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Or should we call it Overbooked Of The Seas…
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Let me start off by saying I’ve been a long-time supporter and fan of Royal – you could say I’m loyal to Royal
For context, a common practice used and seen within the Airline industry is overbooking flights – it’s rare that all passengers will make it to that flight, so they overbook it to fill those slots to make the most money. But what if I told you, this is something that has recently happened on Quantum Of The Seas in Brisbane? You see the problem is with this, typically when people book a holiday – they are a lot less likely to miss a cruise than just a typical flight.
Overbooked On Royal Caribbean
A fellow Australian cruiser, Jai along with his wife, arrived at the Brisbane cruise terminal just before 2 PM expecting to board Quantum Of The Seas going to the South Pacific for 8 Nights (28/11/2023). After attempting to hand in their luggage – they were told that they were not on the manifest and that there must be a mix-up with the booking system. During this time they were also handed a piece of paper offering alternate options before Jai and his wife were brought into the waiting area with roughly 13 other couples. They were then told that Royal was seeing if any other cabins would free up before final check-in, (3:30 PM) from cancelations and no-shows. During this time Jai mentions the communication between fellow cruisers and the staff was very poor and disappointing. After the final check-in, two couples were let on board, while the rest were told – “There was no more physical room on board” and weren’t able to give an explanation as to why or how this happened. Jai and the 11 other couples were left high and dry, without transportation or anywhere to stay nor were they offered compensation for travel- Jai quotes “The ground staff didn’t know what to say or do and could only offer to call a taxi”. (We should note that the ground staff is not always directly employed by Royal Caribbean)
The irony of Jai and his wife booking a GTY Interior Cabin, means they would have been guaranteed to receive that room type but the location and cabin number would have been assigned later date. Quoted from Royal Caribbean’s website “At times we may offer you the option of making a ‘Guarantee’ (GTY) booking. This means you may book a stateroom of a guaranteed category type (Interior, Oceanview, Balcony or Suite) on your chosen ship and cruise.” which be can seen here.
From what you can see above they were given 4 options at the start.
Jai wasn’t satisfied with this result and decided to take action by posting on Facebook groups for support, Reddit, and Emailing the Royal Caribbean Executive team. The next morning Jai received a call from a member of Royal’s Executive Team, apologizing for the mistake and offering alternative compensation.
Jai said on Facebook “This morning I received a call from head office offering a much better compensation package. They offered a full refund, 100% FCC, and a complimentary deluxe beverage package.”
Although Jai and his wife have been given this apparent offer, it makes you wonder if the other 11 couples were given the same offer. Jai then mentions on Facebook “I know there were a lot of other couples that were denied boarding along with us, so if anyone knows who they are please let them know what was offered to me so they can also receive this. I would hate it if RCI only offered this to me because I was lucky enough to have my post to go viral here and on reddit.”
I asked Jai if he had any final comments – to which he replied “I would just add that I encourage anyone who has had a similar experience to do what I did. Shout it from the roof tops and email corporate. We need to make it loud and clear that we expect better from cruise lines.”
Again, I’d like to say as someone who is personally “loyal to royal” and a true Royal Caribbean lover – that Royal can and should do better. I feel it’s also important to hold Royal accountable for these actions as I believe they truly are the best cruise line.
A big thank you to Jai and his wife for walking me through everything that happened and sharing his story with everyone.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not affiliated with Royal Caribbean or any cruise line mentioned in this post. The information provided is based on research and personal experiences to help you make informed decisions and enhance your cruise adventure. We also were given permission from Jai to use his story, name, and image before posting this article.