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Old August 25th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Default We are having a cruise nightmare!!!

We had an Alaska cruise/land tour booked for over a year. RCI made the air reservations. We bought travel insurance from our travel agent. On the morning of 8/14/09 we were scheduled to depart Austin, Texas at 8:40am on USAir to Phoenix where we would connect with another USAir flight to Vancouver BC to board the ship. About the time we should have been boarding the aircraft an announcement was made that there was a problem and there would be a delay. I immedately approached the USAir rep to ask if we shold be looking at other flights to get us to Phoenix and our connecting flight. She said we hadn't missed our flight yet so she would not discuss it. I called our travel agent and made her aware of what was going on. More announcements were made and the delay extended. Again I approached the airline rep and she would talk to me about it. The pilot finally personally came into the waiting lounge and said that there was a problem w ith a de-icing mechanism and t hey didn't know how long the repair would take. By this time we had no way of reaching Phoenix to catch our flight to Vancouver. Neither my travel agent nor the USAir rep could find any other flights that would get us to Vancouuver prior to the ship. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was aware and said....."ah that's too bad, sorry". USAir apologized and removed our luggage from the aircraft and we sat in t he airport completely stunned. The first work day after t he event I called the travel insurance company and filed a claim. I have talked to the daily and they do not give me any warm fuzzies that we will get our money. "we don't insure aircraft mechanical problems. The 3 airlines involved in getting there and back won't discuss refund with me because they were contracted and paid by RCI. RCI won't talk to me because a travel agent made the reservations. And the insurance company is still deciding if we are eligible to get our money back. We did everything right.....let RCI to our travel and bought travel insurance and so far we are out $6,136.00. Someone needs to take responsiblity.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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OMG, how horrible....Please keep us posted as to who finally takes responsibility with this, its a tough call. I would certainly the insurance company would pay up and try to collect moneys after you are paid??
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Old August 25th, 2009, 09:13 PM
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WOW, you are experiencing my worst nightmare, I am very sorry. For other people reading this, I would suggest you book your own air to arrive at least the day before the cruise and use third party insurance. I hope it works out for you joycoffey.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Wow that is horrible.

I always thought when you book air through the cruiseline it is their responsibility to get you to the ship.

Someone must refund you for the cost of the cruise!! :evil:

Keep calling Royal and the Insurance company and give them hell!!
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:31 PM
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We have been on 8 cruises and have always had RCI book our airfare because we were told they would be there for you in a crisis and get you to the ship. Don't believe it!! We were absolutely in shock sitting in the airport looking at each other not believing that this could have happened.....and no one even cared!
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Old August 26th, 2009, 12:59 AM
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A connecting flight to a cruise, never fly in the day of the cruise... it's risky and you can easily see why now.

The insurance guy is correct, they don't insure aircraft mechanical problems. BUT THEY DO INSURE TRIP INTERUPTION

What kind of crap is this?????? You must be very polite and patient (a beautiful way to be for sure.... don't get me wrong) I would be going nuts and banging my fist on somebody's desk!!!!!!
Calm down Mikey... they haven't denied the claim yet....

Whew.... reading your story made me angry, I'm sorry.... I feel such sorrow for the horrible fate that got thrown in your lap just as you believed you were on the footsteps of bliss. That REALLY had to suck

Get some responsibility on the table, get your money and put together another trip that will make you happy. Don't let it get you down guys
I think you'll win in the end... please let us know.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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Do you know an attorney? I would ask them to compose a letter and send it off to the insurance company and to RCCL. I believe you will get quick results then.


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Old August 26th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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I'm so sorry you missed your cruise. I never use cruise air nor will I book cruise air for my clients - ever. I can always find it cheaper somewhere else and we have control.

Did you buy your insurance through the cruiselines? I also would never recommend that. I don't like the idea of self-insured. I prefer an outside insurance company that isn't obligated to the cruiseline.

