•5/19/2019 9:03am: I spoke with Jose in pre-sail department about documentation needed for the sail. I provided my reservation number and sail info to Jose and proceeded to check if it’s ok to sail this trip with valid Russian passport and US Naturalization certificate.
Jose checked with his supervisor on this while over the phone. Before I proceeded to ask other questions regarding onboard service, the last answer Jose gave me and I repeated over the phone (at 20 minutes into the conversation) was that it is ok with RCI to board and leave the ship and I need to double check if returning to US with naturalization certificate is permitted. I subsequently checked with USCIS office and website and getting the answer that it’s ok to enter to US with naturalization certificate. So we went to the cruise trip.
However when we got to the port on 5/27/19, we were told by port staff that the person cannot board the ship with Russian passport and US naturalization certificate, because this ship sails to Cuba specifically.
•5/27/2019 at the port, I called RCI customer service and spoke with Sophie from complaint department about this issue. Sophie initially denied I had conversation with Jose at all. After I provided exact time and date of my phone call and ask her to listen to the call recording, Sophie said will investigate. I requested refund of the person’s cruise cost as Jose provided wrong information leading that person could not board the ship.
•6/3/2019 I spoke with Sophie, she denied my request for refund.
Sophie stated her supervisor had listened to the recording and will get back to me. I requested a transcript of the call, and Sophie said I need to contact legal department for that.
•6/4/2019 I spoke with Nel from complaint department. Nel initially denied my request by accusing me for not reading the documents list which mentioned “passport”. When I pointed out the person had Russian passport, and I specifically spoke with Jose about using Russian passport -- at this point it’s clear that Nel either did not listen to the recording prior to speaking with me or just trying to get rid of me with whatever reason seems remotely relevant.
Nel then said he would listen to the call recording.
•6/5/2019 I spoke with Nel. Nel denied my request and said Jose “did the right thing”. When point out to Nel what Jose said during the conversation and specifically at minute 20 was clearly wrong (because I listened back to my own recording of this phone call many times), Nel said “we are not focusing on that”. At that moment, I was too disturbed by this audacious unprincipled “argument” and couldn't continue, so I hang up the phone.
There was no resolution reached in the end.
When being confronted with facts, Nel just simply refused to acknowledge any wrong by saying “we are not focusing on that”. – But that, is exactly what Jose had done wrong, that is exactly what cost me and my family money and stress, this is exactly what I am focusing on this whole time!
RCI is a reputable international company. As a customer, I trusted Jose in answering this very important question. For some reason, he does not know the answer.
He actually asked me what naturalization certificate is about 6 minutes into the conversation, meaning that he was answering my question without even have the slightest idea of what he is talking about.
At the port, RCI staff immediately knew what specifically the problem was (and staffs on the ship had the same look on their face when I brought it up, they all knew clearly what naturalization certificate is, and what the issue is for this particular trip) – because the ship sails to Cuba, so naturalization certificate and foreign passport cannot be used to board the ship – the problem is not about returning to US but boarding the ship. Knowing this trip is to Cuba, Jose did not understand the issue at all, and had confirmed clearly that using Russian passport and naturalization certificate is totally ok with RCI, “boarding and leaving” the ship.
For Jose, this maybe a very trivial detail in the large amount of questions he answers daily, but for us, this specific customer in this specific situation, the answers matter greatly. Because it is wrong, we lost the money for the cruise trip, for the round trip flight, and the whole plan for the vacation. No one expects to see this coming in all the joy and excitement at the port before boarding the ship.
However besides all the stress of this, what disturbs me the most, is how complaint department staff Sophie and Nel handled my request.
Sophie and Nel were unhelpful and dishonest.
From the very beginning, from the resistance of acknowledge the validity of my claim, to the repeated inconstancy in their responses, to the unforthcoming about information, I can clearly see the opportunisms when they tried to deny my request for various reasons in the beginning without even spending time to understand the issue or do any investigation they promised to do. If I didn’t provide them with evidence, they even denied I had a conversation with Jose at all!
Product or Service Mentioned: Royal Caribbean Customer Care.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $500.
Preferred solution: Full refund.