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Banned from Royal Caribbean for complaining too much

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On May - 19 - 2008

 

Brenda Moran speaks to WKYC reporter Mike O'Mara

Brenda Moran speaks to WKYC reporter Mike O’Mara

Cleveland residents Brenda and Gerald Moran are experienced cruisers and big fans of Royal Caribbean. They were so happy with the cruise line they averaged two cruises a year for the past three years. They even bought the company’s stock.

Still, the Morans encountered problems on each cruise — everything from a plumbing problem to being locked out of their cabins — which they itemized and detailed in correspondence to the cruise line. Royal Caribbean worked with the couple to solve problems and offered discounts and onboard credits to keep the couple’s business.

Until it decided it no longer wanted the Moran’s business.

 

Last November, Royal Caribbean abruptly notified the couple that they were no longer welcome on any Royal Caribbean International ship, including the company’s subsidiaries Celebrity and Azamara. Ever.

What on earth did they do to get lifetime ban? They complained, and they complained loudly.

The cruise critics

Feisty Brenda Moran is certainly one not to hold back her opinion. Over the course of three years sailing on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, she documented many problems during her cruises that ran the gamut from her birthday greeting being delivered to the wrong stateroom to her husband being locked out on the balcony for three hours because the door latch jammed.

Last September, during a 14-night Alaska and Northwest sailing onboard Radiance of the Seas, the Moran’s stateroom had a plumbing problem that ended up with sewage all over the bathroom that overflowed onto the room’s carpet. Even with cleaning, the room wasn’t acceptable. The Morans asked repeatedly to be moved to another stateroom, but was told the ship was full.

The couple did the best they could to cope. “We had to keep the balcony door open in 40-degree weather the entire cruise just so we could breathe and not smell the horrible odors,” says Brenda.

Then on the last night the couple received a letter from the ship’s hotel director apologizing for the inconvenience and offered the couple a 20 percent discount on their next cruise. The Morans felt that was fair compensation and went and booked their next cruise with the line.

When Brenda returned home she wrote her usual post-cruise review on Cruise Critic and posted notes on their forums that started vigorous feedback from fellow cruisers.

Two weeks after returning home, the Morans received a phone call from Bill Weeks, an executive assistant in customer service. Weeks apologized for the couple’s treatment and offered an additional $500 to their 20 percent discount, the Morans were very happy with the offer. Again, Brenda posted her experience with Weeks on Cruise Critic’s forums.

Some board members felt the Morans had complained their way to an unfair discount and posted their displeasure. They felt that the Morans were teaching others how to “scam” Royal Caribbean. Some went so far as to contact Royal Caribbean’s president and chief executive, Adam Goldstein to complain about the Morans getting any compensation at all.

A few weeks later the Morans received a phone call from a man named Sebastian who identified himself as Bill Weeks’ boss. Sebastian was unhappy that Brenda had posted a negative review and had shared the compensation information on Cruise Critic’s boards. He asked Brenda to take down her review “at once.” Brenda refused and cited her right to free speech.

The following day the Morans received another phone call from Sebastian stating the couple was banned forever from the cruise line. The Morans were stunned. They didn’t believe it was true until an official letter was delivered citing the ban. It also contained a $500 check — their additional promised cruise credit.

Royal Caribbean speaks

I contacted Michael Sheehan, Royal Caribbean’s associate vice president of corporate communications, to get the cruise line’s side of the story. Sheehan says since 2004, the Morans sailed six voyages with two of the company’s lines. “On all but one of those sailing the Morans felt there were a variety of service failures they experienced,” he said. “In a small number of cases we agreed and compensated them appropriately. In most cases, however, we disagreed. Having concluded that we are unable to meet the expectations of the Morans, we have told them that they would be best served by sailing with another company.”

Cruising the message boards

Royal Caribbean is certainly entitled to ban whomever from their ships. Nevertheless, to ban someone for posting their cruise experience on an Internet message board raises serious questions about the lengths the company is going to keep negative reviews from public consumption. When I asked Sheehan if Royal Caribbean has an official policy on asking negative posts to be removed from Internet forums, he denied there was a policy.

