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Old December 13th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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Default Brilliance battered by high waves in Med

The Brilliance of the Seas was battered by high waves in Med. Missed her call to Egypt. Heading to Malta.

timesofmalta.com - Cruise ships heads for Malta after battering by rough seas

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Old December 13th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Via phone this am on GMA, people told of being tossed around in their cabins like rag dolls. Gym equipment and even the sinks inthe salon broken. Lots of damage all around the ship...Also mentioned 30 injuries. Sounds quite hairy

They also mentioned a supposed protest of the passengers, I took this to be, because of the $200.00 obc they were all given. Lots more stories will be coming out.

Lets hope the worst of the bad weather out in this area, will be over soon.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 12:26 PM
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Ship happens.

I hope no one was seriously injured. It shows that you are not staying at the Hilton and you are on a vessel that is sailing on an ocean/sea. I have read a couple of things about this and it seems that this was a freak storm and could not be avoided.

This is not the norm for cruising but people should be aware that when they book a cruise they will be on a ship and they will be sailing on the ocean and the ocean isn't always "smooth".

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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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Egypt was the main reason to book this cruise so it has to be disappointing. I would be for sure, but you can't control the weather. I believe they closed the port of Alexandria so it was out of the cruise lines hands.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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It amazes me that people want ridiculous compensation for things such as this ... which is completely out of the control of the cruise line! Weather happens ... you are on the ocean .. you choose to be there ... be grateful that you survived it!

I think back to the incident on the Carnival Splendor ... I would have been perfectly happy to be a passenger on that sailing! Complete reimbursement .. future cruise .. open bar .. allowed to sleep on deck under the stars .. and no one hurt! Really, what has it come to when there are more people looking to file a lawsuit than there are people happy to look on the bright side!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Ray hit it on the head - Egypt is the main reason to book this cruise. What a shame.

I think another lesson is not to book a cruise in the Med in December, or alse accept to consequences for what can happen.

It is too bad they couldn't somehow go back to Egypt and skip Malta on the way back. (maybe that is crazy, I don't know).

I have to say I do wish the cruise lines had a little more flexibility with compensation. I KNOW contractually they are not responsible for the weather - but it would just be excellent customer value service to say "We recognize Egypt is the highlight of this cruise, so we are giving an extra large future cruise credit if you want to rebook this cruise."

Everything in the corporate world is bottom line these days, especially with the stock market. But if they had policies like this they would take a hit for one quarter but eventually be able to raise cruise fares just for their great reputation.

The worst thing in customer service is when a company gets so big they start to consider a certain amount of "damage" sustainable - like "well, we can 'burn' the retention factor for these 2000 customers and not hurt our customer base on a percentage basis."
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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I'm sure a lot of consideration is factored into the compensation the line will offer during any incident; weather or internal related. What is "reasonable" will vary from passenger to passenger. My only question is whether the passengers knew what kind of weather/season they were getting into when they determined to sail this time of year? I'm sure none of them complianed at the reduced fare they paid instead of sailing at peak weather times (i.e., May - September).
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Old December 13th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Royal Caribbean will now give passengers a refund of their fare, and a credit...3 public rooms remain closed.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiamondMember View Post
I'm sure a lot of consideration is factored into the compensation the line will offer during any incident; weather or internal related. What is "reasonable" will vary from passenger to passenger. My only question is whether the passengers knew what kind of weather/season they were getting into when they determined to sail this time of year? I'm sure none of them complianed at the reduced fare they paid instead of sailing at peak weather times (i.e., May - September).
I agree. As a European, the Med is too cold for me after the 1st week in November. You can be lucky but no guarantees. Most Europeans travel at a min to Canaries for heat.

December is actually a favoured month for Egypt - I have been there twice at that time of the year but I flew into Cairo/Aswan for my trips and then cruised the Nile. Cairo, itself, can be cool but Upper Egypt is lovely at that time of the year. I would never consider going to Alexandria if I wanted to see the Pyramids - too far; the best sites and sights are in Upper Egypt.

Anyway I hope everyone is safe and well.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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Yes - I say a big, hearty THANK YOU to Royal Caribbean for deciding this cruise warranted a full refund.

As I said before - this is an important lesson is the value of customer retention. Your reputation as a cruise line is as important as the bottom line.

