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Old 10-29-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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I have a questions for all you experts...I have booked a January Cruise with 12 other friends. 5 of these rooms were booked through Royal Caribbean, and 2 through another online site. Previously, We were told previously through RCI that we could link the reservations together so that we could be seated together for dining. Today, RCI said that we would have to wait until we were onboard and check with the Matre'd in the Dining Room.

Has anyone had any experience with this? We seem to get different answers on the phone each time we call.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:29 AM
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I know they can and do, now whether it is only reservations through them alone I'm not sure about. Our resident Royal expert is cruising right now. He should be back shortly. I wonder if speaking to a supervisor would help, especially since there is such a large group. Their representatives should make it as easy as a travel agent would. Travel agents are invaluable and RCI should at least be able to perform this task for you.
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:32 PM
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You can in fact link all of your bookings together. The ones booked through the outside agency will simply have to be requested by that agency to be linked to the ones booked through the cruiseline direct. Hopefully those with the online bookings didn't use an agency where you just click on a cruise and put in your credit card. Many online agencies have 1(800)#'s and agents on the other end of the phone line so you can call and request them linked. I'ts called "Cross referencing your dining".

If some in your party booked with an online agency that has no phone # and no agent contact tell them to never do that type of booking again. Without a person and extension of who that person is, what will you do in the event of an emergency and you need to cancel? What if you need to be notified of an itinerary change, who whould do that? You need to deal with a live human being for a booking. Either at the cruiseline or through a local travel agent or one of the many online agencies that provide personalized service.

If it was in fact an online click and book type booking you're out of luck. No way to get them to cross reference your bookings and the cruiseline can't even touch their bookings.

One last thing you may be able to do... Try calling the cruiseline back if it is an online only booking and ask if you can have the booking transferred to another agency or RCCL. They may require you to send a written request, you can do this by fax. If it's in penalty even this may not be possible but it's worth a try. Once transferred they can cross reference all the bookings. Online is a fine way to book and sometimes you can save $$$ but be sure if you do that you still get an agent that is knowledgable, friendly and responsive to your needs.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:33 PM
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I've had our reservations linked with friends/family on other lines. All I had to do was give their booking number to my TA, and they gave my booking number to their TA. This was not on Royal Caribbean, but we've done it on several other lines, including "sister" line Celebrity. As you want to eat together, I would not wait until you board. Try again and let us know how it turns out.


Edited to add: Neil, we posted at the same time. Out of curiosity, why would this not be possible through an online booking? Wouldn't they have a booking number? And, if they did, would the other person's TA still be able to link them? Again, I'm just curious as I know little about what goes on behind the scenes with bookings.
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Old 10-29-2007, 05:10 PM
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In this case, nobody really had a TA working for them...the on-line bookings are notorious for lack of customer service, great prices, I have done it myself several times. I would keep calling RCI and ask for their help with all the correct booking numbers, they CAN help, and I agree with Lisa, try NOT to leave it until the cruise. That big of a group is hard to switch around for the Maitre D.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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Thanks for the advice...I also thought that big of a party would be hard to accomodate, but the agent on the phone didn't. I don't think that I want to leave it to chance, though, so I will try again.

The reason they booked with an on-line site (a site which I have used twice with very good results) was that they had a "special" rate of $150 cheaper per person than Royal Caribbean! It was too good to pass up and I figured we could iron out the dining issues for that much of a savings!
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:54 PM
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Yes, jodiroadie, try to get the reservations linked now. We thought we had done that with 8 people and 3 different agents on our last cruise. When we got to the ship we realized 4 of us were at one table and 4 were at another. I immediately went to the matre'd. The tables we were assigned to were round 8 seaters in a nice section of the dining room. I thought he would just switch 4 people from each table but he put us at another table. It was a long 10 seater right next to the kitchen. It was hard to talk to each other. Once nice thing was that he also put a couple with us who was traveling alone and got along well with our group. With 13 people you will most likely be at two tables.

I have another question about linking reservations. I'm organizing a group that is now 22 people. Could I request that we have the same wait staff for the 3 tables so we could switch seats different nights? Has anyone ever done this. Would I send an e-mail to teh matre'd?

Mary
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
the on-line bookings are notorious for lack of customer service, great prices, I have done it myself several times.
Lumping all online agencies together is as big a mistake as any other statement that that refers to one persons limited experience with a handful of cruise bookings. There are literally thousands of online agencies. Some are small and some have hundreds of agents and do multiple millions in bookings per year. Each has people who are experienced and people who may be new and in training.

I can tell you for a fact that there are online agencies with great reputations, training, policies, pricing and personalized service second to noone in the industry. Are they all great? No. Are there some you should never even consider doing business with? Yes. The same is true for local agents and there are some agents working for the cruiselines who are as bad as any in the industry. They also have some dedicated people who will go out of their way, above and beyond to make your experience with the booking as enjoyable as possible.

Generalizations and stereotypes are a very bad way to give or get advice. Due to board rules I can't be more specific but believe me, there are great agents in each area of the industry. I've come across many on this site I'd trust with my business and know many at the cruiselines by name I deal with every day who I'd also feel very comfortable calling tomorrow to book me a cruise if I couldn't provide the service for myself. There are also a few I know by name who when they answer I ask to hold and call in on another line. Then tell the first "Nevermind, I didn't need assistance after all" so I don't have to deal with incompetence.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Agutaya:
I have another question about linking reservations. I'm organizing a group that is now 22 people. Could I request that we have the same wait staff for the 3 tables so we could switch seats different nights? Has anyone ever done this. Would I send an e-mail to teh matre'd?

Mary
What you want to do is called a "round Robin". They usually only allow this if Gratuities are pre-paid. That means paid in advance with your final cruise payment (different than being put on your onboard account). If you are working with a TA she will handle all the dining arrangements for your group. If you are working direct with the cruiselines group department then they will handle dining for you. There is no need to try and talk to the Maitre'd direct.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:08 AM
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Dear Travel Pro, Sorry to offend by lumping all "on-line booking" services together. You are right, some provide exellent service, others, well....My on-line booking service helped with a cruise of 60+, and did an excellent job, in spite of "couple break-ups", "friendship break-ups" that complicated the entire booking process. We were all sat in the same area of the dining room. So, I have seen great work, but I also have seen screw-ups, lack of follow-up, more often than not. I understand why Jodi's friends went for the cheaper price on-line, but obviously their on line service is lacking in THIS regard, of helping with seating arrangements. Sorry to ruffle feathers, but these things happen, and this board's rules do not allow you to be more specific is a shame.
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