My boyfriend and I booked a Christmas & New Year Cruise with RCL - Brilliance of the Seas 2009/10 - 12 day cruise. Being our first cruise, we didn't know what to expect, however we thought Royal Caribbean International couldnt let us down... Wrong!
Our booking information was wrong, the plans had changed and the lfight times were apparently amended by computer, and our flight times were wrong. When we rang RCL we had to battle on the phone for two hours to get our flight changed to earlier flight out so that it left us 50 minutes to board the next flight. We would have missed the boat if we hadnt have stood our ground.
We arrive at Barcelona Airport to a sea of abandonded luggage. We all looked worried, and we were right too! Our luggage didnt make the inter-connecting flight, and we had to report lost luggage. This process took 2 hours from getting off the plane, and RCL Staff wouldnt come into the Airport to help us but did threaten us that if we werent out of the airport intime, the coach would go with out us as they needed to be at the port before 3pm... It was now after 2pm. Three ladies who had cruised many times before, confronted staff and made the coaches wait for us.
We arrived at the Port of BCN, and had a couple of questions to ask staff on checking in. Three members of staff later, and our questions werent answered. We couldnt believe this was a large international company, a company I thought, that would train their staff to the highest in customer service or at the very least, have an understanding of the Company that they work for and their procedures.
Once on the ship, we headed straight to Guest Relations... After a 1 hour wait, we reported our missing luggage, and when asked what the procedure was, got a blank face looking back at us. 'Sir, come back tomorrow for an update'. Later that evening we headed back to Gest Relations, no update, fill in this missing luggage form (3rd time now) and have a good day - we were told!!!
Day two be spent best part of the day at Guest relations, trying to find a member of staff who was not obstructive. Our impression was, missing luggage happens frequently on Cruises, and this is the one problem they seem to wash their hands of however, our contract is with RCL. We noticed there were many with no luggage, and heard that around 400 missed the ship (weather conditions/flights cancelled delayed etc). We were pleased to have made it on to the ship, and we were never angry with staff, very polite infact but we were stunned to have such a frosty reception from most of the staff on Guest Relations. Certain guests were being given RCL bags so we asked why? 'They have been given t.shirts Sir' came the answer. We knew at that point we had to change our approach, something was a miss here. We TOLD them we wanted t.shirts & bathroom items. Bingo... Lady runs off comes back with two bags, inside each 1 tiny t.shirt and a small pencil case sized bathroom bag with travel toothbrush etc... We were so pleased with these as we had nothing. I aksed for shower gel, and informed to seek our room attendant. I'm not lady muck by any means, but I did think that maybe they should be bringing that to me, as a paying customer (£3, 500 x 2 paying customer) that's poor customer service.
Christmas eve came and only that I was so outraged and frustrated by RCL staff, and the fact I was missing out on a special occasion, I ended up in tears. Staff who were standing behind the desk doing nothing but chatting quickly dissapeared. My boyfriend asked if we could see the manager to be told 'No Sir, she is busy'! We demanded and the manager came out, and informed us she was busy dealing with something else. Her attitude was an utter disgrace, being that we were still being the polite ones!!! We battled at the desk for probably 2 hours, and demanded more help. Eventually they sent out a lady who deals only wiht Lost Luggage and I ahve to say, she saved the moment. She was the only understanding member of staff, and informed us to go to the gift shop and TAKE what we need, it will go on her account. They had underware in boxes under the counter... No on sale in the shop! Why? We were given express cleaning vouchers for 3 days too. Why did we have to wait 3 stresfful days for this to happen. The attitude of staff in the gift shop was terrible too, we were so suprised by this, and terribly dissapointed. We asked for a bag and the staff member said we havent got any but in an angry tone!? We walked back to our room carrying underware/socks/tights for the world and his man to see. Very poor!
My boyfriend got his luggage on day 5. We asked Guest Relations were was my luggage, they didnt know. I said enough, I'll do my own investigations. Took me an hour to find a working computer on the ship & when I did I googled the airline and obtained numbers. Meanwhile, Guest Relations said the numbers were down and there was no way they could contact them! My dad back in the UK was also on the computer looking for advice etc from the airline. My boyfriend rang his spanish friend in the UK and got her to ring BCN Airport, gave her our details, and within 10 minutes, she had rung us back to inform us that my luggage was Back in Munich Airport, and they didnt know where to send it to because RCL had not been intouch with them, to inform them where to send it too. Only though her, my case was put on the last flight out that evening, and it arrived the next day... Day 6!
RCL never did get intouch with me over my case. If it was left to them, I might not have got it back at all, if I did, it would have been near the end of the holiday. Over all the first week of a 12 trip was a total and utter nightmare. I have missed alot out too but the attitude of the staff and company procedure has to change. We were never angry or difficult, but the attitude we got back was nothing more of disgraceful. If it wasnt for staff in the restaurant who really were fantastic, we would have been up for leaving the boat early and flying home. We know quite a few did fly home early.
Everyone on the ship we spoke to had all done amny cruises, and some had heard that the Brilliance had its problems, and staff also on the boat confirmed that other ships within RCL are better. I can only go by what I have experienced, and at just under 6 grand for a holiday.... I expect better sorry.
Also, what are the yellow stains on all the whites? The bed linen was so old it was grey, the seam had come away and there were staines on the towels, and quilt cover (which on a 12 day holiday, never got changed). Just not good enough.
Never again RCL... I'll take next years £6,000 to another cruise liner.