Consumer Complaints and Reviews
Since I haven't cruised in many years, I am comparing my experience on the Silhouette to previous cruises. In the past, I always went first class, but my friend decided that she wanted an inside cabin and that was awful. The culinary staff was above and beyond excellent. Customer relations needs some work. Very remote atmosphere, not helpful or friendly. Asked for an additional photo of the ship (since we were given only one and we were two people - not the same family). Told photos are a courtesy and only one per stateroom. One small bar of hand soap to be used as bath soap for the entire trip. Luckily I brought my own. Was told that suites did get sample size bath gel. Entertainment fair-talent excellent, but main theme of major shows was Cirque du Soleil. Needed some variation. Think I'll try Royal Caribbean next time. Sort of disappointed.
I was misled during the purchase of the cruise cabins by Celebrity Cruises by them not stating, in the product description, that the cabins that they were selling to me were high-noise cabins. Thus, my vacation was ruined due to the consistent noise constantly coming from the dishwasher area of the Ocean View café, which was one floor above our staterooms. Celebrity Cruises never stated in the cabins’ description that they were high-noise cabins, which would have left it up to the customer to decide whether to purchase those cabins or not, as it is done for obstructed-view cabins.
This persistent noise led to me and my wife being constantly disturbed by the noise. This disturbance occurred during the day and the night, and ultimately led to us not being able to sleep normally during our vacation time on the cruise. I tried to get some sleep in both of the cabins that our family occupied, but the noise was equally present in both cabins, so these efforts did not provide any solace and proper rest was unattainable. My wife succumbed to sleep with earplugs, and she even heard noise with them in. I tried to sleep with earplugs but I could not keep them in longer than 3 hours due the discomfort they induced.
We have been on many cruises, on many different lines. Up until now Celebrity had been our favorite. On March 19 we traveled on their ship Infinity from Chile to Miami, a 14 day cruise. We flew down to Santiago Chile a couple of days early. On our embarkation day we visited a wonderful winery for a wine tasting. We ended up buying two bottles of the wine. Though this wine is not expensive, we can't get in the states. You are allowed to take 1 bottle per person on a Celebrity cruise. This ship was being relocated from South America to Miami. There were several people who were doing back to back cruises, so they started in Argentina.
We noticed right away there were lots of people on board with gut wrenching coughs, and soon more and more people had it. By the time we docked in Miami 6 of the 8 people at our dining table had it. Several of them made at least 3 trips to the medical facilities which were always overflowing with passengers. The medical bills continue even on land after the cruise. It truly is a nasty virus. The ship did not change anything until 2 days before docking in the USA, then suddenly the captain announced anyone who needed it could have one visit to the infirmary free of charge. Trust me one time was not enough. They also then decided the staff would do all the serving at the buffet cafe. People were still allowed to refill used water bottles out of the water and juice dispensers, nothing like passing on a few germs that way.
Then to top if all off somehow Celebrity managed to lose a piece of our luggage. Getting it to the dock from the ship seemed to be too much of a challenge for them. Guess what, they have found the luggage, but they have to take the two wine bottles out. Oh they will pay us for the wine, but we can't buy it here! The wine can legally travel in checked suitcases, just not in one's lost by the cruise ship. Next time I will carry my own luggage off and bring more vitamin C. I will only eat in their dining room, won't touch any handrails or door handles without a cloth. Too bad this used to be a good cruise line.
7 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE. 1C-8299 Deluxe Ocean View Strm - We had a terrifying, life threatening experience on a Celebrity cruise: the glass partition on the veranda of our stateroom 8299 suddenly exploded, and pieces of glass scattered throughout the veranda, even reaching the stateroom through the open door. We were very fortunate to avoid grave injuries, as we were sitting on the veranda minutes earlier but had moved to the stateroom to charge computers. This happened on March 7, 2017, 2:45 pm.
The glass was cleaned but no one from the administration expressed any concern, apology, or sympathy regarding what happened to us. Next morning we approached the Guest Relationship desk and talked with two guest relations officers. They were very unfriendly to us and denied any responsibility for what happened. We complained about psychological stress and anxiety, but this didn't make any impression. They explained that this explosion of glass partitions sometimes happens on a ship with the change of temperature. We were surprised and frightened to discover that the company routinely subjects the passengers to such risk and continues to use glass material for partitions.
