Royal Seas Cruises Refuses Refund After Customer's Wife Dies

A man from Tennessee was "stunned" when a company calling itself "Royal Seas Cruises" initially refused to refund his cruise to the Bahamas after his wife unexpectedly died. 

A news station in Knoxville reports that Bob Mackay and his wife Bonnie had paid for a cruise but his wife died shortly before they could go on the trip. 

As WATE explains, Bob was devasted when Bonnie died on June 26th. He called Royal Seas a few days after the funeral, asking for a refund of their cruise.  

“They told me that they would not cancel it. That I could sell it. Or if I found another girlfriend, I could use it and take her,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. I really don’t want to go on a cruise without my wife . . . ”

Bob requested to speak to the service representative’s supervisor who reportedly "had no interest in giving me a refund whatsoever,” notwithstanding Royal Seas' claim that its "customer service is second to none."

But after an "on your side" reporter contacted Royal Seas, the cruise line quickly agreed to issue a full refund.

Free Cruise Scam?

Royal Sea Cruises is actually not a cruise line but a vacation marketing company which sells cruises on the Grand Celebration which many passengers have complained is part of a "free cruise" scam.

The Better Business Bureau rates Royal Seas Cruise a "D-." It writes that its files contain "a pattern of complaints from consumers that allege they were contacted by Royal Seas Cruises informing them they won a 'free' cruise; however when they tried to redeem the free cruise they were informed of undisclosed fees and the requirement of attending a time share presentation. Consumers informed BBB they cancelled the cruise and requested a refund but they did not receive a refund from Royal Seas Cruises. Some consumers allege receiving unwanted phone calls from Royal Seas Cruises and requested to be removed from the company's call list but they still continue to receive calls." 

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German Court Sentences Bogus Doctor to Three Years in Jail

AIDAvitaToday, a German Court sentenced a nurse, who had worked aboard a cruise ship as a doctor, to three years in jail.

News agency dpa reported that the Berlin state court convicted the nurse of "bodily harm, fraud, abuse of titles and deprivation of liberty." The latter charge referred to the fact that he put 41 patients under anesthetic, apparently before he began fraudulently working aboard a cruise ship. 

ABC News said that the court found that the 41-year-old nurse claimed to be a doctor for five years starting in 2010, using a forged medical license, to enhance his status and because doctors earn more money. At one point, he worked for 10 months on a cruise ship. 

We first mentioned the nurse's arrest last year.  A number of readers said that the man worked aboard the Aidavita, although the U.S. newspapers did not mention the name of the cruise line or cruise ship.

The cruise line obviously did not conduct a thorough pre-employment background check. Carnival-owned Aida Cruises offered no explanation why it hired someone with no medical school education or experience. 

This raises the issue whether adequate background checks were performed on other cruise employees.

Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5

Update: A reader sent an article from a German newspaper titled: Falscher Arzt behandelte unzählige Aida-Gäste ("Wrong doctor treated countless on Aida guests"). The article says that the imposter doctor (identified as "Denny H.") obtained a position at the German Organ Transplantation Foundation. Later, he worked as a ship doctor for AIDA for ten months and was involved in about 1300 treatments; in 21 of the cases he performed injections or infusions.  

Royal Caribbean Posts Bogus Comment to Article Regarding Alleged Near Collision Involving Liberty of the Seas

Yesterday I blogged about a near collision which allegedly occurred between Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas and a small Italian fishing boat, the Angela II, which is based in Civitavecchia.   

You can read my article: Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas Nearly Runs Over Italian Fishing Boat. The article was based on an account from the highly credible cruise blog Noticias de Cruceros.  You can also read about the incident here from an Italian newspaper.

This morning, someone posted a comment to my article, claiming that the near collision story was a lie, and suggesting that the Italian authorities made it up.  The person who posted the comment claims that Royal Caribbean Cruises - Bogus PR he was on the cruise ship and says that the fishing boat had no fishing equipment and that it was the Liberty of the Seas which altered course and passed the boat by some 250 meters.  

Now, I was not on the cruise so I don't know what happened. There are two sides to every story and I'd like to know what really happened.

We have the fishing boat's version of events. There is no official corporate statement by Royal Caribbean at this point.  And I can find no comments from the passengers on the cruise ship.  Just this one comment to my blog:    

"It's such a lie, what they wrote there,I been on this ship and watch what happened.This fishing boat was with out any fishing equipment and just suddenly start to run towards the ship from close distance.The ship is the one who alter course to avoid collision,where fishing boat just stopped dead in front of them and distance when we pass fishing boat was over 250 mtrs.

However,it's was a nice try from Italian authorities to blame the ship,but not their own fishing boat,for creating such a dangerous situation for the ship."

The person leaving the comment left only a first name and a bogus email address: John10@gmail.com.

After a little research, I determined that the comment  was posted by someone at Royal Caribbean's headquarters in Miami.  How do I know that?  I'm not saying.  But I am 100% certain that it was sent from the Royal Caribbean offices near the port of Miami.

Cruise Law News (CLN) is a very popular blog. Lots of people love to cruise but subscribe to this blog to get "the other side of the story."  Many major cruise lines here in Miami understand that. They will respond to our inquiries about issues we write about here and send us press statements. If we have our facts wrong, the cruise lines will call or send us an email.  I will immediately post their statements to set the record  straight, even if the statements are pure PR drivel.  

But Royal Caribbean is different. It is the least transparent cruise line in the business. It refuses to respond to requests for information.  Instead of issuing a corporate statement under its letterhead, it will be sneaky and try and slide in a comment pretending to be a passenger, and an eye witness at that! What kind of reputable PR department acts like this? 

Bogus Cruise Ship Accident Exposed

Closed circuit television (CCTV) video helped the Sun Cruz Casino defend a claim made by a passenger who staged a fake accident at the bottom of a stairwell on the ship.

The video shows an elderly man walking repeatedly up and down a stairwell, apparently rehearsing how the accident will unfold.  When no one is looking, he gently kneels down and rolls over. That's when the acting starts.  He begins squealing in pain and claims that he sustained injuries to his neck, back, hip, knee and ankle.  He is taken from the "accident scene" on a stretcher.

The cruise passenger retains a lawyer who is smart enough to verify whether an accident really occurred by requesting "all video of the accident."

The cruise line complies. Upon receiving the video below, the lawyer drops the claim like a hot potato. 

Do fake accidents like this occur? Yes, as this video proves.

The first thing that we do when we represent a cruise passenger who alleges a serious accident or being a victim of a crime is to request CTTV of the circumstances surrounding the accident or crime. Sometimes cruise lines will show us videos which contradict our client's account.  That's a good thing. No one wants to have anything to do with a bogus or exaggerated claim. But that's extremely rare.

Most of the time, the cruise lines ignore us.  When we press the matter, the cruise lines claim that there is no video of an accident.  I have never seen a cruise line produce an incriminating video which confirms an accident or crime. Cruise lines typically argue that there is no CCTV cameras at that location, or the cameras didn't work, or the tape was inadvertently erased, or the dog-ate-it type of excuse.  

I even had a case where I proved that there was CTTV video of my client's accident that was given by the ship security to the defense lawyer.  But at the hearing on my motion to compel the production of the video, the defense lawyer argued that the video was in a video player which was allegedly stolen during a break-in at the law firm. Evidence destruction is a problem in the cruise industry.

In this case, its nice to see the fake claim against Sun Cruz exposed.  Now only if the cruise lines will produce video of all of the legitimate accidents and crimes.      

 

Video Credit: My Fox Tampa Bay / Peter Linton-Smith, FOX 13 Pasco Bureau Reporter