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Old October 3rd, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Default Rhapsody of the Seas Elevator Event

On Sunday, September 13, late in the afternoon, my daughter and I returned to the Rhapsody of the Seas after sightseeing in Juneau. We went to our cabins (mine on Deck 3, hers on Deck 7) to drop off rain jackets and purchases, agreeing to meet in the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 9.
I was alone going up in the elevator when it stopped with a big jolt and a loud "bang." The lights above the door (that had indicated that the elevator was approaching Deck 8 before the jolt) were no longer lit. Everything was really, really quiet. Too quiet. Somewhat alarmingly quiet.

I pushed the alarm button. Nothing happened. I pushed it again, defying the law that says "don't keep doing something that isn't working." Then, I read the rather tiny sign above the alarm button that said I should hold it in for three seconds. I did that. Everything was still really, really quiet, except for the shrill alarm. By now, I was vowing never to get on a cruise ship elevator again. A light came on that said that the alarm was acknowledged and the shrill noise stopped.

It was still very, very quiet. I held the alarm button in again for three seconds. The "acknowledged" light came on, more quickly this time, and the alarm noise stopped. I had time to read everything in that elevator, including a notice that the elevator maintenance records were available in the captain's office.

Eventually, a panel in the ceiling opened, and a man stuck his head into the opening and told me "we're going to get you out of here, ma'am. Don't worry." Then, he shut the panel and I heard nothing for a while. Finally, I heard "mechanical" noises around the doors. There seemed to be three voices out there, two of whom were arguing with each other, I think. The doors opened slowly and then shut again rather quickly. I briefly saw the situation. The elevator was stopped way too low for Deck 8, with the floor of the deck at about the height of my hips.

When the door opened again, the crew had increased to four people, with one being the spokesperson. I was going to turn around in order to hoist my somewhat ample bottom up onto the deck, but the crew member in charge ordered me not to do that and to stand at the back of the elevator, saying "it's very dangerous. No, ma'am, get to the back of the elevator." In my racing thoughts came the idea that the elevator might be insecurely "perched" somehow and that balance was very important to my safety. Then, the guy ordered one of the other guys to get a ladder. Meanwhile, one of the crew members jumped down into the elevator with me, grinning to let me know that he wasn't afraid, so I should not be afraid either. Hah! What did he know?

The ladder arrived and was brought down and placed against the deck wall. It was an a-frame 3-step ladder, but the man who placed it just leaned it against the wall. The leader spoke to him and he opened it up. The stabilizer between the two sides was just a cloth ribbon, not a metal brace, so he didn't open it all of the way. That placed the top of the ladder only about 9 or 10 inches from the deck floor. It didn't look safe to me that way, however. The leader didn't like it either and got the guy to open the ladder fully. Now, the top of it was more like 16 to 18 inches from the deck, as it was not turned sideways.

I really did not want to use that ladder at all, especially to stand on the top of it, with nothing to hang onto, and then step across a good sized gap, but they were not going to let me get out on my own terms. I still think that I was at greater risk of injury using their method than my proposed method, but I did it their way, ducking my head to avoid bumping it on the top of the door as I stepped across. A crew member did suggest that I place my hand on his shoulder in order to climb the ladder and to step out, which was a good idea.

Once out, I wanted nothing but to go up the stairs to the Windjammer, get some chocolate cake and tell my daughter what had happened. Ah, but there were questions for me first. "Name?" "Cabin number?" "Are you hurt anywhere?" "Would you like to visit the ship doctor?" I answered the doctor question with "Only if he has all of the chocolate on this ship."

Then, nothing more happened. Royal Caribbean could have/should have delivered a bottle of champagne to my cabin or to my dinner table or given me some small amount of shipboard credit, I think. Nothing more happened. No note came from the captain, the cruise director or even the ship safety officer. Nothing. Nada. It was as though it had never happened at all. I suspect that the crew destroyed the report once they determined that I was not injured. Had I visited the ship doctor, I might have scored some champagne or a t-shirt or something. (Sometimes the cynic in me gets out and has her way.)

I took the stairs for the next few days, but eventually got back on an elevator on the ship when others were with me. When I was alone, I consistently used the stairs rather than risk being stuck like that again.

I did notice more than a few times over the rest of the cruise that yellow plastic tape was covering one or another set of elevator doors, or that a crew was actually working on a particular elevator. Maybe that's a good sign - I don't know.

I have written a letter to Royal Caribbean with some suggestions for process improvement, including a suggestion that the elevator maintenance records be posted in the elevators instead of filed in an office whose location is not widely known.

Other than this incident, I had a pretty good time on this cruise. There were eleven of us (family and friends) and everyone but the teens had a good time. September doesn't bring many teens to Alaska, naturally, but there were only a total of five on board, including our three. We taught them to play poker (in the card room.) That's how bored they were with the other ship activities available to them.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 01:28 PM
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They asked you if you were ok and you said you were, I don't know what more you expected. My guess is that they asked your cabin attendant if you were ok and therefore nothing more needed to be done.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 03:56 PM
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I just read you account on "another" site. I see the defenders were out in full force.

You handled everything well. I certainly wouldn't have as I have a fear of tight places and although an elevator does not fall into that under normal circumstances it would then.

We have an elevator at our office which is less than 3 years old and it is constantly breaking down. I refuse to enter it alone. If I'm alone, I walk in push the botton for another floor get out wait til it leave and push the button for another elevator.

As for compensation, you should probably have gone to the desk immediately and spoken to then. However, a note or phone call or even an inquiry from your room steward later in the evening would certainly have been appropriate. Even a call from the medical department had they been told, should have happened. Although nothing physically happened you could have had a reaction later such as fainting easily enough.

Anyway, sorry they didn't follow through but that is typical of RCL I'm afraid.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 04:26 PM
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I'm not one for advocating compensation every time something happens on a cruise, but in this instance one would think that some follow-up was in order. As described, this was more than complaining about a smudged mirror or a cold entree. It was a hassle and a safety issue. Personally I think a note, call, or visit from the Hotel Director or Chief Housekeeper should have been a minimum response, and a bottle of wine sent to your table or cabin a good idea.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Rhapsody of the Seas Elevator Event

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gablin
I have written a letter to Royal Caribbean with some suggestions for process improvement, including a suggestion that the elevator maintenance records be posted in the elevators instead of filed in an office whose location is not widely known.
In what way would have the maintenance records in the elevator with you been of assistance? Something to read to pass the time?

Agreed they should have done something as a courtesy. A letter from the Hotel Director, a "free" steak, something would have been nice.

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Old October 3rd, 2009, 06:40 PM
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sounds to me like they handled the situation beautifully. You were stuck, you got unstuck. Cruise on.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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This should NOT have happened. The very least they could have done was give you some kind of comp. They probably decided to pretend nothing happened because a comp would be an admittance that they were in the wrong. Since RCI decided to play it like this, it should be a lesson to anyone in a similar situation. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

I have been on thousands of elevators in my life without incident. Once again, THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED!!!!!!

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Old October 4th, 2009, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellosno
sounds to me like they handled the situation beautifully. You were stuck, you got unstuck. Cruise on.
What else were they going to do? Leave her there?

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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Wow, that was scary, glad you got out without harm to you.. Wonder what the problem was?
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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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Oh one other thing, the way they removed her was completely wrong. My nephew is an elevator technican and tells me never but never remove a person by taking them out between floors with the doors forced open. This is extremely dangerous and she could have been killed.

Therefore, for anyone who says they "handled this fine" - you're wrong - they just got lucky.
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Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22

44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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