How can Royal Caribbean be so different on land and at sea?

I wrote a few days ago about a problem I was having with Royal Caribbean. I booked a Villa Suite at what the agent told me was a refundable rate. Royal sent me a confirmation for a non-refundable deposit and declined to honor the original deal. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and I wrote about that in the original post. Today, I received the following reply. It did not encourage me that Royal Caribbean is trying hard to understand what actually happened:

Thank you for forwarding a copy of the complaint filed with your agency. We appreciate this opportunity to respond.

Our records do not indicate that there was any misinformation given. As such, we cannot confirm that our agent was at fault. We must decline Mr. Dinedrinktravel’s request for a refundable suite deposit. 

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We have thoroughly and completely addressed all of the concerns in our responses and consider this matter to be resolved.

Sincerely,

Guest Experience Management

Here’s the thing, though– the second phone agent with whom I spoke already looked at it and confirmed it was a refundable rate code. The Twitter agent already said they would make sure future agents were trained better. The original response from the company through the Better Business Bureau was pretty straightforward in saying they wouldn’t provide a copy of the calls, and this response did not address what it is the agent did say.

Essentially, if you have a problem while on land with Royal Caribbean it appears that you are out of luck. See also my post from June about a problem with their billing. They do not particularly care to listen, and you cannot count on what they say on the phone. The reason I cruise with them is that their ships are excellent, the onboard customer service is very good, and the program they have in their suites is better than it is with Carnival. I struggle to understand how this company can operate so differently on land and  at sea. So…. be forewarned, I guess. Nothing for suites is ever refundable, even when their phone agent says it is. Don’t get your friends to commit until you have everything from the company in writing. And remember that travel is always worth it, even if it is a profound hassle to get there.

For more about Royal Caribbean, both the great and the bad, please see:

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