Left at Port Nassau last week with my whole family - need help suggestions??

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Nov 27, 2017
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#1
Hi everyone, ... I thought long and hard before writing this email - but I feel compelled. I was left at the Nassau Port by the Empress of the Seas on Nov 19th. I was with my wife and two children ( both girls 7 and 8 yo). Needless to say, this was a shocking and disappointing end to our first cruise ship experience as a family. I am an experienced cruiser both with Royal C. and NCL so I have made the journey to Atlantis ( Nassau) several times. I knew what to expect but obviously I got the boarding time wrong ( I thought they said 530 - all aboard sail when they said 430) - I was told 530 by a member of the Royal C. crew, but I understand IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY to be back on the ship at the proper time ( I know the correct time to board was distributed in the Cruise Compass and in other communications as well. ) The bottom line is, we are all safe and back in the USA ( South Florida), so that is good.
Although everything is still very fresh - we are all reeling a bit ( shock), I had a chance to do a bit of a "recap" with Noreene Roach ( I think she is one of the supervisors in the Guest Experience Management Department). The outcome of the hour long conversation with Noreen left me with more questions and an uneasy feeling that I have just been unable to shake. She had me call her on her Cell ph ( 954-xxx-xxxx, ... so I don't think the call was recorded for anyone to review ( though she said she was taking notes.) To be honest, it was a weird conversation. She kept bringing up the fact that it was my mistake and I must take responsibility for it. I kept telling her that I DID take responsibility ( fully) - and I OWN that mistake. I kept trying to steer the conversation towards what happened AFTER the ship had sailed away from port. I wanted to know what happened to our luggage? Why was our room searched and my wife's wallet (stowed deep in our luggage) handed to her by the Port Agent. Had the ship waited for us additional time? Had anyone tried to call me or my wife on our cell phones? My credit card was registered, had it been charged?- if so how much? Was anyone from Royal C going to contact me by ph or email or in person to reunite me with my/families luggage? Why didn't the Port Agent tell us to contact the cruise line right away? - , ... yes I had many questions ( these are just a few) , but as the conversation carried on Noreene seemed to to grow frustrated. What few answers she was able to provide seemed " a bit off" and "cloudy." When I tried to get more clarity she became VERY defensive and shut down the whole conversation saying-Royal C can do nothing more for you, please have a good day. We closed our conversation about an hour after it began, she told me to not bother writing a letter to management, as her notes ( on my file ) would accompany any correspondence and it would simply be disregarded. I thought about that for a long time.
In my opinion Royal C can do better than this. Policies and procedures should be in place to ensure that if (rarely) this type of mistake happens, the cruise company is doing everything possible to mitigate the damage, not exacerbate it. I understand these additional precautions and more passenger friendly procedures come at a price. But I would hate to see any future passenger/s endure what myself and my family had to less than 1 week ago. I can be much more specific with some simple changes that would greatly decrease passenger confusion and ease repatriation, ... but alas , I fear a real difference maker at Royal C will likely never read this letter. I'm attaching a pic of the kids, - this was their first Cruise ship and I have no idea how they will move on from this. I am sending this out to ya'll ( the management team) anyway, with hopes that at least one of you will reach back out to me so what happened here will never happen ( at least not this bad) again. Anything ya'll can do to make the girls future happier/brighter is also appreciated.

wishing the Royal C a happy holiday season,
Nicholas Gainsbrugh MBA, MSA, CPA
 
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Aug 29, 2015
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#2
Did you have a question you wanted input on?
You stated you were not back on the ship by the posted sailing time. I've not sailed Royal Caribbean, but have sailed others, including Celebrity (owned by the same corporation ) and there has always been a sign giving the all aboard time for passengers to see upon disembarkation. It is also in the daily.

It sounds like you made it back to Florida, so apparently they searched and found your passports in the room. My understanding is that if a passenger does not return by the posted sail away time, security officers will enter the room, open the safe, look for passports and cash/credit cards that should be there. If they find none, they will further search the room to find these. Then, they will take the passports or ID they find, along with cash/credit cards, and any medication that is obvious, and give it to the port agent to provide the passengers that miss the ship.

