IF WE'D ONLY KNOWN...Royal Caribbean

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Feb 9, 2016
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I just mock booked a flight on RCCL's Air2Sea page (I was curious about price)
This pop up came up while the system was looking for flights for me...

Did You Know?
Remember with ChoiceAir's Assured Arrival program, when you book your airfare with us you can feel confident that we will be there for you on your day of travel to support you if there are any flight interruptions, delays, schedule changes and cancellations.
.
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 9, 2016
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@Jo Peck
I was looking at a few Cruise Critic pages. One of the posters commented that RCCL does NOT put in writing who PAYS for the new itinerary and lodging if the cruiser needs to 'catch the ship'. I looked at a FAQ page, and they sure don't specify that information.

That said, I think you need to do some sleuthing...

Call RCCL's Air2Sea department directly. Present yourself as a consumer who is looking to book a cruise and wants to understand how the Air2Sea program works.Start asking a bunch of hypothetical questions. You can base it off the real life situation - "we want to sail on X ship and would need to fly into Tampa. What if the flight was delayed/considering the shooting that just occurred, what if we couldn't make it because of a delay and no other flights would get us there in time? How would Air2Sea assist us? Who would pay for all of it?"

Ask all your 'hypothetical' questions ;)

Be sure to write down the name of the person you are speaking to, and the date and time of your call and all of the information you are given.

It might shed some light on the situation.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Here it is....

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/custo...ctId=324&faqSubjectName=Air+Travel&faqId=3730

Air Travel



Q: If we purchase Air2Sea and miss the flight, will you refund our Air or Re-accommodate us?

A: We will not refund airline tickets due to a missed flight. While we will work with our guests and airline partners, any additional costs will be the responsibility of the guest. Tickets are subject to the airlines rules and penalties.

And there is also this:

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/custo...0&faqSubjectName=Before+You+Leave&faqType=faq

Before You Leave


Q: What if my flight is delayed?

A: If you miss the departure of your trip due to carrier-caused delays or other covered reasons, Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program package of benefits reimburses you for additional accommodations, meals and "catch-up" transportation expenses. Otherwise, you are responsible for any expense incurred to meet the ship at its next port of call. For this reason, many guests find it is easiest to arrive a day prior to sailing and stay in a hotel the night before to avoid any possible delays. We offer pre-cruise packages at resort hotels near the port where you board. You can also extend your vacation by booking a post-cruise hotel package

RCCL even touts trip insurance to cover you in case of issues.

This does not address the complete breakdown and failure of the Costco rep not understanding the Air2Sea program guidelines, and not advising you correctly in your situation. Said Costco rep should never have said "I don't know" as a response. the correct response should have been "I'm sorry, the Air2Sea program only guarantees to get you there by offering additional flight itinerary. It doesn't cover any costs associated with the schedule deviation"

To-ship transfers are not even offered as part of the Air2Sea program, everyone has to purchase them separately.

.
 
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Likes: Jo Peck
Well SOME good news...John (my husband) spoke with Mike Boone (Costco) who tells him that they have IN THEIR NOTES that RCCL told us we were ON OUR OWN to get to the ship and why we were hesitant to do that...he told John he was going up the chain of command at RCCL so we needed to hang on...so nothing ELSE has been initiated by us. AT LEAST we have support from Costco about what we were told to do.
 
Likes: Patina

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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KSNA
Bottom line, airline tickets arranged through cruiselines are *not* the same product you purchase directly from the airlines or a TA (with rare exceptions). They are "unpublished fare" tickets bought far in advance. The severe restrictions on the fare rules can be an issue if something goes wrong with the flights (as you unfortunately found out). Since you're the cruiseline's customer and *not* the airline's, you're last-priority for rebooking. The cruiseline takes your deposit, earns interest on the money, then issues actual tickets 1-6 weeks prior to travel (which is why you can change/cancel before final payment).

The cruiselines use slick marketing comments about "guaranteeing you will get to the ship", etc. A deeper dive into the T&C's show they're weasel words and there's no such assurance! It's a major bone of contention on Cruise Critic. One cruiseline revamped their air travel program with a big marketing splash a few years ago. To their credit, their rep held an online Q&A for Cruise Critic, knowing there were many, um "critics" :eek: . After some very pointed questions from TA's on the forum which the rep never answered, she suddenly had another commitment and ended the session early! Here's the link to a good explanation of cruiseline-provided air travel: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?s=09f4e78fe6b80a485205f8a75aa5be04&t=530322
 
Here it is....

