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Old January 29th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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Default kids program late charges

This is not a terribly bothersome gripe, because I have let it go, but just thought I would mention it for feedback anyway.

We were on RCCL Navigator a month ago and their kids program policy has always been consistent as to what days the "adventure ocean" as they call it, is open. We have been told many times after asking that the adventure ocean (herein referred to as 'AO' the party of the first part) that they are open all day on shore days. We usually prebook excursions but in this case (the island of labadee) the excursions run all day and we specifically did not want to book anything without knowing the AO schedule. We waited until the 2nd day (at sea) and went to the shore excursion desk and told them we wanted to book but our concern was dropping the kids off at AO. They phoned up to AO and told us that AO is open all day because it is a shore day. My wife and I proceeded to book our waverunners and parasailing.
The next morning we went over to the island and took our kids to AO. We signed them in as usual and left. (On days at sea when AO breaks for lunch etc, they always remind us to pick the kids up at 11:45 for lunch etc.) On this day, nothing was mentioned. I chit chatted with the staff (like you couldn't tell I always chit chat) and Nikki signed the kids in and we left. We went and horsed around on the waverunners and came back wanting to take the kids out, and have lunch with them. When we got there at 1 pm, one of the counsellors was very rude to us (but I can handle it, I pretend to be a tough guy) and she told us that we were 1 hour late and that the fee is 1 dollar per minute per child and it would be $120 for the hour late. I was just about to lock my weapons of mass verbalization on target and fire at her when one of the other friendly counsellors who recognized me from before came over and asked, I told her we had asked the day before etc, and she said not to worry, she will talk to the manager on our behalf. No problemm mon!
The manager tracked us down and got on the phone, I explained that we checked to make sure the day before, and that is the only reason why we didn't book the excursion before the cruise, and that the fella who checked them in didn't mention a pick up time like they always do. In any case, when I'm on vaca I usually don't like dealing with issues, just having a good time. The manager told me that the situation is understandable but when I dropped the kids off, the print at the bottom of the form stated that it is our responsibility to make sure of the time (we thought we had done that) and were responsible for any late charges. I also told her that I didn't know I needed to bring my lawyer to look over the document before I dropped my kids off. She said she was willing to cut the charge in half to 60 bucks. I said whatever, becuase i really didn't care to waste more time escalating this issue and told her to charge me for it.
The 60 bones wasn't a big deal if we were in the wrong but I don't feel that we were. I came back and called cust service and told them this story, and also mentioned that I tipped the cousellors well over 100 bucks and left the kids in the optional after hours program every night which was well over 200 bucks right there. This was to make a point that the 60 bucks was not an issue, but that I didn't feel it was my mistake. Oh it also said in the cruise compass (the daily ship newsletter) that on shore days, the adventure ocean is open all day. When I asked the mgr about this she said yes, but Labadee is an exception.
Anyway, customer service in miami said that I had a concern that was addressed by the staff on the ship, and that I had "agreed" to a lesser charge of $60. I told her I did not agree, I said whatever, because I did not care to be thinking about that stuff while I was there.
1/ We verified at the shore ex desk that the AO progam was open all day
2/ It stated in the daily newsletter that AO is open all day on shore days (Labadee is a shore day)
3/ We did not know the fine print was essential reading while on vacation just dropping your kids off in a program that you paid for
4/ The counsellor that checked the kids in did not mention anything about a pick up time like they always do when they are not open all day
5/ I did not know that saying "whatever" to the camp manager on the ship was a contractual acceptance of the terms, and that no further recourse was permissible

This is no way ruined our vacation, I am not declaring a holy war on RCCL declaring that those imperialistic capitalist infidels will pay for their exploitation. I think this might make for good gripe debate.

Opinions?

banker
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Old January 29th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

Celebrity Mercury offers extended childcare free of charge on the first formal night. I misunderstood and thought there was free extended care every formal night. We were 20 minutes "late" picking up the two kids. Their charge is only $6 per child per hour. We were charged $12 for the 20 minutes. I told them I thought it was free. I also pointed out that 20 minutes is 1/3 of an hour threrfor should only cost $2 per child for the 20 minutes. They said their policy is 1 hour minimum. When I told them it does not say that anywhere they appologized and said it was on their old papers. They quickly removed all charges and appologized for not being clearer.
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Old January 29th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

I just wanted to say I really enjoy your posts and admire your attitude, Banker!

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Old January 29th, 2005, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: kids program late charges

hey, thanks Toucan!! Cheers! (just don't tell anyone I paid you good money to write that)

funny, we went on Grandeur last july, majesty in sept, and navigator last month, legend in 01, this year will be maybe golden in june, rccl voyager in sept, and just booked crystal symphony in dec(no kids - woo hoo!), and of course, Freedom in may 06 (but june and sept might change to something else)

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Old January 30th, 2005, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: kids program late charges

I am sorry but I think it is INSANE to charge anyone ( even you banker) 120 dollars for being an hour late .

That is the most schocking gouging I have ever heard of of. I mean private babysitting( like they needed to keep ALL the staff on for just your 2 kids) wouldn't run more then 20 or 30 dollars an hour even in a fancy hotel so where on earth do they get off with that charge. It is truly shocking.