Often the missing passengers appear just before the ship is to pull out, but sometimes not, as in your instance.

If the ship is continuing onward to other ports, and the passengers have passports, the port agent will assist the passenger in making arrangements to rejoin the ship. If the passengers do not have passports they must secure them from the US Embassy or Consulate.

Depending on where the passenger is, they may be able to catch a flight directly to the next port, or they may have to go through Miami to get there. Then, the passenger can finish the cruise, if they can rejoin the ship.

If the passenger is not able to rejoin the ship, I'm not certain of the procedure if everyone is gone from the stateroom. After all, the ship normally discards any belongings that were accidentally left behind.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Carol Phillips

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#3
Hi everyone, ... I thought long and hard before writing this email - but I feel compelled .... I am sending this out to ya'll ( the management team) anyway, with hopes that at least one of you will reach back out to me so what happened here will never happen ( at least not this bad) again. Anything ya'll can do to make the girls future happier/brighter is also appreciated.
@nicholas gainsbrugh - I've read your post and am not sure how you would like us to assist you. We try to help readers with consumer issues ... I'm thinking you may be thinking something else (you said you were reaching out to us (the management team). We're not the management team for Royal Caribbean; we're volunteer advocates who attempt to assist consumers when possible.

Perhaps your post was a copy of what you sent Royal Caribbean??

Please let us know how we may assist.
 

Neil Maley

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#4
My colleagues have given you correct information. If you are an experienced cruiser you should know the ship cannot wait around an hour - they are charged for every minute extra they are not out of the port on the scheduled time. There is usually a 15 minute window- you must have really been late if you still were not back. That’s why they make announcements in the ship with your name.

Did you receive all your luggage? They usually pack that up for you and leave thst as well.

Did you bring the daily newspaper with you? Those give you the information on the port operations to call if you find yourself in this state.

Let us know what you are missing and we might be able to get you contacts to find what you are missing. That’s about all we can assist with in this circumstance.
 
Nov 27, 2017
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#5
Did you have a question you wanted input on?
You stated you were not back on the ship by the posted sailing time. I've not sailed Royal Caribbean, but have sailed others, including Celebrity (owned by the same corporation ) and there has always been a sign giving the all aboard time for passengers to see upon disembarkation. It is also in the daily.

It sounds like you made it back to Florida, so apparently they searched and found your passports in the room. My understanding is that if a passenger does not return by the posted sail away time, security officers will enter the room, open the safe, look for passports and cash/credit cards that should be there. If they find none, they will further search the room to find these. Then, they will take the passports or ID they find, along with cash/credit cards, and any medication that is obvious, and give it to the port agent to provide the passengers that miss the ship.

Often the missing passengers appear just before the ship is to pull out, but sometimes not, as in your instance.

If the ship is continuing onward to other ports, and the passengers have passports, the port agent will assist the passenger in making arrangements to rejoin the ship. If the passengers do not have passports they must secure them from the US Embassy or Consulate.

Depending on where the passenger is, they may be able to catch a flight directly to the next port, or they may have to go through Miami to get there. Then, the passenger can finish the cruise, if they can rejoin the ship.

If the passenger is not able to rejoin the ship, I'm not certain of the procedure if everyone is gone from the stateroom. After all, the ship normally discards any belongings that were accidentally left behind.
 
