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SCAM! Website price bait-and-switch

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Guest MEMVA
1 minute ago, marti314 said:

You had an issue, RCL fixed the issue, sounds like a good outcome to me but you felt the need to bash a company and make some conspiracy claim on a site where people take truly enjoy talking about Royal Caribbean Cruises.  

RCL did not fix the issue. Fixing the issue would've been acknowledging the fact they made a mistake and honoring the price they quoted on the website. They did not do this. They only offered to charge me more. I made the decision to cancel.

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10 minutes ago, MEMVA said:

Perhaps my experience is a website glitch. Either way, it doesn't matter. It left a pretty bad impression of RC

I'm really sorry things went south for you

Before the website update the UK site was very difficult to navigate and understand, often timing out and losing the information that you had just entered on the form.

If you ever do consider cruising again, and I hope you do, I cant say enough good things about a cruise holiday experience, I would certainly push for a TA who will fight all these battles for you with regards to bookings, glitches and anything else they can throw at them.

Hope whatever you end up doing for your holiday turns out great but I do hope you give cruising another go some day, best of luck :)

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5 minutes ago, MEMVA said:

Marti - I have never had a bait and switch experience on an airline website or any major retailer's website. I am not suggesting that anyone is out to get me. And, I am a little baffled by your hostility. What I described as happening on the RC website is exactly what happened. It was frustrating and I felt it was important to share this with other cruisers - experienced or first timers.  I am respectfully asking that you please quit trolling and attacking me or I will report you to the site owners. Thank you.

Matt is the site owner.  Now you are introduced.

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Guest MEMVA
2 minutes ago, Matt said:

You've got it backwards. You get a discount for allowing RC to choose your room.

As for "needing to pay more", this is no different than if you book an airline flight and select a seat with extra leg room or an emergency exit row seat. Preferred room options come with a higher cost.

Thank you, Matt for your reply. However, I do not think I got it backwards. The website had two boxes - the *discounted* price was $979 for letting RC pick my room. The other option was "you pick your room" - and the price was $1076. I picked the second option. I was fully aware of and understood the concept of the discounted price to let them pick my room. Again - I did not chose that option and did not pay for that option. I paid for the higher priced option to pick my room.

I can appreciate that you're an administrator of this blog and want to defend RD and keep folks happy on RC - because that means it keeps them coming back to the blog. I completely understand. 

I am not suggesting any vast conspiracy. And perhaps RC is an ethical company. And, I was thinking about giving RC another shot, until I read a couple of the condescending and unkind posts here.

Thanks.

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Guest MEMVA
4 minutes ago, marti314 said:

Matt is the site owner.  Now you are introduced.

Ok. Thanks. Good to know.

Bye everyone. I can pretty much gauge the nature of the folks that run this site and their willingness (or unwillingness) to treat a fellow first time cruiser with respect and kindness. 

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26 minutes ago, MEMVA said:

Hi Matt-- Thank you for your response. However, I must confess that I find your response a little unusual.

First,  I am an executive level communications professional with 30 years of experience, including managing websites at Fortune 50 organizations. I can assure you I am not so naive as to "assume" anything, particularly when it comes to language and words. The website specifically said "You chose your room" and gave the price of $1076. To me (and the vast majority of sensible people) this means exactly what it says - the purchaser gets to pick their room. 

Second, in terms of 'verifying' - the fact that I called RC immediately is proof that I did try to verify. There was no other way to verify anything on the RC website.

Third, my husband and I are extremely experienced travelers. We've traveled the globe, including visits to multiple continents for extended periods of time, such as Europe and Australia. I can assure you that I've made complex travel arrangements multiple times before last night and been very successful at it, solely relying on the language presented on a website.

Fourth, as I stated in one of my other responses, the fact that every other major corporation, such as the airlines, big and small retailers, cloud service organizations, etc, can offer and deliver services and products via a website at the price advertised with no problem, suggests to me that RC has some major issues with their back-end website programming, their website messaging, and their promotions.

