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  • Report: #691241

Complaint Review: Royal Caribbean International

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 05, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, February 15, 2011

  • Reported By: Clipper — Knoxville Tennessee United States of America
Royal Caribbean International
1050 Caribbean Way Miami, Florida United States of America

Royal Caribbean International "Luggage Mystery Allures RipOff Warning" Miami, Florida

*Author of original report: Buy Traveler's Insurance

*General Comment: Congratulations, But Please Forward Complaint to Port

*Author of original report: Mystery Solved - Suitcase NOT Ripped-Off

*General Comment: That cab fare sucks!

*General Comment: Some Thoughts

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Really looked forward to escaping winter on Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas - icy weather delayed our flight - we missed the shuttle we pre-arranged - hailed a cab to the ship - Fare $94! (Not what this Rip-off Report about - maybe should be!)

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas - even bigger than I imagined - I imagined battleship.

Port embarkation stations arranged by deck - we missed initial crush - check-in was quick - suitcases scanned and searched for security -safe thing - andto confiscate alcohol, sodas, juicesand bottled water - RCI stingy thing.

On board we found jaw-dropping places - innovations I predict to influence many future cruise ships designs.

Nothing prepares you for the sheer number of guests aboard. Glad we made show reservations way ahead of time. People who had not reserved Chicago, Blue Planet, the ice show or the water show were usually disappointed. But things happen. Computer issues postponed Blue Planet show - rescheduled same time as the ice show. Bummer, but no rip-off. Guests cuing long lines hours before comedy show in small place - we nevergot to seeit - played twice per night.

That's the big difference about the cruising experience on Allure. Just like a city - entertainment theaters, restaurants and clubs have very limited seating. Not everyone who wants to get inside will be able to. Amber Theater and Windjammer not much larger than Freedom class ships carrying fewer passengers. Experienced long lines - waits for most everything including elevators and public restrooms. Touch screens in stateroom and around the ship display wait times for events - other guests checking too - hike through milling crowds of people to destination - lines have grown from 10-minute wait to 30-minute wait. Maybe 400 Diamond Plus members aboard - Concierge Lounge too packed to enjoy. Most everywhere - for most everything - long cues like for major theme park rides. No surprise - organized and directed shore excursion departures had longest cues and waits. No exaggeration - anticipate waiting in a 15-minute cue, 6 times a day on Allure. We saw several ugly confrontations - people who no patience for line-breakers or those holding spots to let 5 people into line. RCI really needs to enforce rules better. Selfishly reserving poolside seating for hours with towels caused a lot of friction - so many are competing for the same spaces on Allure - RCI not enforcing rules to maintain order and civility. The other side - RCI employees reluctant to act - can't afford any negative comments from a guest.

Experienced Royal Caribbean cruisers will be very familiar with the cuisine on Allure. In main dining, Indian cuisine is usually one menu choice - Asian or pasta usually makes another menu choice - had duck and veal. Steak cost extra. Served minuscule, butterfliedlangostino tail on Fisherman platter "lobster night" - didn't order it - planned surf 'n turf (lobster & fillet mignon) in premium restaurant later in cruise. Menu cutbacks designed to Allure gueststo premium restaurants. Beverage cards needed for sodas, fruit drinks and bottled water.

First time in our cruise experiences, a suitcase was lost. Dadgummit, Royal Caribbean! - did it have to be my wife's suitcase? Mine got delivered - bad for me - she is furious about it - has not failed to remind me of it - everyday - several times a day - since it happened. She packed formal dress, casual outfits, good shoes, intimates and bathing suit in lost suitcase - thank heavens she had makeup, medicines, jewelry, camera and one casual outfit in her carry-on.

Reported the missing suitcase right away - left our suitcases with port handlers - had personal ID tags on both suitcases - had RCI stateroom tags on both suitcases - had tipped the port handler - had receipt. Royal Caribbean promised to do a search - we completed a loss form - next day RCI informed us the suitcase could not be found - they had no record of it coming aboard Allure. Then the really bad news - RCI claimed my receipt was ONLY for my suitcase! RCI carefully explained - port handlers were not RCI employees! We would need to discuss our missing suitcase with port handlers when we returned to Miami - classic "their fault, not ours" story - I cannot prove the suitcase ever got aboard Allure - we are supposed to witness porters loading our luggage onto the ship? Now for the Rip-off - since RCI was not negligent for the loss - they could not authorize the $300 lost luggage credit!