Still, Internet postings are on the mind of Royal Caribbean’s top executives. In an e-mail obtained by Tripso, one Celebrity executive cites Cruise Critic’s message boards. “They love finding fault with Azamara even when things go great,” the executive complains. “How do we get over that?”

It appears that one step the company is taking to “get over that” is to intimidate posters of negative reviews and in some cases even going so far as to contact the publishers. Paul Motter, editor of Cruise Mates, was contacted by a Royal Caribbean staffer last November to have a negative review removed or at least amended.

In the e-mail, the staffer tells him the issue with the customer was resolved and asks if he can “make changes” to the posting. Motter did not take down or amend the review.

I spoke with Laura Sterling, Cruise Critic’s chief board moderator. Sterling says in her 13 years of moderating she’s never been approached by a cruise line to remove a review. She adds, “It is our policy to not entertain requests to remove negative reviews, at the request of cruise lines or anyone else.”

I asked other cruise lines about their rules and most said they have no policy at all towards Internet posts. A Carnival spokesperson, Jennifer de la Cruz, says the line has never banned someone for posting negative reviews. But the company pays attention to online discussions. “As a company we do like to maintain a feel for what’s being discussed online,” she says. “The message boards are a great source of consumer feedback.”

Indeed, Internet feedback is a hot commodity. Last year, Carnival started its own online community with message boards along with cruise director, John Heald’s popular blog. Just two weeks ago, Royal Caribbean launched its own online community called RoyalConnect with message boards for past cruisers of the line.

So, what does all this mean for you? Simply put, when you post a cruise review on a Web site, your post is likely being read by someone at the cruise line. Most cruise lines welcome feedback, even Royal Caribbean.

But if you go too far don’t be surprised if you end up with an e-mail or phone call from the cruise line.

As for the Morans, it appears there was a light at the end of walking Royal Caribbean’s plank. They’ve discovered “Freestyle Cruising” on Norwegian Cruise Line. “They are so much better than Royal Caribbean,” says Brenda.

Filled Under Advice, What's New?

221 Responses to “Banned from Royal Caribbean for complaining too much”

  1. bruce says:

    wow! ITS ABOUT TIME! yes indeed its about time a large company such as royal took some action of subjecting their other guests to such horrible people.just because someone has a few dollars to go on a cruise doesnt mean they should be able to carry on around civilized people with thier antics. these people must have a game plan in place and implement it on hitting the first deck! I wouldnt be suprized if the morons opps did i say that? the morans clogged the toilet themselves and spilled thier own” juices” to find under a black light. My wife and i have sailed royal 5 times and it is our favorite line any concerns taken care of promtly and we are aware that the monarce is an older ship used for weekenders and is a beginner cruise of sorts , but we found it very clean and nice just the same.when we board a royal carribean ship the last thing we think of is trying to get a discount on our next cruise!

  2. Monique says:

    Umm first off how are cruises a ripoff? (kd said, on 05.19.08 at 6:16 pm) If all they have been on is 6 cruises then they are not Diamond members, only platinum. And I am proud of RCL for banning these people. More and more companies need to start standing up to those customers who have figured out the way to get heavily discounted rates on everything and money back. The louder you are the more you get. And the end results is the company having to raise prices or they just go out of business. I don’t work for RCL but I do cruise with them often and I am an actual diamond member. I have just completed my 17 cruise with them and on all those cruises I can honestly say that I have not encountered anything wrong. Further more I do work for a corporation and I am really sick and tired of everyone complaining, because most of the time it is just get get something free. If you want free or your way do it yourself or stay home! So bravo RCL, may others see see as a sign and follow in your foot steps.

  3. Adam Gurney says:

    I believe people still do not understand these days that no one is perfect. If you are perfect, than that is just you and your mind believing that.

    The wrong thing that the couple did was that they rushed and bought the next ticket the instance they heard discount.

