Royal Caribbean are not winning me over

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#1
281 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
We are regular cruisers having spent many nights on Carnival, Princess, Ocean Village and P&O, however our next cruise is to be Royal Caribbean (Brilliance of the Seas, Dubai to Rome). The in-laws who are great fans of RCI finally convinced us to give them a go.

We know we have to get connecting flights to Heathrow and the original notification showed our flights out would be in the evening which suited us. However we are now on our 4th or 5th change to flight times.

The previous notification showed flights in the early afternoon with a 6-7 hour stop over in Heathrow. So rather than having to get up in the early hours to drive the 3 hours to the airport I booked an extra day off work, and hotel, evening meal, breakfast, car parking and an extra day in the kennels for our dogs ... our plan being to drive to the airport the day before, have a nice dinner, a leisurely wake up in the morning with breakfast, go to airport, fly to Heathrow and spend the waiting time in a lounge at Heathrow (which I had also booked).

However, yesterday RCI have changed our flights again back to the evening. So now I have a day off work I don't need, a hotel that I don't need (including meals), an extra day for the dogs in kennels and lounge access I can not use. The kennels and lounge access is non-refundable and I have a feeling the only way I could book the hotel was non-refundable as well.

In 15 years of cruising this is the first time we have been messed around like this and I have to say that, so far, I am very unimpressed with RCI pre-cruise arrangements. However, I am an eternal optimist, and they still have an opportunity of redeeming themselves during the cruise.
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#2
Bunnell, FL 32110
12,600 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I am sure you will be pleased with the ship.

Keep in mind that RCI does not own the airlines and that when the airlines make changes RCI has to adjust plans for you.
#3
Texas Hill Country
15,623 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
This is an Airline problem, I'm sure RCCL is trying to get you the best flights possible. Call them and tell them you want the earlier flight and then you can be less stressed and rested when you get to Heathrow.

The airlines have been cancelling and moving flights a lot lately, must be because the increased rates due to the oil problem has forced them to be a lot tighter with their scheduling. And....the Brilliance is really worth it!
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160 Days at Sea with RCCL
14 with Celebrity
4 with Carnival


#4
The Berkshires Of MA
11,373 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
It is common knowledge these days that the airlines are very undependable and they change flight times constantly. I am not sure when you are sailing but you have until final payment to cancel that air and make your own arrangments. Maybe you can find something better. We never do air through the cruiseline.
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#5
235 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
You are kidding, right? The AIRLINES keep changing your flight arrangements and this is RC's fault? Should we assume that if you had booked these flights instead the airlines would have said "oh, look, Ken & Julie booked these flights directly, so we'd better not make any of those changes we were planning"???
#6
Virginia Beach, Virginia
5,079 Posts
Joined May 2004
Did you book directly with a Royal Caribbean agent or did you use a TA?

Our Princess flights to Heathrow from Dulles have been changed three times and we are still several months out. I wouldn't even consider blaming Princess.

Best of luck to you and I hope you enjoy your cruise.
#7
Rhode Island
2,079 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by KenAndJulie

However, yesterday RCI have changed our flights again back to the evening.

In 15 years of cruising this is the first time we have been messed around like this and I have to say that, so far, I am very unimpressed with RCI pre-cruise arrangements.
Originally posted by beachnative
Did you book directly with a Royal Caribbean agent or did you use a TA?
It appears they booked their air with RCI. Since RCI has to get them to the ship on time, and since the skyrocketing cost of fuel has carriers changing their schedules to be more cost efficient, RCI may be juggling flights.

OP, each time there is a change to your itinerary are you given a reason?
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Cathy

Carnival Fantasy 1996
Golden Princess 2002
Golden Princess 2003
Serenade of the Seas 2004
Adventure of the Seas 2005
Crown Princess 2006
Liberty of the Seas 2008
Independence of the Seas 2009
Explorer of the Seas 2010
Oasis of the Seas 2011
Oasis of the Seas 2012
Allure of the Seas 2013
Allure of the Seas 2014
#8
1,967 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
You have a right to be upset. This is NOT an airline problem. Flights within the United States do change schedules all the time.

Long-haul flights, such as flights between Europe and Dubai, DO NOT change schedules so frequently in such a way that the cruise line cannot get your air arrangements set once and for all.

This sounds like the RCCL Europe wholesale air department just looking for the best bargain to suit itself.

Get on the phone with RCCL and demand to speak with an air supervisor. Tell the supervisor that you are very unhappy and you want the schedule set one way or another.

Remember, the rules here in Europe are different from what they have in the United States. An air change by the "operator" (RCCL, according to the EU Package Travel Directive) that requires you to either take an extra day and book a hotel, or now lose an extra day with no need for hotel, is considered a "significant change in itinerary". This means that, by law, you are entitled to cancel with full refund of all charges plus additional compensation.

