My cruise on the Oasis in October 2014 was a disappointment from start to finish: I arrived on the dock with my invite in hand for priority check in, only to find thousands of people ahead of me. I joined the back of the line while carrying my 45lb backpack, and then had to stand in line for over 1.5 hours to get to the customs and wait lounge. It was in the lounge that an individual – not one of the RCI-logo-wearing employees at the dock – informed me that the luggage check in had been BEHIND the lineup downstairs, and that I could’ve checked my bag and done the wait without the weight. When I finally got into the lounge, the lineup was snaking around for another couple of hours’ wait, and we were told to sit down and colour coded tags would be handed to us, to group us for processing. I took a seat and played a game to pass time, and at the end of my game looked up to see everyone around me holding tags – they had skipped me entirely. Frustrated, I decided to leave. I checked my bag and went for a walk around Rotterdam, thinking the line would be shorter when I came back. It wasn’t. I had to wait in line again (thankfully without the bag this time) for another 1.5 hours, and re-arrived in the hall to find the lineup there just as bad. After a half an hour, I noticed someone going to a rep standing at the far left hand side of the hall and being admitted. A few others noticed too, and about 20 of us arrived at the same time to what turned out to be the priority check in – it was obfuscated by the waiting room chairs and the huge lineup which turned out to be the customs line for EU citizens. From there we were processed quickly, but it took over 5 hours to get to that point.
When I was checked in I was given Emerald status, which was disappointing because I had calculated my sail days as putting me at Diamond status for this trip. I had been expecting the switchover and was disappointed, but assumed RCI could keep track of its own records better than me and that I’d made a mistake. Just today, when I noticed my cruise points had still not been assigned, I called RCI customer service and was told that, due to a glitch in your system, my C&A points have been miscalculated for several cruises because of a duplication. A new C&A membership number had been generated for me, but this information had not been passed along to me, or it seems your ships. Speaking with Jay at C&A customer service, it turns out I should have had my diamond status on the Brilliance, too – my solo traveller bonus points had not been credited. I’ve missed out on Diamond status for TWO Transatlantic sailings!
My sailing on the Oasis made me realize that class of ship is not for me – I had an inside cabin, there were very few public lounges where the ocean could be seen, the TV channel was focused on the Promenade instead of the bow cam, and we were locked in for the first week due to rough seas. In addition to the stir-craziness this caused (two passengers wound up in a fistfight at the enrichment lectures one day) I’ve never felt so disconnected from the ocean on a cruise before. My one attempt to correct this – specifically requesting a seat at a window at lunch – was undone when the next diners to arrive complained that they didn’t like looking at the water, and we were all moved to a table far away from the windows. I did see the Diamond Lounge through the locked doors, and know it would’ve been a place where I could’ve sat and watched the ocean. I’m very disappointed that this
opportunity was denied to me due to a glitch, and even more disappointed that I had to figure this glitch out for myself – no notification was given me that a new C&A number was generated, and your system did not recognize the updated points when I signed up for the new sailings.
I started this journey of revelations this morning by calling a phone rep – Dawn – at the RCI contact-us number. It was Dawn who informed me that my C&A number was somehow duplicated, and said I have a new number. She attempted to relay this to me, but I tried to explain that, as I log in using my RCI online account, I have no way of seeing the correct membership number or using the correct membership info. It was Jay – 2 phone calls later – who helpfully walked me through the process of creating a new account and gave me the new membership number so I could access my true C&A information. Jay was the only helpful employee I dealt with today.
When I mentioned my disappointment at realizing that I lost out on Diamond perqs, Dawn reacted with an oh-well shrug: “I can’t do anything about that because that was back then.” She then deflected my follow up questions, and I wound up ending the call feeling really upset and dissatisfied.
I called the customer relations number different to Dawn’s, thinking a CR rep rather than a sales rep might show more interest in my situation, but instead I got Neil. I explained some of the above situation to Neil, but as soon as he heard “Crown and Anchor” he put me on hold and COLD TRANSFERRED me to the C&A phone queue – not even a warm transfer to a rep. Very disappointing customer service!
I would like to reserve my one spot of praise for Jay. She was understanding, patient and helpful. I can’t say the same for any of the other RCI reps I spoke with today, or with the port employees at Rotterdam.
I will state that I abandoned RCI for my spring transatlantic this year because of the misadventures noted above, and the more-than-double single supplement fee that applies to most of the sailings. I am thinking of booking a Studio Interior stateroom on the Serenade for the August transatlantic crossing, but before I commit I want to know what steps RCI will take to make up for the privileges I lost on my last two RCI cruises.