Sunday, November 6, 2011

A thousand visitors!

New to this blog?  Check out the original complaint here:

More than a thousand people have visited this site!  Fantastic!

United States: 87%
Canada: 11%
United Kingdom: 2%
Australia: 2%
plus visitors from Bahrain, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Malaysia and the Netherlands!



New to this blog?  Check out the original complaint here:

I received the below email, and filled out the survey.  I gave the lowest possible marks to questions dealing with customer satisfaction.

At least two of the questions asked about compensation for the problems I'd encountered: whether compensation would have helped, in what form should the compensation have taken, and so forth and so on.  I find it remarkable that the first time I've heard the word is in a customer satisfaction survey, and not during the complaint itself.  "Jenn" in an earlier comment was correct when she said they have affirmed their policies, and they choose not to change anything.  Pity.

     ********** Their email ********** 

From: Royal Caribbean International <>
Date: Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 00:02
Subject: Please offer your feedback regarding your experience with the Royal Caribbean post-cruise Guest Relations department

Dear Valued Guest:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your recent cruise on Royal Caribbean International. We appreciate the feedback we receive from our guests as we consider it a valuable opportunity to stay close to areas where we may improve our products and services.

I am inviting guests to participate in a survey regarding their recent interaction with our Post-Cruise Guest Relations department. By completing this survey, you will be helping us to further enhance our post-cruise interactions with you, our valued guest.

The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. To participate, please click here.

If the above link doesn't work, please copy and past the below link into your internet browser:

Please be assured that all of your responses will remain strictly confidential and will only be used to improve products and services at Royal Caribbean International.  Once again, I thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.

Associate Vice President, Corporate Guest Relations
Royal Caribbean International

     ********** My response in the "comments" section  **********

My cruise was absolutely miserable, and customer service has been abominable.  The staff I've dealt with both on the cruise and in your guest relations department have done their best to work with me, but they were not given the tools or ability to resolve any complaints.

This survey is the first time I've heard or seen the word "compensation".  I didn't ask for any compensation, but it's shocking and distressing that the idea was never offered, or even mentioned.  That underlines that Royal Caribbean truly didn't care about me as a customer, or my complaints.

I've started a blog: .  I link to it as part of my comments and articles in and other sites.  It's gotten almost a thousand unique visitors so far.  I hope that's almost a thousand potential customers that I have successfully dissuaded from cruising with Royal Caribbean.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

RCCL Customer Service telephone call

New to this blog?  Check out the original complaint here:

I just finished a call with a customer service representative.  I thought I would get more responsiveness and details by phone than I did in my letters.  

I didn't. 

It sounded like the rep was reading from a standard "cranky customer" script.  I'll grant that he did it very well, and he was obviously very practiced.  I'm sure he hears a lot of crap from a lot of people, and his job is just to sit there and take it.

But it still means nothing.  No one has listened to my specific complaints, investigated them, or done anything.  Their letter was disturbingly correct, that I'm an entry in a customer complaint database, and an irritant to tactful reps with refined scripts.

Here are a few quotes that I typed out during the conversation:
  • "We do listen to our guests especially when they’re passionate.  There’s room for improvement.  We can not provide all amenities to all people, of course, but your feedback is taken seriously."
  •  "We take feedback from guests as a whole.  We do not take immediate action, and we will choose to act after 3 months or 6 months based on the feedback we get from all guests."
  • [Will I be informed in any way directly about responses to my letter?  No.]  "You will be able to see the improvements when you board the ship or through a press release."  
  • [Did you investigate my complaints?  Did you confirm they were valid, or whether anything has changed in the last year?]  "There are various test programs on selected ships.  Ships don't always operate exactly alike.  You can find out ahead of time what age groups allowed in certain areas, whether there are fold-out tables for children...your experience might have been unique."
  • "We can not be successful if we ignore our guests.  We are serious and adamant about research."
Let me reach for the dictionary here to make sure I'm using the word "platitude" correctly:


  1. A remark or statement, esp. one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.
  2. The quality of being dull, ordinary, or trite.

Yes, RCCL's responses are platitudes.  Indeed that's a good word.

The conversation continued for a few more minutes, and could have gone on for longer.  This rep was quite obviously experienced at talking until the complainer ends the conversation on his/her own.  And that's what I did.  I concluded that we would not be taking Royal Caribbean again, and would recommend against RCCL to other parents.

In other news, I found a few more good web sites for cruise reviews!  I'll add my comments, and keep on blogging!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My return letter to RCCL's initial response

New to this blog?  Check out the original complaint here:

And here is my preliminary response...


I apologize for not yet contacting you.  Your initial response was exasperating, to say the least.  I have delayed calling in order to calm down, compose my thoughts, and respond rationally.