While I am not suggesting that you cancel, you should clearly remind RCCL of the laws to which they are subject and tell them you are not happy. In Europe, the law prevents the "operator" from tossing passengers around as if they were UPS parcels, although apparently they are allowed to do this in the United States.

Hope you enjoy your cruise.

Kind regards,

Gunther and Uta
#9
Ft. Worth, Tx, USA
9,768 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
Every mainstream cruise line uses bulk airfares by holding block space, at discounted rates to move cruise passengers. The AIRLINE reserves the right to "adjust" the air block, either by size of the block, or by flight. The flight times may not actually change, but demand changes and when a flight shows increases in bookings, the AIRLINE will move the block to another flight.
Airlines do change schedules, usually major schedule changes occur approx every three months. Depending on how far out your are booked on your cruise, you may very well see even more flight changes. This is one of those things you have to live with when you use any cruiseliens bulk airfare.
Whether it be RCI, Carnival, Princess, NCL or any other mainstream line, you will encounter these changes.
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#10
170 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by KenAndJulie
We are regular cruisers having spent many nights on Carnival, Princess, Ocean Village and P&O, however our next cruise is to be Royal Caribbean (Brilliance of the Seas, Dubai to Rome). The in-laws who are great fans of RCI finally convinced us to give them a go.

We know we have to get connecting flights to Heathrow and the original notification showed our flights out would be in the evening which suited us. However we are now on our 4th or 5th change to flight times.

The previous notification showed flights in the early afternoon with a 6-7 hour stop over in Heathrow. So rather than having to get up in the early hours to drive the 3 hours to the airport I booked an extra day off work, and hotel, evening meal, breakfast, car parking and an extra day in the kennels for our dogs ... our plan being to drive to the airport the day before, have a nice dinner, a leisurely wake up in the morning with breakfast, go to airport, fly to Heathrow and spend the waiting time in a lounge at Heathrow (which I had also booked).

However, yesterday RCI have changed our flights again back to the evening. So now I have a day off work I don't need, a hotel that I don't need (including meals), an extra day for the dogs in kennels and lounge access I can not use. The kennels and lounge access is non-refundable and I have a feeling the only way I could book the hotel was non-refundable as well.

In 15 years of cruising this is the first time we have been messed around like this and I have to say that, so far, I am very unimpressed with RCI pre-cruise arrangements. However, I am an eternal optimist, and they still have an opportunity of redeeming themselves during the cruise.
Just chiming in to say- I am concerned (a very little truth be) that this wont be my favorite sail yet. Been on different lines- first time with Royal and some of their policies are completely turning me off already. HOWEVER- my ship gets great reviews and I truly believe a bad day at sea is better than a good day in the office- so off I go. I do hope this was the worst that happens to your vacation- and from here on out it is smooth sailing - pun totally intended
#11
6,005 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Does the OP tells us their home country? Maybe UK with all those P&O cruises? Was this a choiceair booking or some other type of cruise air booking? Without such info, lawyerly advice posted above seems perhaps premature. Without details, it does strick me as likely to be an airline issue. Or, if the OP paid a lower price for flexible flight arrangement vs higher prices for customized flights, why be surprised when one indeed must be flexible?

I realize the EU rules give travelers more protections if they book as a package, but package bookings may offer less passenger control over said booking. Life is full of tradeoffs...I like to control my air arrangements, so I book air independently, carefully selecting airlines, flight times, layovers, seat assignments, and arrive a day early if at all possible.

I hope the OP's flights go well on the end...Once all the airline issues are past, perhaps the OP will enjoy Royal Caribbean. Or perhaps the OP will be back to P&O. either way, happy sails and enjoy the trip...it sounds like an intriguing itinerary.
#12
1,967 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Remember the passenger booked the cruise from RCCL in Europe as an air/sea package. The laws are different here than they are in the United States.

RCCL is considered the "operator" under EU law and is responsible for both the cruise, air, and anything else they are including in their package, and the passenger here has certain rights that unfortunately you do not have in the United States.

And long-haul flights of so many hours do not change schedules very frequently -- that throws off the airline's entire connection system that feeds those long-haul flights in both directions.

I fly between Madrid and New York twice per month. The Iberia flight from JFK to Madrid has left JFK at 6:00 p.m. for the last 30 years, just to give you an example. Flying from LHR to Dubai is not like flying from Dallas to Miami. The airlines that fly there maintain the same basic schedules, because these are the "slots" that are purchased at the airport. It would be highly unusual for a flight that usually leaves in the evening to all of a sudden leave in the morning, or for a route that usually connects seamlessly to now have a 7 hour connection. That is RCCL swapping flights to save a few dollars or pounds -- not the airlines.

Kind regards,

Gunther and Uta
#13
Klein, Texas
5,941 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Since you have not cruised RC before you probably have not visited this page enough to realize that RC can do no wrong.