That Royal Caribbean would give a full refund for a weather-related incident is a very good move on their part - and a good thing for the cruise industry as a whole.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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First of all, I think Royal Caribbean has done - so far - a great job at doing the right thing. There are some other lines I have been a bit critical of and when a cruise line steps up like Royal Caribbean has hopefully it will have a run on effect.

To be sure this compensation is not about missing a port, but rather the ordeal the passengers have gone through. And, to be sure, it is not one of fault by the cruise line, for the forecasters (boy do I want there job) simply blew the forecast.

It should not be ignored that Alexandria, Egypt has suffered a good bit of damage and, I understand, loss of life from this storm.

The Med in the winter can be very rough. But as more and more people seek to cruise the Med, the same cautions hold true as Hurricane Season in the Caribbean.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 05:22 PM
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Wow--How great for the passengers.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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Nice to see them do the right thing. Missing Egypt would have been heartbreaking and $200 wasn't going to do anything to help that. Now at least they can rebook.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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From MoneyBlog:

Storm wreaks havoc in Middle East

The storm that lashed Brilliance of the Seas triggered sandstorms in Jordan and Egypt and blanketed the streets of Damascus in Syria with snow. Twelve-foot waves closed the port of Alexandria, which forced Brilliance of the Seas to bypass Egypt and proceed to Malta. A Moldovan cargo ship wasn’t so fortunate. It sank off the Israeli coast, but the 11-member crew was rescued.

Mother Nature is reeking havoc all around the globe. While not the same situation at all, I think with Carnival giving full refunds with the Splendor fire, doing less would have been a pr nightmare. I just saw the evening news, and, watched the passengers yelling, NOT FAIR....!!

ABC speculated that if there is a drop off in bookings, beacause of fears,there could be lower fares as a result..ahhh, I don't think so..
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:52 PM
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Yup.. no question RCI did the right thing by capitulating to the demands for a full refund. Unfortunately the passengers were scared out of their boxers, and their itinerary pretty drastically changed; it wasn't like going to Grand Cayman instead of Cozumel.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:04 PM
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Good for the line to really step up; while I think this was above and beyond. Just goes to demonstrate the strong ethical leadership at the helm of the organization. I'm sure the internal costs to fix all the broken areas will be a pretty deep price that will take several months to correct.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 01:55 AM
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You know it might be nice to remember that once upon a time (not too terribly long ago) most people who went to sea knew and accept that there were risks involving foul or dangerous weather. John Maxtone Graham speaks extensively of it in his seminal tome The Only Way to Cross. The idea that cruise lines should be required to compensate their passengers for inconveniences caused by mother nature would have been completely laughable as little as 30 or 40 years ago.

I applaud RCI for their generous offer of compensation to their passengers. I question the wisdom of it as a precedent setting gesture however. I guess the real question is where does a company draw the line on this issue? Having lived near the ocean a significant portion of my life, and even in a resort community I can assure you that there are people out there who are perfectly willing to demand compensation when it does nothing more then rain the entire week they are on vacation at the beach. Granted these are normally the people who try to steal the dishes and linens from a rental cottage, but the fact remains that more and more people seem to have a sense of entitled grievance when things go even slightly wrong for them. There is a sense of, "you owe me" attitude that is becoming all too common in this country and elsewhere.

I suppose what comes to mind when I think of this is the old joke I used to see hanging in the backrooms of many retail establishments that went, "Would it satisfy you if we gave you double your money back, let you keep the item as well, closed the store down, and had the manager shot?!?"
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Old December 14th, 2010, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AshleeBelle View Post
You know it might be nice to remember that once upon a time (not too terribly long ago) most people who went to sea knew and accept that there were risks involving foul or dangerous weather. John Maxtone Graham speaks extensively of it in his seminal tome The Only Way to Cross. The idea that cruise lines should be required to compensate their passengers for inconveniences caused by mother nature would have been completely laughable as little as 30 or 40 years ago.

I applaud RCI for their generous offer of compensation to their passengers. I question the wisdom of it as a precedent setting gesture however. I guess the real question is where does a company draw the line on this issue? Having lived near the ocean a significant portion of my life, and even in a resort community I can assure you that there are people out there who are perfectly willing to demand compensation when it does nothing more then rain the entire week they are on vacation at the beach. Granted these are normally the people who try to steal the dishes and linens from a rental cottage, but the fact remains that more and more people seem to have a sense of entitled grievance when things go even slightly wrong for them. There is a sense of, "you owe me" attitude that is becoming all too common in this country and elsewhere.

