February 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip) Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas
We were supposed to said 2/23-2/28 from Tampa to Cozumel, then Grand Cayman. This is the email I sent yesterday to Royal Caribbean regarding my experience. I will follow up my review with their response:
Words cannot even describe my disappointment with regard the handling of the cancellation of my cruise. Me, my terminally ill mother, and my two 9 year old children flew from Chicago to Tampa to be stranded in Tampa for a week with three suitcases, a wheel chair and very little money. We were forced to pay for hotels and eat fast food for a week until our flight back home scheduled for Saturday (which ended up being canceled forcing us to sleep in the airport Saturday night). Now that I’m finally home from my trip from hell, I want to give Royal Caribbean the opportunity to make this right rather than sharing my story. I just really feel like your company could have done more to try to circumvent our awful experience.
Although I realize you cannot control the weather, why couldn't my family board, eat and sleep on the ship. It docked Tuesday and 5 p.m. I understand it couldn't sail to the planned ports due to weather but why couldn't my family enjoy the amenities of the ship rather than be stranded in Tampa for a week? Why couldn't Royal Caribbean arrange a shuttle or bus to take us to a different port to get on a different ship either in Miami or any of the other ports within driving distance? My family was looking forward to this for so long. I just graduated with my RN and as a single mother, my kids were denied my attention and focus for years. They are great kids who supported me and didn't complain through all of my craziness. I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to travel with my mother again as her health is declining and this trip literally could have killed her. We planned and cancer friendly vacation where she could relax and rest between meals. Instead we were sent on a road trip from hell being forced to rent a car and drive 4 hours to Deerfield Beach to stay at my uncle’s condo where we could afford to eat and sleep. That was only after Royal Caribbean refused us access to the ship we paid to stay on. I understand that eventually I will be getting a full refund and a 25% discount on a future cruise if booked within a year. Unfortunately, it will take me well over a year to recover from the financial devastation brought onto my family by your companies disregard of peoples well being and safety. Your company essentially left thousands of people stranded at the port of Tampa and said "Sorry, too bad, you'll get a refund in 8 weeks, here's a coupon".... How can you do that to people? How is that responsible? You left us to fend for ourselves, broke our hearts, and left us in an unsafe situation. No one at any time contacted me from Royal Caribbean. I was only informed of the situation through my own follow up. I have receipts for hotels, Busch Gardens, the Aquarium we were forced to occupy waiting for our ship to arrive, food, a rental car, parking fees, etc. I trusted Royal Caribbean. I gave you all of our money and essentially put the fate of my family in your hands as we were in unfamiliar surrounding with no access to transportation. I was also informed that Royal Caribbean knew of the fog issue before we even boarded our plane in Chicago on Monday morning.
At the end of the day, my main issue with Royal Caribbean is that although you cannot control the weather, Royal Caribbean could have intervened to help my family with regard to accommodations or should have attempted to give us alternative options. I am beyond disappointed and I'm sure I'm among many others in similar circumstances. In addition to a full refund, I want your company to help us with some of these additional expenses incurred as a result of your failure to act. I don't know that I will ever decide to cruise again but, if I do, it definitely will be more than a year so I would like my discount to be good for 5 years. Through the promotion, I was promised $200 onboard credit. I think I still deserve that promotion. I also want my airfare paid. The total is $994. I would have never traveled across the country to be stranded in Tampa and Royal Caribbean had the ability to inform me of the situation before I ever boarded my plane from Chicago on Monday morning. Again, I really am trying my hardest to give your company the benefit of doubt. I would love to share my story with the end result being that upon my informing you of our situation, Royal Caribbean was beyond accommodating and did the very best they could to try to help us recover from these awful events. Please, please, please, I beg you, please give my story a happy ending.
Very truly yours