Unfortunately, we were unable to make our cruise because of airport shutdowns (due to a snowstorm) in the Northeast. Our flight was canceled. Thats nobodys fault, and we were thankful to be safe.
However, thats where our helpful service from ended. They did not assist us in finding replacement flights, and they refused to help us obtain refunds or credits for our unused tickets. We were told that could not do anything for us because we didnt purchase any travel insurance. Which would seem fair enough....EXCEPT:
We TRIED to purchase travel insurance from them. First, the emails sent to us from describing the insurance crashed our computer. (Our computer locked up and would not work again until we shut down and restarted it. We lost everything we were working on. This happened three times and we finally had to delete the emails. This has never happened before or since with any other email, so it does not appear to be any sort of systemwide virus - it was a problem with those particular emails.)
So we contacted about the emails, and asked them to send us the insurance information again (in text-only format this time). It took them almost a week to comply. Some of the insurance coverages were unclear, so we asked a few questions about the coverage. It took them several more days to respond - and their reply didnt answer any of our questions. Instead, they just said Sorry, its too late for you to buy this insurance. You were supposed to have purchased it within 10 days of booking your cruise.
So now we were without travel insurance. Very frustrating, especially because it was their delay in responses which caused our delay in purchasing the insurance!
But even that problem could have remedied. If had just informed us that we could still purchase coverage through an outside insurance company. It may not have earned any extra money, but it could have created more satisfied customers - who would have been protected from losing thousands of dollars by missing our cruise.
Unfortunately, we had no idea that we could have purchased travel insurance elsewhere until after our cruise had ended. (A former travel agent friend told us after learning about our cruise cancellation disaster.) So although the information is too late to be of any use to us, perhaps it can help someone else in a similar situation....
After our flight was canceled, we spent hours on the phone and online attempting to procure alternate flights. Unfortunately, everything was either booked up or canceled due to the snowstorm.
We immediately called Royal Caribbean to see what could be done. They informed us that because we booked our cruise through a travel agent, they were unable to assist us - and that wed have to go through for any customer service.
So we called , but did not receive any service whatsoever. We were told there was nothing they could do because we did not purchase travel insurance. They said any refunds or credits were solely at the discretion of Royal Caribbean, and could not (or would not?) help us.
So now we missed our cruise (and our milestone birthday celebration), and were out thousands of dollars for our unusable tickets.
In the past weve found travel agents to offer an extra level of personal customer service not given by the big companies or from online purchases. However, after this experience, next time well probably buy our tickets from the cruise lines directly. offered no additional help or service to us, and in fact may have even hindered our chances of receiving a refund or credit from Royal Caribbean.
Pros: Cheerful and friendly travel agents (when things were going smoothly)
Cons: Unhelpful travel agents who don't