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/custo...ctId=324&faqSubjectName=Air+Travel&faqId=3730

Air Travel



Q: If we purchase Air2Sea and miss the flight, will you refund our Air or Re-accommodate us?

A: We will not refund airline tickets due to a missed flight. While we will work with our guests and airline partners, any additional costs will be the responsibility of the guest. Tickets are subject to the airlines rules and penalties.

And there is also this:

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/custo...0&faqSubjectName=Before+You+Leave&faqType=faq

Before You Leave


Q: What if my flight is delayed?

A: If you miss the departure of your trip due to carrier-caused delays or other covered reasons, Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program package of benefits reimburses you for additional accommodations, meals and "catch-up" transportation expenses. Otherwise, you are responsible for any expense incurred to meet the ship at its next port of call. For this reason, many guests find it is easiest to arrive a day prior to sailing and stay in a hotel the night before to avoid any possible delays. We offer pre-cruise packages at resort hotels near the port where you board. You can also extend your vacation by booking a post-cruise hotel package

RCCL even touts trip insurance to cover you in case of issues.

This does not address the complete breakdown and failure of the Costco rep not understanding the Air2Sea program guidelines, and not advising you correctly in your situation. Said Costco rep should never have said "I don't know" as a response. the correct response should have been "I'm sorry, the Air2Sea program only guarantees to get you there by offering additional flight itinerary. It doesn't cover any costs associated with the schedule deviation"

To-ship transfers are not even offered as part of the Air2Sea program, everyone has to purchase them separately.

.
BLESS YOU for all this research...UGH. Sounds like RCCL certainly has all the options covered. What's the POINT in purchasing Air2Sea accommodations?! Wonder what 'carrier caused delays or other covered reasons' includes?? Well, good information to know...WISH my travel folks had known it. So NEXT TIME, good TA, trip insurance, fly in a day early or DRIVE, book air independently. Learning as I go...thanks again.
 
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Bottom line, airline tickets arranged through cruiselines are *not* the same product you purchase directly from the airlines or a TA (with rare exceptions). They are "unpublished fare" tickets bought far in advance. The severe restrictions on the fare rules can be an issue if something goes wrong with the flights (as you unfortunately found out). Since you're the cruiseline's customer and *not* the airline's, you're last-priority for rebooking. The cruiseline takes your deposit, earns interest on the money, then issues actual tickets 1-6 weeks prior to travel (which is why you can change/cancel before final payment).

The cruiselines use slick marketing comments about "guaranteeing you will get to the ship", etc. A deeper dive into the T&C's show they're weasel words and there's no such assurance! It's a major bone of contention on Cruise Critic. One cruiseline revamped their air travel program with a big marketing splash a few years ago. To their credit, their rep held an online Q&A for Cruise Critic, knowing there were many, um "critics" :eek: . After some very pointed questions from TA's on the forum which the rep never answered, she suddenly had another commitment and ended the session early! Here's the link to a good explanation of cruiseline-provided air travel: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?s=09f4e78fe6b80a485205f8a75aa5be04&t=530322
WOW...what a great explanation. WHAT A RIP. WOW. Thanks for the info!!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
There was definitely miscommunication between Costco and RCCL - and you were stuck in the middle. I am glad that Costco is going to bat for you.

According to what Sas unearthed, what I had believed for years was correct and that RCCL doesn't pay for any changes in cost required in rebooking new tickets to join the ship. They will make the needed changes but it is up to the passenger to use their wallet. It was the wording as conveyed by the Costco rep. that screwed up this transaction.

Let's see what Costco can do.

If you had purchased Royals insurance, it might have covered this.
 
Likes: Jo Peck
There was definitely miscommunication between Costco and RCCL - and you were stuck in the middle. I am glad that Costco is going to bat for you.

According to what Sas unearthed, what I had believed for years was correct and that RCCL doesn't pay for any changes in cost required in rebooking new tickets to join the ship. They will make the needed changes but it is up to the passenger to use their wallet. It was the wording as conveyed by the Costco rep. that screwed up this transaction.

Let's see what Costco can do.