You must perservere and go after the insurance company. This was trip interuption and that should be covered. If you find it necessary to get a lawyer be sure the cost of the lawyer is included in the settlement.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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Joycoffey,

I am so sorry that this happened to you! Vacations are supposed to be wonderful experiences for all involved. Unfortunately, things do happen that can ruin a trip. If you don't mind I have a few questions:

*Did US Air cancel you flight from AUS to PHX?
*Were you offered the option to fly on a later flight (or your delayed flight) even though you would have missed your embarkation in Vancouver?
*Did RCCL give you the option of providing transportation to the first port?
*Why were your bags removed from the aircraft? Maybe even a better question, who asked for your bags to be removed from the plane?

When I have seen or heard of this happening in the past it has involved snow/weather/mechanical delays to a Caribbean cruise. If the airfare was purchased through the cruiseline, the cruiseline and airline worked it out so you would board the ship at the first port at no additional cost to you. So, on a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise most people boarded the ship the next day in Nassau or two days later in San Juan. If you had insurance that covered pre-cruise transportation you paid for your flight to the first port and submitted a claim via the insurance company (always read your fine print because not all travel insurance includes this protection).

If you could answer the questions above that would be of great assistance.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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To answer some of your questions:

We purchased insurance from a third party recommended by our travel agent.

There is something called the "Jones Act" that prohibits you boarding at another port after the cruise has left vancouver. This is something unique to the Alaska cruises.

The airlines did not offer another solution because there were no flights that would get us to Vancouver prior to the ship departing. There was no need for us to fly on to Phoenix when the aircraft finally departed after the long delay because there would be no way to get us to Vancouver. For that reason our bags were removed and we took a very expensive cap ride home (a friend had dropped us off).
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Old August 26th, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Seattle was not offered as an alternative ?
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Old August 26th, 2009, 03:19 PM
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Am I missing something here? Why would trouble with de-icing equipment delay a plane flying from Austin to Phoenix in August - 2 warm-weather cities in the middle of summer????
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Old August 26th, 2009, 03:32 PM
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....we thought that was funny too considering we have been 59 day over a hundred this summer. They said there was a high cloud system stretching from north to south between Austin & Phoenix and they could not fly through it with out their de-icing system working. The pilot tried requesting a re-routing but couldn't get it.


NO flight alternatives were mentioned at all.....not to Seattle, not anywhere.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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I certainly feel your pain. When we went to Alaska, our TA recommended taking the ship's air which would have included one connection, arrival in Seattle, and shuttle service to Vancouver the day of departure. My main concern was the possibility of lost or delayed luggage, so opted to book our own direct flight arriving in Vancouver the day before and staying in a nice hotel directly across the street from the terminal. It cost a total of $100 more, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even if everything had gone smoothly, my nerves would have been a shambles considering everything that could have gone wrong.

Sure hope insurance comes through for you.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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joycoffey,

I have never done an Alaskan cruise, but I did do a little additional research into the Jones Act. Before I was only slightly familiar with all of the rules/laws that go with this Act. Because all of the port stops after Vancouver are in the US it makes things difficult. After reading I still confused and submitted some questions to someone via email. I will let you know when I get a response. Still not quite sure why you couldn't just board in Ketchikan. Either way it would have been a huge damper on your nice vacation.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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croozbabe, de-icing equipment is needed when you are at 30,000+ feet over almost any part of the US during any part of the year, especially when there is any chance of flying through clouds/moisture. It is cold up there!

venice,
The next flight from Austin to Phoenix was probably around 11am or noon, but there might not of been another flight from Phoenix to Vancouver in time for embarkation. A flight to Seattle is a good idea, but the AM flight to Phoenix from Austin was delayed probably keeping them from getting on a PHX to Seattle flight in time. USAir's network has hubs in three locations: Phoenix, Charlotte, and Philly. My guess is Charlotte does not offer a direct flight to Vancouver. However, Philly probably does. The chance of getting from Austin to Philly to Vancouver and it already being 9 or 10am when the the need was discovered was probably impossible. venice - Great idea, but not the right airline! United and AA have a better route structure for something like this (hubs in the central US and west coast).
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Old August 26th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joycoffey
To answer some of your questions:

We purchased insurance from a third party recommended by our travel agent.