And, finally I did extensive research on cruising, including watching countless videos and reading numerous articles and blogs about "Things a First-timer Should Know" - and never once did I read or hear someone say: "Don't book your travel with the cruise line website. They're notoriously bad. Contact a travel agent." NEVER. Ultimately, what you're suggesting is that first time cruisers with a major reputable corporation need to jump through hoops, diving deep into research to plan a simple five day vacation. You're also saying that RC as a company can't be trusted.

I learned a lot from my experience with RC. Unfortunately, I will not be cruising.

No one can refute your experience, and your logic seems sound.  Thanks for pointing out the issue.  Hopefully, you have noticed this appears to be an uncommon event with RCI.  Happy travels however and wherever you go.

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1 minute ago, MEMVA said:

I am not suggesting any vast conspiracy. And perhaps RC is an ethical company. And, I was thinking about giving RC another shot, until I read a couple of the condescending and unkind posts here.

I apologize for any posts that you felt were attacks on yourself.  Now and then we get someone who comes in here and posts outlandish accusations about a horrible experience and then never come back to provide any feedback. It does not excuse anyone insulting you by any means.

I can appreciate your dedication to following up with posts in this thread and I can tell from your responses that you're not being unreasonable, but did have a first-time negative experience. I really think if you gave it another shot and followed some best practices, you could easily avoid the pitfalls you ran into previously, and then enjoy a great cruise vacation.

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2 minutes ago, MEMVA said:

Ok. Thanks. Good to know.

Bye everyone. I can pretty much gauge the nature of the folks that run this site and their willingness (or unwillingness) to treat a fellow first time cruiser with respect and kindness. 

Can you provide the exact cruise that you were going to book (Or booked)? Ship and date, room category you were looking at?

I've booked upwards of 12 cruises on Royals web site (and 100 if not thousands of mock bookings) and I have never seen this issue, when it says click here to pick you room it always redirects me to a floor plan where I select my room. I now use a travel agent mainly for simplicity reason, I don't have time to do the research that I used to, so I let them do the research and present me with options. I currently have 7 future cruises booked through 2021 and have not had any of the issues you describe.

I have seen issues where 1 browser verses another browser will receive different feedback from Royals web page, but most of the time this is a security or pop up blocker. I have found the best results using Chrome and opening an incognito session. 

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I worked for a cruise only travel agency for three years- ending in 2001. For many years I enjoyed booking my own cruises. However the present website is not very user friendly so now I use a TA. It’s not worth the hassle anymore. 

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11 hours ago, MEMVA said:

Hi - Sharing this every where I can - because I am pretty appalled and disgusted with Royal Caribbean and want to warn people about their bait-and-switch techniques.
This evening, as a celebration of our wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to book a cruise on Royal Caribbean. A trip to Bermuda. Our first cruise ever. We've never been on a cruise and thought we'd try one for a major wedding anniversary we are celebrating, even though we've heard and read some pretty scary things about cruise lines. We used the Royal Caribbean website. When we got to the option of select your stateroom, we were given two options (1) "Let Royal Caribbean Pick Your room" - (price $979) - or (2) "You pick your room" (price $1076.) We selected option #2 for $1076 - assuming this meant we would be given the option of picking our own room!! To be clear - THERE WERE NO OTHER OPTIONS, DETAILS, SMALL PRINT OR OTHER CLARIFICATION OFFERED TO US. THERE WERE SIMPLY TWO OPTIONS DISPLAYED IN TWO LARGE WEBSITE BOXES - NOTHING ELSE!!!!! The website immediately took us to the page where we were asked to provide personal information, which we provided. We were then taken to the payment page. We entered our credit card information and received our booking number. However, we were concerned because we were never given the option of a floor plan to pick our room, so we called the Royal Caribbean number on the screen to better understand the process. We connected to someone who claimed that in order for us to pick our room we had to pay AN ADDITIONAL $92 PER PERSON!! and who kept saying something about 'you picked selection 4b' (as if I am supposed to know what that means!!). I kept trying to explain that no - we had already picked the option on the screen that said "we get to choose our room" - and we had paid the higher price for it already. However, the so-called customer service rep could do nothing to help us and kept insisting that I had to pay more to get the option that I already paid for!!! To make matters worse - if we went back into the online system - the page still appeared which said "#1 Let Royal Caribbean pick your room" $979!!! So, we already paid extra to pick our room, Royal Caribbean customer service staff is claiming we need to pay more, and the website is saying we could actually pay less than we did for the service Royal Caribbean is claiming we purchased!! What a disgusting mess.  If this isn't some sort of scam/bait-and-switch - I don't know what is!!!!

