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Class action lawsuit for Vision of the Seas cruise from Santa Domingo

Class action lawsuit for Vision of the Seas cruise from Santa Domingo

May 12th, 2009, 12:49 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17
Class action lawsuit for Vision of the Seas cruise from Santa Domingo

I would like to see the interest of others who took this cruise departing, 4/ 19/09 who may also want to participate in this suit. For those of who do NOT want to read this very long posting, I would advise others to book RCCL no sooner than the month before they go, as they will cut the rate almost 80% off the rack rate (they have slashed the rates, many, MANY times before and would rather fill it up VERY cheaply then cancel the cruise) and if you paid ahead of time and are not aware of it before taking the cruise, they will refuse you any kind of credit for future cruises or onboard credit (I'm not even talking about a monetary refund which would be less to their advantage) AND fellow cruiser was told by RCC directly that if there is a price drop, and you find out BEFORE the cruise you will only get an adjustment if you booked DIRECTLY with RCCL NOT with a travel agent-please let your travel agent know-very important!!! Do NOT sign up for MYTIME dining, you will not have ANY control of how you want to tip.

This was a cut rate cruise although no mention on web site or brochure of the inconvenience (ongoing renovations that caused the Windjammer to be closed during the whole cruise (this was VERY, very important because they had to bring up food in the dining room to put in the solarium, the buffet food was awful) and the pool occasionally closed, (they said it was the weather but it was closed during mild weather when they were painting it) and lack of amenities offered (was told by reservations who knew what cruise I was going on that cotton balls, lotions, and qtips were provided, housekeeping first refused but then relented when I told them I was told that they would be provided but later sent a supervisor from housekeeping down to tell me that I couldn't get them. A women I met on an excursion felt sorry for me and hunted me down and gave me the bottle they were fighting me-2 oz! ) I don't mind bringing them but I'll be damned if I'll pay shipboard prices for these), you were constantly reminded of how cheap the cruise was (even waiter made the joke that there was not lobster because it was a cheap cruise) but what compels me to file is the gross inequity in the faring.

I understand that fares go down (have taken advantage of that through "last minute" discounts and would've been all right that it went down $100) but found out later that others did not pay the single supplements as I did, that parents could take their kids for free-paying the supplement equivalent to paying for another person, I guess I was paying for the kid's food), that someone who took ANOTHER cruise on the same ship, following the cruise we both were taking, was charged the same price as I did for the ONE cruise (I tried to negotiate and was willing to pay for the whole second cruise although I only wanted to go one more stop, but they wanted me to pay the supplement again so I would be paying for two people AGAIN instead of one), travel agent was refused a category upgrade although I found out later that first timers were upgraded a whole category, if anyone should be upgraded it should be a person paying for a non-existent cabin mate AND was a Crown and Anchor member who had previously spent almost 10K on two other cruises (AND if this matters at all, although the insurance is for other reasons not related to price, you'd think that they might offer some satisfaction to me AS I DID purchase that which is just pure profit for them.) and was refund the discount that I WAS eligible for, the California discount that I guess is supposed to offset the airfare.

It's not just about my dissatisfaction however. Their were postings on the boards about the Brits who had paid full price and then found out that in order to fill the ship, the cruise line drastically slashed the prices for the Dominicans only (they later had to relent on that), they did the same thing on their Asian cruise when they slashed the prices for the people in Hong Kong only (they had to prove their citizenship.) When I got on the ship the first day, and a waitress who heard me speaking her native language, went on and on in that language why she didn't like the British because they wouldn't tip, I understood later why, their anger, but it should NOT have been taken out on the staff. It was a very bad strategy on RCCL part I heard later, they probably hoped to fill up the ship and make money off of the Dominicans on other things but heard from various staff members that not many of the Spanish speaking pax (not ALL were Dominicans but most were) were not buying drinks, taking excursions or shopping in the stores.

