I know that the "can't bring liqour aboard" issue has been discussed to death. And after all, you could buy a bottle in the ship's shop for only a $9.50 up charge, right?
Wrong! I called RCI today (11/01/01) and was told that now, you cant buy a bottle to take to your room, period. And this same policy applies to beer and wine of course. AND, the list of what you can't bring onboard has grown to include the following: chips, soft drinks, juice, and (for God's sake) bottled water (which some people need medically). I asked if any of these draconian restrictions were mentioned (even in fine print) in any of RCI's ads for supposedly cheap fares, and was told "no". As a Crown and Anchor member, I asked If RCI would send me a list of ALL their rules and restrictions, and was told "no". I asked if one who booked months ago before these rules were invented could be exempt from them, and was told "no". I asked if I could be guaranteed that no more restrictive rules would be applied to me if I booked today for a cruise next summer, and was told "no". Now I know from these boards that RCI's new restrictions are applied in a manner that is far from uniform. But still, after paying thousands for a cruise, I don't want to take a chance on being treated like a refugee. It should be clear to everybody that these rules have nothing to do with needed security. If RCI would prohibit any glass bottles over a certain size (regardless of what they contained, if anything) this could be justified by security concerns. But who ever could commit terrorism with a soft plastic bottle of water, rum, Diet Coke, or juice? Who could ever do so with an aluminum can of beer or soft drink? No one, of course. Rather, what RCI is doing is creating a captive market for its overpriced $3.50 bottled water, etc. And it is doing so in a completely arbitrary manner, with no notice to the consumer, even those who booked before the rules. For those, this amounts to fraud, pure and simple. If you are like me and used to love RCI, I'm afraid it's time to start looking for a new cruise line --- one that will at least put its rules in writing, send them to you, and stick with them for your later cruise if you book now. And if you doubt anything I have said, just call RCI at 1-899-327-6700 and ask the questions I did. And, you might want to think twice before buying or holding any RCI stock! Finally, in my call to RCI I was asked if I would care to book a cruise. My response is unprintable.
Babe, Jack will be our honored guest host Monday at 9PM EST in the chat room. I am the chat host and I will spend my time monitoring the board and Anne should be there to take questions and present them to Jack for his remarks. Seems to work best in this type of format so that we can get as many questions presented to him as possible withour mass confusion.
I can see the liquor factor, but the go** sake, soda and bottle water?? That's just highway robbery. We have a cruise booked for next summer, probably our last vacation as a family as our kids are young adults and we may have to look for another cruise line. We booked months ago and then you could bring on bottled water and soda, so I dont't see how they can get away with changing the rules with or without notification, and I'm sure there will be no notification. As much as we're forking over for this cruise, the soda and water should be free!
Here we go again! You spend "thousands of dollars" on a cruise and are even thinking about dragging on your own liquor, soda, beer, potato chips, juice and water? You are going to an elegant cruise ship... not a tail gate party or picnic! No... I'm not talking about a fine cognac not available on the ship to sip on your veranda before retiring... or a great Bordeaux packed in with your bags for "that special dinner". What I do see are people wanting to bring on quantities of these items to avoid paying for them on the ship... and in the process helping to destroy the ambiance and vitality of cruise ships. Sure you can buy it cheaper at home... but you can eat cheaper at home to, rather than going out to a fine restaurant. I cannot help but feel that this results in the overall deminishment of the cruise experience.
Gee Ernie, don't you know that it is now okay to "do your own thing"? I mean, you paid for a cruise so shouldn't you be able to go to dinner in your bathing suit? How about a robe as you intend on just sitting around chugging beer anyway? I was really upset that they wouldn't allow me to bring my motorcycle! Now I will have to spend all that money to rent one in the ports! I won't even tell you what they said when I asked about taking the dogs with us or about bringing the horse! Hey, I am sure the horse would like to take a ride on the beach and the dog always goes with us at home so why not?
All this of course is tongue in cheek. People, you are getting a tremendous deal if you sit down and figure up the costs should you do this same vacation in a resort or on land traveling by car. Yes these things cost more onboard a ship and a ship makes money off them but so what, you are not required to buy this stuff. Ever notice that your 'meals' in the hotel resturant are higher than what you can get somewhere else for the most part? How about that $1 bag of chips in the machine that has maybe 8 chips in it? Cruise ships still aren't ripping people off compared to other vacation venues. Think about those $6.50 hot dogs at Disney world! Or how about those $4 soft drinks in a 16oz cup? Give it a rest and enjoy the cruise.
