help me out here this luggage valet thing sounds awfully tempting, would love to have one less thing to think about upon leaving the ship. So has anyone here used it and if so tell me what you think, honesty is always appreciated. I know it is $20pp no problem if this is a good service.
We've used luggage valet twice in the past with no problems and it worked great...and then I used it last December on the Rock Legends cruise.
Here is something many people don't know or report about. Customs requires RCI to randomly select a certain number of luggage valet participants for a baggage search. If they didn't then people smuggling things would use the program to evade the other random checks Customs does for the 'regular' departing guests.
I don't have a problem with Customs doing this. What I do have a problem with is the way RCI implements it. As I was leaving the Liberty and put my card in the security reader it alarmed and a flashing light went off. I didn't know what was going on. The RCI security guy grabbed my card and put the rope up to close the lane. He then called another security officer who came over, confiscated my passport and ordered me to follow him. He took me to the medical facility waiting room, mumbled something about Customs wanting to talk to me, and left. With my passport in his possession. I was left there alone for several minutes wondering if someone had stashed something in my luggage, whether I was going to jail, etc. I was about to have an anxiety attack until three more passengers were rushed in. One them in tears because she didn't know what was going on either. About 5 minutes passed before someone from Guest Relations arrived and told us we were randomly picked. He then escorted us off the ship to the Customs inspectors and we were on our happy way. Meanwhile we had to endure the catcalls and taunts from other passengers about our 'being busted' and 'next time smoke all of your pot before the cruise ends'. I was very angry about this and wrote RCI a letter. The response was as expected, that they'd look at the process. It didn't turn me off to RCI. All I asked was that they handle it differently. Why have me set off alarms at the ship exit when all they needed to do was contact me before debarkation and inform me. The luggage was already out of my control, so it isn't as though I could do anything about illegal items at that point
Perp walk is exactly what it was. Communication was another factor. I think we all know that the typical cruise ship security officer needs to go to charm school as far as their interpersonal skills go. I realize security is a serious thing but it can be done in a positive, customer focused way. Barney Fife versus Andy Taylor.
Security officers who are dealing with a largely English-speaking crowd need to have a mastery of English.
To his credit, the Guest Relations guy was cordial and clearly explained what was going on. That should have happened on the front end.
The nicest person in the whole ordeal was the Customs officer. How about that?
We used the Luggage Valet when leaving the Navigator in February. We thought it was great. However, I never thought about any issues like Dave ran into. Now that I think of it, it would be so easy for someone to place drugs or something in the luggage when it is out of our sight. But I guess the same thing can happen when you put your luggage outside your door the night before.
Bottom line, we will probably use Luggage Valet when we cruise in December. Thanks to Dave we will know what is happening if alarms go off and the feds show up!