There is something called the "Jones Act" that prohibits you boarding at another port after the cruise has left vancouver. This is something unique to the Alaska cruises.

The airlines did not offer another solution because there were no flights that would get us to Vancouver prior to the ship departing. There was no need for us to fly on to Phoenix when the aircraft finally departed after the long delay because there would be no way to get us to Vancouver. For that reason our bags were removed and we took a very expensive cap ride home (a friend had dropped us off).
The Hawaiian cruise that embarks from Vancouver or Enseneda would have this same problem. The embarkation port is the only international port and unless the ship has an all American crew (Pride of America
is the only ship I know of with an all american crew) then they have to hit at least one international port. During the swine flu issues the Jone Act was suspended.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 06:04 PM
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just curious..your stress level must have been very high on your cab ride home..since you had the time off, what did you do to replace your much anticipated cruise? (if you don't mind sharing with us)

is it safe to assume the reason why you flew in the day off was because you had no choice had your travel agent discussed a plan "B" for your travel that day since the chance of an air delay is high this time of year for factors that may/may not be within the airline control

i suspect your travel insurance will come thru for you..were you the only cruisers on the plane impacted ? if there were others perhaps as a group you can approach the situation with Royal Caribbean

thanks for sharing your situation with us
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Old August 26th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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Thank you all for your words of support they have been comforting. What have we done with our time since we didn't get a vacation........truthfully, I've spent most of the time dealing with trying to get our money back. Yesterday I was actually sick to my stomach from stressing on all of this. We refer to the week after we should have been on the cruise...the week from Hell. My computer broke....bought a new one and 4 days later it blue screened....took it back and got another one. My husband decided he needed one.....used it 1-1/2 days and it blue screened. I guess I spent the week fighting travel and installing computers. Was not a fun week.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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Venice commented: is it safe to assume the reason why you flew in the day off was because you had no choice had your travel agent discussed a plan "B" for your travel that day since the chance of an air delay is high this time of year for factors that may/may not be within the airline control

i suspect your travel insurance will come thru for you..were you the only cruisers on the plane impacted ? if there were others perhaps as a group you can approach the situation with Royal Caribbean


Venice, sorry I didn't answer your question. The day of travel was the choice of RCI. We had always been told and I think I saw somewhere on this site that one of the pros of letting RCI do the flights is that they would help you if problems arose. We have always used them on all of our cruises (I may re-think that in the future). We have been on some cruises where we sailed late because they were holding the ship for flights that were late. We were offered none of that.

And yes, we were the only cruisers coming out of Austin on that flight.

We are booked on a cruise the week before Christmas (getting back on the horse so to speak) and I fully intend to have a conversation with the RCI staff that is on the ship to book future cruises for you. Not that I think it will do any good.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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thanks for your response...sorry your week was a bummer, but time will give you a perspective on this situation and as my Dad use to say..."this too shall pass"....the insurance will come thru and you can just start planning for your next cruise and perhaps it will be a better cabin and a cheaper rate (things seem to work out that way)

the one and only time I flew on the same day of the cruise (due to my work schedule)..I had 2 back up plans (it was non stop destination) and I still only made it with 15 minutes to spare and the stress darn near killed me...I vowed never to do that again even when it was a 2 hour non stop straight flight even if it cost me more $$$$$

go online to the Royal Caribbean cruise site and get an island drink receipe, make it for two, put on your cruise clothes, buy a lobster and watch reruns of "Northern Exposure"
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Old August 27th, 2009, 01:30 AM
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I'm so happy to hear that you booked another vacation this year.
My heart aches for you and what happened.
And then your computers all went south on you!!!! OY VEY !!!!!!