Only the next day in late afternoon were we offered an upgrade and moved to stateroom 2137 as a kind of compensation. This was nice but insufficient for the enormous shock that we underwent with this horrifying experience. Ironically, this upgraded stateroom had the same type of glass partitions which could shatter without warning and cause serious injury. We still have this feeling of anxiety, especially when under a glass roof or near windows and other glass objects. Glass partitions on all Cruise ships need to be replaced by another, more stable and less dangerous material.
We have taken several cruises in the past, preferring Royal Caribbean. I was told that Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean and is a step up. We went on the Celebrity Summit for the 70's Rock and Romance Cruise. We used the ship's transfer service from the airport. After tipping our bus driver, our luggage was left at the ship terminal. There was another employee standing by the luggage, so I asked him if we walk this way to the ship. He says yes, then, "You're not going to tip your porter (which was him)?" I've never been asked for a tip. This was just the first of many complaints.
The food was not at all up to par with cruise standard. Old Country Buffet standard if that. My husband found a total of 4 hairs on his plate during the 5 night stay. Staff was just OK, meaning they did their job, but no more. One night we got back to our cabin and we had no towels. I've never complained about any cruise I've been on (Norwegian, Royal, and Carnival) but this one I had to voice my dissatisfaction. I will never cruise Celebrity again and would like to know if Royal has lowered its standards as well.
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I'm not very impressed with Celebrity Cruises. The value is fine and they have a fantastic itinerary but not many inclusions. The ports were beautiful, good excursions. Food was just OK, except for the restaurants that you pay additional surcharge. They lost some of my clothes, although they did compensate me for this.
Having cruised 47 times, Celebrity wins hands down on overall performance. Of my 28 cruises with celebrity 26 have been in the 99 percentile. Excellent value for its category of cruise line. Most of the itinerary options have been very interesting. I am an high level elite guest so I receive many inclusions. Some of celebrity older ships have exquisite artwork; some of your newer ships have very experienced staff. Even the newer staff, with proper training will develop into excellent employees who care about their jobs. I obviously love cruising and have found Celebrity to be one of the best.
Great cruise - food and service excellent; like it better with more adults and less children. Good value, competitive with others at same quality level. Mediterranean options were typical of competition. Wish trip to Rome was shorter bus ride - round trip is wasted 3 hours, maybe choose another port. Their inclusions are a nice benefit. Wish the cabins with balcony were a bit larger so we are not in each other's way. Barely enough room for 1 of 2 people to walk around together. We always seem to get ready for dinner in shifts! Otherwise love the cabin service and the food choices.
Fabulous experience. Good value. Our Bermuda cruise was fun. We had many opportunities to site see, shop and enjoy nightly entertainment once at port. Great entertainment, amazing food and endless relaxation. Everything was at your fingertips. It was wonderful not having to worry about anything...
The first night on board someone attempted to break into our cabin... pulling out the metal in the door around the lock. When we opened it to go to breakfast it would not release!! Our wonderful cabin steward stood watch for us. After breakfast and for 6 hours no one came to fix it so our steward beat it back so it would close BUT it never closed tight for the entire 14 days. When I formally reported it all customer relations said was the "sea waves caused it!!" No customer service in customer relations... no offers of anything!! Bad deal. I gave photos if anyone cares!!
My husband and I just completed our 13th cruise, choosing the Celebrity Summit because of the ports they went to. At the time I booked with a Celebrity agent I indicated that we wanted an Aft balcony cabin and the only one I saw available was under the Sunset Bar on the back of the ship. She assured me she had sailed on this ship and that the bar above our cabin would not pose any problems.
When we got to our cabin - 9164 - we noticed a bad odor so we asked our cabin steward, Solome, to address it and he poured chemical down the bathroom drain and part of it went away. We continued to notice a sour smell but could not pinpoint where it was coming from. The Sunset Bar closes at 11:30 pm. At 12:30 am the crew started dragging all of the tables and chairs around over our head to rearrange them for the next day, waking us up in the process. I called the Concierge Desk and reported this and was told it would be addressed and not happen again. It did happen again, every night of the cruise.
The next morning as I rolled over in bed I realized the sour smell was coming from our bed, which was disgusting. I called and asked to have the mattresses replaced. While we were having breakfast they replaced the mattress pad and added a foam topper but did not replace the mattresses, which were bulging out on the sides from use. The smell did go away, but the thought that we slept on that bed the first night on who-knows-what is pretty gross. They were very apologetic and Solome and Hendrick were outstanding at taking care of our cabin and responding to any requests we had all week.
