Whatever you do, DO NOT use RCCLâ€™s Royal Romance department to plan your wedding. Worst experience ever and I am still dealing with getting my refund back for my wedding package. Royal Caribbean as a whole has pretty good customer service and the cruise we went on was a lot of fun. BUT their Royal Romance department is awful and should be shut down immediately. If you have a wedding package booked with them and your wedding is more than 90 days away, I would recommend cancelling with them now and finding a local wedding planner that will give you the attention and customer service that you deserve as a bride to be!
I booked a cruise on Allure of the Seas departing on February 14, 2013 and wanted to have a wedding planned through RCCL because I thought it would be a fun, low stress wedding planning experience. Well, it was the complete opposite of fun and low stress! I booked the cruise and wedding package back in March 2012, and my assigned Royal Romance wedding planner explained in October 2012 that the planning wouldnâ€™t begin till 2 or 3 months before the cruise date and to sit tight till then. The end of December rolled around and I still had not heard from my wedding planner as promised, so I tried following up with her. After several phone calls and emails, she finally responded back via email saying that they were extremely busy and that another representative had been assigned to do my wedding and would get back to me the week of Jan 7th, 2013. Note, that they didn't even have the decency to follow up with a phone call- just a very short email.
Remember that my cruise leaves on February 14th, 2013 which leaves me with a little over a month to plan the wedding. At this point, they had taken my money for the shoreside wedding package and we had a date finalized, but besides that I had nothing else planned- like a time, location, reception, transportation, a cake, etc. What bride would be okay with not having anything planned for your big day and it is month and a half away! But I was still pretty calm and waited patiently till the week of January 7th, 2013, and guess what no one followed up with me! Instead, I sent multiple emails and spent hours on the phone trying to get in touch with anyone from the Royal Romance department only to be transferred around and given several excuses about how understaffed they were and that organizational changes were happening. Not my problem that your department cannot handle the business it has taken on! You had no problem taking my money for the wedding package and the money for the 42 guests that were booked on your cruise. It was as if they were blatantly ignoring me. Even the RCCL representatives I spoke to on the phone could not get in touch with the Royal Romance department. They kept trying to call and internally message contacts within the department and they were being ignored too.
Finally I reached a breaking point and just wanted to cancel my wedding through RCCL as I had lost all faith and confidence in their ability to plan my wedding. I mean if you donâ€™t even have the capacity to return emails and/or phone calls, I donâ€™t really think you can do a very good job planning my wedding! After a week of no contact or resolution from the Royal Romance department, a RCCL representative (not a Royal Romance rep) was able to get in touch with a supervisor in the department and internally messaged back and forth about cancelling my wedding package. The non-Royal Romance rep said that this supervisor had agreed to give me a refund for my wedding package and gave me this supervisorâ€™s email address to email the request for cancellation. I never actually spoke to this supervisor as they didnâ€™t even have the courtesy to call me and discuss my situation.
I sent the email requesting cancellation and a refund on January 14th, 2013 to this supervisor, and then on January 16th they responded back with:
â€śI am sorry that you have lost confidence in our department. We have your file, all is in order and we will be finalizing weddings for mid February this week. We would love the opportunity to regain your confidence. Although you are not contractually entitled to a refund, we will issue a full refund with the disclaimer that once it is cancelled, there will be no way to reinstate the wedding through Royal Romance. Should the ship have a change in itinerary not make it to the port on schedule, Royal Romance will not provide alternate arrangements elsewhere. I would advise you speak with the company you plan to use to see what the refund policy is should the ship have any changes in itinerary. Please provide the last 4 digits of the credit card to be refunded. By providing this information, you acknowledge the above statement. Once I receive acknowledgement, I will request the refund from our Accounting department and it will take up to 4 weeks to process.â€ť
I mean really they wanted to regain my confidence and they were sorry! If they were so sorry and wanted to keep my business, then at least pick up the phone and call me. I love the part of the email about not being contractually entitled to a refund but we will give it to you anyways- so nice of them! According to the Wedding Services Agreement I signed back on March 5, 2012, payment for Optional Services and Customizations must be received by at least 90 days before the wedding date, and any changes must be made at 45 day prior to event date. Well, letâ€™s look at a calendar and count the days! That means that I should have been in contact with Royal Romance and had my wedding paid for and pretty much finalized around November 16th, 2012 (90 days) and January 2nd, 2013 (45 days) which clearly didnâ€™t happen. Yes- the contract also states that no refund will be issued 90 days or less prior to the event date. Section 8 is my favorite- â€śfor the best selection of alternatives, book early.â€ť The problem is that I was not given the given the opportunity to make selections for the optional services and customizations at 90 days or even 45 days despite my numerous attempts to reach out them. Below are the sections of the contract that I am referring to:
â€˘ Section 6- Payment, c- Payment for Optional Services and Customizations: Payment in full for any Optional Services and Customizations You Ordered must be received by Us at least 90 days prior to the Event Date for Your Cruise.
â€˘ Section 7- Changes: You may request changes to Your Wedding Program in accordance with the following schedules
- Changes To the Alternative Choices You Made For Your Wedding Package- 45 days prior to the Event date
- Removing OR Adding Optional Services- 45 days prior to the Event date
- Removing OR Adding Customizations- 45 days prior to the Event date
â€˘ Section 8- Delays and Changes: For the best selection of alternatives, book early.
â€˘ 9- Cancellations: Your Entire Wedding Program (including Packages, Optional Services and Customizations)- NO REFUND 90 days or less prior to the event date.
On that same day January 16th, 2013, I promptly provided them with the credit card info as requested and that was the last correspondence I have received from them to date. I still have not received my refund from them and it has been almost 6 weeks since the email. Once again, I have been forced to spend hours of my time emailing and calling these people and they continue to completely ignore me. I refuse to waste any more of my time and energy trying to get in touch with RCCLâ€™s Royal Romance department, and have moved forward with disputing the charge with my credit card company. The credit card company has indicated that they can have this resolved in a few days and should see a credit to my account in a few days as well. So if you have any issues with not getting your money back, just dispute it with your credit card. I probably should have done that sooner!
Please note that not one individual from the Royal Romance department has personally called me since October 2012. The blatant ignorance of phone calls and emails is what really annoys me the most. No one likes to pay for a service and then when it comes time to plan and receive that service you cannot get in touch with anyone who is responsible! This is the worst customer service I have ever experienced, and this department has a complete lack of professionalism!. RCCL needs to address the issues with Royal Romance immediately or either just shut the department down as they cannot support the customers that pay for their advertised services'.
As I recommended in my intro, look for local wedding planners who know the area where you want to get married and they can provide you with much better prices and service than RCCLâ€™s Royal Romance department!. Most of them are very familiar with planning weddings around cruise arrival/departure times and they call you back and respond to emails! If you are getting married in Nassau, Bahamas, I highly recommend Anne Marie Williams from Weddings in the Bahamas'. She helped me plan the beach wedding of my dreams in less than a month and at half the cost that RCCL was charging". She made my wedding so much more special than I expected and provided fantastic customer service/. She seriously called me or emailed once a day which was a drastic change from what I was getting from Royal Romance;. Remember that your wedding planner should make you feel special and make you excited about your big day". You shouldnâ€™t be ignored or have to chase after your wedding planner- itâ€™s just not right! 3029953