Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Reflecting Upon the Last Several Months of the Blog

After a few weeks of this blog, I asked myself “What have I learned?” and I wrote my impressions to that point in time. After a few months, I’m asking the same question again. Here are some updated comments in no particular order of importance:

It’s nice to receive comments. The passion for our brand is amazing and all the comments are a reminder of this. Of course many of the comments are not positive and some are downright nasty. That clearly comes with the territory and is the flip side of how much people care about what we do at Royal Caribbean International. Any time there are a lot of comments the thread tends to go all over the place and at some point or many points includes angst about what we are doing or not doing, offering or not offering. That’s clearly not going to change although hopefully the occasions where we give offense in the future will be few and far between.

Readers post comments on a regular basis wanting to know what we are going to do about topics such as the combinability of discounts or the eligibility for access to the Concierge Lounge. When I have already given answers/explanations to the best of my ability, as I have in each of these two cases, it’s hard to know what more to write. If we have any additional news on such topics, you will read about it here for sure.

Although there are many posts here, there are many more posts to the same blog entries through the Royal Caribbean International site on Facebook. Wow, you can really see the power of Facebook in this respect.

Our customer service people really try hard to be responsive to any post that is of a customer service nature. The biggest stumbling block is not the type of issue. It is the inability to respond to posters who have not provided sufficient information in their comment. In any event, social media has become an important new element of customer service workload. It is truly a dynamic world we live in.

Surely the most important entries are the ones that speak to particular elements of the products and services we offer. Whether through my own posts or guest posts by my colleagues, we need to keep you up to date on the latest. I will continue to try to balance those entries with other entries of a more personal nature. My goal is to give the readers some insight into the totality of my experience as the President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

Feel free to comment on any or all of this. Or something else!

62 responses to:
“Reflecting Upon the Last Several Months of the Blog”

  1. Roger Custer

    Thanks for posting on this blog, Mr. Goldstein. I find it interesting as a loyal RCL cruiser, but also from a business standpoint. I try to apply your lessons to my work in the non-profit sector. Keep it up!

  2. Scott Jensen

    I would like to see more replies by you, Adam, to comments made. When that’s done, it shows that you’re actually reading our comments. There are many blogs where the blogger clearly doesn’t read the comments posted. The blogger is simply saying what they want to say and not caring how it is received. When bloggers reply back to comments, such action shows the blogger is engaged with us commentators.

    And replies should be given to the bad and the good. If you only reply to compliments, you can come across as the emperor who parades around thinking he’s wearing clothes. If you only reply to the bad, it can make this blog into a whinefest and commentators will then more likely complain to get a reply from you.

    I am happy that you are doing this blog. Most CEOs tend to not want to deal with the unwashed masses and remain isolate in their ivory towers. That you’re doing this speaks well for not only you but your company. Thanks.

  3. Daniel Smith

    For every 1 nasty comment, there are 10 readers that appreciate having some insight into the decisions that you make to enhance the RCL brand.

    Discussions on C&A changes, assistant waiters enhancing bar service at dinner, the deployment process, new ships, and new amenities found onboard come across clearer from you as they would in a press release.

    Thanks for taking the time to write. It is greatly appreciated by many, despite the negativity found in some comments.

  4. C. Marie

    Was the “Nasty” comment really necessary?

    I mean what do you call a company that reneges on promises made to its Loyal Customers, would you call that comany “Nice” or “Nasty”? What do you call a company that asks for comments on a blog from its customers and then censors and/or deletes comments it doesn’t like? Would you call that company “Nice” or “Nasty”?

    I could go on, but I think you get the message. Actually, the fact that you used the word “Nasty” to describe many of your Loyal Customers says volumes about you and how this blog and the ramifications of your recent “Enhancements” for your Loyal Customers is getting to you.

    Maybe, just maybe, you could admit tht you were wrong and rescind the cutbacks. But I don’t think so. All the time you are spending holding hands with the folks in Dubai (MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!) sends the message load and clear. Loyal Customers from the US and Europe are disposable when there is MONEY to be made in other ways.

    How Sad.

  5. Albie

    Interesting you got flack on combining discounts.
    My wife was very upset and I said it’s business.
    But, we took 6 cruises in 08 (5 rcl 1 celeb.) 4 in 09 ( 3 rcl 1 princess) and have only the Oasis in 2010.
    You increased Celebrity benifits and downgraded RCL this bought other cruise lines into consideration.
    You may want to rethink that business decision.

    Oh yeah I want to see 15 mins, from parking garage to being on board the Oasis. Sounds like congress and health care.

  6. R. Harper

    I ask about a time change issue and it was never answered in over 2 months. If it was I can’t find it.
    I you have answered it please point me to the answer.
    Thanks.

  7. Jamie Snyder

    I think all the “positive challenged” comment folks should try to relax, go on a vacation….. maybe a cruise I hear Royal Caribbean is nice. ;)

  8. Steve

    A lot of regular log time Royal Caribbean customers have become disenchanted by all of the recent cost cutting measures that Royal Caribbean has done within the last few years. While I believe that everyone knows that the economy will dictate some changes, many should have been left alone.

    What I see if Royal Caribbean becoming is another Carnival Cruise Lines which is sad. Cut everything to the bare minimum and attract more first time cruisers. I guess that Royal is hoping that the dedicated Royal cruisers that do not like the changes will move to Celebrity. Not going to happen. Just causing me to check out other cruise lines not owned by RCCL.

    The top management of RCCL made the decision to build these monster expensive ships and now have to pay for them. You may find it hard to pay for them with repeat customers looking elsewhere to spend their vacation dollars. I really have to question who is running this company. Maybe the major stockholders should do the same. Also, this is not meant to be a “nasty” comment. Just the truth.