This was our first attempt at a cruise and it will be our last. We weren't sure about cruising to begin with, but now we are. We definitely do NOT want to do business with a company that engages in bait-and-switch scams with their customers.  - Mary M., Virginia.

Honestly I get why you are frustrated and that you are an experienced traveler however, you are not an EXPERIENCED CRUISER. Cruising is a whole different Animal.. Its nothing like airlines or hotels.. One should never use Royal Caribbeans Website to book a cruise.. Their website is horrible but also very confusing for a new cruiser.. I know in this day and age booking online is the way to go but NOT when it comes to cruising on ANY cruise line.. A First time cruiser NEEDS a travel agent who specializes in cruises.. They will be able to guide you in all the ways of cruising. You choose not to do this which is your right but then you shouldn't say Royal was doing a bait and switch. They weren't. you just are unfamiliar with how the cruising industry works. 

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I truly feel bad for the OP. She had a bad experience with RC's website. She is correct in that there are some serious problems with the site and obviously how it is managed. Give it a try with a Travel Agent this time around and I hope you have a better experience and ultimately a great vacation to celebrate.

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First, congratulations on your anniversary!  I hope you do give RC another try.  Like others have recommended, booking with a TA will avoid the website issues you experience.  Also, TA who specializes in cruises are a wealth of information that you cannot gain by simply watching YouTube videos such as stateroom selections, itinerary selection, etc. 

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Interesting.... I've never actually booked a cruise on Royal's website.

I have, however, made many, many mock bookings, and every time I've selected "You pick your room" as I simply don't like the idea of a guarantee room.

In every case, after selecting this, I was given the option to look at deck plans and select the room of my choice.

I can therefore understand that if this didn't happen for the OP, he is now rather frustrated.

I don't buy the concept of "maybe there was only one room left" as when it gets to that stage, Royal will generally remove the option to pick your own room and all you can book is a guarantee (in my experience anyway).

From this, I think a few people here have been very harsh on the OP.

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42 minutes ago, MEMVA said:

Thank you, Matt for your reply. However, I do not think I got it backwards. The website had two boxes - the *discounted* price was $979 for letting RC pick my room. The other option was "you pick your room" - and the price was $1076. I picked the second option. I was fully aware of and understood the concept of the discounted price to let them pick my room. Again - I did not chose that option and did not pay for that option. I paid for the higher priced option to pick my room. 

I can appreciate that you're an administrator of this blog and want to defend RD and keep folks happy on RC - because that means it keeps them coming back to the blog. I completely understand. 

I am not suggesting any vast conspiracy. And perhaps RC is an ethical company. And, I was thinking about giving RC another shot, until I read a couple of the condescending and unkind posts here.

Thanks.

I actually agree with you 100% here.  I always choose the pick my own option as we travel with our sons in a separate cabin and I like to pick the cabins close together.  Paying that extra money is worth it to me.

The only thing I can think of that happened here was (as somebody said) there was only one of that cabin left for you to choose from...therefore not really a "choice" so the site bypassed the cabin selection page.  The $92 upcharge when you called may have been the cost to bump into the next cabin category where there were multiple cabins available that you could choose from.  Whenever you select the "Let us choose your cabin" option, it says that they will choose that cabin category for you at a  minimum.  It there aren't any cabins of that category left at the time of cabin assignment you will get bumped up into the next available cabin category.

In any event, I don't think you should swear off an entire means of vacationing just because you had a bad experience with one vendor.  That is like me having a bad experience at McDonalds and swearing off all fast food.  That would cause me to miss the wonder that is Chick Fil A.  I would suggest checking out other cruise lines to see if there are any trips that interest you. 