Banker, there is honestly no way I would have paid that as nicely as you did. I would have whined and witched . I also most likely would not have tipped one hundred extra, If I did tip extra it would have been less and I would have made sure the rude counsellor got none of it.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

What is so hard about hanging a simple sign on the front door to Adventure Ocean on each day declaring the hours of operation????? Huh?

Regards,
Thomas
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Old January 30th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

I figured the late fee was the cruise lines "policy" so I didn't let it affect what I tipped the counsellors. The staff were excellent with the kids; they don't often get mentioned but they were integral in our kids having a good time.

The actual drop off spot on the island was just an enclosed area with a tiki bar like thing with a sign in area, but you're right thomas, there was plenty of room for a small sign. Yes, as they said it was stated at the bottom of the form that it's our responsibility to check the time (we didn't ask again right there) but the frame of mind we were in was the beach fun frame not the "read the form carefully" frame.

banker

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Old January 30th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

You know Bud, if more people just stood up for what appeared minor things, but wrong These guys would not get way with it,,,well done for taking a stand.

I can appreciate the scenario, trying to relax on vaction and not wanting to get into confrontation.

We talk about the mark up that some lines have on booze etc on ship. But that is the worst "stealth" tax I've ever seen.. Like the child minder is on a set salary, so who gets the extra $1 per minute, what a rip off.

I laugh sometimes when I read posts were the line is seen as "they" are so "good" they are so "friendly". Yes the staff were but that is not always a reflection of the suits that run it. The ones that make policy and the ones you have to deal with later if you have a complaint.

Personally, I would have refused to pay it, not got into an agrument and told the front desk to put this down as a client disputed charge that I would discuss with their "headquarters" when I came off the vacation. Then your are back home and in a paper pushing arguement that I know you or I would win hands down
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Old January 30th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

$1/minute? Yes, I've heard of this. When my kids were small, the afterschool program charged this because some parents were taking advantage of the program and coming to get their kids late....they made it so expensive so people would be sure to pick up their kids on time.

Regarding the situation on the cruise, they might have that for the same reason, but they should make the rules/hours clear. The original poster asked all of the right questions before booking her excursion. The cruiseline was wrong in this instance and the purser's office should have taken care of the mistake right away.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

Gosh - anything over ten bucks and I would have let them keep my kids. Just kidding - but nobody ever held them for ransom. A dollar a minute does seem awfully high though - and Banker I think you should continue to fight this one as they obviously were a little hazy on the details. Good Luck! ttfn Jennifer
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Old January 31st, 2005, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

banker:

You asked for opinions, so here is mine. I think the "fine" charged to late partents is draconean, even in cases where there is no misunderstanding between the parents and the counselors. $1 per minute! Do they invite you to syncronize your watch with theirs? And what if parents' tardiness is the ship's fault, like late-running tenders or blocks-long lines to reboard?

In your case, the ship's staff should have expected that all parents would believe that Labadee is a shore day, and that usual shore day rules would apply. After all, you are on shore, and it is a day! If she ship's staff wanted "special rules" for Labadee, notice way beyond fine print should have been given. Staff of a major cruise line, above all people, should know that folks don't read "fine print" while on vacation. That's why they announce their bingo and art auctions over and over!

You have been nicer than I would have been. Oh, I would not have made a "Federal case" of it while onboard. But now, I would be peacefully searching for another cruise line!

Thanks,
Richard
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Old January 31st, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

I know this is really lazy on my part but I just let it go. David you're right I should pursue on principle and specify that I don't want my 60 bucks compensated, just a letter of apology but I don't think that will change anything in the long run.
They charge $1 per minute starting at 15 minutes, so within 15 minutes you don't get charged, but as soon as you go over 15, you get dinged $1/min retroactive back to the 1st minute, so at 14 minutes no charge, but at 16 minutes it's 16 bucks. And they don't charge if the ships excursions are late, they know in advance and don't charge (that happened our ferry was late after the jeep safari in cozumel)
So to Richards, suggestion, We are looking at Celebrity again, and trying Crystal for the first time this fall.
It's a shame, but after 12 cruises on rccl, a suite every time, tons of shopping on board (wife - not me < had to specify) all kinds of excursions etc. that cust serv didn't address the issue. I'm sure little things that I think are wrong will happen on any line, so hey!

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Old January 31st, 2005, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: kids program late charges

Bud, have you actually written that all that down and presented it to the line, the facts etc.....? Now that you are back, ask RCCL HQ for their opinion of the charge in relation to the scenario.

You will agree when writing, that some people will and have "dumped kids" for others to mind, and you realise why they impose the charge

But you have no record of that in your "12" cruises with them and never will have. And on this occasion it was circumstance. I know its only 60 bucks, but there is a point to be proved here

My bottom line would be after 12 cruises and a "whatever" RCCL card holder who has spent xxxxx dollars with you over the years. I am not happy regarding the outcome of this and will be looking to go elsewhere for my cruise vacations unless I get a response that reaffirms my understanding of RCCL values to their client

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