Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Ship: Celebrity Reflection
Sailing Date: 2014-07-25
This was our fourth cruise after looking for a change from being regular Sandals Caribbean holiday customers. We have only cruised with Royal Caribbean and this was our first cruise with their Celebrity Cruise company sailing on The Reflection.
Our real enjoyment of holidays apart from the usual relaxation and sight seeing is meeting people from other countries and enjoying evenings of pleasant conversation during fine dining evenings. It's always great to make new friends to keep in touch with through social media and even sometimes actually bonding with people so well that you meet up again. We admittedly enjoy the pretentiousness of the dressing up for evening dining in formal evening wear I.e Tuxedo , Ball Gown etc, and pay extra flight costs for the additional luggage etc to enjoy this to the full. For those who are regular cruisers you will understand the photo sessions on the staircases and the memorabilia you bring home from this little bit of self indulgence,
So as for every holiday and like most people we saved all year and excitedly marked the days off the calender day by day in the final months running up to the holiday.
This year we thought we would try Celebrity Cruises as we heard the standard of service was much higher so paid for a concierge room expecting 10 days of wonderful sightseeing and fine dining with people from around the world.
The first night we made our way to the Opus restaurant and were placed in the corner of the restaurant by a window seat for 2 even though we clearly requested a table for around 10 in advance. We asked to be moved upon which the maitre d advised he would arrange something for the following evening.
The next evening things got worse and we were given a table for 6 which only had ourselves dining at the table so now we found ourselves dressed in our best attire sharing a large table with no company. Fortunately an American couple nearby approached us and inquired if we would like to sit at their table with them as it was a large table for 12 and had empty seats. We gladly accepted and had a wonderful evening of conversation, fine food and tales from around the world. We retired that evening and having had such a wonderful time everyone insisted we join them for the rest of the cruise as we had all bonded so well.
The next night was just as perfect, it was formal night so everyone was dressed like royalty and enjoying the pretend experience of being part of something elite, which sounds a bit snobby but it's just a nice little fantasy to take part in.
The next night things turned very ugly for no apparent reason, whilst sitting at our new found seats with a large gathering the maitre d came over to the table and insisted we move back to the table set for 6 where no one else was sitting. We tried to reason and explain the silliness of what was being demanded but there was no getting through. Other diners at other tables around our table began to stare at the commotion and the people at our table remonstrated. Eventually the insistence was so overwhelming my wife walked out of the restaurant in embarrassment but the maitre d decided to chase after her her shouting about how her request was quite in order as though chasing her out of the restaurant. Incredible!!
As you can imagine for everyone sitting around us they did not know what was going on and it just looked like we were being ejected from the restaurant. The friends we had met were left shocked. We were in a state of shock and embarrassment and although we made feeble complaints about what had happened it just resulted in us going back to our room and going to bed without eating.
The next morning we went to the Oceaanview Cafe for breakfast and were acutely aware of people looking at us 'look the people thrown out of Opus'. Other passengers and even staff approached us saying how awful the event of the previous evening had been and could not understand what had gone on.
So we now felt completely humiliated and did not return to Opus again, we were passed through a series of managers who voiced their disgust and determination to sort things out but actually did nothing. We were offered dining in the specialty restaurant but felt we would just be hiding and as people move from restaurant to restaurant we would still be the object of finger pointing.
So our whole holiday was ruined and we ate in the corner of the cafe each night with all the fine clothes staying packed and our hearts heavy at the now sad lonely experience.
Two days prior to the end of the cruise we were offered £50 compensation by the assistant Customer services manager which was met with the contempt it deserved and was later increased to an offer of £500 as a sincere apology.
These people just couldn't get it, no matter how much we explained as we have above how much embarrassment and disappointment they had caused. Not to mention the costs of airport parking, airport hotel, pre cruise hotel, flights, cruise costs, additional luggage fees and the disappointment of working and saving a whole year to be treated in this way
Cruising is brilliant and like anything things can go wrong. A good company will ensure the issues are fully understood and look after you. A poor company will take the view 'They will be gone in 10 Days let's leave them to deal with it when they get home'. Sadly we experienced the latter.