Nov 27, 2017
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hi Neil - wow - I'm not a travel agent like you are, but you are certainly FAST ( pun intended), thanks so much for your reply. I suppose the purpose behind posting is to affect the future ( in some small way ) - I'd hate to see others go thru the trouble that we went thru. Yes - I'm not saying there wasn't signage and communication of the proper time ( although I WAS communicated the wrong time by one crewmember as I left the ship) - just a bit conflicting and confusing , thats all I'm saying. Neil - how would announcements in the ship with my name help, if I'm not on the ship ( nor my family)? Wouldn't it be better to call me on my cell phone ? - or my wife on hers? They went thru our room and grabbed my wife's wallet ( it was hidden in luggage) - can they do that? - I dont remember signing anything that stated that ( yes I know about the safe and the contents therein) - yes fortunately we had all our passports. No our luggage was not reunited with us and Royal C made NO ATTEMPT to do this. Fortunately I arrived back in Miami in time to retrieve the luggage from one of the Port offices before it was " warehoused."
- I really don't know guys - what can you do ? - I know ya'll are an advocacy group , ... don't you think I MIGHT need some advocacy in this given situation? - what are my options?
- thanks - nick
 
Nov 27, 2017
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hi Neil - wow - I'm not a travel agent like you are, but you are certainly FAST ( pun intended), thanks so much for your reply. I suppose the purpose behind posting is to affect the future ( in some small way ) - I'd hate to see others go thru the trouble that we went thru. Yes - I'm not saying there wasn't signage and communication of the proper time ( although I WAS communicated the wrong time by one crewmember as I left the ship) - just a bit conflicting and confusing , thats all I'm saying. Neil - how would announcements in the ship with my name help, if I'm not on the ship ( nor my family)? Wouldn't it be better to call me on my cell phone ? - or my wife on hers? They went thru our room and grabbed my wife's wallet ( it was hidden in luggage) - can they do that? - I dont remember signing anything that stated that ( yes I know about the safe and the contents therein) - yes fortunately we had all our passports. No our luggage was not reunited with us and Royal C made NO ATTEMPT to do this. Fortunately I arrived back in Miami in time to retrieve the luggage from one of the Port offices before it was " warehoused."
- I really don't know guys - what can you do ? - I know ya'll are an advocacy group , ... don't you think I MIGHT need some advocacy in this given situation? - what are my options?
- thanks - nick
HI Nicholas,

The cruise line wouldn't have your cell phone number of your wife's. Typically this information is saved to a database in their corporate office if it is provided, and not for the ship's purpose. And in most cases, there are people's cell phones don't work in other countries.

Once it has been determined that you are not on the ship or will miss the ship, security has to go to your cabin and collect everything for you.

I understand that you have a lot of questions, however I am not sure you need advocacy. You might want to write to RCCL and tell them about your experience / ask your questions and maybe ask for a discount off your next cruise with them, but I'm don't believe you are owed any compensation beyond that.
 

Neil Maley

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#8
As Ginny said, the ships don’t have your cell
Phone numbers on file. They call your name on the ship to make sure you aren’t actually on the ship and they just didn’t scan your card. If after several announcements with no reply- that’s when they go to your cabin and get what you need to fly home with and leave it with the port agent. Yes they can go into your cabin and remove what they think you need to get home with. They did you a favor by getting your wife’s wallet so they couldn’t be accused of anything missing by the time you got your luggage.

Did you have your passports with you? This could have been far worse if you didn’t have passports. You would have had to wait for a consulate to open to apply for emergency passports. We had clients that this happened to and they had to pay for emergency passports, it took 2 Days to get and they also had two nights of Hotels added on to get home plus rebooking last minute flights. If I recall it ended up costing them almost $4,000 for not being back on time.

This is a first that someone who has experienced this post and tell us what they went through.

There is really nothing for us to advocate except to let people know to make sure they are back at the ship on time. Royal did nothing wrong.

I hope some folks use it as a learning experience. Thank you for posting your experience.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#9
I can understand your frustration, Nicholas. Your post was so long that I couldn't finish it, but I see two things here. You feel REALLY BAD about missing the sailing. You want to know what the ship's people did and why. The person with whom you talked for an hour doesn't know exactly what happened, and nobody is going to go around and interview everyone involved to find out what they did in your stateroom and after.

We often get posts from travellers who are looking to find out "why" something happened. Nobody knows and nobody would tell you even if they did know. My colleagues have explained the procedures which educated me a great deal ... I had no idea how these things worked.

