Dwayne, I totally agree. I "loved" their statement, give passengers another opportunity to sail, and it was an unusual situation. Now, I know darn good and well that every cruise line is used to hurricanes in the Caribbean during hurricane season Anyway, I'm glad that they're stepping up to the plate.
You have to give credit to RCI for at least offering that much. They didn't have to. I doubt that 30% of a future cruise would make up the hotel nights and the flights to the next port, but its better than leaving them high and dry.
I think Carnival realized with the Splendor fire, that treating your customers well and compensating them fairly is much better advertisement than that same money can buy. It probably cost them a couple hundred thousand dollars to put those people up in hotels and fly them to the next port but how much does commercial time on national tv cost?
Prior to the Splendor fire Carnival made its share of poor public relations decisions regarding compensation to passengers. The company was extremely inconsistent, offering very generous compensation in Case A and then not a dime in Case B, even when they were similar situations. Same goes for RCI and all the other mainstream cruise lines.
I'm not going to think of Carnival as some noble corporation overflowing with altruism based solely on this most recent event. They weighed the value of the good publicity against the bad as a business decision. Actually I think if it had been just a few passengers they may not have been so generous. The media would not pay much attention if 4 or 5 people missed the ship.
I'm happy Carnival did what they did, and I'm happy RCI finally woke up. But, going forward I would not have the expectation for this type of response by either of these lines to become standard policy. Each event will be individually assessed, as they should be.
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.
The facts are still the facts. Carnival proactively responded to the situation whereas Royal reacted to negative publicity days later. This leads me to believe that Carnival has a better Situation Room set up as far as taking care of guests and publicity for doing the right thing.
I am not a Carnival Cheerleader as I have had my fair share of problems with them. In this case though they did the right thing, and the publicity basically forced Royal to offer something to the Guests.
Carnival is known for setting Cruise Industry Standards. I hope this one of taking care of Guests sticks with other cruise lines.