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Age: 56


Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2009-05-29

Itinerary: Alaska

This review is based less on the entire cruise experience, and unfortunately, primarily on one negative, but exremely disturbing experience. I took my mother on this cruise for her 80th birthday. She is in good health and was very much looking forward to the trip. We were having a very nice time, but on Wednesday evening (we were due back in Seattle on Friday), she took a very nasty fall down a couple of steps in the theater. She missed a step and really went flying. When she landed, she hit her head on the floor, and I think to many people's surprise she was not knocked unconscious and she was able to sit up. She was in pain on one side; from her chest area down her leg. A few of the ship's crew who attended the show, and several of the passengers were extremely helpful and kind.

When the nurse (I assume that's what she was) arrived for us, my mother was placed in a wheelchair and we were taken to the medical bay. The first thing we were told when we arrived there, by the nurse, was the price of the visit. While I agree that it is a good thing to be told that a visit with the ship's MD will cost $175.00, at the same time I believe that when you have an 80 year old woman who took a very hard fall, it also would have been the responsible thing for the nurse to encourage the patient to be looked over by the doctor. The knock on the head, which the nurse knew about, should have been reason enough to encourage being examined. This never happened, but of course I was not leaving until she was seen.

The doctor was nice, but both he and the nurse seemed more concerned that we fully completed our paperwork than with anyone else. He asked my mother questions and looked her over; he had her lift her arms over her head, and when she could do that, he stated that her ribs could not be fractured since she could perform this exercise. He seemed very unconcerned about the knock on head, asked a few questions but that was pretty much it. One of the passengers who witnessed the fall and helped us was a nurse. She gave me some directions in terms of watching my mother that night, making sure she could be awakened from sleep, etc. She told me that she was sure the Dr. would give me the same instructions, but felt that she needed to tell me as well; the Dr. never said a word about anything to watch out for in terms of her head. He listened to her lungs, declared them clear, gave my mother tylenol and some ointment for pain, and told us to come in the next day if things got worse. He never suggested that she come in to be looked over again, etc.

The next day was Victoria, and my mother was on the ship all day resting. She was in pain, but as she knew her ribs were bruised, she knew it was to be expected. On Friday we were at the airport together, but she made the flight from Seattle to NY on her own, where she was met by brother who took her home. When I spoke to her on Saturday she sounded ok, but on Sunday she said she was feeling worse. I spoke to a friend who is a nurse and she suggested a trip to the ERjust to be on safe side. We were all shocked to find out that she had 3 fractured ribs, and a small spot on her brain. They told my mother and my brother that had she walked in 3 days earlier, they would have hospitalized her immediately. One has to wonder what the Dr. on the boat was thinking when he treated my mother's fall so lightly. I am particularly amazed given that so many older people travel to AK on these cruises, I would have thought that any ship MD would be more aware, more sensitive, and more concerned re: issues regarding the elderly. A fall for an 80 year old is not the same as a fall taken by a 40 year old; to dismiss it so lightly is really inexcusable. We have been told several times that we are very lucky that things did not get worse, for example, punctured lungs on the plane ride home.

While the ship's crew sent someone down to the sick bay immediately after the fall to interview us and make sure that we were not saying the fall was the "fault" of the ship, they have been less than responsive re: the email I sent after our return. My email is now in the hands of "risk management'", and I received an email back that a full response will take 4-6 weeks so that a full investigation can be done. I guess when it was important for them to get it documented that the fall wasn't their fault, they had someone in touch with us immediately for 5 minutes of questions. When we have a concern like this, it takes 4-6 weeks to look into, without much in the way of concern for my mother's current health, etc.
A note or call expressing some concern would have gone a long way.

As I've said, the overall cruise was very nice. At the same time, I would have many concerns about doing something like this again, if the above experience is any indication of the type of medical concern and care that is typical of Royal Carribean or any other cruise line.

Plentiful...not great in terms of quality.


Did not participate in all that manner. Enjoyed some, but found them to be very expensive (Bingo, massages, etc.)

Enjoyed both..whale watching in Juneau and the train ride in Skagway.

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