Royal Caribbean Cruises Honeymoon Disaster April 2013

If you are thinking of booking a holiday with Royal Caribbean Cruises, read our story and then look at every other option available, we would not want anyone else to go through the trauma of what Royal Caribbean have done to us.

We booked our honeymoon back in August 2012 and decided to go on our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean. The holiday included flights from Heathrow to Newark,
3 night stay in New York, Flight to Miami and cruise around the Caribbean plus Transatlantic crossing back to Southampton at a cost of around £1700 per head + drinks package at £470 per head.

We decided to go on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas for our trip which would have left on the 21st April 2013. On looking at reviews, guests had mentioned the ship looked tired compared to some of the newer ships in the fleet, so we decided to change to Independence of the Seas which left on the 7th April instead. We had sailed on Independence twice before and loved the ship, so thought it would be best to stick with what we knew, especially as it was our Honeymoon.

We cancelled our booking on the Adventure and moved it to Independance, which was completed last August.

Then the issues start
Pre cruise -

I spoke to Royal Caribbean I think it was early February to ask how we could find out where we would be seated on the flight, at this point I was advised that we were sitting at opposite ends of the plane. Not only had I advised that my wife hates flying and had to get tablets from the doctors before flying, but why would we want to sit and opposite ends of the plane on a long haul flight. Royal Caribbean advised that this is standard practice and would have to see what they could do. They came back to me and said, their was nothing they could do unless we changed our flights to a later one, reluctantly we agreed and new flight tickets were issued for a flight approx 2.5 hours later.

We then arrived home late one evening to a message from Royal Caribbean finance stating that our holiday should have been paid 3 weeks earlier and if it was not paid immediately our holiday would be cancelled. After yet more phone calls and an apology, we find out that our paperwork has a different due date to the due date held by Royal Caribbean’s finance department. Our due date was 20/02/2013. At this point I was obviously not very impressed about being threatened, especially when we were 100% correct.

We then received all of our cruise documents, on closer inspection found that our transfer pickup in New York was booked for 5.30am for a flight which leaves at 6am. Its a 30 minute transfer to the airport on a good run, it can be anything upto 1.5 hours during rush hour. This in itself would have been a disaster, not only would we have missed the plane we would have also missed the cruise ship in Miami. The transfer paperwork also included inaccurate flight numbers, ship name was incorrect plus we were flying to totally the wrong airport. Yet more apologies from Royal Caribbean, “we have a new computer system and it’s not working 100% correctly currently”.

During Cruise Issues -

On arrival at Newark airport we waited for 2 hours for our transfer to arrive before calling to be told that we had already been collected from the airport earlier in the day. They went away, came back and said actually, we don’t have a pick up for you at all, but we can get someone to you but it will be at least another hour. By this time we had been waiting well over 2 hours in the airport and decided to jump in a taxi ourselves to the hotel.

This cost me $100 plus various phone calls to both the UK and the taxi company at a cost of £1.50 per minute.

We were not alone in this situation either as other couples on the same cruise had similar issues regarding the transfer not being booked.

On arrival at the hotel I called head office in Miami who could not offer any help, I then called the UK 1st thing the following morning as our main concerns were, are the other transfers going to turn up.

By this point we had lost the best part of a day in New York due to the flight changes we had to make, plus the transfer not showing.
2.5 hours flight change, 2.5 hours in airport, 1.5 hour transfer to hotel in rush hour plus 2 further hours on the phone in the hotel trying to resolve the situation.

Arrival at the ship, checkin I was presented with our sea passes to be told only one of us had our Crown and Anchor points added. This meant I could have priory checkin but my wife could not, on haggling with the lady at checkin she eventually let us both have priority checkin.
We are both Gold Members but I was the only one showing Gold Membership.

Pre cruise we were offered an onboard package as a gesture of goodwill to say sorry for all the issues we had experienced. This package included Champagne, Bouquet of flowers on arrival and bath robes.
The Champagne and robes were in the room, no sign of the flowers, I had to go and specifically ask for them otherwise they would never have arrived. Considering this was a gesture to make up for the issues already experienced they could have at least made sure they got it right.

