IF WE'D ONLY KNOWN...Royal Caribbean

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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
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!
Well, Miss Jo, your case was a pleasure to work on. I just knew that you were right ... but it's always great to be vindicated. You did a superb job of keeping your cool and we are delighted to see you win this little war.

Note to advocates: Jo told me she wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, and I recommended David Attenborough's book "The Path Between the Seas" which I had read and which motivated me to book a PC cruise ... which we did (splendidly) on RCCL. The hard cover weighs about 9 pounds!
 

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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KSNA
I'm glad to hear about the happy ending. It's too bad the staff had to intervene, and the clawback of money problem was probably helpful in getting RCCL's attention.

The Panama Canal is on my travel bucket list, since I'm an engineer and fascinated by it. I hope the cruise ships use the old locks and canal, and not the brand new, modern ones.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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You are VERY lucky indeed that the lack of organization and communication on the part of Costco found sympathetic ears at RCCL.

Next time please purchase travel insurance and understand what your rights and obligations are as the consumer.
 
You are VERY lucky indeed that the lack of organization and communication on the part of Costco found sympathetic ears at RCCL.

Next time please purchase travel insurance and understand what your rights and obligations are as the consumer.
Actually, we've learned how this got resolved..
We had called Citibank initially, once we realized RCI wouldn’t let us cancel, and the Costco agent told us there was nothing he could do. We had put the dispute on hold because folks on the forum suggested that should be our LAST resort. We have since cancelled the dispute, and RCI has been paid.

RCI says they’re giving us full credit PLUS an additional $50 onboard credit…they were very apologetic and that’s all we were hoping for. Costco (Mike) had continued pursuing RCI up the ladder and kept in contact with us so that we’d know the status. They even sent us the Costco credit ($190) that they’d initially offered if we booked thru them…when we asked where to send it back, Mike said to USE IT. ! So, even though it has been a two week nightmare, we’ve learned a bunch and eventually will have a comparable cruise WITHOUT THE PROBLEMS.

Since all of you have been with us from the beginning, I'm detailing the result:

The first call we got from Costco (Mike) was BECAUSE corporate had contacted them…some ELLIOTT fella had complained. :) Within minutes of THAT call, we got another call from Costco…the rep said he’d gotten our letter, and was letting us know he’d pursue it BUT that the likelihood we’d get any positive response from RCI was slim to none. We told him we’d already heard from Mike Boone, who was positive about our case! Turns out, they sit next to each other at Costco headquarters HA HA

Mike (Costco) kept contacting folks at RCI, backing up our claim that we were told WE WERE ON OUR OWN (getting to the ship), which is contrary to their Air2Sea guarantee. When he couldn’t get the response from RCI he’d wanted, he went to HIS BOSS at Costco, who went further up the chain at RCI.

We finally did get a call from RCI; and as we requested, written confirmation of the deal they’d offered us, in an email. We saw that Mike’s boss (Costco) was copied on the email. The deal isn’t exactly as we’d hoped…but was the best we thought we could get. (60% of airfare was to go towards cruise, since this was a credit, we can’t use a TA because there is no money for them to be paid; it is written as if we can’t purchase a ‘discounted’ cruise; if our cruise doesn’t use up ALL the credit, it is lost)

But all that’s OKAY. We want it over HA! and never wanted more than what we’d invested initially. I will update the forum once we’ve taken this cruise to let them all know if RCI did indeed keep their promise!

RCI has since called us and booked us on a cruise to New England, since they no longer cruise the Panama Canal. We're NOT flying HA! and yes Margaret, we DID PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE. We're going to go up a day or so ahead and see Washington DC for the first time!


Bottom line is: NONE of this would have happened without Dwayne/Elliott.org getting the ball rolling for us! And the volunteers on the forum have been amazing; I hate thinking that there are likely many others who were caught in this very same PERFECT STORM (severe weather, Ft Lauderdale tragedy, ALSO folks flying to Tampa for the National Collegiate Championship — Alabama/Clemson -- football game)… folks who don’t know they have an advocate or don’t have the $’s /expertise/time to pursue it. We were blessed for sure.