I suppose what comes to mind when I think of this is the old joke I used to see hanging in the backrooms of many retail establishments that went, "Would it satisfy you if we gave you double your money back, let you keep the item as well, closed the store down, and had the manager shot?!?"
You speak a lot of common sense. RCI are generous but I do not think compensation is due for an event they could not control.

I admit I don't understand the US market, but the RCI gesture does not increase the chances of me booking a cruise with them.

I searched the BBC website and the news report does not mention the incident.

BBC News - Stormy weather in Egypt kills at least 18
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Old December 14th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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I think that in the wake of Carnival Splendor where what was obviuosly a "cruise from hell" turned into a public relations coup by the company's response, including immediately saying "full refund and free cruise later" - that RCL decided they had better do something good for these passengers or else the post-cruise groundswell of negativity was going to be unbearable.

The passengers onboard were revolting when they heard the first offer, shouting "That's not enough!" As we said - the main port on the trip - Egypt, was canceled, so they missed the highlight of the entire cruise.

RCL admitted they sailed into the storm because of what they described as misleading and inadequate weather reports - they said the winds were twice as bad as they had been told to expect.

In any case - I think RCL did the right thing. The passengers got 2/3 of a perfect cruise, and will have a chance to get back on a ship later and see the main port they missed.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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I totally agree with Paul. This was far more than just a missed port. They're also dealing with a ship that's in shambles. I think the only precedent setting is that they look at each individual circumstance rather than a blanket policy and that's a good thing.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I think that in the wake of Carnival Splendor where what was obviuosly a "cruise from hell" turned into a public relations coup by the company's response, including immediately saying "full refund and free cruise later" - that RCL decided they had better do something good for these passengers or else the post-cruise groundswell of negativity was going to be unbearable.

The passengers onboard were revolting when they heard the first offer, shouting "That's not enough!" As we said - the main port on the trip - Egypt, was canceled, so they missed the highlight of the entire cruise.

RCL admitted they sailed into the storm because of what they described as misleading and inadequate weather reports - they said the winds were twice as bad as they had been told to expect.

In any case - I think RCL did the right thing. The passengers got 2/3 of a perfect cruise, and will have a chance to get back on a ship later and see the main port they missed.
I too, totally agree.

I just hope other passengers don't expect the same compensation when a less serious incident or minor problems occur on other sailings. I think what happened on the Brilliance is a somewhat a unique experience.

There is no guaranteed ideal vacation.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 11:29 PM
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I agree that this is getting dangerously close to becoming a precedent setting thing-- people have a bad cruise- gather up into groups ( as we all know there's more bravado and bravery in groups or mobs ), shout, become unruly, etc . and the cruise line buckles and gives in to the angry demands.
I'm sorry for the folks who had to endure this storm. I'm sure it was no fun but precisely where does it end? Although it wasn't the fault of the passengers or cruise line, when the cruise lines buckle to the pressure and demands, it just adds fuel to the fire for the next time something similar happens on another ship or line. Engine trouble, maintenance problems, etc, yes, I agree the cruise line should step up to the plate and do what's right to rectify the problem. But for nature, no.
I saw today on the news that the cold has spread as far as way down into Florida. I saw where some folks had come from Denmark to go to Disney World,expecting a warm, sunny vacation. It was 27 o when they left home and was a low of 28 o when they got to Orlando. They didn't demand a refund, blame Disney, want a free flight home, etc., etc. It showed people at Disney bundled up against the cold. Since Disney had nothing to do with the weather I didn't see or hear anything about anyone demanding their money back or raising hell with Disney because of mother nature. Why? Obviously people didn't think that in central Fla. it would be in the 20's-- so why not demand a refund , etc.?