Ladies can tell you - $300 not enough for a lost formal, casual outfits, good shoes, intimates, etc. or the quality suitcase itself. Incredibly, Allure apparel shops do not sell intimate wear - except logo undies - the outfits Allure shops do sell are overpriced - a $300 credit won't replace much - the wife bought clothes at our first port of call. She felt no small degree of satisfaction wearing her new rainbow tie-dyed dress formal night! All night it was a springboard to tell her RCI Rip-off story - seemed most guests had their own lost-by-cruise-line Rip-off tales of woe. So luggage lost-by-cruise-line happens enough to take precautions.

I guess you can predict the responses we received from the port handlers in Miami - in short, their story is all luggage on the cart makes it aboard the ship - the last time we saw the suitcase was when it was piled onto the cart - any luggage they found after Allure left would have been turned over to RCI - receipt meant nothing - classic "their fault, not ours" story again - I smell a rat! Whatever - some chick in Miami area has my wife's formal. Whatever the inconvenience - from now on we will be packing only carry-ons -faultport handlers or RCI - either way, I'll be "thanking" Royal Caribbean International every step I take.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/05/2011 11:22 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Royal-Caribbean-International/Miami-Florida-/Royal-Caribbean-International-Luggage-Mystery-Allures-RipOff-Warning-Miami-Florida-691241. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author 3Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Buy Traveler's Insurance

AUTHOR: Clipper - (United States of America)

Forward lost (now recovered) suitcase complaint to Port Everglades longshoreman? Why? I do not know the name of the port handler who loaded our bags. Wouldn't Royal Caribbean better represent both my and their mutual interests by reporting this (and similar) baggage mishandling to the attention of the longshoremen's union? - Doesn't RCI have a lost suitcase liability to protect? If I contacted the longshoremen's union - if they replied - many can predict this formula response: "appreciate bringing incident to our attention - take pride in our performance - continue to improve - successfully transfer million bags annually - rare mistakes happen - regret your inconvenience". Been there - done that - the suitcase has been found and returned - bottom line: not worth the hassle.
Besides, Royal Caribbean is not "off the hook" - true, port handlers loaded suitcase on wrong ship but Royal Caribbean failed to catch the mistake - let's face it, my oversized 5-digit Allure stateroom number tag should have "stood out like a sore thumb" coming aboard Jewel - had RCI promptly caught the mistake, the suitcase might have gotten onto our ship before it left port.
Sometime later during Jewel's cruise an RCI crewmember had to discover the misloaded suitcase - someone aboard Jewel should have taken responsibility to make (and ensure) a report of the discovery of the suitcase reached us aboard Allure - that would have saved a lot of emotional distress - Royal Caribbean, not longshoremen, "dropped the ball" here - we received the report RCI found the suitcase after Jewel returned to Port Everglades - we would not be surprised to learn Royal Caribbean actually first took action to return the missing suitcase to us when it was left stranded in Jewel's baggage claims.
When I submitted my Rip-Off Report I felt caught in the middle of a blame game between Royal Caribbean and port handlers - excuses to avoid paying $300 lost luggage liability - my report had been posted when Royal Caribbean found and shipped the suitcase to our doorstep - I updated my report - I hope my experiences might be beneficial to someone else.
I take this opportunity to add one more tip: Buy Traveler's Insurance.
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#2 General Comment

Congratulations, But Please Forward Complaint to Port

AUTHOR: Michael - (U.S.A.)

I am happy to see you got your bag back.  My only question is, how in the heck does a lone suitcase take a journey all the way across the port to another cruise ship?  It's not like the Port of Miami where the ships are in a straight line.  Port Everglades is a huge port and the Jewel and the Allure are not exactly next to each other.  Somehow, that bag had to leave the entire terminal building and make it's way to the Jewel's pier, which is down the road, around the corner, and three terminals away.  I just cannot see how that would be an accident.  

My advice is to file a complaint with Port Everglades.  Perhaps, in asking for that receipt, the porter decided he wanted to mess with you.  I really can't think of any other explanation.  

It's too bad the Jewel crew didn't notice the mistake prior to the ships leaving.   
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#3 Author of original report

Mystery Solved - Suitcase NOT Ripped-Off

AUTHOR: Clipper - (United States of America)