  4. Alexey says:

    I remember seeing that Royal Caribbean rep holding a sign that says “Get a brain! Morans!”

  5. What doesn’t make sense to me, is if the trips were that terrible, then why in the hell did you keep going back? Doesn’t make much sense if you ask me.

  6. Mark Metler says:

    I have cruised with RC before and found them to be wonderful in my experice. I have found out that many people complain about everything. Im not saying all complaints arent reasonable. But I heard this couple on my cruise complain about every little thing. The towels werent soft enough, the pool was too warm it went on and on.

    I found RC trying to bend over backwards to make me happy. I will go on one next summer. And I hope it is as great as my last cruise.

    Mark

  7. BarkTop says:

    You just can’t please some people. I have never been on a trip when something wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to be or exactly how it was supposed to go but that’s just part of life. I’m not sure if they were just unhappy people that complained about everything or if they were just trying to get some freebies from RC. Either way, I agree with the poster above. If it was so bad, why keep coming back? And why care if you get banned since things were so bad for them on there…

  8. Stefan B says:

    Life is too short to be complaining all the time, you need to enjoy as much as you can, make the best of situations, i mean, come on, you’re on a cruise. Some people live their whole lives and not once get a chance to go on a cruise.

  9. James Clarke says:

    Haha, I can’t believe this; It’s actually funny. I mean, she must have complained a hell of a lot to get banned. To complain that much she must be a right ungrateful person. For Christs sake some people as Stefan B said never get a chance to go on a cruise, be grateful that she is on it, and just enjoy it and make the most of it! Complaining will probably just make things worse.

  10. Mohammed k says:

    haha, this story is to funny. I went on a royal carribean cruise once it was awsome.

  11. JC NYC says:

    I’ve cruised with RCCL and I have always had a wonderful cruise experience. Was everything perfect, No. Were there mishaps here and there, Yes but very minor and not enough to make me want to never cruise again. I say RCL did the right thing by banning this couple. They are the type of people who are never happy unless the moan and groan about stuff. They are mostly likely cheap and want something for nothing. They should just stay home and do everyone else who travels a favor. Who needs a complainer sharing a plane ride, cruise, etc . I feel sorry for NCL before you know it they too will be complain about them. Heads up NCL.

  12. Franky says:

    I loved from Royal Caribbean for complaining too much | http://www.expertcruiser.com!

  13. Raphael says:

    I don’t understand the griping – she went to RCL and printed their side of the story and as I read it, I came away with a negative impression of the Morans. If I came away feeling that way after reading everything Anita wrote, how could anyone say it was slanted towards the Morans (and i have NEVER heard of them before)?!

  14. chanross says:

    Although i do complain if things arent right Royal caribbean have always been excellent with customer service. I joined a cruise that had done transatlantic and did not like the atmosphere on board not realy the cruise lines fault but realising i could be trapped with that general atmosphere for days at sea put me off so told rci i would be cancelling my booked transatlantic to a shorter cruise which i have done.( after all you live and learn!) But there customer service on board and post cruising has as i say been excellent. I also did choose to cruise with a different (american ) cruise company this year and it was appalling. (they have taken cost cutting to the extreme and i had paid for a top suite on board so it wasnt cheap. I have complained but dont want another cruise or cruise credit as i genuinly wouldnt want to sail with them again. Perhaps if the Morans had tried another cruise line as they probably threatened to do so they would have realised just how good royal caribbean are!
    As for the way royal caribbean handled it, we only have the morans version of the call and at least they gave them the $500 which she was willing to use against the next cruise. They could have refused to do so however why compensate them if nothing was wrong with the cruise experience? OH god i could go round and round all day. I do agree though that rci are probably better off without this passenger and the passenger will probably have a wonderfull time recounting to anyone who will listen how awfully she was treated. See i just wasted 20 minutes of my afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Guy says:

    I wish the Moran’s much luck on their future cruises with Norwegian.

    I’ve cruised and had issues on both lines. Royal Caribbean always resolved issues to my satisfaction, Norwegian on the other hand pretty much told me to go fly a kite most of the time. I’ll take Royal Caribbean over Norwegian anytime.