By day 4 I was worn out from lack of sleep, which affects my restless leg syndrome and the regimen of medication I take for it. I received a call from Guest Services apologizing again and offering us each a $300 voucher off of a future Celebrity cruise, good for 2 years. I thanked her and she assured me the noise would not happen anymore (see above).
By Thursday I was at the shore excursion office asking to cancel or change our tour because the day before the 4 hour bus tour was too much for me with my RLS. The shore excursion agent was not very cooperative and kept expressing how hard this was for him to do as I was explaining that I had not had a good night's sleep all week and sitting on a bus again for 4 hours was not easy for me to do either. He finally moved us to another tour, which got cancelled and we ended up on a 3 hour van tour. I'm happy to say I survived, but was not terribly enthusiastic at this point about sightseeing due to lack of sleep.
Guest Services did suggest that I could take a nap each afternoon to compensate for the interruptions but I reminded her that the bar is open all day with activity overhead and sometimes I like to participate in activities on the ship during the afternoon. I did bring along my hammock for our deck, but it rained off and on during the week and they power washed the deck above us twice and we ended up with paint chips all over our deck and my hammock and it was often wet at night, so I could not go out on the deck to sleep in my wet hammock.
By Friday I found the Concierge office and Sat down and explained to the agent that, although the vouchers are a nice gesture on the part of the cruise line, they do not replace all the sleep I lost all week and how tired I was while trying to participate in events all day. I likened it to having a bad meal at a restaurant, being offered a free meal if I come back, and then finding nothing has improved. I was assured every night at 1:00 am that this would not happen again and yet it did every night. The whole ordeal was very frustrating to me and it affected our cruise experience overall. When our vouchers arrived the last morning they were for $400 off for each of us, which was a nice gesture, but they still did not replace our sleep.
Unfortunately, as part of the design of the Celebrity ships, all ships in this category are designed exactly the same so you cannot have an Aft balcony cabin on the top cabin deck without having the bar above you - very poor planning on someone's part. The food, despite reading bad reviews before we sailed, was very good for the most part. We had some of the most tender steaks come out of the kitchen of any cruises we have been on in several years. The entertainment was also very good with a variety of shows and a nicely designed theater. And, unlike other ships we've been on, they don't blast the volume during shows to the point that you cannot understand what the singer is singing. Shore excursions on cruise ships are, for the most part, overpriced and underwhelming. We always tend to be disappointed and this time was no exception.
We docked at St. Thomas in an out of the way dock which required a cab ride into the main shopping area and it was pouring rain off and on, so we walked down the pier to the small assortment of shops and then back to the ship to use the pool while it was not crowded. The new rooftop theater seating with a movie and food is really a nice touch. The ship overall seemed to have more than adequate seating and a lot of very nice loungers tucked away in different parts of the decks if you just wanted a quiet place to read or nap (maybe I should have tried napping on the deck sofas)!
The crew were all very friendly and helpful and very personable with us, but the activities were pretty similar every day and there was only one bingo all week on our one day at sea - which I found surprising. If you don't like trivia (which was usually over in 15 minutes), health talks, dancing classes or spa treatments, then there is very little planned during the day for passengers to do. Fortunately, I bring my Kindle and cross stitch and find a well lit area to sit for a while, but some form of entertainment would be nice.
The shops on the ship are the same all over - big sales part way through the cruise and lots of raffles. The art sales are like a secondary industry to cruises - if you want to go on a ship to sit at art auctions and buy art then you will be delighted with this aspect of all cruises anymore. We did it once and have no desire to buy more pictures.
Overall, the week was nice as we were on vacation and not at home working, but I guess I just expected more from Celebrity in the way of customer service. Our experience on Celebrity 4 years ago when we sailed to Alaska on the Solstice was much better than this trip. On this trip in order to get the Aft balcony cabin we had to purchase a Concierge level cabin which was much more expensive than other balcony cabins and we got very little for that extra cost.
My wife and I had the misfortune to use Celebrity to celebrate our 40th anniversary in May 2016. Our daughter had ordered and paid for wine and chocolates to be delivered to our cabin, which were "overlooked". The staff were definitely not customer focused. This resulted in the worse customer service we have experienced in 15 years of cruising. It was our first (and last) time with Celebrity. We have contacted their customer relations, but as yet do not have a reply. It goes without saying I would neither use nor recommend Celebrity. They are by far and away the worse line we have sailed with.
