Local ABC affiliate WTVD News11 Raleigh / Durham, North Carolina aired a story yesterday about a number of families who traveled to Miami only to find that they could not use their birth certificates to board the cruise ship.
It turns out that Royal Caribbean recognizes only certain types of birth certificates as proper identification.
Some passengers arrived in Miami after driving all night were told they could not board the cruise ship. A few people, who scrambled at the last minute and found a helpful clerk at their country courthouse back home to fax them a copy of their birth certificate, were permitted to board. It turns out that a facsimile copy of a certificate from a courthouse is okay, but an original certificate from a hospital is not okay.
Some passengers, who were denied boarding, received partial discounts for a future cruise. Others received nothing.
There is no rhyme or reason to prohibit original hospital certificates but accept facsimile copies of clerk records. But Royal Caribbean explains that this policy is spelled out on page 4 of its 19 pages of terms and conditions.
Royal Caribbean also refused to cooperate with some families, and would not let them use the company’s fax machines. Unlike Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines which are located near the airport, Royal Caribbean’s corporate offices are located right in the port.
Conduct like this by a corporation worth 15 billion dollars may seem perplexing to many people, particularly nice people from North Carolina who have driven a long way to make the cruise.
Lessons learned? Don’t expect a billion dollar corporation you just paid $1,500 for a vacation cruise to help you out.
And don’t forget to bring your passport.
Video: Local ABC affiliate WTVD News11 Raleigh / Durham, North Carolina