Given the resolution Costco and RCI have provided, I don’t want to slam them…I believe they’ve attempted to ‘make it right’ (albeit, under pressure) and that’s all anybody could ask. John and I have agreed to do whatever we can to help with elliott.org...we want to use whatever expertise we've gleaned to help others in similar situations.

Did I mention I appreciate ALL of you?!!:) Today is TRULY a WAHOO! kinda day...
 
Well folks, been awhile for this update...last summer we booked a short Carnival cruise to the Caribbean since our big Royal Caribbean cruise wasn't for many months and we needed a break! Then in September, we did go on the New England cruise with Royal Carribbean, we did have trip insurance!; we were on the Anthem of the Seas and it was a great trip. The difference in the two cruises were dramatic: I don't think I've ever witnessed as many people with more tattoos than clothes in my life as I saw on Carnival...won't go into detail, but for LOTS OF REASONS, this is a line we'll never book again.

We ARE however finally going to the Panama Canal! A family member arranged a 'cruise' with Grand Circle Cruise Line..a 12 day 'small ship' adventure, and we're excited! I have gotten so much good advice from this group, just wondering if you had any experiences with this line or advice? YES, you betcha we've got trip insurance. Came with our tickets...but am considering MedJet after reading jsn55's posting...just in case. We're in hotels in Panama City and only on the 'ship' for three days, but it sounds like an 'up close and personal' way to see the canal. And (jsn55's recommendation of) the book is GREAT!

Lastly, we continue to support and sing the praises of Chris and this group...what an incredible resource you've all been!
 
AH Neil, I didn't book this BUT hope you read the last posting of our experience with RCCL and Costco...because Costco backed up our claim to RCCL - in writing - that they told us 'we were on our own', eventually RCCL relented. We LOVE Costco, but hadn't planned on using them to book any vacations in the future. UNFORTUNATELY, we made a real effort to find a good travel agent here in Chattanooga...HA! When we walk in and say we're interested in cruising, they clearly aren't interested. I tried finding one with the 'alphabet soup credentials' I was advised to look for, and it 'AINT HERE. Got really discouraged...lots call themselves travel agents, but their interest wanes quickly.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,738
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
Look at travelsense.org or findatravelconsultant.com - they have compilations of agents you can find in your state.

You’ve also learned that a ship can make a big difference in your cruise experience as can the cruise line you choose.

The clientele on cruise lines can be reflected by the price of the cruise as you’ve found.

Glad that you have to Royal Caribbean another chance and found a difference.
 
Likes: Jo Peck

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,651
6,644
113
San Francisco
How nice to see your avatar, Jo! I remember your case with Costco/RCCL very clearly ... I believe it was the most clean-cut case of incompetence I've ever run across. Your attitude and communication abilities are top-notch and I knew that it would all work out.

As far as Grand Circle and the Panama Canal ... you will be SO HAPPY on this trip! We've done 4 'small ship' cruises with them and GCCL really knows how to run a cruise ship! I guarantee that you will love everything about it. Their claim to fame is 'value' ... not luxury, but very very nice and priced right. No foo-foo on Grand Circle! Just genuine caring that you have the trip of your lives ... and I've come home from every single one of them knowing that the trip could not have been better.

On our last day of the British Isles cruise, I told the Cruise Director that I'd go wherever the Corinthian and her fabulous crew wanted to take me, anytime.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Jo Peck thank you for the update. I am not a cruise person but maybe one day. I enjoyed your discription of the tattoed clientele. I was also very disappointed to hear of the Costco travel agents being so useless to you; I have never used them and doubt I will. You have a wonderful attitude and I hope your future travels are enjoyable!
 
How nice to see your avatar, Jo! I remember your case with Costco/RCCL very clearly ... I believe it was the most clean-cut case of incompetence I've ever run across. Your attitude and communication abilities are top-notch and I knew that it would all work out.

As far as Grand Circle and the Panama Canal ... you will be SO HAPPY on this trip! We've done 4 'small ship' cruises with them and GCCL really knows how to run a cruise ship! I guarantee that you will love everything about it. Their claim to fame is 'value' ... not luxury, but very very nice and priced right. No foo-foo on Grand Circle! Just genuine caring that you have the trip of your lives ... and I've come home from every single one of them knowing that the trip could not have been better.

