Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
On January 11th, we were supposed to take a Caribbean cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Instead, we got kicked off the ship at dockside because I came down with a migraine. I started having migraines at age 6, so I've had over 50 years of experience with them.
We got there in plenty of time, there about 10:30 when last check-in time was 3:00. Got into the stateroom, unpacked, had lunch, arranged for a shore excursion to replace one that was cancelled, etc.
Then they had the lifeboat drill. I didn't know that when they blow the ship's horn for the signal, they also have strobe lights going off in the corridor. I got one right in the face, no more than 10 feet away. IMMEDIATE migraine trigger. And as bad luck would have it, there was a medic right there at the muster station. When I'm in migraine prodrome, I slur and stammer. This is a common-enough symptom that it has a name, dysphasic aura. The medic insisted that I might be having a stroke, and wouldn't listen to me or DH telling them that this was the same set of symptoms that I have with EVERY migraine, and have had for at least the last 20 years. They gave me my Imitrex, but wouldn't listen when we told them that all I needed to do was lie down in a dark room for a couple of hours. They kicked BOTH of us off the ship and confiscated our shipcards so that we couldn't get back on.
They sent me in an ambulance to the ER, where the doctor took one look at me, had me do the very basic neuro test (squeeze hands, smile, check eyes), gave me an EKG, agreed that with my history of migraines, I knew what I was talking about, and discharged me. In and out in half an hour. (When was the last time you got through the ER like THAT on a Saturday afternoon?) Meanwhile the cruise people packed up our stuff and called a taxi for DH. SonIL#2 got there first and took him to the hospital. When DH walked into the room, I was ready to leave.
So we came home. Nothing else to do. The ship had sailed as soon as they got DH off of it.
We did get a refund of our shore excursions and wine package and stuff like that, but not the cost of the cruise itself. Our only recourse is to file with the travel insurance people. For the last month, our travel agent has been fighting for us to get some sort of recompense from Royal Caribbean, but this afternoon we got a forward from her:
Dear Ms. [Agent]:
Thank you for your e-mail. Please accept my apology for not responding sooner. We appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to further address any concerns.
The well-being of our guests is our highest priority. However, there may be times when things do not go the way we had intended. We understand your disappointment regarding the medical evacuation of your client. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate the request for compensation. I apologize for any disappointment with our final decision.
Ms. [Agent], thank you for the time you have taken to write to us. We truly look forward to the opportunity to welcome your clients back again and demonstrate our commitment to service on a future sailing.
Corporate Guest Relations Advocate
It will be a cold day in Hell before we step foot on a Royal Caribbean ship again. In the morning, I'm calling my local TV station's Investigative Team. We will also be consulting legal advice.
You know that old saying, a satisfied customer tells one person, an unsatisfied customer tells 10? Pass this along, people, and let's make it 10,000.
And whatever you do on your next cruise, DO NOT admit to having a minor ailment.
I relinquish ALL rights to my words above. May be disseminated in any form whatsoever, by anyone.