DON'T TRAVEL WITH CELEBRITY CRUISES, WHICH I COULD CANCEL AND USE ANOTHER BOAT!!! Not a month after booking my trip, the price drops 10% after I was assured the price wouldn't drop. Agents simply not understanding, just interested in telling you how the system works whilst not looking after the customer. Now I have a bad feeling before I even start. So disappointed!!!
We have cruised with Princess 5 times and decided to look at Celebrity. I created an account and profile (no problem), and saved several itineraries which looked interesting. When I returned to begin the booking process, a notice popped up on my screen "Sorry, the ship has sailed...". I tried several more times, using different browsers and receive the same message. I have no confidence in a cruise line that cannot even handle the simplest of web commands. Back to Princess we went.
Recently I received a phone message from Celebrity stating that a cruise, a friend and I had booked, was past due for the final payment. I had a hard time understanding since the cruise I had booked for January had no payment due for over a month. After calling customer service I discovered that a cruise booked some time ago had not been cancelled and I was informed that if I did cancel at this time I would be forced to pay a penalty.
I had been on another cruise in October of last year and had booked a cruise for January of 2017 while on board. Since it was not possible to pay for two so close together my friend and I mentioned that we needed to cancel the October cruise. We both left with the impression that the matter was taken care of. 15 months later with no communication on the part of Celebrity we get the news that we owe the final payment for a cruise leaving in one week. We were floored! I complained bitterly to anyone I could, but even talking to the Gabby in customer relations we were told that it was OUR responsibility to make sure the matter had been resolved. I guess Celebrity is incapable of trust when they say they will do something.
I was livid and said we would consider canceling the January cruise if things were not worked out. With that I was told that if we canceled the next cruise it would incur a penalty of $450 even though we were over 90 days before the ship sailed. The company cannot be trusted and the poor customer pays the penalty. Even though I am an Elite member and have sailed with them many times I get no consideration. We will go through with the January cruise and make it our last. We will also take the opportunity to inform anyone we can talk to on board ship of the treatment and hope to convince them to drop Celebrity as well. For their actions they deserve all the bad publicity they deserve.
Adriatic Cruise - We had a fantastic cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. The ship was spotless, food was excellent, ports were very interesting, and crew was marvelous. Sure, there were minor glitches. The toilet would not flush but maintenance came to fix it within 2 hours. We took a shore excursion in Dubrovnik that was much more strenuous than advertised, and too much for my wife, but Customer Service refunded us a portion of the cost. I should note that we complained not looking for a refund but to suggest that they disclose the activity level of the tour more accurately. Unfortunately, a lot of poor reviews on here seem to deal with losing items, seeking refunds after the nonrefundable time kicks in, complaints about cabin location, etc., and not with the cruise itself. We have done 5 Celebrity cruises and all were excellent.
It was a rainy day, the tour guide introduce herself by soliciting since it was her birthday. The bus was scented with human feces, the toilet in the bus was close as broken, the waiting of 15 mins while unloading of prior passengers was done outdoors under a strong rain, the boat for river cruises was dirty. Once complaint inside the cruise to the shore excursions desk, the clerks were upset and defensive, insist this is the best they can do under the shortage of personnel. We requested at least one check the quality of the vessel and its equipment before boarding the passengers, after all they have plenty of time waiting outside the boarding area, prior to the passengers arrival. From that point on all questions for other tours were answer with sarcasm with words like "Isn't it obvious". I want this review to be constructive.
Recently back from an Alaskan cruise, my 7th cruise, second time on Celebrity. My worst complaint is the 65 minute check in, in Seattle. Other cruise lines have it much after (15-20 minutes) for bigger ships. Customer Service: On the phone pre-cruise, and on the ship, were great. Remember, no trip is perfect. Things happen, just consider if they are REALLY things that the cruise line could have handled/handled better, or unfortunate things that happened on the cruise that should have been handled better. For those that complain about no email responses -- I'd suggest picking up the phone and calling. For those complaining about confinement due to sickness -- this is common, and to reduce spread of germs.
I've emailed Camille which is Miami team CS manager two times within 2 weeks and never received a response back. Well, as you all can see from many travels we all experience the same worst customer service all around. Management team, do you care???
I first booked a cruise on Celebrity Cruise to Alaska October 5, 2015 and put a down payment of $250. A couple weeks ago I was involved in an accident, so I contacted my travel agent Trinda **. She told me since I cannot travel to get a letter from my doctor and mail it to her while she was traveling in Europe. I received a statement from their bank for 2050.57. Trinda told me to pay $799. I also booked some excursions totaling $958 which was paid in full the cancellation for these can be refunded up to 24 hours before the excursion so I should get the $958 refund.
