NO REFUND FOR ITINERARY CHANGE

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Dec 3, 2016
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#1
Hello Elliott’s Advocates;

My sister Linda Williams and I purchased cruise fares on a much anticipated cruise to Bermuda in October 2016. The cruise was scheduled to leave out of Baltimore, MD on October 8, 2016 and was scheduled to arrive in Bermuda two days later. Well Hurricane Matthew was approaching the east coast and many of the scheduled cruise for that weekend were cancelled and the passengers were offered the choice of cash refund or credit for a cruise in the future. The cruise that my sister and I were on did not cancelled and left in spite of the impending hurricane and two hours into the trip we were told that due to the weather we would not be going to Bermuda and the itinerary was changed to go to Canada and eventually to New York(Cape Liberty, New Jersey). We spent several days on rough seas and many of the passengers including my sister became sick. Royal Caribbean cruise line offered the passengers a cruise certificate for a future cruise and not a cash refund for the change in the itinerary, many of the passengers some who lived in New York did not feel that this was fair compensation for a cruise that was not at all what was planned. Given that the crew of the ship knew the hurricane was approaching and they chose to leave anyway for a destination that I feel they knew they would not be going to I think they left to avoid paying the passengers a cash refund for cancelling the cruise. Proof of this was posted on Royal Caribbean Cruise line website which I have posted here. Cash refund was offered to the passengers who cruise for that weekend had been cancelled.

ITINERARY UPDATES

Hurricane Matthew Weather Update

October 7, 2016

Royal Caribbean International continues to closely monitoring the path and progress of Hurricane Matthew off the coast of Florida.

Majesty of the Seas

Due to Port Canaveral's closure and given Hurricane Matthew's current location and projected path, it will be necessary to cancel Majesty of the Seas' Saturday, October 8, sailing. Guests will have the option to receive a full refund of the cruise fare paid or future cruise credit in the amount of 150% of the cruise fare paid. If you prefer a future cruise credit to be applied towards a future Royal Caribbean Cruise, please contact us by calling 1-866-562-7625. Guests who do not contact us by end of business on October 13th will automatically receive the refund. For your convenience, if you prefer a refund of your cruise fare, there is no need to contact us. The refund will be automatically processed back to original form of payment. Please allow up to two weeks for all transactions to be processed.

Why were we not given the same option even though our cruise was not cancelled we still did not get what we paid for and the cruise certificate in my opinion was not adequate compensation for a vacation that we had looked forward to for a whole year. I have spent several days and weeks trying to obtain what I consider fair compensation for the cruise that I paid for and did not get. Unfortunately they have continued to refuse to even consider giving us a cash refund. I talked with several people in Guest Relations and sent a letter Michael Bayley the CEO of Royal Caribbean International explaining my displeasure with their refusal to compensate me with a cash refund I got a reply that said they felt that future cruise credit was adequate compensation for all the passengers on that cruise. I am posting this complaint on this site with the hope that you can offer me some assistance in this matter.

Norma C. Johnson
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,977
12,226
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Your ship actually went out, the Majesty did not. So of course they had to offer a cash refund. They could not keep money for a ship that never sailed.

Our usual recommendation is to use our Customer Contacts and write, one at a time to the executives starting at the bottom.

You have exhausted that already by starting at the top. Now you can't go to an underling to try to change what the CEO wrote.

Use the credit for another cruise and just don't sail during hurricane season. You can still enjoy Bermuda. October is one of the worst months for hurricanes (which is why cruises are often cheaper)
 
Likes: George M

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,391
6,451
113
San Francisco
#3
I'm so sorry, Norma, you got caught up in a very rare situation. You have your tix, the ship sails, the weather is so awful that the ship goes completely in a different direction. Beyond disappointing. I have to agree with Neil, this is the time to make lemonade out of the sour lemons. Accept the credit and go have a wonderful cruise.
 

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
1,230
1,681
113
Coastal South Carolina
#4
I'm so sorry you did not get the cruise you'd hoped for.

I just wanted to point out a couple of things, for information purposes:

In the fine print of any cruise contract is "the cruise line reserves the right to change or cancel any port of call at any time for any reason". This is done primarily for passenger safety, or if mechanical issues arise.

Royal Caribbean apparently felt it was not prudent to cross the Atlantic to Bermuda when Matthew was out there. So they substituted Canada ... quite the opposite direction. This is within normal cruise line procedures.

Yes, Majesty of the Seas did not sail (Matthew's projected path included the Port Canaveral area) so RCI offered a refund to those affected because they knew in advance that cruise would not take place. Your port, Baltimore, was beyond the hurricane watch/warning areas (about 900 miles north of Port Canaveral), so my guess is RCI hoped they'd be able to sail from there to Bermuda.

My colleagues are correct that since you've written to Michael Bayley, the CEO, your chances of receiving a changed response are small. You can of course continue to pursue the issue with the contacts listed in our COMPANY CONTACTS tab above. It may be an uphill battle, but it is worth the try!

Or ... Perhaps you can use your cruise credit for a Bermuda cruise next year ... maybe earlier in the year when the hurricane risk tends to be lower.
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
1,999
3,413
113
#5
@NORMA JOHNSON,

I'd be upset too if my cruise went to Canada instead of the Bahamas and then other cruises got a full refund or 150% credit vs. 100% credit. It seems unfair to offer a much more generous offer to one ship vs another. As noted, you've gone to the CEO and gotten a no, which unfortunately isn't likely to be overridden by his or her subordinates.

You can try small claims court, but I don't think you'd have much of a case since they did offer you a full future credit. Still, it's an option for you.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#6
Since the hurricane was projected to hit Florida but not New Jersey, my guess is that the decision makers at Royal Caribbean originally thought they would be able to detour around the storm and still get to Bermuda. When they realized that was not the case, it was the last minute.

Often, the cruise lines plan Northeast cruises in October for the fall foliage. Since the ship was going out, they went that way since it was safe.

As others said, their cruise contract that you agreed to allows them to change the ports for any reason. Avoiding a storm is a good reason! While seasickness is not fun, no 9ne was seriously injured.

I recommend you take them up on their free cruise certificate and enjoy another one that is not during hurricane season. They honestly didn't have to offer that to you
 
#7
@NORMA JOHNSON - did you read your cruise contract? As others have pointed out they did not have to give you anything - it says that they can change or skip ports at anytime for any reason - not that they can skip or change ports for any reason unless you are Norma Johnson or live where the changed port is. That may seem snarky, but it is the contract reading you apparently want - the contract applies to everyone and they don't generally make exceptions.

If you really received a certificate for a free cruise - use it. Enjoy it. It is an exceptional offer from RCCL.

I will also note that cruises in the Caribbean [including departures from Florida to Bermuda and back] in August and September are often lower priced than cruises other times of year because of the risk of changing destinations and poor and rough seas that time of year in that location -
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,391
6,451
113
San Francisco
#8
@NORMA JOHNSON - did you read your cruise contract? As others have pointed out they did not have to give you anything - it says that they can change or skip ports at anytime for any reason - not that they can skip or change ports for any reason unless you are Norma Johnson or live where the changed port is. That may seem snarky, but it is the contract reading you apparently want - the contract applies to everyone and they don't generally make exceptions.

If you really received a certificate for a free cruise - use it. Enjoy it. It is an exceptional offer from RCCL.

I will also note that cruises in the Caribbean [including departures from Florida to Bermuda and back] in August and September are often lower priced than cruises other times of year because of the risk of changing destinations and poor and rough seas that time of year in that location -
Joe's our 'tough love' expert, Norma ... but he's always right. I hope you are planning your next cruise right now.