Out of Office: Never Leave Home Without a Sense of Humor

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By Adam Goldstein, President & COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD

One of the likely casualties of the rise of online communications is the travel disaster fueled by misinformation or no information at all.  What a pity.  I’m never likely to have another experience like the one I had in 1988 underneath Heathrow Airport when I was desperately racing through the tunnels in the direction of the flight I was late to make, only to encounter two Royal Caribbean colleagues racing madly towards me thinking the same flight was in the terminal from which I was running.

But fortunately not all travel snafus are born of information or lack thereof.  Such as the time, also in 1988, when I mistakenly put both contact lenses in the same eye, and thinking I had lost one and would get a splitting headache (this was well before the advent of corrective laser surgery making one eye better on purpose!), threw out the one (actually, two) I had and tried to travel without being able to see.  When it comes to travel embarrassment, there’s not much to top asking someone what terminal you’re in when you know you’re standing under a two foot high sign that says the terminal number. Yes, it does occur to me 26 years later that a spare pair of glasses might have come in handy in that moment.

Of course, international travelers will likely always be at the mercy of mechanicals or weather disrupting air travel arrangements particularly in places where you’re not exactly on the New York to Washington shuttle.  For example, when you’re in Auckland, NZ, and the monitor says your flight to the U.S. is CANCELLED it’s not a good feeling, with all due respect to the friendly Kiwis.  As an aside, that time we more than made up for the sting of the delay by returning to Honolulu on a flight that landed the day before it took off.  Our little team resolved that no matter what the flight attendant offered us to eat we would say “I’m sorry we already had that tomorrow.”

A lot of the troubles and probably some of the magic of commercial travel have gone out of the world over the last 25 years.  If you typically fly out on the first flight in the morning, if you fly Business or First class, if you’re at an advanced loyalty tier such as Executive Platinum on American Airlines, if you have access to an airline lounge for a longer layover, if you re-enter the U.S. via Global Entry, if you proceed through security via TSA Pre, if you have corporate travel support to help you virtually 24/7, if you can run fast when you are in danger of missing a connection, and if you absolutely, unconditionally never check luggage even if you’re going for three weeks to the Moon, chances are pretty good you won’t have too many interesting travel stories to tell.

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Then again you never know.  Maybe I’m just fortunate that diabolically screaming babies don’t bother me too much. Maybe it has been a year or two since I was on a transcontinental red-eye where it was impossible to sleep because the flight attendants spent the whole night loudly discussing the problems of their lives from six feet away.  Or maybe I’m just lucky not to have recently run across the guy who once sat next to me on a flight who consumed three drinks before we took off and then when the food came, called the flight attendant to our seats and told her “I wouldn’t feed this piece of meat to my dog” before passing out for the rest of the flight.

Safe travels!

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn.

  • Lisa Langrell

    Hi Adam.

    Please forgive me for posting this on your blog. But honestly, I don’t know where else to go with this. We booked our annual Easter break cruise. We are booked on Jewel on Mar 28th on Jewel. Originally when we booked is showed Tortola. I went online about a week after we booked just to look at the itinerary and excursions. I noticed that the itinerary had changed. I contacted my travel agent. He hadn’t realized it changed either so he contacted Royal Carib and then emailed me to confirm the actual itinerary (San Juan, St Thom, St Kitts, Roseau Dom., Barbados). I then went on about 2 weeks later and again went to look at excursions (via cruise planner). The excursions didn’t match up to the itin. For St Thom it was showing excursions to Tortola (which I would have LOVED to go to FYI..ha). I also checked some of the others and they too did not line up. I called Customer Service explaining this and she thought perhaps not enough time had transpired from date of booking for it to load. That didn’t make sense to me, but ok. So I waited another few weeks. I went back on and saw that Tortola was back on and again, excursions weren’t matching up with the selected port. SOooooo I decided to Facebook Royal Carib to advise them and to let them know that this is an IT/Webmaster issue on the user end that have booked reservations. They did respond timely. So I waited several weeks until now. So as of today (Sun Aug 24th): We are heading to St Thom, St Kitts, Roseau & Barbados. When I select St Thom, all the excursions are coming up fine. When I select St Kitts, everything looks ok. When I select Roseau, St Marrten excursions come up. When I select Barbados, Roseau excursions show. I thought..what the heck, let me see what day 6 shows (Cruising) and voila! Barbados excursions show up.

    I am sure there is a weird glitch happening. But if they are having problems as I explained to RC before, then they should post a window in Cruise Planner. The problem is, as a reserved cruiser user, I can put these excursions in my “cart” and pay for them. I think this is going to cause problems especially if someone buys St Maarten and we aren’t even going there.

    Again, I apologize for airing this but someone has to know whats going on at least on the user end. Hopefully you will read this post

    • Royal Caribbean International

      Hi Lisa, we apologize for the difficulty you’ve been experiencing. We’ve notified our IT team and are working to resolve our website issue. Thanks so much for your patience.