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Karin Vakinov

Age: 51

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Jewel of the Seas

Sailing Date: June19th, 2006

Itinerary: British Isles

Let me tell you about my nightmare from He*&!. I started paying for a cruise back in Oct. 2005. My vacation with 2 of my sons was set to begin 6/18/2006. We paid Royal Caribbean for our cruise tickets, flight arrangements which included in the price was our pick up from the airport, and I prepaid some tours, as well as birthday decorations within our stateroom with an ocean view along with 2 birthday cakes. I wanted things really special for my sons. We were to visit England, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Amsterdam, and France. Our cruise would of ended on 7/1/2006. If I had gotten what I paid for, I would not be writing this complaint. I would be on the Jewel of the Seas having a great time.

My sons and I were looking forward to this for months. Then the nightmare began. We were scheduled to leave Nashville 6/18/06 at 4:25 PM and arrive in N.C. at 6:44 PM. Our plane to London would leave at 7:40 PM. Now when I look back on it that was too close a window if the event any problems arose considering a possible delay or security issues. Well I found out that domestic you can do later boarding but not international their boarding is cut off 30 minutess. prior to take off, and in this case the cut off would of been 7:10 PM. This gave us 26 minutes to disembark our plane and get to the other terminal. The Nashville plane was a few minutes late and we did not make our plane. US Air could of cared less! They refused to give us hotel or food vouchers. I said we were supposed to be in London at 8:30 am the 19th for pick up. US Air's comment was "Guess you won't be there, will you"? They refused to fly me to a bigger airport with another airline. I was stuck. I paid for a motel room and got a hold of the cruise ship....they told me to take the 7:40 PM flight the next day the 19th to London, then fly on to Paris, France to catch the ship and someone from Royal Caribbean would meet us at the airport. I verified this twice before leaving N.C.. My sons and I arrived in London at 8:30 am on the 20th. We retrieved our bags then caught a bus to another airport about 30 minutes away, called London Heathrow. There we got tickets that were waiting for us with British Airways that left for Paris, France at 2:05 PM arriving in Paris at 4:20 PM. Royal Caribbean had not only taken more money for us to fly onto France but never showed up leaving all 3 of us stranded in a strange country with no one who spoke English or limited English. I was told when I verified pick up the 2nd time that there were many pick ups in France because US Air and Delta both had issues. I don't know if the others got picked up but I did not... I do know I was told I was the last one coming in. When I realized they were not going to show up I tried to call the cruise line could not get through. So we grabbed a cab.... the ship was 3 hours away cost $500.00 and we got there just in time to see Jewel of the Seas leaving the port. I was so devastated I started to cry. I mean this was my 1st trip to these countries plus celebrating my son's birthdays looking forward to this for months, and it disappeared right before my eyes.

The nightmare did not end there. I was going to stay at a hotel close by. This hotel actually locked us in the lobby when I said I wanted to cancel and just head for the airport. The airport was 3 hours away. We got ahold of the cruise line who said we will fly you to the next port. I said "Like he*& you will. You will fly us home". Our plane was scheduled to leave the 21st at 9:55 am. Tthe hotel said they canceled, and they did still charge me. I did not stay there. It was after midnight, so I did not want to pay for a motel for only 5 hours. Security finally let us out of the lobby and we grabbed a cab.

My son Nick got ahold of his Dad who ended up paying the airfare to France and wiring $500.00 dollars twice. We told the cab driver to go to the airport, we will get the money at Western Union to pay him. He insisted no Western Union at the airport and so he made several stops to Western Unions that were closed. Then he made my sons stay in the taxi and forced me to go to ATM's to try to get cash out. Needless to say we missed our plane. By then I was really scared. The cabbie finally took us to the airport and held onto Nick to make sure we stayed close and would not let us have our personal belongings. Then all of a sudden I looked, and Nick and the cabdriver were gone! I looked and could not find them anywhere. Jesse was terrified said he was not leaving the country without his brother. I finally found an airport policeman and told him a taxi driver had my son and our belongings and had disappeared. Well the police finally located them and stayed with us until we got the money out of Western Union. I want to mention the cab driver charged us 50.00 more then what the meter said, so we ended up giving him all our money just to get our personal belongings back. The police only made sure we were not harmed but did not stop him from taking all our cash even though we proved that he was asking more then what was owed as well as him causing us to miss our plane. Luckily there was a 2nd plane early that afternoon and we were on it.

When I got back to the states I phoned Royal Caribbean they said no refunds but they will give me 100% credit and no penalties which to me is admitting guilt. But they also said if I booked another cruise I would have to pay the original cash deposit then the credit will kick in. I do not want to ever see those people again. Something worse might happen. To be honest Royal Caribbean does not want me on their ship. The 1st thing out of my mouth would be, "I am forced to be here", loudly and I would repeat my story everywhere on that ship. My mother asked me "Did you see anything"? I said "Yes the airports". This whole thing was a nightmare from beginning to end.

I was told France hated Americans but did not believe it till I experienced it 1st hand. The bottom line is I never received what was promised nor what was paid for. Jesse my younger one said he never wants to see Europe and Nick says he never wants to see another cruise ship. Some vacation. Everything was ruined.

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