Since my original post here (and a similar post on cruisecritic.com under the name of "Dolebludger") , I have learned that beverage availability and cost are of different priorities to different cruisers. But the responses questioning my drinking habits (at home 10% beer 90% Diet Coke, with added rum on tropical cruises), and my financial status (about 40% of what it was two years ago, thanks for reminding me) are off the subject. The subject is what are RCI's policies on beverages you can bring onboard (hard and soft and water), and what you can do with on-board liquor purchases.So let's concentrate on RCI, please.
Let me restate. RCI has developed a large number of repeat cruisers, to its credit, who have lawfully come to expect that certain restrictions will apply and certain will not based on past business dealings. These (including me) hare a right (check with your lawyer) to expect the same policies on cruises booked now, unless given notice to the contrary by RCI. And people who booked six months ago certainly have a right to notice of any such changes before their cruise date, and the right to cancell penalty free. Problem is, RCI has been changing policies several times over the last couple of months, and has failed to notify. RCI has refused to furnish me with a complete list of all its restrictions. Email and phone communications have resulted in a list of restrictions that does not at all match the responses on these boards from recent RCI cruisers. To the contrary, cruisers say there really weren't any restrictions. But a few weeks ago, posts on these boards were a different story, describing everything but body cavity searches and removal of drinks (soft and hard) from cruisers' possesion until after the cruise. This is the most confusing mess I have ever seen in the area of vacation travel.RCI's president will be on this board for a live chat Nov 5 at 9:00 EST. Let's ask him. After all, I really don't care what restrictions RCI imposes, as long as I have notice of them and can make my decision in light of them. Remember the Carnival Paradise -- the non-smoking ship? Everyone seeking a booking was not only informed of this policy, but was required to sign a statement that they understood it. That's great with me, because it allowed the consumer to make an informed decision. Too bad RCI hasn't been as clear.
We sailed on the Explorer of the Seas 10/20. We had a drink in the Weekend Warrior bar, on the Royal Promenade the first day. I had a glass of house Chardonay, which I liked very much. We bought a bottle to bring to our stateroom and paid about $18.00. The bartender even opened it for me and gave me an ice bucket to put it in.
When we were in St. Thomas I bought a bottle of Chardonay and my husband bought a bottle of Merlot and we carried them on board. No one said a word.
I think, they may frown if you bring large quantities on board to consume. We bought plenty of drinks in the lounges and dining room and on deck during our cruise with our family of 11.
You wouldn't bring your own wine or spirits to a restaurant that has a liqueur license shoreside, would you? So why should it be different with the cruise lines. I feel that they have to make up lost revenue someplace, as cruise rates are lower than ever. I wouldn't want their food or service to be negatively affected by the low cruise rates.
I will throw and interesting wrinkle into this discussion.
I am allergic to the sulfites in wine. ALL cruise lines receive their wines (including French and Italian) via agents in the United States. All U.S. wines sold must contain sulfites (a preservative). Therefore, ALL wine served, on any ship catering to US customers, contains sulfites.
I notified HAL of my allergy after cruising with them in Europe. They had offered a 'dinner package' of wine (which included French wine). Since I was cruising in Europe, I thought that the French wine would come directly from France (not via the US) and NOT contain sulfites. Was I wrong.
Since we were cruising Europe, I asked the Matr' de, if it would be possible for me to pick up some European wine (no sulfites) while we were in port and have it served to us during subsequent dinners on the cruise. I explained my allergy and showed the letter that I had sent about the allery to the cruise line prior to the cruise. My wishes were granted. MY WINE was served to me during dinner. Of course, the wine steward and matr' de got HUGE tips from us which offset their loss of revenue on the sale of the wine by the ship (and our financial 'savings' by buying the wine locally).
The cruise ships will work with you for health problems. Just a note: It is very important to tell the cruise line about allergies to sulfites. Many salads use sulfites to 'stay fresh'. You need to know where sulfites may be used in the kitchen during preparation, wine is not the only place where you can find sulfites on the ship's food. If you are prepared, you can order 'around' your allergies.
Allow me to clarify something for you. You have no "RIGHTS" onboard any cruiseship as they are not US Territory! The Bill of Rights has no legal bearing outside of the USA, and when you are onboard a ship, you ARE in a foriegn country! If you don't like the policies, then don't use them. No need to bad-mouth them or anyone else just because you don't happen to agree with these policies. I can assure you that RCI, or ANY cruiseline, is not out there making policy just to make folks mad or get them upset. They make policy based on sound business practices and with the customer in mind. That is how business is done, period.
