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Royal Caribbean response to crash wins praise

Even as Costa Cruises comes under fire this month for its handling of the Costa Concordia accident, another line is winning kudos for its response to an accident — albeit one on a much smaller scale.

CruiseLog reader James Stiles, who was aboard a Royal Caribbean-contracted tour bus that crashed over the weekend in St. Thomas, writes us to say the line did a wonderful job in responding to what he calls a near-death experience. Nearly a dozen Royal Caribbean passengers on the bus, including his wife, were injured.

“The situation was handled in a most excellent manner,” says Stiles, a frequent commenter at the CruiseLog who longtime readers will recognize as “Socrates-at-Sea” in the old commenting system. “Any passenger booking an excursion through Royal Caribbean can be assured of the best possible support should something go wrong. I believe this based upon our experience.”

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Stiles, a retiree from Pennsylvania who is on a cruise ship almost every month, describes a harrowing event. Accelerating on a narrow mountain road, the bus crossed the center line directly into the path of an oncoming car, nearly hitting it, and then bounced off another car before veering off the road at high speed toward a cliff with a several hundred foot drop, he says.

“Thankfully, the bus took a path that caused it to hit a mail box, a few small trees and some dense brush, which brought it to a halt,” Stiles says. “A path just slightly to the left of the one we took would have put it on a clear path to the cliff.”

Stiles says the response at the site by the local authorities and the tour operator was “swift, highly professional, and excellent,” as was Royal Caribbean’s response. Quite a few passengers were transported to a local hospital, he says.

“Clearly, the highest priority is care for the injured, and they did everything right in this regard,” he says. “First responders were on site within ten minutes of the accident, the cruise line was notified immediately, and their staff within 30 minutes was involved with us.”

Stiles and the other passengers on the bus had arrived in St. Thomas on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, and once back on board the vessel they “received most kind and courteous attention from Royal Caribbean, both (from) the ship’s Guest Relations (department) as well as their Care Team based on shore,” he says. “Their expressions of concern and regret were most genuine and welcomed.”

All 13 passengers on the bus, including Stiles and his wife, received a letter offering a 50% discount on a future cruise in addition to a refund for their ill-fated St. Thomas tour.

Cruise Loggers, share your thoughts in the comment area below.

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