Friday, August 30, 2013

Regent Seven Seas Cruises - "Ship Happens"...But You Are On Your Own: Inexcusably Poor Customer Service

Regent Seven Seas - again - lets down its passengers with poor customer service...again!

Lousy Customer Service...Again
The Regent Seven Seas Mariner was late arriving into Civitavecchia, Italy today due to a malfunction of some lifeboat equipment during routine maintenance the day before; so the last leg of the cruise from Livorno was delayed.  This resulted in the ship being approximately three hours late...and, therefore, many of the passengers' flights home would be missed.

For those passengers (I can't call them guests after you read this) who booked their air with Regent Seven Seas, efforts are being made by the line to arrange new flights for them, provide them with hotel room and a $100 per person stipend for meals.  However, while the passengers were told that Regent was working on new flights, apparently that was not the case (for at least some) as the United Kingdom office was closed and nothing was done for them. 

So while the Regent air-booked guests assumed all was being taken care of, the fact is it was not...and it is reported that their on-ground support consisted of a single individual that road with them on the bus to the airport advising them he knew nothing and, upon arrival, simply pointed them to the airline check-in desks (some of which were not even open for the flights finally assigned).

Worse, for those passengers who did not book their air with Regent Seven Seas, the were - shall we say - cut adrift.  Regent offered them nothing and, in fact, even cut off the internet leaving many of the passengers unable to communicate with the airlines or to book alternative flights.  (Regent had, apparently, provided free internet until the ship reached Civitavecchia, but it is reported it then cut it off with the crew claiming that the cruise was over.)

The fact is that "ship happens" and it is totally understandable that the late arrival occurred to do a mechanical issue.  It is why when clients ask me if a close connection will work I always...that is always...advise against it.  (When I flew out of Rome last month after my SeaDream Yacht Club cruise, I chose to make a later flight with a connection so my departure time was 1:20 p.m.)

However, when "ship happens" - especially on a luxury cruise line that claims it is not five star, but six star - there better be some pretty great customer service...not only for the arriving guests, but the departing ones as well.  And while to expect Regent Seven Seas to deliver a perfect solution for each of its passengers is not reasonable, for it to hinder its passengers from even arranging their own solutions is inexcusable.