Not Quite. While your rights are primarily governed by contract with the line, that line operates out on US ports, advertises in the US, and its ticket contract states that applicable law and courts are those of the US state of Florida. (read the back of your ticket) And, RCI is a US company on the NY stock exchange.Now the rights of which I speak deal with our rights to be free of active and passive misrepresentation in the booking contract, which is definitely under US jurisdiction. I started this topic because RCI had seemingly restricted their beverage policies important to me as a past customer, without making this known to me and others. Not even those who recently booked can find any reference to this in their documents.Later postings have indicated, far to the contrary of my first motivation, that the things have turned into drunken party ships, where people openly haul on cases of booze. I opened this topic to inform people of what RCI is neglecting to inform. For what it's worth, I don't like either extreme, and you bet I have booked my next cruise elsewhere.
I have never seen, nor have I ever heard of any reports of anyone openly hauling cases of booze onboard for partying. Just isn't done. RCI is no more of a party ship with drunks all over than Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, or any other cruiseline.
Heard about this "party ship" problem on another board, Cruisecritic.com. Robocop, do you work for this site or are you just an interested cruise consumer? Boy, one can sure be misunderstood on a board, if he isn't careful. Hard for me to communicate this way. Hey, all I want is a clear and consistent statement of RCI's current beverage (hard and soft) rules, so I can make an informed decision, as can all cruisers. I've sailed RCI three times, last on the Grandeur in 01/01 to the Southern Caribbean. Best cruise I've had. Then, I could buy liquor on the ship for my room, but especially could bring on Diet Coke(our favorite drink) and bottled water which my wife needs for a medical condition. Hear it's not that way anymore. If you work for this site, maybe you could help us get a clear policy statement, and the way it really is, out of RCI's president in tomorrow's chat. Don't want to insult or ctiticize him. Just want the facts. Thanks
As you know from e-mail, but for the sake of others I make this statement, yes I do work for Cruisemates, in fact, I am the Community Staff Leader responsible for the message boards and the chats. Even more important though is that I love cruising and sharing and finding information for others who are interested in my passion of cruising..
Thank you for your message. Strange, But my wife and I also are troubled by the sulfites in American wine and beer. We can recall going to Germany in 1992 and drinking all the wine and beer (at Octoberfest) we wanted, without getting headaches then, or the day after. Here, it's a different story. In fact, my wife cant't drink any wine or beer at all here, without a migrane. Is there any way to obtain sulfite-free wine and/or beer in the US?
I guess baby ruth can not take their own advice,quote"put this to rest" Get over it and finally get off the ship so we can get upgraded to your cabin.Can you imagine the topic of conversation at this cruisers table for 7 days.First time cruisers should not pay any attention to baby and remeber that out of 2,000 passengers 1,999 of us really have a good time and are NOT interested in anyones political objectives while we are on vacation or while getting info on our cruises here.Baby ruth is now accepting your donations of cheese for his campain.Save your dollars though for your upgraded cabin vacated by baby on rci since he gave up on this cruise line.
My husband and I lived and worked in Madrid Spain for a year and of course fell in love with their red wine (Rioja region). Since it was "Native" Spanish wine purchased in Spain there were no sulfites.
I visited my local wine shop here in Atlanta looking for the Spanish Rioja wines and ALL contained sulfites. "Contains SUFITES" is always listed on the wine label (both reds and whites).
In discussions with the HAL wine steward and hotel staff, it seems that every bottle of wine MUST contain sulfites if it is to be sold in the U.S. Remember the ships get their supplies from the US.
So, when my husband and I cruise internationally, we "stock up" on wines and bring them home with us to the US. We also bring lots of bubble wrap to make sure the bottles arrive home safely.
Remember sulfites are a preservative and can be found in almost everything served on the ship. i.e. salads, orange juice, smoked lox, etc.
If you have some severe allergies to sulfites, it is best to check with the Hotel Matre' de to find out what foods use the additives on the cruise ships and stay away from that food.
This has been verified to be by many wineries and wine experts, when I was trying to find a sulfite-free wine.
And I do not think you'll find any support for your belief that the US government requires the addition of sulfites. Not that I believe that governments, particularly my own, must be consistent, but it would be a record setting performance for the government to require the use of sulfites and then require the labelling to reveal that sulfites are in the wine