  9. Robert Wooley

    I am a Diamond member with RCL having 17 cruise credits. I have learned that this makes me an Elite Member on Celebrity. However, I am told that you cannot combine cruise credits from CEL and RCL to upgrade into the Diamond Plus category. This seems rather odd, because if becoming Diamond status with RCL automatically makes you Elite status with CEL, aren’t you in fact allowing cruise credits on RCL to count for upgrade with CEL. It’s all one company, just like owning RCL stock earns onboard credits with CEL and Azamara. It would not be costly to combine all cruise credits, and it would sure gain you some points with the customers that are so disgruntled at this time. Give it some thought.
    Respectfully
    R. Wooley

  10. Kevin

    I am a Diamond Member, I check & monitor your web page weekly, I enjoy the two Blog’s and the open style format, It almost seems like a family @ RCCL (That is a good thing)I have been following the progress of Oasis of the Seas,each photo, each video clip, Facebook or any news cliping and WOW is what always comes to mind. I am booked for Feb 20th 2010 and my booking was done on-line Aug 2008 (yes 2008) Your product & service has been top notch each and every time. Yes I am a fan, It seems I have become a “Sales & Marketing” Rep for your company without being on your payroll (LOL)I am proud to share the value of your brand and chat with anybody on the topic of a cruise holiday. I always share the message about value for price and RCCL is the best bang for the buck (Cdn or US) Under your leadership and management, your company has proven to be 1st Class operation (A job Well Done) Yet I am taken back by some comments, I guess you will always have a % that just can’t be happy in life and don’t see how lucky they are to spend time on one of your ships, I think of my sister who had one cruise while she was fighting breast cancer and the smile on her face seeing an Western Caribbean Sun Set. She was 37 when she passed, yet the cruise was a high moment in her illness. So the few that have been so lucky to have multi cruise holidays should take a moment to reflect. Enjoy the Sun Rise or Sun Set and Live in the Moment as we never know when the last cruise will be……

    Thanks to you and your team, from the Security Officer to the Capt and the many @ your Miami Office, they have always provided a Great Holiday for me and my guest. I will be a long time customer. :)

    Kevin

  11. Marvin Ginsburg

    A couple cruises 18 times with Royal Caribbean and 9 with Celebrity, complains because you take away their earned on board benefits, and you call them “downright nasty” You immediately give offense. You just don’t seem to get it.

  12. Cathy

    My husband and I are very interested in the Southern Caribbean ports but it is almost as expensive for us to fly to San Juan as it is to pay for our cruise! Please consider doing a S. Caribbean cruise out of Florida, it is much more convinient to many of us, even if it had to be 7-9 days instead of 7 days only. Looking forward to hearing about this… Thanks!

  13. tom Young

    When opening up the chat room you must accept the good with the bad. I have been loyal to your brand and this will be my 4th Cruise in the fall. I have cruised twice with Carnival. I must say each has it’s own identity.

    With that said I hope the Cruise I am taking in the Fall is up to what I have come to expect and not anything less. I have raised concerns in the past and if I find more of the same I will no longer write I will merely find other forms of vacation. hile you must be loyal to your bottom line I must be loyal to my wife and myself. If this cruise goes as I expect I will not hesitate to continue my yearly cruise trend. I am introducing cousins to cruising and I hope they enjoy the same wow factor I did on my first cruise.

    As we all continue down the road of economic vicissitude I am counting on you to be a shining star and put a smile on my face for the one week out of this year I will spend with your nation. I look forward to October 3rd and keep those blogs coming.

  14. Caren

    I do appreciate the blogs and keeping the consumer informed, but I, too, have not seen or received a response to the comment/question I submitted last May. Again, I would like to know if there is a chance the Vitality exercise program might be reinstated. I am not asking for gifts (aka Ship Shape Dollars), but I do enjoy the workouts and having the opportunity to attend the classes.

  15. distressed sad diamond member

    So true Kevin,
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your sister-too young!
    And you’re maybe right we never know when our last cruise will be
    but we DO KNOW it will NOT be on RCCL Line.

  16. Mandy

    I appreciate the time you take to address RCL cruisers on this blog. I appreciate the fact that you have to institute cost-cutting measures during this current economic disaster. I will continue to cruise with RCL.

    I do agree that it would be nice if you would respond to thoughtful comments left here. However, perhaps that would also obligate you to respond to less-than-thoughtful venting left here.

    Personally, I would like to be able to take more than one benefit if I meet the criteria, particularly if the criteria involves some concession to the company. I can certainly see the need to limit benefits as they could get out of hand. Loyal customers who also own stock and book on board could end up traveling for free! Limits are obviously necessary. But I do agree that mutual back scratching should be mutually beneficial. Owning stock helps RCL. There is no dividend; the perk of stock ownership is the OBC offered. Booking a year in advance helps RCL plan ahead. If NextCruise cannot be combined with stock ownership benefits, maybe it would make sense to institute something similar to what Carnival has – special pricing for bookings made more than 6 months in advance. Carnival’s plan includes a non-refundable deposit, about which some have complained. However, how helpful is an advance booking that is so easily cancelled? I understand these things need to be mutually beneficial.

    Thank you for the time you take to address your customers here. I am and will continue to be a Loyal Royal.

  17. TTTOny

    Adam, I suggest you end the blog. It’s virtually impossible for you to respond to all these comments, yet some people here seem to think that is your only duty.

    I’m tired of reading all the whining from Diamond members who have had their precious benefits taken away from them. I’m tired of reading how they are going to take the company down single-handed with their lack of bookings. Mostly, I’m tired of really crummy grammar.