  16. CSS Gallery says:

    They should have just gone to a different cruise line to book their trips instead of repeatedly complaining about issues they encountered. Or they should have stopped while they were ahead, with $500 in discounts.

  17. It seems the company decided they were bad customers. it might have been better from a PR point of view to put them on a list which every time they booked, they were told it was full.

    I company tried hard to please them, over all

  18. Judy says:

    Some people are just never happy. They got what they deserved! Same on them!

  19. Giacomo says:

    Just knowing that Royal Caribbean banned you for complaining makes me question my booking any fiture travel with that company. I question the truth now about any comment made about Royal Caribbean. I also had a similar experience with another tour company. I had taken 5 excellent tours with this company. I had even recommended them to friends. However, after buying on http://www.sharevouchers.co.uk, my 6th tour was a disaster. Many things went wrong. Poor tour guide, skipped several advertised places, lost luggage, etc. It was so bad that I called the tour company while we were on the tour..and again after the tour. I wanted to know what went wrong. I was told that “this company did not want my business anymore.” I wasn’t looking for any money, just an apology and an explanation. Instead I was told to go away. Well, I am still traveling.

  20. The Shadow says:

    As to the Morans: They should have been compensated with a free cruise for the sewage problem. In fact, they should have been given another cabin as it is hard to believe that senior staff could not have been bumped from a cabin and sent to a crew cabin if need be.
    As to Royal Caribbean: They should take a hit for the sewage but in all other matters appear to have been reasonable. Prior to booking with RC last year, I read all of the reviews including the negative ones. Most of those who wrote bad reviews were clearly nutcases and should have been made to walk the plank. Our cruise on the Granduer of the Seas was terrific, it was in good condition and the food and service were excellent. We have booked a cruise now with Celebrity and I am glad that RC is not going to blow more money on the Morans and will be able to use those funds to improve future sailings for us.
    Feel sorry for the next cruise line that gets a booking from the Morans.

  21. how stupid can a company be, i heard a lot of things about royal caribbean but not something like this……

  22. avukat says:

    Some people are just never happy. They got what they deserved! Same on them!

  23. if you read her reviews they arent that bad. she raves about the good things more than she complains about the bad. Royal Carribean should be ashamed!

  24. pda says:

    I do think the couple should have voiced their concerns over the sewage problem but after they were compensated, they shouldn’t have aired the problem for all to read.

  25. Life is too short to be complaining all the time, you need to enjoy as much as you can, make the best of situations, i mean, come on, you’re on a cruise. Some people live their whole lives and not once get a chance to go on a cruise.

  26. Patric says:

    Just knowing that Royal Caribbean banned you for complaining makes me question my booking any fiture travel with that company. I question the truth now about any comment made about Royal Caribbean. I also had a similar experience with another tour company. I had taken 5 excellent tours with this company. I had even recommended them to friends. However, after buying on http://world-best-hotels.blogspot.com/, my 6th tour was a disaster. Many things went wrong. Poor tour guide, skipped several advertised places, lost luggage, etc. It was so bad that I called the tour company while we were on the tour..and again after the tour. I wanted to know what went wrong. I was told that “this company did not want my business anymore.” I wasn’t looking for any money, just an apology and an explanation. Instead I was told to go away. Well, I am still traveling.

  27. perde says:

    I have cruised over 30 times over the past 40 years. We have cruised with many different cuise lines, some that are no longer in service. Yes things may go wrong and no life is not going to be perfect however one must remember why they like to cuise and what they want out of it then select the cruise line that will best provide positive results.

  28. klip izle says:

    if one receives a consideration from a damage done, then the damage is cured. they can perhaps mention in, but not harp on it . the morans abused the first amendment…

  29. I have 2 things to say. First, when the cruise made an offer of compensation and the Morans accepted it, that is the end of the issue so don’t continue to complain. By telling to cruise line you are satisfied with the compensation, you are saying you have no further complaints. Secondly, I will give a company a second chance and that is it. If I am not satisfied after a second trip, I am going to seek another company. so why did they keep going back. All that tells me is they were either getting over on the company or they weren’t that unhappy.