You made a terrible mistake and the cruise line isn't going to give you any explanations of their actions. I'm glad you got your luggage back.
 
Nov 27, 2017
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Hi Neil , Ginny , and JSN - wow - you guys are really quick to form opinions. However I don't think were on the same page here. I understand I made a mistake. I never mentioned compensation ( ummm that was you guys) , and yes I absolutely feel they owe me an explanation as to what happened to my belongings, my stateroom ( i was still paying for), my expense account ( CC on file) - and various other things. Much in the same way a pedestrian may walk onto a busy street and get hit (injured) by a car, yes there are stop signs and crosswalks but sometimes mistakes happen - it is then that drivers responsibility to pull over and explain to law enforcement what happened. I'm concerned that procedures are NOT in place that would help / assist someone in my families position.
- looking for advice - not ,... lol compensation
- nick
 

Neil Maley

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#11
Ok so now I am getting a little clearer understanding of what you are looking for.

Here are my questions and I think I can answer some of them.


1. Have you received all your luggage and belongings? They simply go into your cabin, pack all you belongings in whatever luggage you had and they offload it with the rest of the luggage when they return to the originating port. If you are not missing anything I’m not sure why this is a question.

2. Were you charged for anything from the cruise? I would imagine you would have been charged for any purchases you made while on the ship and gratuities up to the date you missed the ship. If you were charged for anything else such as gratuities for the rest of the cruise.

I am not certain what other things you might question. If whether you should receive a refund for the balance of the cruise you missed is one of your questions, that is discussed in the Cruise Contract you agree to when you print your boarding pass.

From the cruise contract:


Carrier shall not be required to refund any portion of the Cruise or CruiseTour Fare paid by any Passenger who fails for any reason to be onboard the Vessel or Transport by the embarkation cut-o time applicable to the specific Cruise or CruiseTour or the boarding cut-o time applicable at any port of call or destination or point of departure as the case may be, and shall not be responsible for lodging, meals, transportation or other expenses incurred by Passenger as a result thereof. Embarkation cut-o times for cruises are available at www. RoyalCaribbean.com. Boarding cut-o times for any port of call or destination or point of departure are as announced on the applicable Cruise or Cruise Tour. Carrier shall have no obligation to any Passenger to deviate from any scheduled sailing or port of call or destination.


If you have not been charged a final bill for anything you purchased while on the ship, you certainly can use our company contacts and ask about it. But if it were me- I’d not wake a sleeping dog.

If you want to know if the cruise line has a written procedure for when this happens- that’s what you should ask for although I am not sure they will disclose this for security reasons- it’s not a public document. They explain what happens in the contract if you move as the ship and that’s what a consumer needs to know.

Again- there is nothing for us to advocate here.
 
Likes: jsn55
Apr 3, 2016
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#12
I am glad you made it back safe and got your luggage back. As for the wallet being left with the Port Agent, what a great thing. You seem to have been onshore with cash, passports and credti cards. If you had not, you would have been thanking the higher powers that an attempt was made to not leave you stranded in a foreign country without cash, credit cards or id.
In addition, to get your luggage back to the US so that you can it back, I would assume they legally have to go through it. Someone from the ship had to get it through customs in the US. To do that, they must go through it to be able to accurately declare what is in the luggage.
 
Likes: jsn55
Nov 27, 2017
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Huge company - hundreds of millions of $$, this is the best they can do? - to just "wing it" - why is the liaison not better between Port and ship? - why are there not precautions JUST IN CASE? - why did I feel SO ALONE and abandoned in a foreign country by RCI? This wouldn't work any ANY OTHER scenario in civilized countries ( I actually described a car accident scenario above post) why does it work just because I signed a contract. As far as I know I also had a passenger bill of rights - and one of those rights is that my family and I deserve to be treated like human beings.- wait - want to OVER-DELIVER, awesome treat us like family! But thats NOT what happened - and when I ask for answers?? , ... no sorry - this doesn;t pass the smell test.
- nick
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
I do not take cruises because It does not suit my personality-- just not a good fit. I have taken ferries from place A to B, and some were international.

