 degrees and foggy in Canada --- If it was my company I would have called ahead to St John's and had sweatshirts and blankets ready for everyone. There has to be an overstock of NHL sweatshirts available and they could use the exposure. Yes, it can be done for 3000 people - now that would be customer service, making sure your passengers are comfortable through something you can control which is mother nature.
Also there is not anything to do for 5 to 9 year olds in St Johns or Nova Scotia according to the RC person on boardthe Voyager-I am not making this up.
Oh we took the horse trolly and it said in the description given to us by RC that blankets are provided-and guess what?
How do you say in French -We have no blankets sorry.
Oh did I tell you that when my friend called Royal Caribbean to let them know what happened on the trip to Canada, the customer service rep told her “why did you book during hurricane season”? Great answer----not.
Now that was a well-trained customer service rep.
Again I am not making this up....
I think my reply would have been well why are you running ships during hurricane season to Bermuda. Carnival cruise line does not operate ships to Bermuda during hurricane season – we spoke with them.
So I thought I would pull an excerpt from a cruisemate article that shows, yes some cruise ship companies do compensate for situations like the RC trip to Bermuda and try to do the right thing even though their legal info states otherwise.
Thank goodness for choice because I will choose someone else instead of Royal Caribbean next time because they have showed me they poorly executed a port change that should have been a seamless transition. But thanks for keeping us away from the storm.
One last suggestion RC, why not work with other cruise line companies and the US government to create a customs waiver to be able change a ports to US coast port like Virgina Beach or Florida if there is a potential tropical storm or Hurricane heading for Bermuda.
Staying Ahead of Hurricanes
By Art Sbarsky, CruiseMates Consumer Affairs Editor
July 27, 2005
Carnival is also quite flexible when a cruise is lengthened or shortened due to a storm: “If a guest spends an extra day on the cruise, there is no additional charge for this day. If a day of the cruise is lost, Carnival typically will provide compensation in some form.”
Finally, the big question: What if guests without insurance feel the need to cancel a cruise because of an upcoming storm? Realistically, they may be stuck; it pays to know the policy of the line you’re on.
Some are very humane. For example, as stated in its fleet brochure, here’s Carnival’s policy: “When practicable, Carnival will promptly notify guests of a pre-cruise itinerary change through their travel agents or directly in the case of direct bookings. Carnival will offer such guests an opportunity to cancel their cruise within 24 hours without penalty. No additional compensation for the itinerary change will be offered at a later time. If an itinerary change occurs while a ship is at sea or when notice prior to the sailing is not feasible, Carnival shall attempt to substitute an alternate port. No compensation shall be provided to passengers when an alternative port is offered. If an alternative port is not provided, guests shall be provided a shipboard credit of $20 per person. The Vacation Guarantee shall not be affected by this policy.”
Holland America also maintains a flexible policy. Director of public relations Erik Elvejord says, “It entirely depends on the changes due to the hurricane. Whenever a change is made, we determine the offer to be given to guests. If a port is missed or a cruise shortened, usually there is something from a shipboard credit to a future cruise certificate. On extended cruises, we assist with making air arrangements or giving guests a phone call to reach travel agents or airlines to make changes to flights. In extreme cases, this can change day to day. Our prime goal is to make the guests comfortable and keep them safe. We don't want to disrupt their vacation timing any more than they want it disrupted. But hurricanes are nothing to ignore, so we need to adapt. The worst types are the ones that sit and linger. If they go through an area quickly, the changes are minimal. When it lingers, everyone, both on ships and land, wonders where it's going next.”