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Heney April 7th, 2005 08:10 PM

WE can't have flowers
This is a true story - it happened today. My wife and I and our family of 8 are sailing on Explorer on May 1 and we were planning on renewing our vows. We contacted our travel agent TODAY to book the vow renewal ( our cruise was booked back in November) only to have her inform us that in addition to the stated cost of $400.00 US, we would have to pay late fees of $200.00 AND a surcharge of $150.00 for a total of $750.00US.
I immediately contacted a RCI agent and she informed me that the information given me by my TA was accurate. I said " I am presently looking at my computer screen with Royal Caribbean Vow Renewals and it clearly states that bookings are to be made a minimum of 14 days before the cruise date."
Her reply was ,"We have updated our website and it is now 30 days minimum for booking."
I asked her when RCI updated their website and where I could find it". She said,"It was updated March 1 and changes were made then, but the website is not up and running yet".
I then asked her about the surcharge of $150.00. She stated that this surcharge applies to anyone wishing to have their vows renewed between the months of May and July - and that there was no surcharge for the rest of the year.
I told her this was our 6th cruise with Royal Caribbean and that it was unfair to treat us in this manner - we were following the policy of RCI as stated on their website (booking at least 14 days before sailing) AND that NOWHERE does it state on their website about any surcharge.
She said she would consult her supervisor and get back to me - she did, and told me that "Even though the new website is not available prices can change without notice. However since we have been such loyal customers RCI will waive the late fee ( back to the original price of $400.00US) but cannot eliminate the surcharge completely. Instead they will charge us a surcharge of $75.00 BUT ..... THEY CANNOT INCLUDE THE FLOWERS IN THE VOW RENEWAL CEREMONY!!!!!"
Now I like travelling with RCI -( we have tried other cruiselines but prefer RCI for several reasons) and will continue to travel with them. To be treated this way is disappointing to my wife and me. I think $400.00 is plenty for a vow renewal ceremony - I mean it's done by a cruise director (not the captain) - it's usually held on deck rather than the chapel, we get a piece of cake each, an 8 x 10 photo, a bottle of champaigne, AND a corsage for my wife and me.
Why would there be a late fee? And a surcharge?
My wife and I have decided to renew our vows on this cruise BUT we are going to do it OUR WAY - we are going to perform it ourselves on the rear deck just before sunset, our youngest son is going to ask us our vows , we are going to exchange rings, maybe get 8 pieces of cake from the kitchen, bring two corsages and some champaigne with us and THEN we are going to celebrate our 25 years of marriage - $100.00 tops! Without any late fees or surcharges. Wish us luck.

beenie weenie April 7th, 2005 10:00 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers
Good for you!!!! Happy 25th Anniversary! Congratulations! By the way, I like your way better!
I think when d/h and I hit the 25 year mark, I'd love nothing more than to have our children ask us our vows. If you ask me, they did you a favor, you're going to make some beautiful family memories, that no amount of money can buy.

Ron April 7th, 2005 10:13 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers
Heney, I certainly do wish you luck and your plan sounds great to me. Those charges seem a little stiff but I'm not familiar with RCCL's vow renewal package.
Back in Feb. we went on a 10 day Princess cruise ( Coral Princess ) and I surprised my wife with the wedding vow renewal. It cost $ 200.00. We got a bottle of champagne in the cabin, a bouquet of flowers for her, a lapel flower for me and complimentary champagne at the lounge where we were waiting for the ceremony. The ceremony was private and performed by the Captain in the small chapel. We got a free 8x10 photo of our choice framed in a beautiful silver frame. Although there were 2 other couples who were doing the renewals, all three of us were given a private ceremony by the Captain.
I don't know if the renewal thing had anything to do with it or not but a few days later we recieved an invitation to tour the bridge of the ship. There were 9 couples on the bridge tour and of the 9, 3 were those of us who had done the renewal. Maybe we just lucked into something but for what we got for $ 200.00 was, in my opinion, a real bargain.
I can't remember for sure but it seems like I booked the package only about 2-3 weeks prior to sailing .
Anyway, doing it your way sounds like a great way to go. Good luck and enjoy.