  30. gokasten says:

    Royal caribbean handled this completely the wrong way, a solved complaint can make a customer your best PR officer. Mouth to mouth is still the strongest way for best advertising. I mean look at the PR this is generating already!

  31. Those guys just don’t get happy. They deserved it.

  32. Candi says:

    The client had every right to complain. In the event that you pay high dollar for something of this sort and your expectations were not meant I too would complain as well. You too would complain in the event you had to sleep in shit for a week straight. Stop bitching this poor woman. You would complain to if it had happened to you.

  33. Fraz says:

    RCL doesnt care about anything, they care about numbers and figures. I used to work for them, and they kicked me to the curb after 5 years of loyal service to them, so good riddens to them, I hope they plummet in this economical times we are suffering now. Maybe the complainers is how they will too, the more people that arent happy with them and go to the competition, good. Maybe they wil learn that way, but I doubt it.

  34. moratmarit says:

    this is bullcrap, and trust me ive been on the same cruise lines and the are not really up to my par either.

  35. Peter & Richard - Canada says:

    After 7 cruises, of which 3 fantastic cruises with Royal Caribbean, we have noticed that there’s always the “chronic complainers”, no matter what, no matter how trivial but complain they must.

    And…no matter how RCCL or any other cruise line accomodates and responds to every “complaint”, it’s never good enough for the ” chronic complainers”.

    Maybe they, the chronic complainers, are hoping for an all expense paid cruise; you know the penthouse suite or even the owners suite.

    Come on now folks, let’s face it, most of the ‘complaints’ are BS! The complainers know it and the cruise lines knows it, so……STOP your complaining and enjoy the cruise.

    Oh and btw. don’t annoy your fellow passengers with your BS stories; we are not interested.

    Thanks, & Ship Ahoy eh?

  36. n44r.net says:

    Well done, Royal Caribbean! I hope this sets a precedent within my company. I think every business has a customer or two that it would save money and employee morale by simply refusing to serve them ever again.^_^

  37. joanie d. says:

    I’ve been on many cruises…only one with Royal Caribbean. There are minor glitches on any cruise but some ppl are just nitpickers. I overheard one young man complain that his toast was not brown enough.For heaven’s sake…get a life. Royal Caribbean was not the best ship I’d been on, but there are lots of other lines out there so just boycott the ones you don’t like. RC would not be my first choice but it was certainly not a bad experience.

  38. Scotty D says:

    This is a prime example of how people turn a little situation (or in the case of sewage a big situation) into chronic complaining. This is what hotel guests do. They figure if they complain when they have a legitimate situation and get something they can do it when they don’t! I don’t blame RC for banning them one bit! Chronic complainers are never satisfied and you have to get rid of them in order to have a successful business. They were giving them 20% off their next cruise for sewage “supposidly” all over their stateroom and they were “happy” with that? If it were me, I would have demanded someone find me a room. I won’t sleep in a room with raw shit all over it? Who would? I also would have gotten every penny back from my cruise and I would never have sailed on that line again! This b*T*H takes the 20% off and books another cruise! Real trauma huh! Then they give her a*s another $500 ship credit on top of that! I wouldn’t have! I would have refunded her cruise, kicked her off the boat at the next port and sent her A*S*S home at our expense if their was really sewage and the boat was full! I doubt the boat was full, they probably only had higher class rooms which they didn’t want to give up. They figured they’d give her a discount on her next cruise anticipating that she wouldn’t use it. RC could very well get sued for free speech infringement asking her to remove her negative posting and banning her on the basis of that! I’d watch that if I were them.

