How often does this sort of situation exist where, because of weather, a ship has to leave the port early and leave passengers behind? Maybe once or twice per year? I am not talking about itinerary changes, just this specific situation.
Even if RC spends an extra one million dollars per year, taking care of stranded passengers, it would be worth the positive press. Heck, they spend more than that to run a single commercial during popular sporting events and the like, and I'll bet that they would get more mileage out of it by a long shot.
Again, I am all about personal responsibility and would never blame the cruise line, or be upset with them in this situation, but strictly from a business standpoint, it doesn't make sense to take the hard line and cite the cruise contract as a reason to go the cheap route. In the long run, this kind of policy will hurt their bottom line and I am really surprised at the shortsightedness of the RC management.
After seeing what they did here, I would be curious to know how they would have handled a situation similar to what Carnival faced during the Splendor fire. Would they have cited the cruise contract in that situation? I certainly hope not, but I guess we'll never know.
I do agree with Dave that each situation should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Certainly, in this case, where a competitor is handling the same situation quite differently, it would have been wise to go the extra mile and cough up a few dollars to win the public relations war, but I guess the senior management at RC knows better than a lowly passenger like me.
Take care all,