    I’m an occasional cruiser and I look forward to making it to the “next level” some day, but when the program changes I certainly won’t be moaning about it on a blog. I’ll do my talking with my checkbook if I have to and I know you know that. As a stockholder, I can appreciate all the tough decisions that have been made.

    Finally, I suggest ending the blog simply because it’s a real drag for those of us looking forward to their next cruise to read all the negativity. Happy people generally don’t speak up here and that’s a real shame. I’ll see you in May 2010.

  18. Janis

    You are saying that the “nasty” commenters don’t care about what you are doing. They do care, and that’s what upsets them.

  19. Concern stockholder

    Adam, I dont know exactly were I should ask this question so I am posting it here in the hopes that as CEO you will respond. Could you plese explain to me and other stockholders the reason RCCL is still under the $18.00 per share price while our competition (CCL) is over the $28.00 per share price. Both companies need the same type of fuel, food, drinks, entertainment, onboard shops, employees; yet CCL is always gaining price per share and RCCL is losing almost on a daily bases. Could it be that CCL purchasing department is doing a better job in getting lower contact deals then RCCL is? Why can CCL offer their customers the benefits that RCCL use to offer their loyal cruises and still be making money? CCL is COMBINING BENEFITS, OFFERING DISCOUNTS ON CRUISES, AND GIVING FREE CABIN UPGRADE ON SELECT SAILINGS. What is RCCL doing-taking away benefits, upsetting loyal customers and LOOSING MONEY. Could it be that the decisions made this past year has HURT instead of IMPROVED the companies bottom line? As CEO you have to answer to the board, who in turn must answer to the stockholders (which I am one )as to the condition of the company. Please dont ignore this question because I am sure other stockholders who read this blog would like an answer too. P.S. This is NOT A NASTY STATEMENT, it is a CONCERN FOR MY INVESTMENT. Thank You.

  20. Carol

    If the answers/explanations you have given to the disappointed crown and anchor members are truly the best of your ability, the future of Royal Caribbean is is in big trouble. Months have passed since the announcement and the controversy and number of web complaints on your blog and others are posted on a daily basis. It’s obvious your plan was simply to lose several thousand past passengers and replace their bookings with new cruisers. Did you count on so much resentment from disgruntled former guests reaching your blog, cruise websites, and travel agents’ offices. These several thousand “dispensible” passengers are the very ones that recommended Royal Caribbean so highly to others in the past. Bad news does indeed travel fast. Do you believe your savings in beverages, snacks and stockholder discounts will pay construction costs for the Oasis and Allure? There is a time to simply say “I’m sorry a mistake was made.”

  21. r.hayden

    I don`t know about all the complaining but my wife and I are on our way to our third cruise.The staff goes above and beyond to accomondate everyone.They are very professional and polite.I`m sold on cruising, no more resorts for us.Keep up the good work RCL.

  22. CHUCK

    Please explain the reason why the Stockholder Benefit is not allowed to be combined with my Diamond member discount on a balcony cabin.

    This decision does not encourage a loyal customer to purchase the stock for the onboard credit benefit.

    I recently sailed on the Serenade of the Seas and was told that my onboard credit for owning RCI stock could not be used since we were taking the discount for a balcony cabin.

    Thanks for your response.

    Chuck Lott

  23. jeff

    Boy…some of you need to cool your jets, and stop twisting words. The comments were called “Nasty” not the people writing them. I guess for some of you, any excuse to get your dander up. Haven’t i seen you at some recent town hall meetings twising other facts?

    NEWS FLASH – The economy sucks…business has to adjust to that fact, or go out of business – a little understanding is in order. I am a Diamond member who has sailed Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, etc. I book my cruises on the RCCL line because I like the way they run the ship. I don’t book my cruise on RCCL so that I can sit in a segregated lounge.

    I think many of you need to stand back and again assess why you like RCCL. Did you book all those cruises in order to get access to a lounge? Or did you book all those cruises because RCCL has the best product out there for the price? Quit obsessing on the moves that the company has to make in order to survive in this climate, and start obsessing on the pleasant experience the company provides you when you are sailing.

  24. dORIS mILLER

    I am a travel agent. I have booked many groups with RCCL. I always make a point of signing my clients up for the crown and anchor society. Now I have to tell my loyal clients that they cannot use their crown and anchor coupons if they received a balcony discount because they finally reached the Platinum level. Even in tough economic times it will cost you less to keep your loyal customers then have to advertise or discount the prices to get someone to try RCCL. Please listen to your local customers and travel agents out there. Let us combine the coupons if we have earned them.

  25. Larry

    Wow! Concerning the “concerned Stockholder” post – All cruise line stocks have taken a beating over the past year or so. CCL has dropped just like RCL. RCL stock has in fact gained quite a bit in the past couple of months. Currently today – RCL is up and CCL is down. Makes me think you are not a very concerned stockholder since you seem to be rather uninformed.

    I Hate to say this, but I agree that the blog is not providing anything except another avenue for the whiners to whine. C&A benefits are always subject to change, and that has not been a secret. In fact – it’s been printed in the C&A brochures for several years. If you are only cruising for the C&A perks, I feel sorry for you.

  26. Linda Lange

    I have been on 3 cruises, 2 with RCL and 1 with Princess. We think RCL is the best. The staff is always nice, clean ship, great bartenders, good shows. What more can you ask for? Love the adult only pool. My last cruise was Voyager in April and it was great! Wish you had more cruises out of Texas.