I too suspect that your insurance claim will be honored.
Thanks for sharing your ordeal with us and here's to a perfect vacation
for you both in December "raising glass" CHEERS !!!!!
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Old August 27th, 2009, 02:57 PM
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What a bummer. You get up ealry in the morning all pumped up and eight hours later you are completely deflated. Unfortunately the US Airways pilot was correct. They weren't de-icing the aircraft; its a de-icing system for the wings. when jets fly at high altitudes and there are storms the temp gets freezing; the pilots turn on de-icing to keep the wings warm; sort of like turing on your rear window defroster in your car. Hope u get your money back soon.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croozbabe
Am I missing something here? Why would trouble with de-icing equipment delay a plane flying from Austin to Phoenix in August - 2 warm-weather cities in the middle of summer????
Yes, it's warm... on the ground. Unfortunately, planes don't travel very far on the ground. Let's assume for a moment that the plane is flying at 20,000 feet, which is a relatively low cruising altitude. At that altitude, the temperature is going to be roughly seventy degrees less than it would be at sea level. As per weather.com, the current temp on the gound in Austin is 98 degrees, but we'll round it up to 100. This means that 20,000 feet above Austin, the temperature is below freezing. Again, this is a low estimate for altitude, as most will cruise closer to 30,000 feet- as altitude rises, temperature decreases proportionately.

The OP actually wasn't set to be on a USAir aircraft, as they do not fly from Austin to Phoenix. Instead, they contract with Mesa Airlines to fly the non-stop on a CRJ 900. This plane has a cruisng speed of 515 mph. Imagine, if you will, this as wind-chill from hell.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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I realized I don't give you any advice sorry about that. I would send a letter certified mail to Royal Caribbean that politely explains the situation and the run around you have received from Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Attn: Mr. Adam M. Goldstein
1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL 33132-2096
United States

Mr. Adam M. Goldstein is the Chief Exec. of Royal Caribbean International and Pres of Royal Caribbean International. I Hope that helps to move things forward. I hope that helps.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venice
thanks for your response...sorry your week was a bummer, but time will give you a perspective on this situation and as my Dad use to say..."this too shall pass"....the insurance will come thru and you can just start planning for your next cruise and perhaps it will be a better cabin and a cheaper rate (things seem to work out that way)

the one and only time I flew on the same day of the cruise (due to my work schedule)..I had 2 back up plans (it was non stop destination) and I still only made it with 15 minutes to spare and the stress darn near killed me...I vowed never to do that again even when it was a 2 hour non stop straight flight even if it cost me more $$$$$

go online to the Royal Caribbean cruise site and get an island drink receipe, make it for two, put on your cruise clothes, buy a lobster and watch reruns of "Northern Exposure"
Salmon or crab is better for Alaska. I beleive the lobsters are all hiding in Maine somewhere.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 09:06 PM
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Kat..of course you are correct once again
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Old August 27th, 2009, 09:15 PM
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When you do everything right...dot your i's and cross the t's...and, end up in this prediciment, it's heartbreaking to say the least. Has your travel agent been an advocate for you in any way?

I certainly hope someone in this fiasco, steps up to the plate on your behalf, because to all of us here, you are due a full refund, and, many apologies. Please let us know the last chapter...I hope you type it with a smile
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Old August 28th, 2009, 07:29 AM
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Oh, bless your heart! My husband & I had a similar incident years ago, but we did end up flying into the first port of call to meet the ship (and the rest of our family). I felt like I was on an episode of I Love Lucy. That was the trip that we vowed we would NEVER fly in on the day of a cruise. Well.........because of my husband's work schedule this week, we are having to fly to San Juan this Sunday to board our cruise that leaves that evening. I don't think I'll breathe a sigh of relief until we are actually on the ship!
I hope things work out for you and that you have a fabulous cruise in December.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 04:57 PM
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For those of you following the saga of our nightmare......I got a call from the Insurance company today saying they were sending us a check for $2,600. They would not cover the missed cruise, but would give us the equalivant of what it would have cost to fly us to the next port (even though that was not an option) and some $$ towards having to spend a night somewhere before joining the ship. They let me know they were being VERY NICE by doing even this. They thought RCI should be giving up some $$ since they did not plan for another option even though they knew about the Jones act and that the slightest slip in the connection would be a disaster. So now with this 2,600 and the taxes that RCI refunded we are still out $3,500 for NOTHING. We were good RCI customers and I think they may have just lost us and 3 other couples we usually travel with. I AM SO ANGRY.....that they can just get away with taking people's money!!
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