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Paul Borish

Age: 54

Occupation:Psychologist

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2012-02-9

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Not bad other than the biohazards.

Olde Country Buffet quality.

Horrific smell.

Fair

We also had the misfortune to be prisoners on Deck 10 Aft on the 1/6/12 cruise. Pretty much from departure, the hallways on our deck just smelled bad. We were aware of some passengers having had their cabins moved, and then the vacated cabins having the doors left open.

The day we left Puerto Rico the nightmare began.

That evening, there was a sewage smell throughout the aft port side. About 8pm, the sewage began venting directly through the duct in our cabin, conveniently located in the closet. If this should happen in your cabin, like us you might think opening the balcony door would help, but in fact it creates a draft that pulls the methane and aerosolized fecal matter directly into the room at a high velocity. Makes sense when you think about it.

I called maintenance and the front desk, no one ever showed up or returned calls. My 4 year old daughter threw up three times that night. I had vertigo problems for the remainder of the trip.

The next morning, I again called the desk and "requested" a management representative report to my room. Not only didn't anyone show up, they didn't even have the decency to call me to let me know they didn't care. Now, as everyone who reads this forum knows, this ship has a chronic problem with the septic system. It's WELL documented here. It certainly has been a consistent problem since at least this past spring, and possibly for years. Guess who doesn't read this forum? Royal Caribbean management.

Here's where a mechanical problem turned into a Customer Relations bloodbath. You see, corporate management has decided to use the strategy of "lie and deny" to deal with this from a customer service perspective.

I went to the desk the next morning, and this is where the whole thing got strange. I spoke to "Roy; the Front Desk Manager" who not only stated "THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!", but thought my request to have RCI wash the aerosolized fecal matter out of my clothing, if and when it stopped flowing through my closet, was unreasonable. If it was his room, he wouldn't even think about doing that. And no, no other guests had made that request. I demanded they send a management representative to my room to discuss the issue, and a couple hours later a rather stern woman came to the room with the intent of intimidating me and being back in her assistant managers meeting before her tea got cold, and proceeded to tell me she was a Housekeeping Assistant Manager, and both too busy AND important to have to be there, but she was told she had to. Fascinating. She also adamantly denied this ship EVER having had this problem before. She also thought a desire to have the aerosolized fecal matter removed from my 4 year old daughters clothing was unreasonable. She did eventually relent, but with as much attitude as she could muster after a thoroughly unexpected dressing down. The direct venting of methane and aerosolized fecal matter went on for 13 hours. Several other managers swore to TheCorporateLieâ„¢ about this ever having happened before.

The capper was the last evening, in the dining room. The senior officers were doing their dog and pony show in the dining room, and the Chief Engineer had the misfortune to show up at our table. We had a rather heated argument about the existence of TheCorporateLieâ„¢. He repeatedly swore this had never happened before.

There's clearly two problems here. One mechanical/financial; and one of customer contempt. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I do have a graduate degree in psychology and work in the corporate world. You see, if you have a long-standing mechanical problem that causes methane gas and aerosolized fecal matter to spew randomly throughout sections of cabins of your ship, and the majority of the affected passengers who are being assaulted by this known problem have been reading about it for months, why on earth would your corporate policy be to lie about it? Doesn't make sense. Pretty much the opposite of every evidence-based customer service theory. If your Chief Engineer tells TheCorporateLieâ„¢, and according to other posters here the Captain tells TheCorporateLieâ„¢, TheCorporateLieâ„¢ is your policy from the CEO down.

As you can imagine, I've told this sad tale to lots of people in the past weeks. Nobody could make sense of it. Great Psychological Minds were baffled; Clever but obscure "Folie à creux" jokes were made. Many lunches were ruined in the hospital cafeteria. Oaths were sworn at RCI on my family's behalf. Then one day, I was sitting with a Epidemiologist friend at lunch. When I told him I had been on a cruise, by the look on his face you would have thought I'd said I'd been bathing in a swamp. When I told him about TheCorporateLie™, he immediately offered an answer. "If they admit it's a chronic problem, they'd have to take it out of service and fix it." "The CDC would be freaking out". "It would cost them millions, of course they lied." Can't say that's true, but it does make sense...

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