I received a letter from their credit card started I will get NO refund. How could this be? I paid in good faith the $250 last October and the full payment of $958 for the excursions plus another $799. Beware who you trust. Do not trust THEIR credit card. Use the one you have trusted for years. They kept $2050.57 of my money and someone else will buy this cruise so they are making double on one room. I traveled with Carnival two times and never had anything like this happen. BUYER BEWARE.
These have got to be the worst customer service dept I have had the misfortune to come across. For the past two months, emailed them on 6 occasions and not once has any of them been answered. This is the 1st and last time I use this company.
Mechanical engine kept us up all hours of the night! Email me. I will send you exactly what happened. They refused to credit us compensation.
Discriminated against. On 3/21/16 at dinner my wife & I was served last after a ** couple came in. Reported to As. Mat. D **, but nothing was done. My last time cruising with them. **, Res. no **. No wine or card anniversary.
Upon my arrival on the Constellation last week, I left my Oakley sunglasses in what I thought was a safe place in my cabin. As many are already aware, Oakley is an internationally recognized brand. The next morning, my sunglasses were nowhere to be found. These sunglasses were a Christmas gift from my daughter, and I am appalled that I would have fear for the safety of my belongings while trying to relax on vacation with my family. I have traveled on several other cruise lines in the past and have never dealt with this issue. What's more, when I had approached the crew about the issue, they did not take my claim at all seriously. They even went so far as to question the validity of my claims. A word of warning to all those who travel with Celebrity Cruise: they hire thieves!
Celebrity flight originating in Moncton, NB. First was an unscheduled fuel stop in Richmond, VA which was to take about 20 mins. and ended up being about 2.5 hours with a few excuses given but nothing to believe. Arrived in Florida about 4 hrs. late. On return flight another 2 hr. delay in Florida with no reason given, only a 2 word apology. Bottom line we will never fly on a NOLINOR charter again. Another upsetting and embarrassing experience occurred in the dining room. On the second night of the voyage our dinner was interrupted twice by the reservations manager only to be told we were at the wrong table. Table had been assigned to the 4 of us by guest services when we arrived on board. This was very unprofessional and with complete disregard for the customer, etc. etc.
On 2/2/16 I booked my offshore excursions online for my upcoming cruise. The website kept telling me transaction declined, cc declined, try another cc, all of which I did. The next day I had been charged by my cc 3 times for 3 different amount. My Celebrity account showed a different amount again. The approximate transaction is $3000. So now I still haven't heard a sane word from them. I have been charged approx $9000 for approx $3000 amount of services and no action. I have lodged complaint with the bank. However, Celebrity have not acknowledged the problem even though I have emailed them copies of my statements.
We are ages 71/66 and are booked for a Celebrity cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, Fl, to the southern Caribbean on 2/22/16. Due to the Zika virus situation, we have tried to cancel and receive a refund. Celebrity has denied our request and their customer service just blew us off. They just put us on hold for 20 minutes and then come back with a company line. I have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the US maritime organization but haven't heard back from them. It seems that they are being stonewalled by Celebrity.
Beware the "bait and switch" tactic. February 3, 2016 we had an extensive conversation with Jason, a Celebrity certified travel planner. He offered us a package on a 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise leaving Miami April 3, 2016. The terms of that offer were a mid-ship veranda stateroom on deck 8, drink package and free gratuities for $4243. We paid by credit card while still on the phone. We immediately made flight and hotel arrangements to get to Miami from San Francisco for the cruise.
February 5, 2016 we were informed that we did not have a mid-ship cabin, but a lower cabin (aft on same deck). We called Celebrity reservations. To make a very long series of conversations short, we were ultimately told by "resolution agent" Julie that there was little Celebrity would do about this. We were offered our choice of cancelling our reservation, moving to a different room in the same category (not mid-ship) or paying extra to get a better cabin. We were essentially told that we were confused and they were actually doing us a special favor refunding 100% of our money. Cancelling is not really an option since flight reservations have been made and large change fees apply. Besides that, we really wanted to go on the cruise.
To clear up the "confusion" we requested that Celebrity listen to the phone call (which they should have recorded) from February 3 and please send us a transcript of same. We were denied. We realize sometimes things happen and/or mistakes are made. That is not a big deal. We were willing to work something out with Celebrity. It would not have taken much. But, Celebrity was intransigent. The final result is repugnant. Celebrity has all the money we mutually agreed to, but is giving us a lesser product/service than we agreed to. Their attitude is shocking to us. No attempt was made to make it right. So, beware in your dealings with Celebrity (and, presumably, its parent Royal Caribbean).