  27. Donald marburger

    On July 19 my wife and I completed our 72nd day of cruising with RCCL this year, with a sailing on Mariner of the Seas to the Mexican Riviera. We sailed the Mariner for 46 days earlier in January/February on her repositioning from Port Canaveral to Los Angeles.
    This last sailing with the Mariner was our first exposure to the new coupon book for Diamond and Diamond Plus members. We were amazed at what had been taken away and consider the coupon book insulting to loyal Diamond and Diamond Plus cruisers. The only thing with any meaningful value is a free cup of coffee and some casino match play coupons. A fellow Diamond member suggested that we all turn in our books to the ship staff when attending the Welcome Back Captain’s reception instead of the invitation to the reception.
    There was much discussion in the concierge lounge about sailing with other cruise lines and no longer making future bookings.
    I asked the Loyalty Ambassador what incentive is left for a RCCL stockholder to buy a next cruise certificate and the response was, “There really isn’t any, since stockholder discount coupons can’t be combined with any others.”
    As a stockholder, I am puzzled as to why RCCL has chosen to alienate their best customers. Any successful business recognizes the fact that it costs much more to develop new loyal customers than it does to keep the ones it has. I am concerned, as a stockholder, that this business axiom doesn’t seem to be recognized by Royal Caribbean.
    My wife and I need one more cruise to reach Diamond Plus status, and for the first time since we have been cruising RCCL, we don’t have a future booking. There is absolutely no incentive to do so. We still have one next cruise certificate that was purchased well before all the changes were made for combining discounts. We have never sailed another cruise line, but now find that we are considering just that. I don’t believe we are alone in our thoughts on this issue.
    I suppose these comments will go in the nasty file, but someone needs to look at the overall business plan for growing new loyal customers while keeping the loyal ones that have been developed.
    I also have a suggestion regarding food in the Windjammer. We sailed the Seranade of the Seas in May and found the Windjammer food to be the best we have ever experienced on Royal Caribbean. The chef on that ship is to be commended and if there is a way for him or her to train the rest of the fleet to reach those standards, then please do so. On this last Mariner sailing we found the quality of food in the Windjammer to be well below what we had experienced on the 46 day South America cruise. Seems to me a quality control program needs to be established or revisited.
    Thank you for taking the time to consider these comments.

  28. dave

    I too, am a Diamond member (sailing on my 14th sailing of RCCL in September) and was appalled at the downgrading of Diamond benefits.

    As I believed, those benefits (Concierge Lounge for one) were earned, not “gifted”.

    Instead of grandfathering us until we hit 25 cruises, RCCL decides to dump us from some great benefits.

    I wonder if we’ll ever get an answer straight from the “boss” on this one.

  29. greg trew

    I think that what is crucial is HOW you respond to your customers. Devaluing the member benefits is a poor retention strategy in economic hard times. It strikes me that such decisions come from a “corporate” view rather than a customer view. In a similar vein, I would like an explanation of the vile “safety muster drill” at RCCL. Making your guests line up outdoors in discomfort for 20 + minutes is just rude, especially given that your competitors have civilized the process by using large public areas where guests can sit down during the exercise. When I have asked about this, I have been given the “Company Rules” or “Government rules” bromides, which clearly are bunk. Seen how PRINCESS does it? That has class and common sense. I think the ivory tower thinkers are putting your reputation at risk and that it is time to look at your service from the customer point of view, not the convenience or profitability perspective. In my business, I am reminded daily that it is better to retain the customers you already have than to chase after the ones you can’t even identify. Perhaps it is time to look at earning the loyalty of us regulars than chasing folks you don’t know who are looking for a cheap deal first and foremost.

  30. P Webster

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    My wife and I have now sailed on 40 cruises. Sixteen of the last twenty cruises have been on Royal Caribbean. (My wife and I really believe that Royal Caribbean ships are the best and we enjoy these ships the most!)
    I have looked up past cruiser’s benefits from the various lines. I could be wrong, but it looks like Royal Caribbean’s benefits are still much better than the others. Has anyone else compared benefits? I am puzzled by the negativity of the comments on this blog site concerning Diamond benefits. Thanks!

  31. P Webster

    I MAY BE WRONG BUT:
    We have now sailed on 40 cruises in all. Sixteen of the last twenty cruises have been on Royal Caribbean.(We love the RCI ships and have the most fun on these sailings!)
    I have recently compared past cruiser’s benefits on various cruise lines and have found that Royal Caribbean still has the best past customer benefits. Has anyone else compared benefits? I am puzzled by the negative comments on this blog site concerning Diamond member benefits. Thanks, Phillip

  32. Concerned Stockholder

    Larry-I have watched the stocks for more than a year. What I was asking and you didn’t understand was the fact that RCCL is LOWER IN PRICE than CCL. GEE all stocks have lost revenue-where have you been. CCL has managed to purchase the same type of items that RCCL uses yet maintained a higher price per share than RCCL. If you checked with CCL (and I did),no benefits have been taken away from their loyality program. Yes RCCL is/was a great company that’s why I purchased stock in it as well as sailed a total of 45 cruises with them. And those sailing were not taken because of the perks given but because I enjoyed sailing. On the other hand, the COMPANY gifted those perks to us because we were loyal to them. After so many years of being able to combine a stockholder credit(incentive to buy the stock) and discounts for sailing so many cruises, why wouldn’t we be upset that now the company is taking those things away from us. What would happen if all the stockholders sold their stocks? During this hard money time, you need to give incentives to ppl for them to purchase your product, that being either a cruise or stock certificate. So WOW right back to you, get your facts straight!!!

  33. Rich Johnson

    Hi Adam,

    I am curious about how cruise lines deal with tropical weather. I am a former Weather Channel meteorologist with tropical weather expertise. I currently partner with another travel and cruise website and have found that a lot of people get very scared when a tropical system is approaching or rumored to be forming. Does Royal Caribbean use the services of a professional meteorologist to calm the nerves of those who may cancel trips? Tropical weather information could be posted on your website. The company may save a great deal on money on trips that may be cancelled becasue of fear.
    Please let me know if I can help!

