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A Rocky Start to the Vacation!

While Madison and I are still 103 days away from our Father/ Daughter vacation, not that anyone is counting, the vacation looked like it was going to get off to a rocky start. On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, I received word through Royal Caribbean(#RoyalCaribbean) that they were discontinuing their Dine ▪ Drink ▪ Discover program for neighborhood balcony staterooms aboard their Oasis Class Ships. As a travel agent, I received the email a day before I received it as a customer. While this may not seem like a big deal for most considering the Oasis Class ships contain around 2,700 staterooms, for those in the 550 plus staterooms effect this was a big deal. After extensive time spent researching cruises and finding what I had hoped would be the perfect cruise for us, Royal Caribbean was canceling the one amenity that due me to our specific class stateroom. The cancellation of the program was going to cost me over $150 more to just get the same amenities that I had been promised when I booked. Royal Caribbean's solution to cancelling the program was to give each stateroom not each person a $50 on-board ship credit (OBC). For those of you who know me, this was not going to go over well.

At first I was furious, how and why would Royal Caribbean even think that this was a good idea. I understand they have a need to remain profitable and if they feel guests are not going to use the program then I would consider changing the program as well. I, however, had every intention of using the program. My first thought was how dare they and am I going to end up making some poor employee cry that literally had nothing to do with the decision. I also had another dilemma, having just started my travel agency do I really want to start out a relationship with a supplier by beating, not literally, on one of their employees trying to at least get something close to what I was promised when I booked. I didn't want to be "that guy" so, I waited. I watched other travel blogs and comment sections to see what others were finding out. Most customers seemed to be just as upset as I was and they were literally up a creek without a paddle as customer service was not accommodating them in anyway. The best resolution I had found was Royal Caribbean was offering an extra $50 OBC to those who complained, if you got the right person.

Having sailed with Royal Caribbean before, enjoying every minute of it, and watching what they went through earlier this year with the misprint on their Deluxe Beverage Package, I had high hopes they would do the right thing. Then on Friday, after what I can only imagine was a Tums filled few days for Royal Caribbean employees, another email from Royal Caribbean. The email announced that while they would be discontinuing the program, they were willing to grandfather in those who had already booked with them. Not only did they reinstate the amenity in an effort to not make those happy with the OBC mad, they allowed guests to pick which option they preferred. This was music to my ears. I could retain the amenity I had original booked with and I did not need to make an unnecessary call to Royal Caribbean to fight for the benefit. Crisis Averted!

For those that do not follow travel as closely as I have but have certainly seen businesses make mistakes in their personal life, I offer this. While their initial decision to discontinue the program angered many of their clients and customers, their response to those complaints, in my opinion, was spot on. Not only did they quickly correct their mistake, they acknowledged their mistake and took responsibility for it. Which in today's world is a breath of fresh air. Here is their response:

In all of my dealing with Royal Caribbean, they have found them to be very responsive to their customers. Royal Caribbean certainly has the ship pointed in the right direction. Now that my blood pressure has returned to normal, it is time to get back to cruise planning. Still only 103 days to go, you would think that for as much as I talk and how fast I type more time would have past.

For those interested in what the Harmony of the Seas and Royal Caribbean has to offer, please like the Beyond the Blue Travel Facebook Page and website as I will be doing a live Ship Review and Report from the ship, with in reason. Have to get mostly father/daughter time in. 😁🚢

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