If you had purchased Royals insurance, it might have covered this.
RCCL not only won't PAY for any changes but they won't MAKE the needed changes Neil. At least they didn't here...One mitigating circumstance was that both Costco and RCCL lines were jammed for days because of the weather situation and then the Ft Lauderdale tragedy. So perhaps they DIDN'T do what they normally would have done...regardless, disappointed in both. Costco rep said we have a good case, and they're pursuing it. Info Sas unearthed is troubling...what a RIP. Air2Sea is no guarantee at all, if there's problems. Didn't realize the trip insurance was Royals, but you BET we'll purchase the insurance next time! Anyway, now we're just waiting for answers from both. BLESS YOU for the extra effort you and others have gone to. Stars in your crown, mister! (did ya know ya had a crown? :))
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,977
12,226
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
RCCL not only won't PAY for any changes but they won't MAKE the needed changes Neil. At least they didn't here...One mitigating circumstance was that both Costco and RCCL lines were jammed for days because of the weather situation and then the Ft Lauderdale tragedy. So perhaps they DIDN'T do what they normally would have done...regardless, disappointed in both. Costco rep said we have a good case, and they're pursuing it. Info Sas unearthed is troubling...what a RIP. Air2Sea is no guarantee at all, if there's problems. Didn't realize the trip insurance was Royals, but you BET we'll purchase the insurance next time! Anyway, now we're just waiting for answers from both. BLESS YOU for the extra effort you and others have gone to. Stars in your crown, mister! (did ya know ya had a crown? :))
From what Royal has said, the offered to make the change and arrange your flights to the first port - but you would have had to pay for the new flight and the hotel and transfer at the first port. But they claim Costco didn't properly provide that info. Costco claims that's not was Royal said and is going up the chain at Royal.

There was definitely a TON of miscommunication and you got stuck in the middle of it so I truly hope you will be refunded. Both of them blew it BIG and honestly I am not quite sure I believe Royal- I am tending to believe Costco.

The way it SHOULD have worked was Royal would rebook you on another flight to meet the ship in Belieze (if that was the first stop) and a hotel and transfers but it's your responsibility to pay for it. But that certainly is not what was done. If you had purchased the right insurance policy, that reimburses you for some or all costsz

That's how Air2Sea is supposed to work but it didn't. I believe Royal never should have gotten Costco involved - this should have been communicated directly. As far as "you are on your own", they should have said "you are responsible for paying for the new arrangements" , not the way it was stated.

And Costco should have told you never to fly in the day or a cruise, you should always fly in a day or two early. This clearly shows where the OTAs fail- they are "order takers" not "vacation makers" because they simply take what you ask for and go no further in counseling you on how to actually make a trip work.

You did nothing wrong, you were caught in between several very lousy representatives on both sides.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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IMO it was Costco that failed you. You turned your money over to Costco to act as your travel agent. The moment the issues started occurring, Costco should have been able to explain your position. Even if that position was "Since you dont have travel insurance, you are required to foot the bill in getting yourselves to the ship. RCCL can suggest alternative flights and you can book yourself."

The communication should have been straightforward. You never should have gone thru as much anxiety and frustration as you did. Costco should have been EDUCATED on the product they were selling.
 
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I am wondering if Jo had any action from Coscto on her behalf.
Sunday we were told by Citibank that we had to complete our dispute submission; since we hadn't heard/resolved anything with Costco/RCCL, we sent in the paperwork Sunday evening. Citibank said they had withdrawn the funds from RCCL's account.

Monday (yesterday) evening we had a message to call RCCL corporate. Today we spoke for the first time with RCCL corporate, who apologized for the lost cruise and offered us full credit to go towards a future cruise ...we asked for it in writing, and have gotten an email to that effect. HALLELUJAH. So we won't have lost any money, just aged a bit HA HA

We have called Citibank to drop the dispute, and we've spoken to Costco as well. I'm pinching myself to make sure this is real...and YES, I finally did unpack our luggage ;)

Bottom line: I am CONFIDENT none of this would have happened had it not been for the efforts of Dwayne and Elliott.org, and for the advice and information I've gotten on this forum. I've learned a bunch, and hope to be of help to others in the future. Thank you Neil, sas80, Judy, etc etc. You ALL are INCREDIBLE!!
 
I'm glad your letter to Costco is on its way, Jo. I was thinking about 'complaint letters' today ... I write killer letters ... and I realized that they're strong because they outline the problem completely without excess anything. If you're in the right, and the reader can understand your situation, you'll almost always be successful. I know you'll update us, we'll be awaiting the news!
I hope you got my email..thank you SO MUCH for all the advice and encouragement! Even it if hadn't turned out as it did, I still am so thankful to have found this group, and YOU..the book is huge, but interesting HA HA Eventually I'm going to the Panama Canal!