  34. Eileen

    Adam,
    My husband and I are both Diamond Plus members, having just completed our 28th cruise with 6 more booked between now and January of next year. (A couple are back to back). Without question the Concierge Lounge was becoming far too crowded to accomodate the number of Diamond members and suite guests in one location. I believe the compromise you made is a good one, and to be honest with you we often prefer the current “overflow” location to the Concierge Lounge itself as there is typically more room anyway. I do think it would be prudent to offer additional incentives for guests to strive toward Diamond Plus status. Currently there is very little difference aside from access to the Concierge Lounge and a chosen amenity on board. When something is taken away perhaps an added incentive is all that is needed to encourage guests to continue to strive for the next level. As it stands now, the only real incentive is free drinks in the evening rather than at a reduced price. Perhaps you could also consider reinstating the ability to combine multiple discounts once the Diamon Plus tier is reached. Thanks for listening.

  35. Scott Jensen

    With Hurricane Bill on its way, now would be a good time to talk about how cruiselines deal with really bad weather.

  36. Becci Boo

    Hi Adam, if I may call you by your given name as we have met on Liberty.

    I have suffered on our cruise blog in the same manner, accused of being paid by RCCL for my positive comments about the line and being a Royal Champion, as I’m sure you are aware of. I am a ‘glass half full’ not ‘half empty’ kinda gal so I take these with a grain of salt, but it does go with the territory of public commentary.

    I can say, I am happy the company has chosen to take a fiscally sound approach to things with the bond offering and cutbacks. I want RCCL sound and still cruising until I stop cruising…and beyond. My children are becoming cruisers. So, even though just having reached diamond status, we cannot avail ourselves of all the past ammenities, I am still excited to see the diamond lounge on Oasis, etc. Since we have finally reached our goal, we are now ready to include sister line Celebrity in our cruising venue. I applaud the foresight of the inception of the new Oasis class and welcome the innovations it provides. Keep up the good work…and your chin…as you read all those negative comments. Kudos to the entire team on the Genesis project and thank you for being our cruise line of choice now and in the future.

  37. jonathan.jiang

    Hi Mr. Adam Goldstein,

    Greetings!

    As a fan of RCCL in China, I just can’t wait for the first voyage of Oasis of the Seas! As a new vacation product, it rocks and will remain in the nation. How i want to enjoy it with the Oasis in the coming future!

  38. HEATHER FORD

    My husband and I made a decision six years ago to become loyal cruisers with RC. We believed that by being loyal (Diamond-15 cruises with RC); booking while on board for on board credit and maintaining stock would contribute to our cruising budget. We have since learned:
    *No on board credit earned if Diamond balcony discount is given. We wasted our time booking with the Loyal Ambassador on our last cruise in January.Booking would have been done on line or when we got home.
    *No stockholder’s benefit if Loyal coupon used or Diamond benefit used.
    *No Diamond benefit used if Loyal coupon used. Why should a Diamond member even look at the coupons?

    I can accept the changes, economic times are tough and we are all attempting to adjust. HOWEVER, the topper of the above was when RC sent us an on-line questionaire and comment survey wherein we expressed our dissatisfaction with booking on board waste of time but also expressing our loyalty to RC. NO RESPONSE OR COMMENT FROM RC WHATSOEVER, COMPLETELY IGNORED US-NOT EVEN A THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO RESPOND TO THEIR REQUEST, ETC.

    We are booked on a Carnival cruise in 11 days out of Baltimore, partly to see what the other side is like but also is close to home and is reasonable. I am hopeful that perhaps RC will somehow encourage us to maintain being loyal cruisers with them.

  39. cheryl Brawders

    Perhaps the reason “Loyal Cruisers” keep bloging about combinability and the Concierege Lounge is because they are “UNHAPPY”. Your response of already addressing that shows a lack of concern. Obviously it is a real concern for all the loyal cruisers this impacts. Take us seriously before we sail out on another cruiseline…..

  40. LARRY

    Adam,

    After our last RCCL cruise I contacted customer service with a complaint. I emailed a letter and never received a response. I again emailed a letter a week later and finally got a message back that it was forwarded to the appropriate department. That was it. My concern WAS enough for me to book our next cruise on a competing line, although over the years RCCL has raised my standards of cruising.

    Here’s the letter in case you’d like to know…

    Dear RCI,

    My family and I are platinum members in the Crown and Anchor society, have been cruising once every 2 years, and have been “loyal to Royal” for the past few vacations. I have a daughter and a son who adore your Adventure Ocean program, and would always be in the facility whenever the doors were open!

    We just returned from a cruise on the Explorer of the Seas, and really enjoyed ourselves. There is just one thing that my wife and I were very concerned about this time…

    My daughter had turned 12 and therefore was not going to Adventure Ocean anymore. The information on the web site made it sound as if the 12-14 year olds had a different program than the 15-18 year olds, as I believe they should. I was thinking she would have more of an “advanced AO-type program” and I’m sure we would all have appreciated the age-appropriate activities, check-in/check-out requirements, and consistent supervision.

    Once on board we find out that she comes and goes as she pleases, and is primarily mixed in with all of the kids up to age 18. This made her apprehensive about being in Optix, but she did hit it off well with her age group (the 12s and 13s) and made friends quickly.

    I don’t think that the young teens (actually 12 is technically a pre-teen) need (or want) to be in the same program as the 17 and 18 year olds. Many nights we had to go looking for her and her friends because they felt uncomfortable. We would usually find her with other 12 and 13 year old friends in a hot tub or at the theater watching a movie.

    One of the last nights we were out looking for her, and went into Optix and were horrified at the number of kids and what they were doing. I’m glad my daughter and her friends had the good sense to find other places to go.

