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Not a great experience


GrubbyGrubbles
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We've not done an organised shore excursion before, but always preferred to use the shuttle buses and look around the ports of call ourselves.  However, this time we decided to book a RC shore excursion in Gijon.  It was titled 'Historic Covadonga with Asturian Lunch'.  To quote the marketing on the RC website, this excusrion promsed we would immerse ourselves in Spain's rich history and natural splendor on a half-day tour including majestic mountain ranges, a sacred cave, a key battle site and a delicious lunch featuring typical Asturian fare.

What actually happened was we spent too many hours on a coach due to the increased volume of traffic in the height of Spain's tourist season.  There was no battlesite that we could see and barely any time at the spots we did stop at - due to the traffic we arrived at the sacred cave so late that the guide gave us only half an hour to look around but unfortunately the queue for the cave was over half an hour long so we had to leave it, and we also made a stop in a town which used to be the capital of Spain before Madrid.  The guide took us on a short walk to see the Roman bridge in this town.  The bridge was nice enough but due to everything running so late, we then had to walk back to the coach, leaving no time to explore the town and the shops.  I'd have rather done this than seen the bridge.

We stopped at a restaurant for lunch which consisited of bean soup (quite nice), a very tough escallope of chicken served with chips (we all left most of the chicken but ate the chips, which were really greasy) and a (watery) rice pudding to finish.  I've still yet to research is this is indeed typical Asturian fayre but we were not impressed.

To add to all of this the guide on the coach was as dull as ditchwater.  He had no personality and offered very little in the way of information of what we were passing on the road, making the hours on the coach very boring.  An entertaining guide would have probably gone some way to making a rubbish day a bit better.

This excursion cost about £250 for 4 of us and we were all really disappointed and wished we'd stayed on board the ship.  The volume of traffic was obviously no one's fault, however at one point the guide came over the speaker and said "August is the worse time to visit Spain.  This isn't my fault"! (maybe he has experienced complaints before???).  August is a busy month almost everywhere so my complaint is that RC or the shore excursion company should allow for the extra traffic on the road at this time of year and either make it a longer day trip or cut something out, allowing the guests to spend longer at other stops.  On this occasion, my husband and son were not impressed the battlesite was missed completely as they are both into their history and was looking forward to that stop in particular.

I guess you live and learn.  This could have been a great trip if it had been better thought out, given the time of year. 

 

 

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Perhaps they don't care, but you really would only need to copy and paste what you wrote us with some minor edits.  If they don't care, you wasted 5 minutes.  If they do care, something happens that is likely worth more than 5 minutes of your time.  At the very least you would be able to share with us their response, and if they don't care then we can all be angry together!  We like being angry at large companies after all :6_smile:

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I don't have an email address, but these situations are best handled onboard by talking to the excursion staff after the tour. In all likelihood, there was a crew member onboard to who could have verified the complaint. I would definitely contact customer service, though, and voice your dissatisfaction. 

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8 hours ago, NS8VN said:

Perhaps they don't care, but you really would only need to copy and paste what you wrote us with some minor edits.  If they don't care, you wasted 5 minutes.  If they do care, something happens that is likely worth more than 5 minutes of your time.  At the very least you would be able to share with us their response, and if they don't care then we can all be angry together!  We like being angry at large companies after all :6_smile:

That sounds reasonable.  I think I'll do that. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Doesn't surprise me....nothing against Royal but in general these companies don't give 2 &*&^# about a single customer complaining. Unless you are willing to keep at them with emails and calls and threats, they often will do nothing. Or unless its a large group of people voicing their displeasure about something that will get others peoples attention then maybe they will.

 

That being said, I have to agree that it may have been easier and better to talk to someone on the ship right after the experience so they could confirm and verify the details. Maybe they would have been able to offer you something right then and there.

I have yet to book an excursion with Royal and I have done 10 cruises. I much prefer to do my own thing once off the ship in port or arrange it on my own locally etc. Can't control everything but for me the deal breaker is the cost for the excursions to start when it comes to Royal anyways.

 

Good luck...and don't give up!

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2 hours ago, GrubbyGrubbles said:

FYI to anyone who might be reading this - I did send an email to Royal Caribbean, and a follow up email as I hadn't heard anything, and I've had no response whatsoever.  Not even a customary "we'll look in to it" email.  I'm disappointed that there's not even been an acknowledgement, let alone anything else.

Grubby,

I have sent e-mails to Royal in the past and it takes a week or longer for them to reply.:27_sunglasses:

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On 9/21/2017 at 10:46 AM, GrubbyGrubbles said:

FYI to anyone who might be reading this - I did send an email to Royal Caribbean, and a follow up email as I hadn't heard anything, and I've had no response whatsoever.  Not even a customary "we'll look in to it" email.  I'm disappointed that there's not even been an acknowledgement, let alone anything else.

I use the "Contact Us" form on their website.  I immediately get an auto-reply acknowledging the message and within a week or so a human response.  They are a big company with tens of thousands of guests so I'm ok with a it taking a week or so to get a human response. One relatively minor issue I mentioned resulted in a phone call from them and a pleasant conversation about it.

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We had a similar issue on Sint Martin for a 6hr tour of the sights. Ended up being nothing but shopping to "their" stores and when I wondered off to look at something else was hearded back he even grab my shoulder, they didn't like my reply, the only one who tells me what to do is my wife.....?. The bus was the slowest thing on earth, AC didn't work, so the bus members were going to complain on our return to the Ship. I think if it was just the wife and I they would have face palmed us off, but nearly 80% of the bus complained so we all received credit back.

So moral of the story is safety in numbers if there is a problem.

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