In short, Royal Caribbean's first letter seemed to be poor if not callous use of standard customer response templates.  One of the divisions I oversee in my own job uses them, and they're easy to spot, particularly when they're used ignorantly and badly.  The letter contained a few details ("infants and toddlers...ten points...") indicating someone skimmed my complaints, but only a few.  It's not clear if anyone actually read and understood them.

Fully three of the five paragraphs (the first, second and fifth) are not specific to any complaint.  Certain courtesies are always required in such letters, but the sheer number of cliches and platitudes seems excessive and lazy.  Royal Caribbean could have been responding to a customer who complained about slow elevators, undercooked vegetables, sloppily-dressed staff, carpet stains, or anything else.  I personally believe that my complaints about a starving infant, an unusable bed, and an almost total lack of activities (to take only the most obvious examples) are of a different magnitude, and deserve a different approach.  The final line in particular ("We hope to have another opportunity to welcome you and your family onboard one of our ships again in the future") is strikingly naive.

The third paragraph is slightly more specific, but only slightly.  It broadly addresses the general issue of customer expectations.  After reading it I concluded that Royal Caribbean feels my complaints have no substance, and that they are a matter of perception and preparation.  I can not disagree more.  I myself addressed the issue of customer expectations in my letter, but only in the third of three recommendations.  Ignoring the first recommendation in particular--a comprehensive review of service limitations with a view to change them for the better--is to miss the whole point of my letter.  My cruise was not awful because my expectations were too high, or because I wasn't prepared.  My cruise was awful because Royal Caribbean treats infants, toddlers and their parents awfully.

The fourth paragraph is simply abhorrent.  Saying that "each of the concerns..was individually submitted into a database" blithely dismisses the concerns themselves.  It baldly reduces me to a statistic, and ignores the fact that each of the concerns is a symptom of a much larger problem, i.e. that Royal Caribbean treats infants, toddlers and their parents awfully.

I will try to call you next week during your business hours, using the 1-888 number you provided.  Non-American telephone providers can't work with the toll-free number you provided.  I thought this was further evidence of the inattentiveness in your response, but in fact with a little research I found a VOIP service that can make such calls, and I will utilize it next week.

In the meantime, please note that I've started a blog: .  I've also entered my thoughts into,,, and one or two other sites, making reference to my blog in each of them.  The blog already pops up in Google searches as well.  All of these references result in a couple of hits per day.  That might not seem like a lot, but it's several hundred potential customers each year who will be better informed about Royal Caribbean's awful treatment of infants, toddlers, and their parents--and now its poor treatment of customer complaints as well.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The first response from RCCL

New to this blog?  Check out the original complaint here:

The response!  Sounds like a template to me, with none of the original concerns even mentioned, let alone addressed.  I'll also note that 1-888 numbers generally don't work well overseas, so they're obviously not paying close attention.

The story continues!

date: Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 01:45
subject: Adventure Of The Seas / 11-Sep-2010 / BK# 6923526 / SR# 1-2099755791

Thank you for contacting the Executive Offices of Royal Caribbean International. Mr. Richard Fain appreciated hearing from you. He has asked that I review your correspondence and respond on his behalf. We especially welcome this opportunity to address your concerns.

While I am pleased you sailed with us on the Adventure of the Seas, I regret to learn of your dissatisfaction with some aspects of your cruise. I can understand this was a special cruise you wanted to share with your family. It was certainly not our intention to cause you any disappointment during your cruise vacation, as we truly appreciate you making your reservation with Royal Caribbean International.

I am sorry you were not aware of what facilities are available for infants and toddlers onboard prior to sailing. Also, we understand knowing ahead of time what services to expect for Alexandra and Paul would have taken away a lot of stress caused during your cruise vacation. I regret this information was not better explained during your reservation process.

In addition, all ten of your points and suggestions have been noted. I appreciate the time you have taken to bring these important matters to our attention. Moreover, each of the concerns mentioned in your letter was individually submitted into a database which is regularly published to our management teams for close review. Your feedback is taken seriously and we do our very best to make improvements in the areas our guests feel they are most needed. If you will like to discuss your concerns in detail, please feel free to contact me directly at 1-888-xxx-xxxx, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m.-6 p.m. EST.

We do apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. We hope to have another opportunity to welcome you and your family onboard one of our ships again in the future.


Senior Executive Representative
Royal Caribbean International

Friday, September 23, 2011

Someone else's experience

New to this blog?  Check out the original complaint here:

I just found another posting of someone who cruised with a baby and had a better experience.  Her expectations were a lot lower, I guess.  I'll keep looking.