So as a cruise idiot I am sort of lost at what the issue is.

Passengers leave ship. Passengers are not at the boat in time for it to leave. So does cruise line just remove necessities and leave them with the port for the late passengers? And regular luggage goes back to the ending port?

I would imagine that the scenario is different for every port. Missing the boat in Cuba would be more problematic than missing it in the US Virgin Islands.

And I hate to say it the cruise line did not abandon the passenger; the passenger missed the ship. Cruise lines do tell people the departure times correct?

I still remember a near disaster when traveling by Eurail with friends. At a station stop one friend got off the train to buy food in the station- we said do not risk it, we can eat in 6 hours or so and she went anyway leaving all her things with us and just ran off with money in pocket. The train conductor blew whistle and no friend. We asked them to wait and the answer was no -- and a comment about not babysitting tourists. Luckily the friend did make it but had to jump on the first train car and walk back 12 cars to find us. She was not allowed to try that again. And the food was lousy.

What precautions should a cruise company take? This was not a shore excursion tour?

How many contingency plans should the company have? One for US citizens? One for green card holders? People with passports that require visas? Not let people leave the ship unescorted? GPS ankle bracelets for those that may wander?

Has the OP made any realistic suggestions to the cruise company (not in the vein of wait for us to return or to send the bloodhounds to track us and bring us back) as to improvement?

I wonder what the statistics are for people who miss their cruise at a port. Does the cruise line have a representative at every port?
 
Apr 3, 2016
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#16
Huge company - hundreds of millions of $$, this is the best they can do? - to just "wing it" - why is the liaison not better between Port and ship? - why are there not precautions JUST IN CASE? - why did I feel SO ALONE and abandoned in a foreign country by RCI? This wouldn't work any ANY OTHER scenario in civilized countries ( I actually described a car accident scenario above post) why does it work just because I signed a contract. As far as I know I also had a passenger bill of rights - and one of those rights is that my family and I deserve to be treated like human beings.- wait - want to OVER-DELIVER, awesome treat us like family! But thats NOT what happened - and when I ask for answers?? , ... no sorry - this doesn;t pass the smell test.
- nick
I do not think you are going to get the responses/answers you want. RCI returned your luggage to you and probably considers that matter closed (you did not say you were missing anything)
Reality is people get left behind/stranded and have to fend for themselves . Sometimes by airlines, sometimes by cruise ships, sometimes by bankrupt tour operators.
As much as this is hard, you might just need to put the experience behind you. Hopefully with time, it will become a story you can tell to your grandchildren about your adventure in Nassau.
 

Neil Maley

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#17
I do not take cruises because It does not suit my personality-- just not a good fit. I have taken ferries from place A to B, and some were international.

So as a cruise idiot I am sort of lost at what the issue is.

Passengers leave ship. Passengers are not at the boat in time for it to leave. So does cruise line just remove necessities and leave them with the port for the late passengers? And regular luggage goes back to the ending port?

I would imagine that the scenario is different for every port. Missing the boat in Cuba would be more problematic than missing it in the US Virgin Islands.

And I hate to say it the cruise line did not abandon the passenger; the passenger missed the ship. Cruise lines do tell people the departure times correct?

I still remember a near disaster when traveling by Eurail with friends. At a station stop one friend got off the train to buy food in the station- we said do not risk it, we can eat in 6 hours or so and she went anyway leaving all her things with us and just ran off with money in pocket. The train conductor blew whistle and no friend. We asked them to wait and the answer was no -- and a comment about not babysitting tourists. Luckily the friend did make it but had to jump on the first train car and walk back 12 cars to find us. She was not allowed to try that again. And the food was lousy.

What precautions should a cruise company take? This was not a shore excursion tour?

How many contingency plans should the company have? One for US citizens? One for green card holders? People with passports that require visas? Not let people leave the ship unescorted? GPS ankle bracelets for those that may wander?