On the first evening on the cruise we found out that some decks were closed so work could be carried out on board. This included desk 2 including the conference center and movie room plus I was told deck 10 was also closed.
At this point this had not affected us really until day 3 when we got up to be presented with guys wearing blue t-shirts with lights on their heads all over our deck.
For 4 days we had ceilings down, cables all over the floors, cables hanging from the ceilings, banging, grinding and knocking, can I also point out with no barriers or warnings about the possible hazards. These guys were clearly doing their job but they had no interest in the fact we were on holiday so they were not exactly helping matters.

One afternoon we went to watch the ‘Story of Royal Caribbean’ in the theatre, all you could hear was drilling and banging the entire time.

On one evening we were in the Schooner bar at approx 11pm to suddenly be overcome with the smell of solvents through the air conditioning. One of our dining guests ended up in the medical center and my wife suffers from Asthma so not an ideal scenario. The smell was so bad the bar man requested the air con to be turned off until the issue was resolved.

We had to put up with this day after day, most evening entire gangways were closed while they recarpeted entire sections. The main restaurant main floor was also closed the entire cruise for breakfast and lunch while work went on. The ship also carried the smell of paint throughout it during the entire crossing.

Because we have sailed on this ship twice before we knew what to expect. To be presented with all of these issues on top of the issues before we went is simply not acceptable. We spent in excess of £5000 on this holiday to be stuck on a building site.

Following the issues we had already experienced both before and during the first part of the holiday, we were promised in writing that the ship was aware of our situation and we would be looked after once on board. We found out while on board some guests had been offered free drinks packages, cabin upgrades plus a host of other freebies, we received a speciality restaurant voucher, they did really look after us as you can see.

On top of this I was still receiving paperwork for the Adventure of the Seas cruise we moved to Independence until the day of sailing, even after various emails regarding this, the paperwork kept coming through.

I complained on board and spoke to a senier guest relations manager who refunded my money for the transfer, we also traded in our speciality restaurant vouchers for cash and received an extra $200 which was to compensate for the time and hassle in New York.

This was meant to be a holiday to remember, we will certainly remember it for all the wrong reasons. At no point were we advised that the ship was going through revitalisation during its sailing to the UK. Clearly we should have been advised of this pre cruise as we were stuck on board for 9 days while we crossed the Atlantic.

Since my return Royal Caribbean confirmed that they could only refund a % of the actual cruise, nothing else, I pointed out to them that this was booked as a package holiday through Royal Caribbean so surely its covered under the package holiday regulations act 1992, no response.

We are not alone with issues on this cruise as lots of other customers were complaining about similar problems.

Royal Caribbean have said sorry regarding the issues and offered me future cruise vouchers which if im honest, I don’t really want to cruise with Royal Caribbean again as it stands currently.

Royal Caribbean are meant to be a travel company offering premium holidays, from our experiences this time, I really would not trust them to organise anything.

Im producing a website about our experience as I feel so strongly about it.

I would also love to hear your experiences and any advice!


Forum Manager
Staff member
I have read more than a few stories about problems with Cruise Lines and their ability or non ability to handle paperwork. This appears to be one of those times. I will cover a few of the issues as I see them personally.

First of all I have removed the link to your website as we are only interested here in what our readers and members think. I think that your situation is one that will interest our members. However your "Fight" with the cruise line is yours alone.

Paper work: Unfortunately "They" never seem to be able to get it straight once into the screw up mode. And they do seem to get there to frequently. But if one stops and considers the actually numbers of people sailing I suppose they are forgive a few errors. Keep after them to stop.

Transfers etc. are a PTA at the best of times and personally I never use them anymore as they are physically out of the control of the Cruise Line and stuff happens. Nice credits received and I would not expect anymore.

Your laws are clearly different over there and from what I have learned from speaking with UK folks you guys get treated by all cruise lines as second citizens anyways right from the start at pricing. In North America we seem to get along with them a lot better.