CA Cruiser April 7th, 2005 10:44 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers
Congratulations Heney, How special for your son to be a part of his parents special day. I can't believe the service or disservice you received. Like you said, now you will save a lot of money.

We renewed our vows for our 30th on the Star Princess in 2003. We booked it on the ship, the day after embarking for that Tuesday, our actual anniversary. We received the same as Ron plus a set of engraved wine glasses and a certificate signed by the Captain after he performed the ceremony in the chapel. They had all the candles lit going down the aisle and the ones right up front where we stood. We also had our own private photographer and he took a great picture of me during the ring exchange when my husband surprised me with a new ring. I still have my bouquet and his boutonniere. We got all this for only $150. Our wait staff also gave us special treatment that night with candles, wine and excellent service. It wasn't until a few days after we got home and were looking over all our charges on our sail and sign card that we realized we were never charged for it. While in Vegas for a family birthday party 2 weeks before, we renewed our vows at the same chapel that we eloped in. It cost over $200 for a lot less!

Again, CONGRATULATIONS to you both and making this a memorable moment for your whole family.

Heney April 8th, 2005 08:59 AM

Re: WE can't have flowers
Thank you so much for your replies and your support. After I sent my letter I wondered out loud to my wife if people would think we were being picky and cheap. But after your responses and some of you sharing your vow renewals experiences on the Princess Cruiseline I don't feel that way at all - in fact I know now I did the right thing. Thanks again.

momx4 April 8th, 2005 02:00 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers

It sounds as if the only ones being picky and cheap are Royal Caribbean!
How dare they be allowed to do this to you? A valuable repeat customer no less!
I would diffinetly bring this to someones (in authority) attention when you board.
They should be ashamed of themselves.

Anyway, you two will probably have a much nicer ceremony! Best wishes!!!
With the money you saved, go buy yourselves something beautiful to remember your special day!

hcat April 8th, 2005 07:46 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers
Just confirms our choice after returning from a Royal cruise last week--stick with Celeb..Royal is really getting to be very crass & commercial. BTW our cruise itself cost about 3800, plus plenty of shipboard purchases, extra dining, thermal spa. & excursions so we are not looking for a cheap cruise--just a llittle nicer treatment....Best wishes on your renewal of vows. There are some nice books & websites where you can get ideas for what will be a beautiful ceremony---woth more than the $400 any day!

traveltime April 11th, 2005 07:47 AM

Re: WE can't have flowers
What a wonderful idea for a very personalized way of renewing your vows. I may just "borrow" this idea on my cruise in Sept. Here's to smooth sailing and a lifetime of memories.

abell April 11th, 2005 02:02 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers
We are celebrating our 25th on Enchantment 1-2-06 with our adult children and their spouses. Didn't want to spend the extra money for RCI's vow renewal package and would appreciate names of websites or books with ideas for doing it ourselves. Thanks !

Doris Miller April 11th, 2005 09:07 PM

Re: WE can't have flowers
We celebrated our 25th on an Alaskan cruise in 2000. We renewed our vows on board and did not book the package. This is what we did: Since we were part of a group our travel agent booked us a room for free. Once on board I made arrangements for a few bottles of wine and a small cake. A friend of ours officated the ceremony. I brought silk flower bouquets and boutineers. I even wore my original wedding dress for the ceremony and the formal dinner that night. We posed for several photos with the ship photographer that night before dinner. Also our friends were able to take lots for us. You can also arrange for a room anytime you are part of a group for free. Just see the group coordinator once you are on board. Sometimes depending on the size of your group it will can be a free cocktail party. One thing I did have to tell them I did not want the package as they do try to sell that.

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