Has the OP made any realistic suggestions to the cruise company (not in the vein of wait for us to return or to send the bloodhounds to track us and bring us back) as to improvement?

I wonder what the statistics are for people who miss their cruise at a port. Does the cruise line have a representative at every port?
I can explain a little for you. Most important- if you take an excursion booked through the cruise line and the tour is late- the ship
will wait for the tour to come back. If you book your own excursion- you are on your own. The cruise line has absolutely no way to determine where you are.

Every night you receive a newsletter in your cabin. You are supposed to take it the off the ship with you. Why? It tells you all about the port you will be in the next day, it tells you what time you must be back on the ship and most important it tells you the name of the port agent and their contact information in case you don’t make it back on time. It has the info you need if you miss the ship.

When you get off the ship there are signs along the gangway and port telling you what time you need to be back in the ship. Not one place but multiple places between getting off the ship and leaving the port building.

There is plenty of notice given about the time you must be back.

It is extremely rare someone is left behind. I have not been on a single cruise that we didn’t wait in at least one port for people who were maybe 15 minutes. It is a common thing to sit in your balcony and watch as latecomers run to catch the ship. But to actually leave one behind is extremely rare.

The cruise Captains do not take it lightly to leave passengers behind. They have to get an ok from the corporate offices before they can leave anyone behind. This family has to really be late - he even says an hour. The ship will be fined by the port authorities if they are not gone by the contracted time they have found be out- they are paying for a pilot boat and pilot to get that ship in and out of the port. All that costs money for every minute that ship is late.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#18
Thanks Neil. It sounds like the daily newsletter is an important document to have when leaving the ship, and that there is tolerance for a short wait (10 min or so).

But I am unclear as to what the OP wants? A copy of written procedures? Certainly to know what final charges if any.

It certainly must have been difficult with children. Is anything missing from luggage?
 
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Neil Maley

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#19
Thanks Neil. It sounds like the daily newsletter is an important document to have when leaving the ship, and that there is tolerance for a short wait (10 min or so).

But I am unclear as to what the OP wants? A copy of written procedures? Certainly to know what final charges if any.

It certainly must have been difficult with children. Is anything missing from luggage?
I think we are all trying to figure out what OP wants and we have the tools for him to ask.

He should use our company contacts at RCCL and write, starting at Customer Service and moving up weekly to each executive one at a time. They are the only ones who can answer.
 
Likes: Christina H
Feb 9, 2016
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#20
@nicholas gainsbrugh what I am getting from your post is that the anxiety you incurred as a result of missing the ship (by your own volition) was further compounded when you unexpectedly received personal belongings from the port agent.

This was both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because, due to policy and procedures of the ship, you had what you needed to be able to catch the ship. A curse because there was a sense of being violated by both RCCL and the port agent. RCCL violated your personal cabin space and you felt another personal violation having your items left with a foreign stranger. A stranger whom now has access to initiate details of who you are, and can cause damage.

My take away from your post is that RCCL (all ships) needs to do a much better job of ensuring that passengers fully understand the policy and procedure as to what occurs when you miss the ship.

I am sure that the cruise line would argue that the details are spelled out in the cruise contract that you agreed to when you purchased your passage. As we all know, barely anyone reads that very long document.

Perhaps they can better communicate this policy by printing the information on the daily schedule that they leave in your cabin? By posting it on the tv? by announcing it at the life jacket drill?

My take is that you feel violated by their behavior. I couldn't agree more. Please understand, what they did is their policy. I think the solution here is to find ways where they can educate their guests directly/overtly on that policy, so that no one else feels violated.

The benefit to directly educating their guests is that passengers can now start to plan for that scenario.

I can now plan for the possible event that, if I am late and the ship is going to sail without me, that they will be looking for items X, Y and Z to leave at the port for me. I will store them in my safe so they will find them and make sure I get them, in the event of a mishap where I miss the ship.

anyways, that's my thoughts
 
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