ED Magedson – Founder
Royal Caribbean International1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, Florida Internet United States of America
"Phantom" Platinum Member Benefits.
Are you a Royal Caribbean Platinum or Diamond member? (Platinum after 5 cruise credits; Diamond after 10 cruise credits). Then I hope you never have our experience. Royal Caribbean is a reputable company and we have enjoyed excellent cruises with them. But on a 12-day cruise in November, 2010, we have no doubt we became victims of deceptive practices that might prove useful to potential Royal Caribbean cruisers.
If you are a Royal Caribbean Platinum or Diamond member, you know the hype: priority check-in, private departure lounge, express boarding, etc. Royal Caribbean might deliver on the promises in their home port Miami, but the "where available" caveat applies in too many other Royal Caribbean departure ports.
In the port of Venice, Italy, many Royal Caribbean Platinum, Diamond (and even Double Diamond) passengers on the "Holy Land Cruise" were instructed to sit on a bare concrete floor with their luggage waiting - for some up to two hours - after the first boarding group number was called. For some this was after a 9 or 10 hour flight from the U.S. Human error? Maybe. But there would be no corrective action or consequences.
Issues began before our cruise as we were obliged to jump through many hoops to validate our promised onboard credit. Once we were aboard we discovered we had not received the onboard credit. Only because we were able to produce written evidence of our onboard credit and a photocopy of the original certificate did we succeed.
Recall the "Onboard Ultimate Value Booklet"? We tried to redeem a coffee coupon and were refused with no explanation given. Up in the Viking Lounge, the bartender told us we needed to have our drink coupon "validated" at the Guest Services desk. Ours had a Johnny Rockets coupon - but the ship had no Johnny Rockets! We had a discount offer for logo merchandise - but it was refused because items were on an unadvertised special. These certainly appear to be deceptive practices to us.
Cabin upgrade? Our cruise was not fully booked. We requested a cabin upgrade. We were put on a "list". The next day most Norwegian passengers (RCCL is owned by Norwegians) and some South Korean passengers (many first-time cruisers) received free cabin upgrades. We did not. Discrimination comes to mind.
Priority seating at theater shows? Not on this cruise, pal.
Have you heard the "exclusive on-board booking bonus" claim? The same bonus was made available to first-time cruisers.
So what benefits did Royal Caribbean Platinum & Diamond members receive on this cruise? We got a lapel pin to wear to show our tier status - as in how many times we were foolish enough to overpay for RCCL's nickel-n-dime-you-to-poverty cruise. We received a well-worn terrycloth bathrobe to wear during the cruise. We had a get together social to listen to RCCL hype about their newest ships - Allure and Oasis - "a destination in themselves."
We talked directly to the customer affairs officer aboard. We wrote our concerns in our cruise comment card. No response from Royal Caribbean.
We emailed and immediately complained to Crown & Anchor about their less than Gold Anchor service. We immediately received a "Do Not Reply Automated Response." Though our membership number, cruise booking number, home address, phone number and contact information was provided, we did not and have not heard from Royal Caribbean.
A month went by and we emailed RCCL Crown and Anchor again. And again we received a "Do Not Reply Automated Response." This public complaint is our response to being ignored by Royal Caribbean.
My advice to anyone anticipating rewarding benefits by sailing on Royal Caribbean enough times to qualify as a Platinum or Diamond member is sail with another cruise line that will appreciate repeat customers better.
I have a question for Royal Caribbean who bills itself as "the Nation of Why Not?" - Why Not treat your repeat cruisers better?
For us ... why not book our next cruise on Holland America?
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/08/2010 09:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/royal-caribbean-international/internet/royal-caribbean-international-royal-caribbean-cruise-line-phantom-platinum-member-benefi-669647. 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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