    We would really like to book a 2010 cruise, but before I think about booking, we would like to know Royal’s intentions about addressing this concern. You need to take a fresh look at the 12-14 year old program and consider the differences between a 12 and an 18 year old. You wouldn’t mix a young Explorer in the Navigators class or a young Aquanaut in the Explorers class. A 12 year old in a mix of 17 and 18 year olds is no different.

    Thank you for your consideration.

  41. Linda A

    Heather-I hate to disappoint you, but dont hold your breath waiting for RCCL to encourage you to stay by re-instating the combine benefits. If they were interested in keeping the “Loyal Cruiser” then those benefits would already be back. I have commented several times about the two seperate departments, (stock holders and Crown/Anchor) not being able to combine benefits from both. In all other areas, they are seperate except for the benefits of owning stock or sailing with the line. I have over 40 cruises, spend alot of money on them, purchased stock that has lost value and not one response from Adam or anyone else from this company. It is sad to see such a great company short change their customers this way. I too would like to continue with them, but have started looking at other lines. I have to agree with “Concerned Stockholder”, ships need food, gas, personnel, entertainment, drinks, ports of call. Why can some lines still offer great discounts, prices, and perks but RCCL removes them from their loyal cruises. Top management should be held accountable for the situation that RCCL in now finding themselves in.

  42. Rick brattland

    Adam, I completely agree with your comments about the commitment to the Royal Caribbean brand. I have sailed with Royal Caribbean many times and have always had a great experience on your ships. That being said, I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to tolerate the lack of care and concern of your customers by your customer service department. Their typical comment is “There’s nothing I can do for you”. I currently have 3 cruises booked with Royal and am very close to not only cancelling the trips and selling my stock.

  43. Steve

    As a C&A Diamond Plus member I was pleased to read in your blogs that Diamond Plus members retain access to the Concierge Lounge. That fact is also stated on the “Benefits” tab of the “Crown & Anchor Society” page on RCI’s website. On that page it states that Diamond Plus members have access to the Conciere Lounges.

    I have been reading postings on Cruise Critic by Diamond Plus members who have been denied admission to Concierge Lounges on recent sailings. I am particularly interested because I am sailing Sunday on the Freedom of the Seas.

    I telephoned the Crown & Anchor desk and was told “Yes, of course. You will have access to the Concierge Lounge”.

    I still had some doubts so I requested confirmation by e-mail to Customer Support. The reply I received was that since there was a Diamond Lounge on the Freedom I would not have access to the Concierge Lounge.

    This is disturbing because somehow the message is not consistent within RCI.

    You, in your blog; the website; and the Crown & Anchor representative I spoke to all said Diamond Plus members have access to the Concierge Lounge.

    The Customer Support people and, more importantly, the employees on the ship are carrying out the policy differently.

    It appears that the policy needs to be disseminated correctly and consistently to all parties–customers and employees.

    On Sunday I plan to make my case on board for access to the Concierge Lounge. I have printed out your blog and the applicable RCI web pages. I really shouldn’t have to begin my cruise prepared to do battle to have RCI comply with what it has said it will do.

    I would hope that someone in corporate will read this and intercede.

  44. Linda A

    Rick-why should an employee be any different then the CEO of a company who doesn’t care anymore about the customer. If the CEO was so cercerned about the people who made the company what it is today,he would have replied, re-instated-or added additional benefits for those who sailed 24+ on his line. His behavior leads one to beleive that he has the money now, so why should he care what we think or feel. I dont know how long he has been the CEO but it would be interesting to see when all these changes started and what the bottom line has been regarding the number of bookings under his comand and those before him? Has their been a increase or a decrease due to the fact that perks are being removed. I myself cant wait until I receive the next stockholders report to see what the bottom line is. As for taking anymore cruises with RCCL, lets just say the water is warmer on the other side of the ocean.

  45. Christopher Bogart

    Mr. Goldstien, I wish to write you a letter of our recent honeymoon on the Explorer of the seas. What address can I write you so I can detail my experience. Thank you.

    • Adam

      You can mail your letter to the following address. Thank you Christopher.

      Corporate Guest Relations
      1050 Caribbean Way
      Miami, FL 33132
      (Due to mail processing times, please allow 10-14 days for a response.)

  46. carol

    I’ve been sailing with RCCL since 1991 and I must say that I’m saddened to see what looks like the demise of a once great cruise line. Much of the wonderful things that drew me to RCCL no longer exist.Something as simple as the unconditional smiling faces of the working class people of the ship have all but disappeared.Their smiles are painted across their faces but their eyes tell a different story. A story that tells not only about the lack of care and concern for the customer but also the lack here of for the workers who really make this company shine. My common sense tells me if I as a loyal customer is expendable to you,then your loyal workers have one foot out the door because you have plenty more to replace them.Once upon a time when I cruised and your personel told me “I am happy to serve you” I believed it.But now I’ve come to realize they must accept the cutbacks imposed upon them just as we customers must do so.After all, they receive so little from you anyway. We spend our money for the cruise and then we must supplement them just so they can make a decent pay. Don’t get me wrong,I feel good service deserves to be recognized but I don’t like having to pay them their pay when RCCL should pay their workers a fair salery.So what does all this boil down to? It has become more than issue of the recession. I say it’s total GREED! Why keep building the biggest ship? Well, because the people who run RCCL are greedy people but sooner or later, you all will have to face up to it.I use to be a loyal customer who would look for any oportunity to sing about the praises of a Rccl cruise but I won’t any more. Even as the steaks at dinner became tougher and the drinks got watered down at the Captain’s cocktail party I would still tell all that would listen about RCCL. Loyalty means nothing to me anymore….not for me as the customer nor for the workers who have no voice and strived to make all my vacations memorable ones.