Now if the cruise lines buckle under to demands like this , which most of them have been doing, then wouldn't it only be fair for Disney to pony up some "compensation " , such as refunding the money everyone paid to stay in their resort this week , or kicking in a $2-300 dollar credit toward their account?
I think that it's not going to be too long that the cruise lines will have a very plain but simple form for the passengers to sign before boarding , reading something to the effect of :
1) I understand I'm going on a ship.
2) I understand that since it is a ship it floats upon the water, therefor if the water moves the ship will have to move.
3) I also understand that XYZ cruise lines has no control over the weather nor how rough the water gets and sometimes due to the weather we may have to miss a scheduled port.
4) I accept these terms and hereby chose to cruise after reading and stating I do understand all the above.
5) I repeat I understand I'm going on a ship that floats upon the ocean and if the water moves, the ship moves.
6) I repeat, I know I'm going on a ship that floats upon the water and may have some movement and I understand the cruise line can't control the weather or the movement of the water that the ship floats upon.
Signed --Happy cruiser til something happens !! :-D
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Old December 15th, 2010, 08:09 AM
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I'm wondering if the refund had more to do with the Captain apparently (at least according to posts at that other site from people onboard) admitting several times in early announcements that he made a mistake, slowing down and trying to enter the port therefore causing the stabalizers to become useless. By the Captain admitting he made a mistake, it probably left Royal Caribbean no other choice but to refund, otherwise they might have opened themselves up to legal issues from anyone who was injured physically or claiming to be mentally scarred by what happened.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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I find it interesting that most folks perceive that Royal Caribbean folded to pressure rather than it decided that it was the right thing to do.

The issue here was not merely missing a port or hitting some rough seas, it was about the guests being subjected to an extended very scary situation which resulted in some injuries and lots of inconveniences.

When one considers the fall out from what is perceived as insufficient compensation (compare some of the complaints about the rather benign Celebrity Century rudder issue canceling a cruise), one might just consider that Royal Caribbean weighed the situation taking all factors into account - which takes some time to truly understand...it is not instantaneous - and determined the compensation was appropriate on a number of levels.

So I have to ask, "What makes most people perceive Royal Caribbean's actions as being negative rather than positive?"

[Though probably too opinionated to post as part of this thread, if you want to read my full thoughts, check out my personal blog post: Royal Caribbean's Handling of the Brilliance of the Seas Situation - It Did The Right Thing, So Why the Negativity? ]

Last edited by Iamboatman; December 15th, 2010 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Added content
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Old December 15th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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I heard that survivors of Titanic expected White Star to compensate them. Greedy bastards. God put that ice berg there. Sue him, I say!
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Old December 15th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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Iamboatman.

I don't think most people perceive RCI's actions as negative. Quite the contrary the majority here, and perhaps just as importantly, some of the most seasoned travelers here believe RCI did "the right thing". Even I applaud them for their generosity, and I think that's exactly what it is, generosity. Legally I don't believe they owed most of those passengers a dime (exceptions for those who were physically injured of course).

I do believe that because of the spotlight focused on the industry at the moment, due in large part to the recent crisis aboard Splendor, most likely contributed to their handling of the situation. I also believe the current economic crisis contributed to both RCI and Carnival's handling of their respective emergencies. The companies need those ships to sail at about 98% full to turn a profit on each voyage, and bad publicity or poor customer service at this time could be a death sentence for a cruise line.

I don't really have a problem with RCI's response, as much as I do with what they were responding to. That is to say the whining, griping and complaining of their customers about a situation that quite frankly was beyond the ability of RCI to control. Yes apparently the captain said he made a mistake by trying to enter Alexandria in high seas. And yes that probably also contributed to RCI's decision on a full refund. However the "mistake" the captain made was an effort to give his passengers what they paid for, that is a cruise that was supposed to include an overnight stay in Alexandria, Egypt. Had he made no attempt at all most of those complaining, would be complaining just as loud if had not made the attempt. It was a real no win situation for him and the cruiseline. Customer complaints, grievances, and general belly aching has gotten way out of hand in this country IMO. We really have grown quite soft, complacent, privileged and spoiled I think when some of us expect compensation for bad weather on our vacation.

Indulge me if you will by allowing me to post an exert from The Only Way to Cross by John Maxtone Graham (which I mentioned earlier).

The Normadie was not tender. She was instead a snappy roller. Her large metacentric height meant that the speed of return to vertical was brisk......Helen Hayes and Ruth Gordan shared a cabin on the Nromandie's first east bound crossing. While waiting for breakfast to arrive, Miss Hayes was momentarily stunned as a heavy Lalique vase, it's base weighted with buck shot, hurtled off an adjacent bureau and struck her on the head. The resulting downpour of Nyack roses, water and buckshot revived her at once, in time to watch in fascinated horror as the plate-glass top of a circular table, dislodged from it's base, spun around the cabin like a giant demented half dollar.

Now the questions I have for everyone are; Do you believe that these two women blamed the French Line for this incident? Do you think they demanded compensation, or a refund of their fare? Do you think they threatened to bring a lawsuit against the company? Since the answer to all those questions is most likely no (because none of them happened). Why exactly are we entitled to anything different today when an act of God cause distress or discomfort to somebody. The somebody in question really should have a grievance against Mother Nature, not the cruise line.