As a hint...whenever you choose the "Pick my own" option...before you get to the payment screen, you are always presented with a page that shows you the available cabins to choose from in that category (it is usually the very next screen).  If you don't get that option before it asks you for your payment information...try the booking again on the site...and then call if you still don't see it.

Good luck and I hope you guys find a trip that you are excited about for your anniversary.....maybe it will be a cruise.

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4 minutes ago, Balsam said:

Interesting.... I've never actually booked a cruise on Royal's website.

I have, however, made many, many mock bookings, and every time I've selected "You pick your room" as I simply don't like the idea of a guarantee room.

In every case, after selecting this, I was given the option to look at deck plans and select the room of my choice.

I can therefore understand that if this didn't happen for the OP, he is now rather frustrated.

I don't buy the concept of "maybe there was only one room left" as when it gets to that stage, Royal will generally remove the option to pick your own room and all you can book is a guarantee (in my experience anyway).

From this, I think a few people here have been very harsh on the OP.

Quoted lines from the OP: 

However, the so-called customer service rep could do nothing to help us and kept insisting that I had to pay more to get the option that I already paid for!!!

But, I will say that one has to seriously question the competency and professionalism of a company on the scale of Royal Caribbean,

Something was clearly wrong with the website - yet their customer service staff are completely unable to assist. 

We definitely do NOT want to do business with a company that engages in bait-and-switch scams with their customers.  

Perhaps you work for RC - or perhaps you're just one of those internet trolls like feels empowered behind a computer screen to insult

 

I don't buy the concept of "maybe there was only one room left" as when it gets to that stage, Royal will generally remove the option to pick your own room and all you can book is a guarantee (in my experience anyway).

Just did a mock booking for my AUG cruise, there is only 1 room left in a category and it chooses that room automatically (Yes you get to see the room but you dont get a deck choice or room choice because there is only one left at this price in this category).

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1 hour ago, MEMVA said:

Thank you, Matt for your reply. However, I do not think I got it backwards. The website had two boxes - the *discounted* price was $979 for letting RC pick my room. The other option was "you pick your room" - and the price was $1076. I picked the second option. I was fully aware of and understood the concept of the discounted price to let them pick my room. Again - I did not chose that option and did not pay for that option. I paid for the higher priced option to pick my room.

I can appreciate that you're an administrator of this blog and want to defend RD and keep folks happy on RC - because that means it keeps them coming back to the blog. I completely understand. 

I am not suggesting any vast conspiracy. And perhaps RC is an ethical company. And, I was thinking about giving RC another shot, until I read a couple of the condescending and unkind posts here.

Thanks.

I totally understand your problem. This is an error, a mistake by the RC IT department. This shouldn't happened. 

And the answer you got from customer services was awful and didn't helped at all. Instead of recognize an error and fix it for you they wanted to charge you more. It's simply outrageous.

I think that cancel that booking was your bets choice.   

39 minutes ago, Bean79 said:

I truly feel bad for the OP. She had a bad experience with RC's website. She is correct in that there are some serious problems with the site and obviously how it is managed. Give it a try with a Travel Agent this time around and I hope you have a better experience and ultimately a great vacation to celebrate.

I agree. You should give it a try with a TA, your experience will be totally different. 

 

I hope you can sail and enjoy your first cruise as you deserve!

Greetings!

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I'm having to reverse engineer this from the OP original post, trip to Bermuda and something about 4B.

That leads me to Adventure OTS out of Newark going to Bermuda, so say they picked Spacious Balcony, there are 5 cabin categories, 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 6B, so she picked a 4B cabin and there were none available, so the phone agent was telling them for $92, more than likely offering a 6B cabin. It could also be Grandeur or Serenade, Anthem doesn't show a 4B category.

We all know that the cabin itself is the exact same but the difference comes where the cabin is located on the deck in regards to elevators and other things, so they were getting a better located cabin for $92pp, probably a 6B due to no 4B's available on the sailing.

