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Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1 post
9 reviews
Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

Has anyone had this happen to them? It is in regards to gift cards and how Royal Caribben extorts money from seniors.

We have been on 5 cruises in the last 8 years. Most of which have been with RC. I would have never guessed that it would have come to this. We purchased gift cards for our mothers to take them on a European Cruise as a thank you for all they do. We also brought others with us in order to share the experience. As a part of this, we purchased Royal Caribbean gift cards for our mothers to use towards excursions,etc. Long and short of it. There were system issues. We spent a total of about 3 hours on the ship of our cruise time trying to get it resolved, Royal Caribbean WILL NOT refund us the money for the gift cards that they would not let our mothers use, which in essence, charged them twice for the same thing. Their solution was for us to use it as a credit. NOT acceptable. This pretty much is a shell game which amounts to THEFT. It is $600! This may not be a lot of money to them, but to seniors on fixed incomes, it's a ton. And as gift givers, it is offensive to my wife and I. This whole situation is unfortunate considering this last trip, we brought 13 people with us, and advocated for RC and the experience. This is embarrassing and disappointing. Not only because it shows that they are greedy, but it also displays a severe lack of respect for the choice that we made as consumers to choose them, although other carriers offer similar itineraries. This is what happens when companies get so big that they forget how they got to be that big...through service and relationship building. Unfortunately for RC, the same energy I put into promoting them, I will double in letting people know how they resolve issues. Offering me a voucher for a future cruise is fruitless because there will be no more with them. Not only is what they are doing unethical, it is basically illegal. In addition to the blogging I do, as well as using companies as examples of what to do and not to do through my consulting firm (I assist companies in improving their customer service), I will be asking the AG to investigate them to see how many other people they have done this too. This is a black and white, cut and dry situation, that should have easily been resolved. Making people pay twice for the same service is criminal, and would not be tolerated in any other industry. I don't want a credit. I want my mother and MIL to get their hard earned money back. The fact that RC thinks they can TAKE $600 from seniors is not only bad business practice, but it alientates a significant portion of their customer base. What's worse is they have alienated 40 somethings like my wife and myself that have disposable income and have many more years of cruising to do. I find this line of thinking obtuse, short-sighted, and frankly, disrespectful. But, if waging an all out assault on this process is what RC thinks is beneficial for what amounts to is $600, so be it. I am young enough and have enough time to walk with them step for step, and find other people they have done this to along the way. This is not my first clash with a company, and it won't be the last. Most people do not like being lied to, or taken advantage of, and I happen to be one of those people. Thank you, RC , for waking me up, and for helping my business grow. Your poor example of how to engage customers and resolve disputes is exactly why I do what I do.

10 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
847 posts
43 reviews
1. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

Leo C

Welcome to dealing with Royal Caribbean.

If you go to cruise critic there’s a Royal Caribbean forum,there’s some very experienced people that could advise you.

Believe me you are not the first person to be disappointed.

Level Contributor
5,386 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

Paragraphs please. !

Level Contributor
1,245 posts
129 reviews
3. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

Do to clarify, where did you purchase the gift cards from? Were they gift cards or gift certificates? Their website only mentions gift certificates. What were the system issues? What type of credit were they offering?

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
847 posts
43 reviews
4. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy


Are you a school teacher ,a English teacher ?

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
17,381 posts
30 reviews
5. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

No Sunny is simply someone that like many of us find mass walls of text difficult to plough thru in order to then provide assistance to posters. Paragraphs have existed since the written word was developed. They are really easy to use !

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
68,605 posts
72 reviews
6. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

Agree it is hard to read mountains of text with no spaces!!

I wonder where you bought the gift cards and the reason why Royal Caribbean wouldn't honor them?? There have been lots of bogus gift cards around for various cruise lines so I wonder if it's possible that you bought some of them without realizing they were fake?

Berkshire, United...
Level Contributor
19,971 posts
61 reviews
7. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

I agree that paragraphs are needed in such a long post. I gave up reading it I'm afraid.

Cobham, United...
Level Contributor
2,109 posts
31 reviews
8. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

I'm confused. Do you mean "Gift CERTIFICATES"? If so, I think you have misunderstood how these work, although it is very clearly spelled out in the terms and condition at the time you buy them:

>>>>How to Redeem Your Gift Certificates

Gift certificates can be redeemed as a payment towards your cruise vacation or may be used as an onboard credit. Gift certificates must be redeemed prior to your cruise vacation. Gift certificates cannot be redeemed onboard.

You will need to reserve your cruise vacation before redeeming your gift certificates. You can choose one of three options:

- Call a Royal Caribbean Certified Vacation Planner at (800) 722-5970

- Visit www.royalcaribbean.com

- Or call your travel agent<<<<

So, it's pretty explicit that the recipients of the certificates have to book their cruises first and can use the certificates as part payment; or they have the alternative option of adding the value of the certificates to their onboard accounts as credit. BUT they must do this before the cruise starts and cannot do it during the cruise, or "spend" the actual certificates as if they were extra money after boarding.

If the "system issues" you refer to prevented the certificate values being added to the onboard accounts BEFORE boarding, then you have a case for getting a refund. If the "system issues" actually meant that the certificates couldn't be added to the onboard account after the cruise departed and there was no other way to redeem them then you don't have any case because they aren't designed to be used that way. The terms are pretty clear.

Cobham, United...
Level Contributor
2,109 posts
31 reviews
9. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

PS: I just clicked on the "Redemption" link where you fill in the details to claim the value of the certificate. To use it as onboard credit, not only do you have to redeem it before the cruise, you have to redeem it "10 business days before the sail date".


Edited: 12 October 2018, 16:08
Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
Level Contributor
75,644 posts
478 reviews
10. Re: Royal Caribbean Shell Game. Bogus Gift Card Strategy

I'm afraid I also found the original post impossible to read or make sense of. I'm not at all clear about what was bought and how it oculd not be used. The only thing that came across to me was how frustrated you feel, and I htink this may have affected your writing on this occasion, Leo.

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