This is not a frivolous lawsuit with specious claims, as to the enjoyment of the cruise which is very subjective(one person told me of a lawyer who complained so much with items like that-how he needed Viagra because his room made him impotent and somehow got a free round the world cruise in a suite-where he complained all the time during that to get another one!!) as my reasons are objective, unfair pricing. Not the fare difference (but now that there will be a lawsuit I will ask for that) but the fact that some are charged fees others were not and I feel that it is wrong for RCCL (even thought they later changed it) to engage in the practice of charging by nationality (perhaps those on the Asian cruise could get into this lawsuit to recover THEIR monies.)

Unlike the lawyer previously mentioned I had reasonable demands, (I did not want to take advantage of them as I didn't want to be taken advantage of myself) first to stay onboard to Amsterdam at a fair price then afterwards just a credit for the extra charges I had to pay that others were not charged for, for another cruise (this is to their advantage as I AM one who spends money on a ship) or for shipboard credit (I think myself that if a fare drops dramatically in order to keep the goodwill of the customers they should offer ALL that anyway, someone told me that it only costs the cruise line 50 cents on the dollar and once a person starts spending they may spend a little more). However they refused to compromise and thus this posting. I don't know if this forum allows personal email addresses so I am making this an open posting, one to forewarn people about RCCL (not saying NOT to take them but AGAIN, book at the VERY last minute, NO discount or shipboard credit you will be offered, will be as good as the last minute one) and NOT through your travel agent and tell your TA WHY) and two, if enough people show interest, it will be easier to retain a law firm. When I find the law firm I will post that, if anyone knows of any law firm specializing in suing cruise ships please post.

Perhaps travel agents may be interested in this suit or want to file their own, because although onboard Crown and Anchor makes a big deal about how they're loyal to travel agents and will pay them commission if you book now-their reservation agents on the other hand are telling customers that you won't get the price difference if you book through the TA. If enough Brits are interested perhaps an international law firm can be retained with offices in the U.K and the U.S. I heard many Brits were also unhappy that they paid for two cruises only to find out onboard that the second was a transatlantic cruise going to the same stops as their first Car. cruise. They blamed my travel agent not notifying me about the price going down and no single supplement, but unless they send a fare alert, how would she know? She is not expected to constantly monitor their fares.

There was so much dissatisfaction onboard that RCCL flew out a rep from Miami (?) to address the complaints. I heard it made more people dissatisfied because she offered no solutions, just listened (and for that she was flown out??!!) I was told by the purser she would contact me about my complaints, waited in my cabin for a few hours waiting for her call, then when I contacted them, was told that she was there only to address the Windjammer being closed-what a waste.

I think because this suit will deal objectively with the costs and not subjectively with the "pleasures" of the cruise we will prevail but for those of you whose enjoyment also was diminished daily finding out that you were being rooked, there will be some psychic satisfaction even in loss, that they will have to pay the monies to a lawyer that COULD'VE cost them much less (and retained customers) had they tried to work out a solution. Even if prices will always be different, it should halt the practice of charging some single supplements and others not, or pricing by nationality. And perhaps they will (hopefully) offer some caveat in the future if they offer a cruise of this nature (I told them to put the following on their website so that previous customers would NOT be surprised as how lowball the cruise would be).

"This is a special cruise that is "valued price," therefore many of the traditional things you expect of a RCC cruise may not be the provided such as amenities like the room toiletries, or the same, such as prizes in games (they were so low that once they gave one prize to the whole GROUP saying just play for the fun of it) and renovations on the ship will be ongoing so some public venues such as the Windjammer will be closed and the pool, occasionally. However you will still experience the same excellent food, wonderful entertainment and courteous, friendly service from our employees."

It is unfortunate that RCCL which was a cruise line I always preferred now wants to compete with a cruise line notorious for its cheapness, NCL (who at least from my memory provided hand lotion) and now seems to want to compete against Ezcruise.
evagoblin is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 01:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17
I have set up a yahoo group email for people who wish to participate to contact. I will include email address but as I'm not sure if that will be visible on this site hopefully the group name will remain.