  47. Beth K

    Adam,

    (I’m not really writing to Adam. Rather, I am summarizing some of my correspondence with him.)

    I sent you a long email after I spent 35 nights on Rhapsody of the Seas circumnavigating Australia and New Zealand this past winter. My email detailed several complaints, most of which dealt with ports not being ready for so many visitors and the lack of information about the ports available onboard.

    I received a phone call from your office the very next business day. I was pleased. I was, however, not pleased when the total conversation consisted of “thank you for your feedback” and no mention of any specific comments. My reaction was “Is that it?”

    About a week later I received another phone call – this time from the state-side Shore Excursion Manager. He had read the email and my blog. He did some research and asked me very specific questions. He also left the door open for future follow up by either of us. That was more like it and much more satisfying.

    There were also some dining room issues on that trip which were resolved by a certain gentleman in the Hotel Department (who shall remain nameless here so he doesn’t get bombarded with special requests – Adam, you know who he is). Adam, I should have praised him to you at the time.

    Case closed, or so I thought.

    This past weekend I was on the Enchantment of the Seas. There were 12 of us travelling together; one woman in our group was celebrating a special birthday in the middle of the trip.

    I was thrilled to run into the gentleman from Rhapsody. Furthermore, he helped make my friend’s birthday even more special.

    I didn’t mention it to you before, but I was also treated very graciously by Hans of Guest Relations and Activity Manager Abel, both of whom I met on Enchantment last year. As a matter of fact, Abel had just started with the company and he has really blossomed in the last year and a half.

    Since returning home from Enchantment, I sent you an email telling you how wonderful that certain employee is. I received a response from you late last night and a phone call from your office earlier today. I also received an email from my friend on the ship telling me that his manager had heard from your office. That’s the way it should be.

    I am sorry that we are all too quick to complain and too slow to praise.

    Needless to say, I will remain “Loyal to Royal.”

    Sincerely,
    Beth K.
    Diamond Plus

  48. C. Marie

    With regards to Carol’s comments about RCI’s attitude toward it’s Loyal Customers and it’s attitude toward it’s Loyal Employees.

    We are all expendable. Customers, employees, makes no difference. As long as they can squeeze every nickle and dime out of each and every customer, denying them benefits promised along the way, they don’t care. As long as they can squeeze every ounce of energy and time from every worker without paying them a salary or benefits (and certainly not paying any taxes, payroll or otherwise, to the United States like other companies do) they don’t care.

    In the last 2 years I have noticed how some employees will share information, meaning they actually say things like, “we can’t take it anymore”, “a lot of people don’t tip at all”, “we have to share our tips, pay people off”, etc. Many don’t make enough to get themselves home even if they wanted to quit. They are not much more than indentured servants.

    How sad.

  49. carole

    I just got off the August 27th sailing of the Grandeur (9 day sailing). I had read all the comments on the internet as well as here and was concerned. I have to say, this being my 6th Royal Cruise (four on other lines), and second one on Grandeur, I was pleasantly surprised. Our stateroom attendant, Anthony was wonderful, happy always smiling. We had a Royal Family Suite and found chocolates and rose petals on our bed each evening. This was a very nice touch. We loved our beach bag. Thank You. Every staff member greeted us a cheery hello. Our waiter Virgil was amazing, attentive, funny and really enhanced our cruise experience. We were a party of 9 and he knew our names the first day and went out of his way to please. The Grandeur is a beautiful ship and showing it’s age in some places, but certainly well maintained. My son was seasick due to Hurricane Danny the first night at sea and we were walking the decks at 4:45 am, we found ourselves in the solarium, where we saw staff hard at work cleaning and polishing for the day. Each one greeted us, as we sat in deck chairs and ultimately fell asleep for an hour. One evening, I was standing in the Centrum and your director of guest something (a female with dark brown hair), came over and asked me if everything was alright, and I said yes, why? She said I looked concerned, so I told her my son was seasick and I thought he was too young to give Dramamine and she said she was sending ginger ale, green apple and crackers to our room for him, and sure enough within a half hour it was delivered. I didn’t see her again to thank her, but Adam, if you are reading this, these are the people behind the smiles. I am sure it is difficult in these challenging financial times to make it work. We, your loyal crown and anchor members, also have to make it work within our budgets and travelling may be less, but I will always choose Royal. We had an amazing trip, thanks to your staff.

  50. carol

    To C Marie,I will continue to voice my concerns as long as there is breath in my body. Requiring servitude of this fashion is totally inexcusable from a company that is world renoun. These people wear invisible shackles on their feet. Perhaps at some point in time there will a much larger voice than yours and mine to speak out and RCI will have to change or they will fail.I believe that the Oasis was a big gamble for the company and this may end up being the straw that broke the camels back. RCI is so busy trying to step into the future by keeping up with the trend of having the largest vessel to carry the most passengers but they are leaving behind many of the principals that made them great.I’ve heard many passengers complaining about the size of the ships getting larger and larger. Where does this all end? It should end with taking care of the people who really made their company great and that’s the employees and the passengers.That to me is the last thing to make their company stand out from the rest.

  51. Linda A

    Carol-I agree with you 100%. Bigger is not always better. Some of the comments that I heard regarding the bigger ships are not good. People, expecially the middle and older group dont want to have to fight to get off the ship, or stand in line. They want the smaller, more personal size ship and since this age group is better financially then the new “younger” crowd, the mega ships will not be sold out. This may be a good thing since then the wait time to leave the ship maynot be that long. As far as the employees, I too have heard them complain about not being paid by the line. There is a video of a waiter dancing on the table during the cruise speaking out about the fact they dont get paid. I think it is on YOuTube. Look under the Crown & Anchor blog heading and go throught the postings, you will find the link there. It is time that the upper management looks into all of the upsetting postings and do something about them.