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DID SHE LEAVE YET ?   OMG, I CANT TAKE IT.   EVERYONE IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR A PAYDAY.  MISTAKES ARE MADE, WHETHER PERSONALLY OR BY RCI.  THE MISTAKE WAS FIXED.  IT WAS OBVIOUSLY THAT THE VERBIAGE WAS MISUNDERSTOOD ON THE WEBSITE.  IF THERE WERE QUESTIONS, THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASKED PRIOR AND NOT JUST THROW DIRT IN THE FACE OF OTHERS AND RCI.  I AM A TRAVEL AGENT AND I HAVE HAD ISSUE WITH RCI BOOKINGS IN THE PAST AND THEY HAVE ALWAYS EXPLAINED THE ERROR ON MY PART OR RESOLVED MY ISSUE AND IN SOME CASES DID BOTH.   I FIND THEM TO BE VERY PROFESSIONAL AND DO NOT BELIEVE THEY WOULD EVER CONDUCT BAIT AND SWITCH OR ANY SORT OF BAD PRACTICES THAT WOULD LEAVE A BAD TASTE IN THE MOUTH OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.  THAT WOULD BE POOR BUSINESS PRACTICE AND THEY WOULD LOSS REVENUE FROM IT.  IT JUST DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.  

btw, I am sorry for yelling.....   lmao....

 

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1 minute ago, DDaley said:

This has happened to me before! I just switched browsers and it worked fine and the deck plan screen came up. Probably using Internet Explorer! 

This is my guess also.

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1 hour ago, MEMVA said:

Thank you, Matt for your reply. However, I do not think I got it backwards. The website had two boxes - the *discounted* price was $979 for letting RC pick my room. The other option was "you pick your room" - and the price was $1076. I picked the second option. I was fully aware of and understood the concept of the discounted price to let them pick my room. Again - I did not chose that option and did not pay for that option. I paid for the higher priced option to pick my room.

I can appreciate that you're an administrator of this blog and want to defend RD and keep folks happy on RC - because that means it keeps them coming back to the blog. I completely understand. 

I am not suggesting any vast conspiracy. And perhaps RC is an ethical company. And, I was thinking about giving RC another shot, until I read a couple of the condescending and unkind posts here.

Thanks.

The .UK site is a different layout to .com site. So decided to do a mock booking and take screenshots to understand your confusion. So here is my take on it. Yes you did select “pick your own”  but I think from there you were directed to the first available one which could have been worded as a “guarantee “ cabin. This basically means that you are selecting a certain category of a “guarantee” cabin - it is not your selection as such but you are promised a slightly better cabin in your case category 4B than the “basic guarantee “ which are classified category X. 

I hope this clarifies it for you and you give RCCL another chance. As for Matt our much loved admin, he works very hard to help us make informed choices with our cruises.

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What you experienced on RCI website is correct and I experienced the same thing when I was looking to book my cruise in August 2019.  This will be our first RCI cruise and haven't had a lot of experience with their website.  I chose the option to pick my room, however there was never an option to choose my room number.  I called them personally to book the room instead of using the website to finish my booking. 

Being an experienced Carnival cruiser, I knew something wasn't right with the website.  I use Carnival's website to find prices and rooms available. Then, I call my Carnival TA to book the room.  I truly hope you give cruising another chance either with RCI or another cruise line.

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I checked as well..sounds like the OP is correct. And I am surprised others here aren't aware of that..its been like that for awhile on Royals website..

 

OP did not ASSUME(even though he said that but)...its printed in black and white.......so it is deceiving...and of course  there is lots of small print at the bottom about NRDB and all the rules and regulations.

it is defn NOT straight forward at all..especially for a first time Royal cruiser....

 

To be honest I am not even 100% sure about all the ins and outs and rules and changes and what shows and doesn't show when it comes to Royal and I have cruised a dozen times with them....and I cant even find where the Redfundable deposit price is now...

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Yeah the Royal Caribbean website stinks. We all know this. Unfortunately the OP did not. I can understand why she might think it’s bait and switch, I don’t think it is. But I know from experience that calling Royal Customer Service is like getting a root canal. That’s again why I use a TA. 

Message to the OP if you are still here. Get a travel agent and try a different cruise company if you are mad at Royal Caribbean. Cruising is a great vacation. We are all very nice here and did not mean to be rude and were just trying to help I swear!

 

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