I got so tired, I hang up!!! Good luck for those who are trying to get some infos from Celebrity by phone. The website is also terrible, is out very frequently, asking you to try again in 20 mins... you do and the message is still the same!! Unbelievable!!
I am 68 years old, my wife is 67. We are retired and live on our pension incomes. To date we have gone on four cruises, three with Royal Caribbean, the fourth and most recent with their sister company Celebrity. Working our way down our bucket list of destinations. The first three cruises (Mexico, Alaska, Panama Canal) went off without a hitch. The only criticism was with the dining room food on one of the RC cruises (at one point everyone at our table sent back their dinner). We disclosed this on a survey questionnaire at the end of the cruise, but did not expect, nor did we ask for, any compensation. So we were surprised to later receive a $100 future cruise credit in the mail. Although we were unable to use it, we still thought it was a nice gesture.
Our last trip was a twelve-night Hawaii cruise on the Celebrity Solstice in 2014. We sailed from Vancouver on September 23 and returned by air on October 5. We spent five days at sea before reaching Honolulu-- the first of four islands on the itinerary-- on the afternoon of September 29. The ocean crossing was uneventful except for one day of sea sickness. On our first full day in Honolulu we took a shore excursion arranged through the ship. It involved a ranch and jungle tour and included a small lunch buffet. At 11:30 pm that evening I became very ill and was up the rest of the night with multiple episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. The next morning I went to the medical unit and was given some medication by injection to stop the vomiting. I was also given some anti-diarrhea pills to take. They thought it was the norovirus and told me to stay in my cabin until all symptoms stopped for at least 24 hours.
Although the vomiting stopped, the diarrhea did not. I informed the medical staff and was told to return for blood tests. Based on the results of the blood tests and my vital signs, the doctor told me that it was not the norovirus but most likely food poisoning. Since the only food or drink I had consumed since the trip began was on board ship or at the ranch the previous day, the doctor said it was probably due to something I ate at the ranch. Of course he did. To suggest it might have been something I ate or drank on the ship would make Celebrity culpable. Not that we could have done anything about it. If you want to sue them you have to file suit where their head office is, in Miami. We live outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, so fat chance of that happening. Not that we could afford a lawyer in any case.
Their legion of corporate lawyers have also ensured that Celebrity is not legally responsible for anything that happens to you on one of their shore excursions. So if some misfortune does happen and you end up seeking redress, you are pretty much at the mercy of their compensation department. After we returned home I learned from the BC Centre for Disease Control that symptoms from bacterial food poisoning can take anywhere from hours to days to occur, and the only way to determine the source of the food poisoning is through a stool sample, not a blood test. But I'm sure their doctor was well aware of this.
My wife ate the same food I did at the ranch (chicken, ribs, salad) and did not get sick. The night I fell ill I had sea bass for dinner, my wife did not. The fact is that it could just as easily have been something I consumed on the ship (sea bass?) that caused the food poisoning, not what I consumed at the ranch. But Celebrity has completely ignored this fact. Even if it was something I ate or drank at the ranch, it is not reasonable that Celebrity should disclaim all responsibility for what happened. Regardless of any self-serving legal argument, which should not apply in out of court compensation matters, they are very much involved with their shore excursions.
They promote the excursions by advertising them in their list of sightseeing tours; they arrange the tours and accept payment for them (charging more than locals would for similar tours, a profitable sideline); they guarantee you priority departure in port (first off the ship); charge you no cancellation penalty in case of a change in plans; and they are prepared to delay sailing until such time as you are returned to the ship. If you don't book with them and you're late, they sail without you. As their "Shore Excursions Order Form" puts it, "Why would you trust your experiences to anyone else?" Also, according to Cruise Critic online, "Cruise ships hold tour operators responsible for quality control as well as make sure that all necessities--liability insurance, registration, and other areas of compliance--are complete."
In other words, there is a clear connection between Celebrity and their tour excursions and they should not simply cut and run when something goes wrong. If they can share in the profits, they can share in the responsibility. And even more so when negligence is involved. Like when a passenger gets food poisoning due to the negligence (improperly stored or prepared food) of a tour operator. Such a passenger should be entitled not only to free medical attention (which our travel insurance would have covered), but also to compensation (which our travel insurance did not cover). The ship doctor gave me a five-day supply of two kinds of antibiotics and sent me back to my cabin. It seems that bacterial intestinal infections are also contagious. He also gave me more of the same anti-diarrhea pills even though I told him they didn't seem to be working.
