Further to my post "kids program late charges", this is the email thread of my communication with Jack Williams, President and COO of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
Please Note that this is my email was sent last night (Tuesday) night, and I received a personal response 30 minutes later. - Impressive!
I am posting this with his permission. I basically copied my post from here into an email, but changed some of the wording.
No problem. Thanks again for your input, I am sure we are going to learn about how to be a better vacation provider as a result.
President and COO
Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 02/01/2005 09:29 PM
To: "JWilliams" <JWilliams@rccl.com>
Subject: Re: customer loyalty
Thank you very much, your reply is both prompt, and catalystic, and is
definitely most impressive.
If there is no objection, I will post your reply on a public
cruise forum (cruisemates) where I post often.
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
Thank you so much for bringing this matter to my attention, I will begin a full
review of this policy tomorrow and I can't imagine why we won't want to make
some modifications based upon your input. I apologize for this situation and how
it has disrupted your vacation with our brand.
While you note that you are not looking for a reimbursement of the $60.00 fee, I
nonetheless will be happy to reimburse you for this fee. You will be receiving a
Again, thank you for bringing this to my attention and I do hope you will give
us an opportunity to serve you again in the future.
President and COO
Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 02/01/2005 08:33 PM
Subject: customer loyalty
We were on Navigator of the seas Dec 11, 2004. Your kids program policy
has always been consistent as to what days the "adventure ocean" is open.
We have been told many times after asking that the adventure ocean is 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 wave runners 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. My wife signed the kids in and we left. We
went and enjoyed the wave runners 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 censure her behaviour when one of the other friendly counsellors who
recognized me from before came over asking to help, 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.
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
facetiously 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, because I really didn't care
to waste more time escalating this issue and told her to charge me for it.
The 60 dollars was not 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 counsellors well over 100 dollars and
left the kids in the optional after hours program every night which was
well over 150 dollars 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 that on shore days, the adventure ocean
program 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 program 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. I understand the necessity of this policy, people sometimes
leave kids too long out of carelessness or temulence, but my wife and I
don't drink and short of getting the AO times in writing, we made a
reasonable effort to be noncausative.
We are Diamond crown and anchor members and enjoy cruising RCCL very much.
We went on 3 rccl cruises last year, 2 with our children, but this year
have booked a 12 day Princess Europe and put deposit on the Crystal
Symphony for December. We had originally wanted to go on Voyager in Sept,
and definitely a back to back on Freedom's inaugural next year.
Rccl's handling of the situation is not consistent with what I believe your
values of customer loyalty to be, and not what I have come to expect over
I am not interested in being refunded $60.
PS - I inserted the "---------" to protect myself from you weirdo’s!
Certainly am pleased to see RCCL doing the right thing. Your email was reasonable, quite specific as to situation encountered, circumstances before during and after the incedent and specific as to your requirement. That is probably why you got an answer and a positive response. All too often folks in similar circumstances demand cruise refunds, personnel to be fired, future cruise discounts,etc. All you wanted was a clarification of the policy for your own knowledge and benefit of future travelers. I think you deserved a response and am happy to see you got one. Good for you.
Good deal Banker. This is they proper way that situations like this are supposed to be handled and you can see what the results are when you use an intelligent approach to the matter at hand. Glad to see RCI is correcting this error and working to insure it doe not happen again.
Thanks David, I wasn't going to bother but did so because of your last post on that thread!
As a follow up, I received a call from the Exec offices of RCCL this afternoon and it was the director of those programs shipboard (which included adventure ocean) and she emphasized the point that this matter will be dealt with. That surprised me again.
I am glad they are taking care of the matter for you. My husband and I are considering one of the voyager class ships for our second anniversary (2006). When I read your post I became disappointed with RCL because customer service is very important to us. I used to take care of my brother who is many many years younger than me and the day care center I took him to was always very clear on when they opened and closed (especially on holidays)
I am with you when you say that you accept responsibility when you are in the wrong. I feel the same way. Also I am very happy to see that RCL is doing something about this matter, however, why in the world did RCL fail to take care of the matter on the ship? Something is very wrong if the COO has to fix this for you. Maybe he really will change some policies-not just AO but how the staff onboard deals with customer service issues.
I think we will look into Rcl for next year. maybe
my pug Mei Mei
I think you're absolutely right Haley. The "spin-off" effect of this type of scrutiny (that I believe will happen now) usually filters down as much in actual policy as it does in the overall mindset of dealing with customer service issues. Meaning, employees not only see the change in policy, but the fact that the HQ attended to the matter in this way, causes them to attach a degree of momentousness to it, and customer service in general.
Good job Banker! I assume you'll be sailing with RCCL again...
CarnivalSensation February 2015
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I think they should name their next ship "Banker, eh!" Has a nice ring to it. WTG - good to hear the "little guy" get a say in things after all. Let's see - how far will $60 when you have to buy beer for me and David - lol. ttfn Jennifer
Picking up on HaleyC and Bankers posts above,,,,,and I not punching in the corner for RCCL here regarding action and reaction
To be fair to them and I said above, good on them for the response.
I feel though that this is bigger than just one lines action and reaction to a problem............. Its a business problem, business in as much that if you sell the basic cheap, then expect "stealth charges" to make up our money or profit margin.
In this case a lot of the blame could be placed with poor interpretation of the "rules" by the onboard cruise staff.
But as well as being a vacation place for us, ships are also individual profit centres as far as the business in concerned. Those that work in business will know the pressures that places people under to meet those cascaded targets for "your" centre.
Could write about and diagnose this and other scenarios all night,,,but what went wrong here?.
Blame with the RCCL board for not cascading exactly what the rules are and how they should be enforced (or did they)?.
Blame on the ships hotel management staff for interpreting the rule in a way that seemed to surprise the board.<G>
Or did they enforce it, as it is seen as a potential profit centre producing a high level of income compared to the minimum overhead to run. In that case they will enforce it to keep the money rolling in toward the hotel's income targets.
What does that all come back to? The board, their rules, their targets and forecasts.
And when that "great new policy" eventually cascades its way down the line to the REAL people, because it is "company policy" they will place these charges. It is not a personal decision for the child minder, their supervisor or even the supervisors manager, its well above them.
Board and senior ship management guilty and again to be fair, this is not just an RCCL issue, they just happen to be "in lights" for this one.
Good on you bud for seeing past this and tipping the people who actually looked after your children.
Sorry, what was my point in all this,,,,,, company boards act and then only react when people complain and they feel it could be bad press. Its amazing the number of things that happen in their companys that "surprise them".