Last edited by AshleeBelle; December 15th, 2010 at 06:04 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 05:59 PM
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Aiden,

Actually you are comparing apples to oranges here. Both the American Senate Inquiry, and the British Board of Trade found the White Star line and it's employees liable of negligent navigational practices. In short the Captain and his officers and the ownership of White Star(since the manager director of the line was aboard and privy to navigational information) operated the ship in a negligent fashion that contributed directly to the death of more then 1500 people. So far none of the most recent headline making cruise ship emergencies have been proven to be the result of negligent operation by the cruise lines (at least not on the order of magnitude of the Titanic disaster, or even the later Andrea Doria/Stockholm incident).

In fact the Titanic's surviving passengers did take the line to court and sued them for negligence. The case was settled out of court in an amount that was substantially lower then what the passengers asked for, and substantially more then what White Star has wanted to pay.

Last edited by AshleeBelle; December 15th, 2010 at 06:06 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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Ron,

They already sign such a document. It's called the cruise contract. I suppose you are suggesting that it be laid out in large block letter primary style so that even the most dense and ill informed passenger can figure it out. Unfortunately that is not going to happen. The basic result would be that the industry would needlessly scare off thousands of potential customers, that are all to willing to entertain fantasies (or nightmares) that they are boarding the Poseidon or the Titanic. The vast majority of cruises are completed with out a hitch, either weather related or mechanical related. Why needlessly remind peope that they could end up floating around in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean when the chances of that happening are probably less then the passenger being struck by lightening in their own home town?
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Old December 15th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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I think Eric is saying people are perceiving Royal Caribbean "caving in" as a negative - not what they ended up giving the passengers.

My thougts are this.. there have been plenty of cruises where people have ganged up and complained before - to no avail. This is not the first cruise by ANY means where a group of passengers rebeled at hearing the compensation. Usually the cruise lines sticks to what it originally decided.

In this case, I really think RCL decided the attraction of Alexandria as the main port on the itinerary, along with the fact that the captain is responsible for the safety of the passengers, were the two factors. I agree with Eric that the scariness of the situation was the determining factor.

I do not recall seeing anyplace where the captain said he was at fault. I read that he said his weather reports were wrong. However, it can be argued that regardless of weather reports, that is no excuse, any more than the the Clipper Cruise ship hitting the underwater ridge in the Northwest Passage was the fault of the Canadian Gov't. (as they tried to make it out to be) for not having complete charts.

Ultimately, the capt & cruise line are responsible no matter what, and RCL accepted that responsibility, which I think was a good thing.

And I have no delusions that the next time something like this happens the cruise line will buckle to pressure from protesting passengers. That has happened before and will happen again. Every case will be considered separately.

This reminds me of the ire many RCL passengers had for the "professional complainer" (Barbara Moran I think her name was) that Anita Potter wrote about. They eventually gave her a $500 check and said "here, now don't come back" and people were mad they gave her the check.

It amazes me how much people in this country can "hate" banks, oil companies, doctors, insurance companies, car mechanics, plumbers, etc. But they will defend a cruise line everytime. I am not saying they are wrong, I am a firm believer in "corporate rights" - it just surprises me more people do not gang up on cruise lines, especially in todays' anti-corporate class warfare mentality.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 12:18 AM
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AshleeBelle, you are quite correct--the cruise contract spells out much, but not all of what I was saying in a humorous way--the contract doesn't remind people in as you say " block letters " that the ship floats and is therefore subject to the whims of nature.I was basically stating they apparently need to have it in large block letters several times so some people do see and get the point before getting their knickers in a wad over mother nature if they do have a weather related problem.

In no way did I mean to belittle their experience--I've been on a lot of cruises, seen some rough seas, missed a few ports and understand the disappointment but I can never remember being rude, starting or trying to start problems, shouting down someone trying to speak, etc. or blame the ship or resort for bad weather and the problems it creates. So, maybe there is a need after all for the " block letters."--at least for some.
I feel that when we started down this road that we're now on, it won't be too long until people start to demand compensation from resorts in places like Disney, Vegas, Orlando, etc.etc when the weather doesn't co-operate with their vacation plans. So, where does it end? Overall, we have become a " blame someone for everything " society and expect compensation, regardless of fault--we stick out our hand, someone drops " compensation " in it and we shut up until the next time--and next time will come more and more often.
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