It should be noted that if you refuse to be confined to your cabin they can make you leave the ship at the next port of call and also advise the port authorities of your contagious condition. This in turn could result in you being quarantined by the local authorities at your own expense. There is thus a compelling reason to cooperate. Once when I left the cabin to go to the medical unit, our steward saw me walking down the corridor and demanded to know where I was going. "Where you going!" he asked gruffly. You would have thought I had the plague. While confined to our cabin I was restricted to a special menu of very bland food from room service (e.g. white baguette bread, chicken broth). You could not order from the regular menu. And only our room steward did the deliveries and pick-ups. All part of the quarantine ritual.
I was told to reintroduce regular food slowly, which I did. But whenever I began to feel better and tried to eat something more substantial, the diarrhea would come back. This pattern of relapse continued for another two weeks after the trip ended, starting and stopping depending on what I ate or drank. One time just eating an apple set the episodes off. Alcohol was strictly taboo. I spent four days confined to our cabin, except for a total of 19 hours of "freedom" (8 hours of which were spent sleeping) in between bouts. All I saw of the rest of Hawaii was what I saw from the balcony. No luau or snorkeling trips, which had to be cancelled. We did not even get a chance to dip our feet into the ocean. Our bucket list Hawaii vacation was in ruins.
From the onset of symptoms at 11:30 pm on September 30 until disembarking on the morning of October 5, our vacation was effectively over. Even during the hours when I wasn't confined to our cabin, I still had to be constantly watchful of what I ate or drank for fear of igniting another flare-up. Going ashore during this time was out of the question. When we finally left the ship we had trouble finding our luggage in the terminal. Turns out they had stuffed our suitcases into unmarked plastic bags without telling us, as if they could not be touched by human hands. Frantic search, almost missed our bus. A final affront to our dignity, or so we thought, but we were wrong. The real kick in the teeth came five weeks later when we received our "compensation" package.
It was a "goodwill savings certificate" in the amount of--hold on to your hats--$147.00! It had no cash value. It was just a credit that we had to use on another Celebrity cruise within a year or lose it. To us it was completely worthless because it takes us roughly two years to save for another cruise. There was a form letter attached to the certificate, unsigned, from "Sincerely, Corporate Guest Relations", saying: "We genuinely apologize for any inconvenience experienced." It was a load of bogus, self-serving bunk. In the first place, how many people can afford to take back-to-back cruises? And don't think for a moment they don't know this. If you can't, they effectively give you nothing. If you can, they sucker you into taking another cruise with them within a year. A win-win situation--for them.
In the second place, what we experienced was more than an "inconvenience"! We suffered illness, cabin confinement, and the loss of the most important part of our vacation. The Hawaii part. The whole purpose of taking the cruise was to see the Hawaii islands by ship, not to cross an empty ocean for five days to get there. We would not have paid for the trip otherwise. Finally, the financial loss was not just an "inconvenience". We are not wealthy (far from it) and cannot afford to waste thousands of dollars on a trip that turns into a fiasco. When the cost of the fare, travel insurance, and related expenses are included, we paid over $5,000 for this trip. This means that the $147 credit amounts to a less than 3% discount off another cruise of equal value. What they were offering was ridiculous.
Can you imagine going on an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico and getting food poisoning--either at the resort or on one of their excursions--that ruined 40% (5 out of 12 days) of your trip and then being offered a 3% discount on your next vacation with them as compensation, provided you take it within a year? To say that we were fit to be tied is an understatement. We received an unsolicited $100 cruise credit from Royal Caribbean just for being disappointed with some of their dinners! And here is their corporate twin offering us an extra $47 to compensate us for three days of confinement, a once in a lifetime Hawaii vacation that was completely ruined through no fault of our own, and a case of food poisoning that dragged on for weeks. Absolutely absurd!
We returned the $147 certificate because it was an insult. We also attached a letter of complaint. Their response was to send us another $147 certificate. This one to my wife in recognition of the fact that her Hawaii vacation was also ruined. Her certificate was valid for one year as well, even though I noted in my letter that it takes us two years to save for another cruise. We returned my wife's certificate as well. Not just because it was worthless to us, but because we felt the "compensation" was still woefully inadequate (even if we could have used it), given what we went through. We attached another letter outlining our concerns on October 28.
