Hurricane Irene

Friday Soundoff: Did Royal Caribbean make amends for San Juan incident?

In:
02Sep2011

You've likely heard about the incident in Puerto Rico last week where Royal Caribbean stranded 140 passengers when Hurricane Irene forced the Serenade of the Seas to leave port earlier than expected.  There was a lot of outrage targeted at Royal Caribbean for not doing more to notify the passengers and/or compensate them for missing their cruise.  Yesterday Royal Caribbean announced it was offering those who missed the ship compensation.

So today's soundoff topic is: Did Royal Caribbean rectify the situation in your eyes?

Did Royal Caribbean do enough to make the situation better?  Or do you think that since the cruise contract every passengers enters into stipulating Royal Caribbean owes them nothing means the compensation is more than adequate?  

Share your thoughts in our comments for this post!

Royal Caribbean decides to compensate stranded passengers from San Juan debacle

In:
01Sep2011

After an avalanche of negative comments concerning Royal Caribbean's decision last week to strand over 100 of its passengers in San Juan without any compensation, Royal Caribbean has decided to offer those who didn't make the ship a compensation package.

The incident occurred when Hurricane Irene threatened San Juan, Puerto Rico where Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas was docked.  Port officials needed to have the ship leave early, so Serenade was forced to leave a few hours early and subsequently left 145 passengers and refused to offer them any compensation.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez confirmed that a compensation package was indeed being offered but declined to provide specifics.

The aftermath of the incident spilled over when people heard of what happened and were upset over Royal Caribbean's indifference to the plight of those left behind.  Despite earlier saying the cruise giant would not offer anything (they claimed they were within their rights to do what they did), Royal Caribbean is hoping to reverse the negative perception that has taken hold in the court of public opinion.

UPDATE: Here is a statement from Royal Caribbean:

 “As a gesture of goodwill, and in recognition of the time they missed on board Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean provided each guest who was not able to arrive to the ship before it departed San Juan but met the ship later, with a future cruise certificate for 30% of the cruise fare paid for their sailing.

“We are in the process of contacting those guests who were not able to sail with us at all to inform them of their compensation, and would prefer that the impacted guests learn of the amount directly from the line before it is disclosed publicly.

“We are compensating these passengers because we understand that this was an unusual situation, and we want to provide our guests with another opportunity to sail with Royal Caribbean International in the near future.” 

CocoCay open again after Hurricane Irene damage is repaired

In:
31Aug2011

Hurricane Irene caused enough damage to Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas that Royal Caribbean officials had to cancel three stops over the weekend to the island.  The damage has been repaired and CocoCay is open for business once again.

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas was able to stop today at CocoCay.  Royal Caribbean said it made all the repairs it needed and  that “the site is back to business as usual.”

Photo of the Day: Explorer of the Seas escaping Hurricane Irene

In:
29Aug2011

Photo by Kimberly

Royal Caribbean cancels stops to CocoCay private island through Monday

In:
27Aug2011

Royal Caribbean has been forced to cancel stops to its private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, through Monday due to the effect Hurricane Irene had on it.  Royal Caribbean's reasoning for cancelling is being described as, "we feel our guest's experience ashore would be disrupted".

The following stops have been canceled

  • Majesty of the Seas - August 27
  • Monarch of the Seas -  August 28
  • Freedom of the Seas - August 29

As a result of this itinerary change, Royal Caribbean has decided to amend the following itineraries as follows

  • Monarch of the Seas will now stay overnight in Nassau, Bahamas, arriving at 12:00 p.m. today and departing at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 28.
  • Majesty of the Seas will also stay overnight in Nassau, Bahamas, arriving at 12:00 p.m. today and departing at 5:00 pm. on Sunday, August 28.
  • Freedom of the Seas will call on Nassau, Bahamas, on Monday, August 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

No word at this time if any further cancelations will be necessary.  Royal Caribbean reported sending a team yesterday to evaluate the damage to the island.

Hurricane Irene damages Royal Caribbean's private island CocoCay

In:
26Aug2011

Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas appears to have been damaged to some extent by Hurricane Irene as it passed by.  

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email, "We have a Miami-based team heading to CocoCay as we speak. Once they arrive, we'll have a better idea of the damage."

It is unknown at this time when Royal Caribbean ships can return to the island.

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas will depart one hour early due to Hurricane Irene

In:
25Aug2011

Royal Caribbean announced that Explorer of the Seas will depart Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ earlier than expected this weekend.  The Saturday, August 27 sailing will depart at 4pm EST, one hour earlier than originally scheduled.

All guests are asked to arrive at the pier no later than 3:00pm EST.

The change is due to the impending arrival of hurricane Irene and Royal Caribbean wants to get the ship out of the path of the storm.  No other changes have been announced but Royal Caribbean is monitoring the situation.

Royal Caribbean denies stranding passengers in San Juan due to Hurricane Irene

In:
25Aug2011

We first told you about passengers who missed their Royal Caribbean cruise earlier this week when Royal Caribbean was forced to depart San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than scheduled due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene.  

Today, Royal Caribbean has denied any responsibility for leaving 145 passengers at port to get Serenade of the Seas of the way of the storm three hours early.  Royal Caribbean contends that port officials began to limit harbor traffic at 12:30 pm on Sunday, forcing the ship to depart early.

Of the passengers left behind, 15 had purchased their airfare through Royal Caribbean and were subsequently given a hotel stay for two nights and flown to Aruba to join the cruise on the rest of its voyage.  The other 130 passengers, however, were on their own.  The reasoning, according to Royal Caribbean is, "Independent guests were advised of hotel availability in the area, but the expense was on them given that it was a weather-related event."

Furthermore, Royal Caribbean says there was simply no way of contacting the passengers in time to alert them to the change, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

It turns out Royal Caribbean isn't alone in this.  Another 300 passengers missed their Carnival Cruise when Hurricane Irene prompted the Carnival Victory to leave port four hours early.

Hurricane Irene changes itinerary for Monarch & Majesty of the Seas

In:
23Aug2011

Hurricane Irene has altered the itinerary of two more Royal Caribbean ships.

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas will skip Cococay on Tuesday, its private island in the Bahamas.  Instead, the ship will spend an extra day at sea.

Majesty of the Seas will also skip her scheduled sotp at CocoCay on Wednesday and go directly to Key West instead.  Majesty should arrive at Key West at 4pm on Wednesday and stay there overnight until 6pm on Thursday.

These two changes are in addition to four other Royal Caribbean ships that had their itineraries altered already inlcuding Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.

In addition, Hurricane Irene has caused Royal Caribbean to secure and evacuate Cocacay.

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas leaves San Juan early and strands passengers

In:
23Aug2011

Due to fear of Hurricane Irene impacting Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean decided to leave San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than the scheduled 8:30pm time.  The earlier departure time may have gotten the ship out of the path of the storm, but it stranded some Royal Caribbean passengers in San Juan after they claim they weren't made aware of the schedule change.

Passenger Nicole Washington of Baltimore, MD arrived at the docks Sunday shortly after 5, she found the gates locked and the ship gone.

“There was nobody there,” she said. “Everybody was gone and there was nobody there to tell me where the ship was.”

In a statement, Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez explained the change, "On Sunday, due to the projected path of Hurricane Irene, and the weather forecast to reach San Juan, Puerto Rico that evening, authorities at the Port of San Juan limited traffic in and out of the port.  As a result, Serenade of the Seas was required to depart earlier than our originally scheduled time of 8:30 p.m.”

Washington did admit that she never checked into the cruise so according to Royal Caribbean, the line had no idea she was even in San Juan.

Martinez went on to say, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

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