  39. geniveve b says:

    i think they may have been overreacting. we recently cruised on pricess and absolutely loved every minute. food – great; room (balcony) great. i can’t believe they continued to cruise with that line if they were so unhappy. i mean c’mon. once is enough, so don’t go back.
    after our cruise i looked online and found this woman who complained about everything — including that she didn’t get balloons on her birthday. i’m sorry, but that’s petty. so you write a horrid review over balloons!! c’mon.
    if it’s so awful, why did they go back? something is rotten in denmark here and i don’t think it’s the cruise line.

  40. sewage “supposidly” all over their stateroom and they were “happy” with that? If it were me, I would have demanded someone find me a room. I won’t sleep in a room with raw shit all over it? Who would? I also would have gotten every penny back from my cruise and I would never have sailed on that line again! This b*T*H takes the 20% off and books another cruise! Real trauma huh! Then they give her a*s another $500 ship credit on top of that! I wouldn’t have! I would have refunded her cruise, kicked her off the boat at the next port and sent her A*S*S home at our expense if their was really sewage and the boat was full! I doubt the boat was full, they probably only had higher class rooms which they didn’t want to give up

  41. perde says:

    the 20% off and books another cruise! Real trauma huh! Then they give her a*s another $500 ship credit on top of that! I wouldn’t have! I would have refunded her cruise, kicked her off the boat at the next port and sent her A*S*S home at our expense if their was really sewage and the boat was full! I doubt the boat was full, they probably only had higher class rooms which they didn’t want to give up they were so unhappy. i mean c’mon. once is enough, so don’t go back.
    after our cruise i looked online and found this woman who complained about everything — includingthey have a legitimate situation and get something they can do it when they don’t! I don’t blame RC for banning them one bit! Chronic complainers are never satisfied and you have to get rid of them in order to have a successful business. They were giving them 20% off their next cruise for sewage “supposidly” all over their stateroom and they were “happy” with that? If it were me, I would have demanded someone find me a room. I won’t sleep in a room with raw shit all over it? Who would? I also would have gotten every penny back from my cruise and I would never have sailed on that line again! This b*T*H takes the 20% off and books another cruise! Real trauma huh! Then they give her a*s another $500 ship credit on top of that! I wouldn’t have! I would have refunded her cruise, kicked her off the boat at the next port and sent her A*S*S home at our had been aware of the program since May 2008 when I wrote the story of Brenda Moran, a woman banned by Royal Caribbean for complaining too much. It was then that I became aware of the “Royal Champions”. In subsequent e-mails and phone

  42. Ana P says:

    haha, this couple is famous on the internet, but not for any good accomplishment!

  43. Deviled Egg says:

    It sounds like this couple likely complains about everything and complains very loudly.

    If they feel RC is so terrible then why cruise with them again and again? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Seems like RC was justified in severing the relationship.

  44. Callaway Bag says:

    I have just come back from a cruise with Royal Carribean and yes there were moaners and complainers about little things but we are now in the age of the compensation culture and unfortunatley we all end up paying more in the end for there greed.

  45. Anonymous Messaging says:

    This is hilarious. I wonder if they REALLY had something to complain about or they just are those chronic complainer types. A friend of mine is literally a chronic complainer- I would have sent the cruise line an anonymous message or anonymous letter so they wouldn’t know it was me making all the complaints.
    Silent Sender

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] to be its permanent address on the Internet) I was able to match a number of nasty blog posts on ExpertCruiser to e-mails sent to me by two members that identified themselves as Royal […]

  2. […] to be its permanent address on the Internet) I was able to match a number of nasty blog posts on ExpertCruiser to e-mails sent to me by two members that identified themselves as Royal […]

  3. […] had been aware of the program since May 2008 when I wrote the story of Brenda Moran, a woman banned by Royal Caribbean for complaining too much. It was then that I became aware of the “Royal Champions”. In subsequent e-mails and phone […]

  4. […] comme celles de Microsoft, BestBuy et Ford mais également celles qui ont mal tournées comme pour Royal Caribbean ou United […]

  5. […] money, and energy will be sunk into these cases? I’m thinking specifically of the couple who managed to complain their way through 5 of 6 cruises they took. Each time, they’d post their complaints on […]


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