Group name: RCCLlawsuit
Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RCCLlawsuit
Group email: [email protected]
evagoblin is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,819
I now wonder if my memory fails me, and we were on different ships. I was on repositioning Vision of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, and yes, the price went down.

As I made my reservation on RCCL website, not through the agents, I called them, and the difference was refunded to my credit card account. This surprised me, as on another cruise line the same happened, but they would only "refund" the difference as cabin credit.

It was January 2009, Panama canal cruise from Los Angeles to Santo Domingo. I don't understand the tipping problem, as we had a choice - either standard deduction from a credit card, or you can tip at your own discretion. By the way, you never have control over tipping - they pool the cash tips if not deducted from a credit card, they only keep what/if you tip extra.

I would be p!$$ed off too, if the buffet was closed!! The pool on our cruise was closed 2 days - one day we got really bad weather, it was drained, and one day they painted, we couldn't even sit there because of the smell of fresh paint.

"cotton balls, lotions, and qtips" - dry skin lotion was provided, and so was shampoo, others were not even listed on their website, what made you call to inquire how many did you need that you didn't bring them?

This is not true that the first-timers are upgraded automatically. When you make reservation, there is a button: do you want upgrade? I leave it unmarked, for me the cabin location is important. Your travel agent made a mistake of not marking upgrade, and afraid to admit.

My first cruise on another RCCL ship was single. Single supplement depends on the cabin class - from 50% to 100% mark-up, yes, like paying for 2 in balcony cabins.

Yes, you are allowed to post your personal e-mail address on Fodor's. You can also change your profile so your e-mail will automatically appear each time you post a reply or start a new topic.

Sorry you were not satisfied with the whole cruise experience, and I hope not to run into this kind of problems myself! And if a ship employee would ever try to get me into any type of gossip, I would cut the conversation short. If she says something nasty about British not tipping, what will stop her from turning around to tell the same British I am the worst person in the world?
Dayenu is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 11:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17
I liked the cruise but was unhappy in the inequity of the faring. On that particular cruise, some people were charged while others were not (in the SAME category.) I thought it was only if you booked directly on the website (a person who called the res. agent at RC was told that it was a mistake and while talking on the phone she booked it online but others got it through THEIR travel agent-seems like the RC agents didn't want people to know). She booked it a month after me, so they may have changed the policy and I can understand if selfishly on their end they don't want to give a blanket refund, but if you have initiative to find out and ask for a refund, for good future customer relations they should. It is galling however and VERY incosistent, to know that you are paying extra for an invisible cabinmate who eats NOTHING while others (not with babies or toddlers) who have children who DO eat the food, get to have them come for free.

I called and ASKED if they had certain toiletries as I don't want to bring what I don't need to, was told they would be onboard so didn't bring them (again as you know ship and port prices are high for some essentials) was told by housekeeping who at first refused, that since I inquired before coming that I would get them, but then they sent a supervisor to tell me I WOULDN'T get them (forgot the cotton swabs and balls this was over a 2 oz. bottle of lotion !!) and I'm a C and A member who has spent a lot of money on previous cruises. It's unfortunate their customer service has fallen so much.

And lastly, I am not saying that ALL first timers get an upgrade but if anyone deserved an upgrade, it would be a person (who again is paying extra for a non existent person who is not eating their food) AND who has spent a lot of money on previous cruises vs. someone who is cruising the first time. The lawsuit is NOT just to get a refund for the difference and I understand like airlines that fares can change but if they take away single supplements or offer "general" like California discounts to some, then it should be given to ALL who qualify AND they should NOT have fares discriminating on nationality. I also hope that this can make a cruise line offer a full disclosure before or ON booking if because of the price the service level drops dramatically.
evagoblin is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 11:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 17
Forgot to address the tipping issue. When you are on MyTime dining you must sign on paper that the tips are automatically added to your card. I have no problem with that but on the various Carnival lines you can adjust the tip up or down. I was not aware that you could NOT on RC and was very unhappy as I felt that some service workers deserved more and others less, and yes, I understand tips are pooled but you can reward some individually (they even give you strip of papers and envelopes so you can personally reward them, which is ridiculous if it's only pooled right?)
evagoblin is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,819
Nothing ridiculous about envelopes, many add cash to those coupons they print. I am not familiar with MyTime dining, it's something new. In January on our cruise it was only assigned seating.