  52. Caren

    On a positive note, I had previously posted a question regarding the Vitality Fitness Program. After that posting, there were several people who stated their comments had not been addressed. I am pleased to report that I did receive a phone call from Mr. Golstein’s assistant and had the opportunity to express my views and did receive a positive response.

  53. Helen

    I hope RC brings the Vitality Fitness Program back. On my last cruise on RC, I was so disappointed to find that they had discontinued this program. With all the food that we eat on these cruises, the program encouraged us to exercise so we could burn some of the calories that we take in. I enjoyed attending all the exercises and classes offered on this program and it was especially fun to earn Ship Shape Dollars as a token for participating in it. I still wear my Ship Shape T-shirt and Vitality T-shirt (that I redeemed from Ship Shape Dollars and Vitality tokens) to the gym. It reminds me of my cruise and tell friends what a great cruiseline Royal Caribbean is.

    Please let me know if you plan to reinstate this program.

  54. Cindy Amend

    I am so looking forward to sailing on the Oasis of the Seas From December 1-12 this year. I am an older passenger, but we love the big ships. We are still very young at heart and no one does it like RCCL! No One! I have never had a bad cruise experience. I love life and I love all the people that make RCCL such a wonderful vacation experience. I am sorry that the people who feel “cheated” can’t look at life with a more positive attitude. We are Diamond members and we are stockholders. We will still be cruising RCCL and we will still recommend it to friends. Thank you for all that you do. I hope I get to meet you on the Oasis! I’m going to have to take 7 more cruises fast so I can get Diamond Plus. Looking forward to every moment on your ships! 3 cruises next year for sure. Blessings to you and the entire staff of RCCL.

  55. EDNA tAYLOR

    I have been reading the numerous comments about the changes in benefits and I believe that if you are on a ship that has a Diamond Lounge you still get that benefit and since the only ships we want to sail on (because of the Flowrider) are the Freedom class and soon the Genesis class and these both have a Diamond Lounge, that is not an issue. From what I have been reading, the other cutbacks are chocolates on the pillow and, well, we never ate them so we will not miss them. I am not real clear on the changes for discounts and if someone can clarify that for me I would appreciate it. For example, if I use my points earned on my RC Visa, can I still use the coupons that I get for being a C&A member? One more question, are the cruise compasses no longer going to be left in the rooms? I liked being able to have a paper copy of what the days activities. However, my husband and I love sailing with Royal Caribbean and have never had so much fun so a few cutbacks don’t change the fact that enjoy RC cruises. We will stay loyal to RC as long as we are cruisers. Oh, one thing I did want to point out is that, it seems to me that the pricing for cabins has not risen exponentially, so I am fine with a few cut backs here and there to get a good price on my vacation. We are sailing on the Oasis in September 2010 and we can’t wait.

    • Adam

      Hi EDNA. With regard to your question on our daily compass, yes these will still be left in our guests staterooms the evening before as always.

  56. Edna Taylor

    Thank you for the clarification Adam and the new rules work for me :) Again, we love sailing with Royal Caribbean and we cannot see ourselves sailing on any other cruise line. As a matter of fact, through our videos, pictures and stories, we have brought you more business. Two friends came with us last year on the Freedom and we have three couples coming with us next year on the Oasis. I even have videos from our 2008 cruise posted on my Facebook page and people just can’t believe how big and beautiful the Freedom is and how much there is to do on the ship. Our first cruise with RC was in 2007 on the Freedom and it was also our first vacation in 10 years since we have gotten married in 1997. We not only celebrated our first vacation in many years, but also our wedding anniversary and we renewed our vows on the ship. I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone at RC and the entire crew on the Freedom for the most AMAZING vacation ever and memories I will cherish forever. Kevin was our stateroom attendant and he ROCKED (for lack of a better word).

  57. Greg Fadick

    In response to a number of comments concerning compensation to RCCL’s workers, remember we as passengers have a responsibility also. And it’s referred to as tipping.

    In my poor college days I held a couple of jobs where I worked for tips only. Based on that experience, and my travels on three different cruise lines, I can safely say that cruise passengers are the worst tippers I have ever seen. That’s probably because most people feel that since every ticket you sign while you’re aboard has a tip figured in, no additional is necessary. More than likely, these same people believe the recommended minimum for cabin stewards, waiters and others is all you have to give, even if the service is exceptional. Remember this, if you give a minimum tip, you should expect minimum service.

    I have seen porters at both Port Everglades and Port of Miami wrestle with a mountain of luggage only to be rewarded with a $1 tip (yes, I understand these gentlemen are not RCCL employees, but they deserve respect, too). Last May on the Enchantment, I watched a man win around $3000 on one hand or cards in the casino and not tip the dealer one red cent. On that same trip, my wife and I spent several hours at a poker table with a number of other passengers, enjoying not only cocktails, but excellent service from our waiter. Sadly, only my wife and I saw fit to give him an additional tip with each round we ordered.

    So if you’re really concerned about the folks who work aboard ship, don’t complain to management or post videos on YouTube. Just reach in your pocket and tip…and make it a good one. The results will amaze you.

  58. Edna Taylor

    I couldn’t agree more Greg. We always tipped extra when we bought drinks and gave our stateroom attendant not only the standard amount, but quite a bit extra in his envelope. When we received great service, we tipped accordingly.

  59. Edna Taylor

    Thank you Adam. I know those cost extra to print out, but we like to keep them as mementos of our vacation.

    Only 11 months until our next cruise (yes, we ARE counting the days) on the Oasis.

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