UPDATE: missing luggage mystery solved - wife's suitcase not, repeat NOT ripped-off!
Good news - Royal Caribbean ground shipped wife's suitcase home - ID tag, RCI luggage tag (Allure Deck 12), even MIA baggage claim tag still attached -  everything inside as she packed it - thank you RCI - will eat words because no chick in Miami to wear wife's formal - wife will wear formal to Valentine dinner/dance (did I know about this?)
RCI called wife four days ago with news they had her suitcase - mistakenly loaded onto Jewel - (bag enjoyed a longer cruise) - our trust in RCI has been restored - and RCI probably did not cause this.
Our two suitcases stacked right next to each other in baggage cart - got separated - how could this happen? - unlikely if luggage loaded straight from cart to ship - easier to explain if port handlers rushed suitcases through scanning building before loading onto ships - so a lesson - this infrequent mix-up by port handlers, not RCI, possible.
Skepticism? Assumed salty cruisers knew - don't ask: demand receipt, otherwise no tip - if port handler balks, walk on - another handler usually steps up or tote bags into terminal - works 66% time - last receipt written on notepad w/RCI logo and incomprehensible scribble - still think tangible proof better than none at all - but like I wrote, it proved worthless in finding missing suitcase. This salty cruiser was wrong to think port handlers RCI employees - learned port handlers are longshoremen under contract with most port authorities in US - union won't allow RCI employees to load from dock to ship. Sidebar: No, RCI has no way to track bags - concluded at the time Guest Service claim of "no record" of suitcase on Allure meant they weren't looking for it anymore - receipt for just my bag a smokescreen - Guest Services not arbitrator between guest and company, they represent RCI. Back to tracking: RCI could print and send booking number bar code to stick onto luggage tag at no great expense - or RCI could design bar code into luggage tag internet user prints.  
"Flaming"? Questions: Flew Knoxville RT TYS to MIA because RT TYS to FLL at least $220 more - Take note: Airport & City Transfer Taxi - per vehicle, not per person - MIA to Port Everglades plus tip - $94 - after cruise took shuttle to MIA - still came out ahead - a few years ago taxi MIA to Port Miami a flat $24 per person.  

These are some better advice and "next time" tips we've heard lately and pass along:
#7. Tape/paint unique marks on your suitcase (will also speed finding luggage in baggage claims) and have photo of you beside it to help searchers.
#6. (From policeman) Mark luggage & items with UV invisible ink permanent markers.
#5. Ask cruise line to broadcast lost suitcase (and, if available, photo of you next to unique bag) and request donations of clothes needs/sizes on ship TV.
#4. Inquire if cruise line has emergency supply of clothes to borrow.
#3. Write personal ID information on large card and put on top of clothes inside suitcase to be seen immediately when opened and in case luggage tags get torn off.
#2. Cross pack - split yours and partner's clothes between two suitcases - one lost bag means half, not all clothes missing.
#1. Limit bags to carry-ons. Airline checked bag fees and this luggage mystery experience motivation to pack light - too many guests aboard Allure to notice wife wearing rainbow tie-dyed "formal" dress again - from now on I will just be packing carry-ons - seems best for both airlines and cruise ships.
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#4 General Comment

That cab fare sucks!

AUTHOR: Michael - (U.S.A.)

$94 cab fare!?  Port Everglades is right next to the FLL airport.  Did you fly in to Miami or something? 

I'm curious about the receipt you were given.  I've cruised on both the Oasis and Allure out of that terminal and I've never been given a receipt from the baggage handlers.  Are they using some sort of automated system now that scans and tracks bags?  The cruise industry is long overdue for something like that, even though the bags are only going from the curb to the ship. 

Sorry to hear about your wife's bag.  My wife would be livid if something like that happened and $300 would not cover hers either.  That really sucks.

Just so you know, after your bags are loaded on to that cart, they go in to the warehouse where they are individually put through a scanner, then reloaded on another cart to go to the ship.   The men doing that job are union porters who don't always have the cleanest background.  I'm not accusing them - I'm just saying. 
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#5 General Comment

Some Thoughts

AUTHOR: Kristian - (U.S.A.)

I have just a couple questions and comments, as I am an experienced cruiser and have been on Allure.

First, receipt?  Tell me about this.  In all my years cruising, I have never been given a baggage receipt from the porters.   I know for a fact they don't just hand you one.  How did you get this?  Did you have to ask for a receipt?  I'm also wondering how they would have "record" of the bags entering the ship.  They do not affix bar code stickers like airports do.  I'm not flaming.  I'm really curious about this process and if it is something new.

One thing I know from experience is sometimes luggage tags get ripped off by careless handling of the porters.  I'm wondering if this is what happened to your bag.  With out the tags, they wouldn't know who is the owner or what room it is supposed to go to.

Reservations.  I cannot stress enough the importance of making all your show reservations prior to a cruise on Oasis/Allure.  Travel agents need to stress that point.  On your on-line check-in with RCI, they advertise the reservations, but they do not express exactly how important they are.  They really should do that.
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