"Speed Restrictions" Plague Allure of the Seas

Allure of the SeasSeveral Royal Caribbean customers have reported that propulsion issues which the Allure of the Seas experienced several years ago have returned and will interfere with the cruises which are scheduled in the future.

One guest sent us an email she recently received:

"Dear Valued Guest,

We have updated information about your sailing.

Allure of the Seas currently has a speed restriction that will result in slight adjustments to your itinerary. For your convenience, the updates are noted below. The new port of San Juan, Puerto Rico offers the opportunity to visit the culturally rich city of Old San Juan and the lush rainforest of El Yunque. We apologize for this change, but have no doubt that your vacation will be nothing short of amazing. We can't wait to welcome you on board."

The guest who contacted us said that Royal Caribbean replaced St. Kitts with San Juan (others said that Royal Caribbean replaced St. Thomas with San Juan on other itineraries) and the duration of time that the ship will remain in the other ports of call has changed.

Many quests have made their plans a long time ago and chose the itineraries for the specific ports in question, with some people planning honeymoons and anniversaries.  They naturally feel disappointed. They are prohibited from canceling the planned cruises at this point without a penalty being assessed. Many have asked whether compensation is in order.

Unfortunately, the one-sided terms of their cruise tickets permit Royal Caribbean to change ports like this. It's not nice bit it's not illegal.  It is a matter of goodwill and the company's view of its own PR. Compensation is usually reserved for missed ports.

The cruise line that will say that, notwithstanding the propulsion issues, the guests are still receiving the value of a 7-night Caribbean cruise.

Back in November of 2013, passengers aboard the Allure began noticing that the cruise ship was shortening its stay in Nassau and then arriving late in St. Thomas; some excursions were canceled. We wrote about the problems in Dry Dock Cure for Allure of the Seas?

The Allure eventually went into dry dock (with the use of cofferdams) in the Bahamas in early 2014 for the repair of the bearings in an azipod, which was the subject of an interesting YouTube video

To our knowledge, Royal Caribbean has made no official announcements regarding this issue; there is no indication one way or the other whether the cruise line will respond to the ship's reduced speed with an early dry dock again. 

Stay tuned . . . 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

August 18, 2017 Update: The Allure is scheduled for dry-dock repairs on Janaury 21, 2018, according to Royal Caribbean. The cruise line says that the cruise ship will undergo "standard maintenance work."  The specfics of the work is not specified.

Photo Credit: Allure of the Seas (in Falmouth Jamaica) - Jim Walker

Cruise Passengers Picket & Protest When Costa Ship Misses Port in Vietnam

Costa Victoria Cruise ShipHere is something you will never see in the world of cruising: Cruise passengers so unhappy with their cruise that they won't leave the ship!

As reported in the South China Morning Post, the Costa Victoria could not enter a port in Vietnam because a sunken ship blocked the harbor.  This resulted in a shore excursion to Halong Bay being cancelled.

The travel agency offered the 1,000 or so passengers a refund of around $40 each and the cruise line offered them $50 each.  Most accepted the offers, but over 100 passengers demanded a refund of up to 70% of their cruise fares. They refused to leave the ship and protested loudly.

The next sailing was delayed due to the protest.      

I can't remember ever seeing or hearing about passengers picketing and protesting like this before.

A cruise line would quickly terminate and blacklist a crew member who ever did anything like this. Most disgruntled passengers just want to get off the ship, make their flight connections, and go home.  

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / HG32

 

 

Are Cruise Passengers Entitled to Refunds When Crew Members Go Overboard? No, and Why Should They?

An article this morning in the Chicago Tribune caught my attention - "Compensation Doesn't Float After Cruise Ship Skips Port."   The article involved a family's request for a refund after a cruise ship missed one of the scheduled ports of call.   Instead, the cruise line issued a $500 credit toward a future cruise - $200 for each parent and $100 for their child.

After returning home, the family appealed to the cruise line's customer service department and its corporate offices in Miami.  The mother is quoted as saying "I've been in customer service my whole life and I've never seen people so adept at giving the runaround .  .  .  They were wonderful at it."

I agree that the cruise lines' "service" departments are often of little service at all, and are regularly used as front line defenses to the passengers' claims.  But it is hard to feel sorry for the family upon taking a harder look at the story.  First of all, cruise lines have every legal right to limit their liability in instances of missed ports.  This family is lucky that the cruise line offered $500 under these circumstances. 

But how can anyone complain about a refund when the reason for the missed port was that a Royal Caribbean crew member jumped overboard as the Oasis of the Seas sailed toward St. Thomas - a fact that the article discusses only in passing.  This is a story which we followed closely last May - Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas 

We received sixty-seven (67) comments to the story.  Most of the passengers focused on the tragedy of a crew member deciding to end his life in this manner.  But a few other passengers focused on themselves.  They either complained of the "inconvenience" of delaying their cruise to search for the crew member or not being refunded a portion of their cruise fare.  Most of these complainers were called out for whining when another human being had just perished.

The crew member who died was from the little island of St. Vincent.  Crew members from this island who work as cleaners on cruise ships earn as little as $550 a month working 80 - 90 hours a week.  It makes me grimace to think of any U.S. passenger complaining about a $500 credit. 

So its was strange to be drinking my coffee this morning and see that one of the passengers was still complaining about a missed port and the Chicago Tribune had chosen to write about it five months later.   

Get over it people.  Count your blessings that you still have your family alive and well, and you can enjoy many family vacations in the future.