Work on board while sailing. This happens a lot more than you think. If they have offered a % off try to make it bigger by polite and logical correspondence and then take the cruise. Your first ones were ok likely you next one will be too. BTW they don't have to offer anything. That's my understanding of the basic cruise contract. They got you there.

A wholesale remedy is of course to follow a lot of our ancestors over here. Leave the mother land and come to................ oh lets say Canada !

Good Luck and don't be a one post wonder if at all possible


If you take me serious, it's your problem
As i've sailed with RCCL in the past i have only good memories. I am sorry your holiday was tarnished by miscues and an apparent lack of customer service on the part of RCCL. Since i am a yank, i cannot comment on how things are done over there, with the exception that i too have heard the stories of you guys getting treated rather shabbily right from the start beginning with the pricing(as i don't think i would pay nearly as much as the 4.5k a head even if i were in a deluxe suite)...

As for lettingthe cruiseline handle all aspects of your holiday ... i have found that letting a cruiseline handle anything more than the cruise booking itself can, and often does, add the potential for mistakes,errors and some things being omitted. You should also take some of the blame for that, it really would have been a better experience for you, had you done a little homework. you did well by booking the holiday well in advance, but you dropped the ball when you let them plan everything. you had plenty of time to plan your own air travel, your transfers to and from airports to hotels/cruise port. your excursions(are generally much less expensive when not booked through the cruiseline, and you can usually find a better company or excursion than the cruiseline offers.)

you have given me some great information i did not know before. As i was unaware of a cruiseline carrying out what sounds like major renovations while underway. i feel your pain there, as i don't think i would enjoy the noise/smells going on when i am on holiday trying to relax and unwind from the day to day work environment i will return to when i get back home.

As for you being upset about the cruiseline not refunding you what you think you should be entitled to.... they really don't have to refund anything really... as per the cruise contract. I get the cruise insurance which protects me for most of the charges iincur at the initial booking. It can also be helpful to not try and sound like you are just wanting something for nothing(even if what you really want is some form of reimbursement for a horrible situation. especially when in reality they don't have to do anything), remain polite, explain what happened, explain how it affected your cruise experience, explain what you would like the cruiseline to do to make things right, be gracious when they attempt to reciprocate. If after doing those things, you still do not receive satisfaction, remain polite and explain where their offer falls short, and ask again if more can be done. if nothing mre can be done i would graciously(albeit begrudgingly) accept their offer and say thank you are likely will be dealing with someone that had nothing to cause your problems. After you return home you can simply chalk it up to experience, and know that after the free cruise, you never have to interact with the company again, as there are several other cruiselines willing to take your hard earned money.....


Well-Known Member
I too express my regrets that your honeymoon turned out so badly. There is never a "good" excuse for "bad" customer service.

Please don't take the rest of my post as a critique but rather a public service announcement for those to follow.

You didn't mention the name if your travel agency so I'll assume you didn't have one. Your post is a classic example of an answer to so many posts I have seen here over the years, "Why use a T/A?"

Any good travel professional could have handled all your Pre Cruise issues for you and probably avoided a lot of the issues to follow. For a start, finding out in February that you and your bride were seated on the opposite end of a transatlantic flight in late April?? That is an easy fix in a capable T/A's hands and that's just one example. There's no way we can control what happens while you're on board but we can fight tooth and nail for compensation where compensation is due if a wrong has been done. No need for viral posting on your part or opening your own web site. Just a call to your T/A to take care of your cares and woes. It's what we do. Because we know how.

Again, not a critique, just an observation. Here is a simple example.... My eye doctor agrees to let me take care if his cruises, take my advice and let me fix whatever might be wrong. In return I agree to let him take care of my peepers, take his advice and let him fix whatever might be wrong. So far he's still cruising and I can still see... Works pretty well.

For those of you who wonder why to use a T/A? Bookmark this and read it often.

Happy cruising!!!


Well-Known Member
so sad your honeymoon did not go well. this is quite unusual for Royal Caribbean. I hope you made some good memories too. We are still talking about our honey moon after 24 years.