Thumbs Up for No Life Vests! | TravelResearchOnline

Thumbs Up for No Life Vests!

Les works over some cruise lines this week for customer service that sounds like a good example of a bad example. Where’s a bridge group to play cards if not in a card room and what does “Closed to Agency Calls” mean anyway? If you want to report something well done by a supplier, a res agent, or rep, we are happy to give them some coverage in TRO’s Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down. If you have a problem with airlines, tour companies, etc. or getting commissions, maybe we can assist. Contact Les-Lee at

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Now here’s a true THUMBS UP – from agent, Becky Rucic at Table Mountain Travel, in Golden Colorado. When Iceland’s volcano disaster cancelled out her clients long awaited trip to Ireland, who are you going to call – why not,  Doug Champion at Way To Go Costa Rica,“My clients were scheduled to leave for a 9 day vacation to Ireland, when their international flight was cancelled at the last minute.  They called me and said- “ok now where can we go- we have the vacation time scheduled off at work- we need to go somewhere!” Doug help me put together a wonderful trip to Costa Rica- I could of put this trip together in a matter of hours   with out his help. He is always there for us when we need him.  His professionalism and his knowledge are invaluable to me.”

Makes sense to me- Ireland versus Costa Rica- you pack the same for both???????

Thumbs Down! I have received lots of comments about all the new policies implemented at Carnival. They not only march to a different drummer, they are rapidly becoming out of step with the agents who have worked in tandem with Carnival for many years.Agent, Trish Gastineau, has eloquently relayed her recent experience. She called the group department to berth cabins, but was surprised that by this response “…the agent who answered started to help me until she saw that I was an agent.  She then told me that they were closed to travel agency calls.  She was on the phone with me and wouldn’t transfer money from the group level to the individual cabin…because I was an agent. Did that mean if I was Joe Blow who had booked a group directly with them that they would have done it?… CCL reduces their work load, increases ours and doesn’t incentivize us in any way for doing so.”

Other agents have commented about their new group dining policies, no guarantee that the clients will be seated together and they may be put with passengers outside of their group. Pretty soon, we may have to increase our disclosure statements for our clients, just to protect ourselves from how the cruise line operates. Something along the line of, “I,as your agent, have notified Carnival Cruise Line of all of your requests, including dining with the group. Carnival will make all final decisions, and does not notify me, your agent, in advance. Please make known on board, any comments, complaints, and of course praise, if service is not provided or pre-addressed requests are not honored…yadda yadda!

On the same note, Princess Cruise Lines gets A THUMBS DOWN for its recent group debacle. The agent, contacted Princess with the request for a place for her small group to have a bridge tournament. The deck plan did not show a card room, but the ‘supervisor’ she spoke to, assured her where it was on the ship. All the cabins were assigned because of that location, since limited mobility was a concern for this elderly group.Once on board, no such room did exist. And when she complained at the service desk about this lack of correct information, the purser’s comment was …If you and the group wish to leave the cruise at the first port, you can. So much for their C.R.U.I.S.E. program- and if you don’t know what it stands for- look it up on their Princess Academy course.

A THUMBS UP for the idea sent to me by one of my clients, Rhoda. She always complains on the lack of storage space on certain cruise lines that is easily accessible for people who have difficult bending. She recommends buying the foldable shelves at Bed Bath and Beyond, they hang in the closet and when unfolded have 4 or 5 shelves all easy to reach. I tried it and she is absolutely correct! A new gift to replace the obligatory bottle of wine.

A THUMBS DOWN for swan dives. As witnessed by clients who reported the incident on Apr, 21st. , a man jumped off of one Carnival ship to survive and swim to another ship. On the internet, there are different versions, but I have to go along with what MY clients saw. And if you’re real curious, Carnival leads the pack by almost two to one over RCI with incidents of people jumping overboard.  But usually, the results are not good.

A THUMBS UP for RCI. President and CEO, Adam Goldstein, who  told an audience of travel agents that after his legal dept. read the rules for the obligatory lifeboat drill, they found that passengers are now told not to bring their life jackets to the muster drill. Now, when will the other companies do the same.

A THUMBS DOWN for the over zealous sales drill AKA lifeboat drill. (This was not on a RCI ship)! After all 2800+ passengers were at their designated areas, the officer proceeded to start by saying…”now that we have you all together, I will be assisted by our beautiful girls who work in the spa. Please check them out, look at their complexions and remember to book your appointments.”Sell…sell…sell is the motto on some vessels. We are savvy enough to know that the cruise line relies on the revenue spent onboard, but this was in total bad taste.


  7 thoughts on “Thumbs Up for No Life Vests!

  1. J E Massson PhD CTC says:

    I’ve been dealing with cruise lines since the 50s— the good old days of the “superliner” SS FLORIDA MIA-HAV 3-nighters, and continue to be amazed at the distance the cruise lines work at between themselves and their “dear partners”— the travel agents… not to mention the stupidity of many lines in their inane actions. Keep on publishing these love encounters and maybe, maybe, one day they’ll change for the better.

  2. E. Zang says:

    My client was scheduled to depart for a General Tours program after the volcano erupted. I received a phone call from Bob Drumm, president of GT 2 days before her departure. He offered her the choice of [1] going ahead as planned [2] putting her on another airline with a different routing or [3] letting her select another tour date. She lost no money, she was delighted with the service and will probably book more General Tours in the future. I know that I will recommend GT more often.

  3. Les-Lee Roland says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    For the record, there have been instances when the supplier DID MAKE CHANGES to their policies, based on some of the comments.

    One cruise line acknowledged that some agents had complained, but once they saw it in print, they realized more and more agents were in agreement. And they are making agent friendly changes.

    Thanks have to go to travelresearchonline for supplying a format for agents to issue their feelings.

  4. Barry Kunst ECC says:

    It is very fortunate that I wasn’t on the Princess ship where the front desk told the guest they could get off at the next port.
    I would have reported the incident to the ships Hotel Captain and addressed the comment in front of him and the front desk person. I would have reminded him of C.R.U.I.S.E. and at the end of the cruise, I would have filled out the comment card naming that crewman. An attitude like that doesn’t belong on any cruise ship. The travel agent should have instructed the group leader to contact the Princess Groups on board rep. or the Hotel Captain if they have any problems with the cruise.

  5. Les-Lee Roland says:


    You are absolutely correct- and the travel agent who was the group leader did report it to the proper person onboard.

    Also when she returned, she reported it to her BDM who sent a follow up to corporate.

    Perhaps Princess has implemented the old policy that Carnival had- if you’re unhappy, you can get off at the next port – that used to be their guarantee! But no mention of how everyone was going to get home.

    FYI…the travel agent was the gal who asked your favorite question at the Cruise Show in FLL.

  6. Les-Lee Roland says:


    you are absolutely correct, and the travel agent AKA group leader, did exactly that. And when she returned home, she contacgted her BDM who sent in a follow up report to corporate.

    Perhaps Princess has implemented the old guarantee policy of Carnival…If you’re unhappy, you can leave the ship at the first port. But nothing was said about the transportation back home.

    FYI…the travel agent was the gal who asked your favorite question at the FLL cruise show.

  7. Marilyn says:

    I am surprised at Princess-this is the kind of
    behaviour passengers experienced on Holland
    America –many years ago and we have not
    sold them very often since.

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