Finally on December 10 a woman from their "executive offices" phoned to tell us that our request for additional compensation had been denied. She said my case was all based on the number of days I spent in confinement, nothing else. She said she was very sorry, said this a couple of times, but failed to address any of the points I raised in my letters. It was as if the food poisoning that caused the whole problem never existed. So we were left with nothing. Which made what we read online about other compensation packages offered to other passengers even harder to comprehend. Here are just two examples. According to an article in CruiseMates online (11Feb12) a couple on a Celebrity Horizon cruise in 2000 was awarded a credit of $750 per person largely for having to put up with the noise of "trolleys rolling across the floors at all hours" and "dishwashers running". Annoying yes, but hardly equivalent to what my wife and I experienced.
Just as an aside, my wife and I put up with the same irritating trolley noises on our Panama cruise with Royal Caribbean in 2012. We heard it each morning when we woke up. The first time I heard it I thought it was military jets buzzing the ship. But it was just kitchen crew rolling metal trolleys across a metal deck below us. We never thought of complaining, figuring it was just the luck of the draw in getting a cheaper inside cabin (no window, no balcony) on a lower deck (something we swore we would never do again).We also read online in a Consumer Reports article (30Jan14) that passengers who caught the norovirus on a 10-day cruise on the Royal Caribbean Explorer
of the Seas, and as a result had their vacation cut short by two days, were given a compensation package that included a 50% refund off their cruise fare plus another 50% credit toward a future voyage. In addition, guests who had been confined to their cabins due to illness received an additional day future cruise credit for each day of confinement. Clearly if the media is involved the RC/Celebrity corporation can be generous with its multi-billion dollar profits. But if it does not have to put on a show for the media, and is not under the public spotlight for all potential customers to see, it can be quite petty. As in our case.
If this is the type of shoddy treatment that people can expect to receive from cruise lines like Celebrity, then perhaps the entire industry should be investigated by consumer protection agencies to ensure that its reimbursement practices are fair and consistent. Right now, if Celebrity is any indication, they are clearly arbitrary and unfair. And it is the public who suffers. Celebrity pays lip service to the welfare of its "guests" but their lack of any credible action speaks louder than their insincere words. Their focus is clearly on corporate profits rather than customer service. We will never take another cruise with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. If anyone reading this plans to, just remember that when you cross that gangway you will be entering their ship at your own risk. Welcome aboard!
Our vacation ordeal may not be noteworthy in the overall scheme of things. I'm sure there are other passengers who have experienced worse from this cruise line and others. But an injustice is an injustice, no matter how small, and should not be ignored. This is our way of adding our voice to what I'm sure must be a rising chorus of complaints. Maybe one day, with enough of them, people in our position will receive more considerate treatment. All we wanted was fair and reasonable compensation for what happened to us. All we received (aside from a couple of paltry, unusable certificates) were some meaningless apologies, but apologies don't bring back lost vacations. In the overall scheme of things, they don't mean anything.
ConsumerAffairs Research Team
The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.
Celebrity Cruises combines modern luxury with a contemporary cruise experience. Founded in 1986, Celebrity Cruises merged with Royal Carribean in 1997 and has grown to a fleet of 11 ships providing trips to destinations throughout the Bahamas, Bermudas, Carribean, Europe, Alaska and more.
- Personalized service: Celebrity Cruises excursions are staffed with a ratio of one staff member for every two guests, which allows for a personal touch in guest service.
- Cruisetour experiences: Cruisetour experiences are cultural immersion-style cruises that sail to numerous ports worldwide like Mt. Fuji in Japan, Bangkok in China, Mystery Island in Vanuatu and hundreds more.
- Overnight excursions: Celebrity Cruises offers "Evening Around the World" that lets guests experience a night spent at some of the ship's ports of call instead of aboard the ship.
- Spa treatment: An onboard spa is available on Celebrity Cruises, in addition to the relaxation and health-focused Take Care of YourSelfie experience.
- Family fun: While sometimes considered an adult cruise line, Celebrity Cruises also features on board programs designed for children and youth; the programs are aimed at guests ranging from toddler age to the teenage years.
- Best for The Celebrity Cruises liner is best for food lovers and adults seeking an elegant cruise experience.
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Celebrity Cruises Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Celebrity Cruises
- Year Founded:
- 1050 Caribbean Way
- Postal Code:
- United States