I don't understand what you mean by California discount for some. We live in California, we got the discount only because our ship left from Los Angeles. Also their senior discount starts from 55 darn it Anyway, it's all clear on the website.

I think if we'd sail off from another state or another country, there would be no discount. Did you get this discount on other cruises? Do you live in California, and was refused the discount?

Sometimes some travel agencies either give a discount, or cabin credit, or gifts. Also people who buy "guaranteed" cabins pay much less, their spouses don't know that, and go on bragging how little they've spent. Gossip is never good.
Dayenu is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,819
I finally got time to toggle over to CruiseCritic. No negative reviews this year, minor things only.
Dayenu is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
The deep discounted late booked fares have been around for YEARS AND YEARS. I have been taking advantage of them, way before the internet- 25 years ago. The problem, now, is they are more known. I don't think you have any case. You AGREED to the initial contact and price. This is NOT unique to RCI.

Late bookings and deep discounts are here to stay. When you booked, you got more choices. There was no guarantee cabins were not going to sell.

IF price is your priority, it is mostly for me. Then you have to be willing to wait it out, and also not go.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 510
Just my two cents on the 1st timers upgrade. We did our 9th RCCL cruise last January. No upgrade. Our friends were doing their first. Book at the same time, they got an upgrade. Makes you wonder.
norrisken is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,819
Norrisken, I made my own reservation on RCCL website to make sure I did not mark the "upgrade" button as I wanted to be in the cabin of my choice. Maybe your friend's TA marked your friend for an upgrade, but your agent had not?
Dayenu is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5
Are you serious?....This sort of discounting has been around for eons. It's the law of supply and demand. You said the cruise line would rather deeeply discount the cruise to sail full than not sail at all. Um, yeah, of course they would. They are still making money onboard on top of the cheap cruise fares.

Believe me, your whole thought on a lawsuit, i would not even bother, im sorry to say but any lawyer is just going to laugh at you.
Luv4dacruise is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 510
Dayenu, Same TA, same time, same cat, same everything. Our cabin was ok, so I'm not unhappy, just wondering. Yeah I think I prefer staying in the cabin of our choice. We put some effort into picking one out.
norrisken is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,819
Hmmm... can they do it? If you pick a cabin, and don't want upgrade, can you be forced to give it up?
Dayenu is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,020
The only experience I've had in this regard was on our Panama Canal cruise. We were on the same ship we took to Alaska and we wanted the exact same cabin. I booked it through Cruises Only and they were able to get that cabin for us. I checked periodically to see what was going on (as I always do) and low and behold they had changed our room, we had been upgraded to a higher deck, nothing else to enhance the upgrade. I was frothing at the mouth and contacted our agent immediately. She said our cabin had already been assigned. I told her to give them the upgrade. Threatened to cancel if we didn't get our selected cabin (a little posturing there). We ultimately got our cabin back and enjoyed that cruise very much. I still don't understand why we weren't notified before the upgrade went into effect. Seems only fair to let passengers know when changes are being made.

We've never received an upgrade before or since, either as new or repeat passengers on any ship.
Giovanna is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,819
This is why I make my own reservations - to keep the cabin of my choice. I hear a lot about changed cabins when the reservation is made through an agent. Maybe the agent was notified, who knows! I am not guessing
Dayenu is offline  

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