When you make any sort of complaint against RC here, expect to be insulated, threatened, and labeled a "troll".

Some people will actually spend hours reading all your past posts and analyze, breaking them down word for word, looking for inconsistencies or something that incriminates yourself.


A word to the wise, just get in line....
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#14
Ft. Worth, Tx, USA
9,768 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
You are right, with one exception..You are dealing iwth bulk air fares....The rules between the contractor and the carrier are way different than between the consumer and the air carrier....
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#15
Maryland's Eastern Shore
5,930 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I have read and re-read the OP's post and no where does she/he say she booked in Europe. I must be missing something.
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#16
UK
654 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
I would never book an air package with RCI in Europe as people seem to have no end of problems - there seem to be endless tales of people being sent on indirect flights, e.g. rather than send people on a 2 hour direct flight from London to Barcelona, they are sent on indirect flights that end up taking 6-7 hours. I think in this case it is RCI and not the airline that is the problem as the schedules don't change that often. The former has been offering 'free flight' promotions in the UK (which in my experience just seems to mean the cruise price goes up), and I expect they are just sticking people on whatever flights they can find seats a the cheapest price. Flexibility is one thing but to be be given 4/5 different flight notifications seems unreasonable and I just don't believe that has anything to do with the airline (even low cost no frills airlines like Ryanair don't change their schedules that frequently). Better that RCI had not confirmed any arrangements until nearer the time when they could be more certain, rather than waste people's time and money.
#17
1,967 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Texas Monk, remember the passengers booked their trip in Europe, not Texas.

I don't care if RCCL purchases bulk airfare or they call it whatever they want. There is a very famous law over here called the "EU Package Travel Directive". Use your search engine and read the law.

That is a "framework" law. Each member country has had to implement that law and usually, in doing so, offers even greater protections to the consumer.

The system doesn't work over here the same way it does in the United States, and you need to realize that before you accuse me of being wrong.

Here in Europe, if RCCL changes your air schedule the way they are doing, causing a passenger to require an additional day plus hotel, or losing an additional day minus hotel, etc., that type of change under EU and British law entitles the passenger to a full refund plus compensation if the passenger does not accept the change, or if the passenger does accept the change, the "operator" (RCCL) must pay compensation or reimburse those added expenses incurred by the passenger.

Now I know you Americans across the pond don't agree with this system and are ready to jump in with things like "RCCL can't control the airlines", etc. Before you ingenuously start making comments like that, please take a deep breath and remember that the laws are different from what you are used to in other countries and not everyplace operates as if it were the United States.

Kind regards,

Gunther and Uta
#18
26,205 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by KenAndJulie
We are regular cruisers having spent many nights on Carnival, Princess, Ocean Village and P&O, however our next cruise is to be Royal Caribbean (Brilliance of the Seas, Dubai to Rome). The in-laws who are great fans of RCI finally convinced us to give them a go.

We know we have to get connecting flights to Heathrow and the original notification showed our flights out would be in the evening which suited us. However we are now on our 4th or 5th change to flight times.

The previous notification showed flights in the early afternoon with a 6-7 hour stop over in Heathrow. So rather than having to get up in the early hours to drive the 3 hours to the airport I booked an extra day off work, and hotel, evening meal, breakfast, car parking and an extra day in the kennels for our dogs ... our plan being to drive to the airport the day before, have a nice dinner, a leisurely wake up in the morning with breakfast, go to airport, fly to Heathrow and spend the waiting time in a lounge at Heathrow (which I had also booked).

However, yesterday RCI have changed our flights again back to the evening. So now I have a day off work I don't need, a hotel that I don't need (including meals), an extra day for the dogs in kennels and lounge access I can not use. The kennels and lounge access is non-refundable and I have a feeling the only way I could book the hotel was non-refundable as well.

In 15 years of cruising this is the first time we have been messed around like this and I have to say that, so far, I am very unimpressed with RCI pre-cruise arrangements. However, I am an eternal optimist, and they still have an opportunity of redeeming themselves during the cruise.
Are you sure that the changes are RCI's doing and not the airline's? In our experience it has more often than not been the airline which has caused our flight arrangements to change rather than the cruise line. Check again to see if the source of the problem is actually RCI so you will know where you should be directing your complaints.
#19
3,348 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Originally posted by negc
Are you sure that the changes are RCI's doing and not the airline's? In our experience it has more often than not been the airline which has caused our flight arrangements to change rather than the cruise line. Check again to see if the source of the problem is actually RCI so you will know where you should be directing your complaints.
Careful there Bill, or the lawyer who drinks beer like soft drinks will get you
#20
Arlington, VA USA
1,983 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Originally posted by luvscruising2007
I have read and re-read the OP's post and no where does she/he say she booked in Europe. I must be missing something.
OP uses British style collective nouns and flies out of Heathrow. Reasonably good indicators of European origin.
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