On our last day of the British Isles cruise, I told the Cruise Director that I'd go wherever the Corinthian and her fabulous crew wanted to take me, anytime.

Love reading your posts Judy! Got a question thats for anyone who has a suggestion: we're traveling to Panama with Grand Circle Cruises, and have purchased their VERY expensive travel insurance (~$800 for the two of us!) but realizing from reading these forums that's NOT the same as medical insurance...would you recommend purchasing a MedJet policy as well? Also, Chris's book advises to STAY IN TOUCH...i.e., know what's going on in the outside world. Our cell provider doesn't have that option...what/who do you recommend for a 2 week trip out of the country?
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,180
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Love reading your posts Judy! Got a question thats for anyone who has a suggestion: we're traveling to Panama with Grand Circle Cruises, and have purchased their VERY expensive travel insurance (~$800 for the two of us!) but realizing from reading these forums that's NOT the same as medical insurance...would you recommend purchasing a MedJet policy as well? Also, Chris's book advises to STAY IN TOUCH...i.e., know what's going on in the outside world. Our cell provider doesn't have that option...what/who do you recommend for a 2 week trip out of the country?
MedJet Assist is for emergency evacuation NOT medical insurance. Most trip insurance companies include some evacuation costs within the policy.....it is important to read the fine print. All MedJet will do for you is transport you to a hospital and transport you home, they do not reimburse you for any medical expenses related to illness or injury. Trip insurance should provide medical coverage in case you need immediately medical attention at a local hospital or medical facility.

In my opinion, they are both very important services but you may feel comfortable with a trip insurance policy that covers both. What I like about MedJet is that you are a part of the decision-making process as to where you are transported. If you do not feel comfortable with a local hospital, as long as you are stable, they will transport you to your own city's hospital. Trip insurance has limitations as to what the patient can dictate.

When we traveled throughout the Caribbean, we purchased an inexpensive phone at our destination and signed up for minutes. We then provided the phone number to anyone we thought would need it. Another option is some US phones have removable SIM cards; if your phone has that ability, take your phone with you and purchase a local SIM card at your destination.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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I'll offer my write-up about insurance for what it's worth. If you can, I'd cancel their insurance and buy from an online broker.

A good policy should be obtainable for 7-10% of your non-refundable trip costs. Premiums vary widely depending on the age and number of travelers, as well as the coverages you seek.
....
Travel Insurance is Complicated. Because there are so many coverages and restrictions, I highly recommend you speak with a travel insurance broker prior to purchasing. They know what to ask (that you and I don't) in order to steer you toward the right coverage for your needs. Here are some of the available coverages to consider:
  • BASIC policies (or "lite" as they are often labeled). These offer limited coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delays, and baggage issues. But too often they fail to meet the needs of travelers due to their restricted coverages (i.e., covered reasons). COMPREHENSIVE policies can cover one or more of the following for a nominal cost:
  • Cancel for Any Reason. Covers 50-75% of your non-refundables depending on the policy
  • Cruise Cancellation. Covers non-refundables not purchased through the cruise line
  • Employment Layoff. Being unemployed is hard enough without a failsafe for trip costs
  • Financial Default. Covers when a travel provider is no longer in business
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation. Costs can be in the tens-of-thousands!
  • Hospital of Choice. Without this you are transported to the nearest facility
  • Pre-existing Medical Waiver. Covers conditions that insurers decide is "pre-existing"
  • Primary Medical. Places the insurer first in line for claims. Eliminates the need to file with your own insurance.
Be aware that no single policy will cover every possible reason for cancellation at 100%, and that there are time restrictions (e.g., signing up, cancellation) with every policy ...
 
Feb 9, 2016
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I use insuremytrip.com
This website allows me to compare policy's being offered.

I just insured an $7k trip for 4 for $200. That includes air delays, lost baggage, etc as primary coverage, evacuation in case of terrorism, insurance if we die, medical insurance and evacuation, etc.

I thought $800 was high as well, unless your trip value is $30k or more

If you switch policies you may not be able to get CFAR at this late of a date.