Banned For Life From Royal Caribbean For Complaining Too Loudly On The Internet

Brenda and Gerald Moran are what you might call “regulars” on Royal Caribbean — or they were — until they were banned for life after they complained too loudly on a cruise website. For the past 3 years, they took two cruises a year with Royal Caribbean, but according to the cruise line, they complained about almost all of them. Finally, after stirring up too much controversy on a popular cruise site, the company banned the Morans for life.

Last September, Brenda and Gerald got stuck with a stinky, sewage soaked stateroom on their 14- night Alaskan cruise. The cruise line refused to move them into another room, but offered a 20% discount on their next cruise. They felt this was fair compensation and decided to book their next cruise on Royal Caribbean.

After the cruise, Brenda logged on to Cruise Critic and posted a review of her trip as well as a few comments on their forums, says MSNBC. A few weeks later she got a call from Royal Caribbean offering her an additional $500 credit for her trouble. Brenda was happy with this offer and again posted the details to Cruise Critic. This is apparently when everything went wrong.

Some board members felt the Morans had complained their way to an unfair discount and posted their displeasure. They felt that the Morans were teaching others how to “scam” Royal Caribbean. Some went so far as to contact Royal Caribbean’s president and chief executive, Adam Goldstein to complain about the Morans getting any compensation at all.

A few weeks later the Morans received a phone call from a man named Sebastian who identified himself as Bill Weeks’ boss. Sebastian was unhappy that Brenda had posted a negative review and had shared the compensation information on Cruise Critic’s boards. He asked Brenda to take down her review “at once.” Brenda refused and cited her right to free speech.

The following day the Morans received another phone call from Sebastian stating the couple was banned forever from the cruise line.

The Morans received a $500 check along with a letter explaining that they were, indeed, banned. Royal Carribbean’s spokesperson told MSNBC:

“On all but one of those sailing the Morans felt there were a variety of service failures they experienced,” he said. “In a small number of cases we agreed and compensated them appropriately. In most cases, however, we disagreed. Having concluded that we are unable to meet the expectations of the Morans, we have told them that they would be best served by sailing with another company.”

Harsh! Do you think Royal Caribbean should have listened to the people complaining that the Morans were scammers? Is the ban too harsh? Or just practical?

Complaining couple banned from cruise line [MSNBC](Thanks, Cherise!)

(Photo: physis3141 )

Comments

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  1. freshyill says:
  2. Wow, I think I remember seeing that Royal Caribbean rep holding a sign that says “Get a brain! Morans!”

  3. freshyill, you beat me to it by THAT much.

  4. LOL, freshyill, you beat me to it by THAT much!

  5. mythago says:

    Not seeing the problem here – Royal Caribbean didn’t threaten them, sue them for defamation, or try to shut down their board. RC said, in effect, since we are unable to make you happy, we won’t be doing business anymore. That’s not “harsh”.

  6. BStu says:

    We get to blame the blame the consumer crowd on this one, don’t we? Ha!

  7. majortom1029 says:

    Wait they have had a problem with all 6 cruises and stil lwanted to use them?

    No offense but I see royal carribeans point. Why did they still sue the company after 2 bad cruises?

  8. SkokieGuy says:

    We don’t know if the cruise line listened to other people complaining this couple was scammers.

    But every company has the right to ‘fire the customer’. I have not read all this couple’s posts on cruise boards, but the company’s explanation is not unreasonable.

    If you anticipate a customer will be unsatisfied, it is proactive of a company to decline to offer services.

    I have no problem with this. We’re not talking medical services, housing or employment and we’re not talking about discrimination based on race, religion or any other protected class. We’re talking a discretionary purchase and a company evaluating the chance of delivering a satisfactory product (a cruise that will meet the couple’s expectations).

    What is the anti-consumer angle here? We DEMAND you take our money for another cruise, even though we have publicly documented we dont’ enjoy your cruises. How DARE YOU not take our thousands of dollars even though you know damn well in advance we’ll probably criticize everything you do!

  9. Toof_75_75 says:

    @majortom1029:
    Agreed.

    It seems, by the details given to us, that the Morans are the issue here. They had problems with all but one cruise and they are still cruising with the same company. I think they definitely had the right to complain about things they saw as problems, but I also think Royal Caribbean had the right to refuse further service.

  10. xphilter says:

    If it was so bad why would they go on the same cruise line so much? And it is unreasonable to complain, get compensated, and then still complain, and then compensated then still complain. I don’t see anything wrong with what Royal did.

  11. VeritasNoir says:

    Some customers are not profitable. It sounds like this was the case with the cruise line. It makes business sense to refuse service to someone who will do more damage than benefit to your company.

    That said, sewage soaked staterooms are unacceptable in any circumstance.

  12. Chongo says:

    These Morans should be compensated. They should also just agree to NOT use RC anymore.

  13. castlecraver says:

    Two cruises a year? Damn. Them’s some rich Morans.

  14. blackmage439 says:

    It’s just smart business, albeit of the extremely douchebag kind. It’s obvious the Morans are not profitable to the company, and it’s apparently not profitable to make a cruise ship not smell like a septic tank.

    Just cash that $500, and move along to a better company.

  15. Wormfather says:

    No, not harsh at all, sometimes it’s better to just turn the buisness away. Like that hot chick who’s really good in bed but psyco, yeah, I’d love to have sex with her again, but, I just cant deal with the internet postings afterward about how I only went 3 hours or how I didnt snuggle afterwards or that I left because she was snoring or that I drugged her.

    I just dont need that type of headache.

  16. edosan says:

    “For the past 3 years, they took two cruises a year with Royal Caribbean, but according to the cruise line, they complained about almost all of them.”

    That’s a lot of money to spend on something you hate so much.

  17. MeOhMy says:

    @castlecraver: If you live within driving distance to a cruise termainal and can travel at off times, crusing can be surprisingly cheap.

    According to one article I read, their “pinkslip” came with a check for the $500 discount they were promised. You can read into that a number of different ways, but I will say that while I have enjoyed both of my Royal Caribbean cruises, if I got a letter from them that said “Here’s $500 if you never come back,” I’d probably take the money and run :-)

  18. Good for RC. I honestly believe there are some people that will complain just to get freebies, even if it’s a battle a normal person would never fight. They found the threshhold!

  19. Toof_75_75 says:

    @Wormfather:
    LMAO!

  20. darkryd says:

    If the Morans complain about every cruise, then why do they keep taking cruises with this company?

    Makes no sense.

  21. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    I know that if I ran a competing cruise line, I’d gladly pay a couple $2-4k a year to take cruises with my competition & nitpick them to death online afterwards.

  22. BMRFILE says:

    I have taken two RC cruises, both were great trips. I don’t doubt that something went wrong on the Moran’s trip, but you would think the Morans would call it quits on RC on the second trip when things went wrong, yet they took a total of 6 trips with them? Sounds like they’re a bunch of scammers, or they’re glutton for punishment. The Morans sound like the types that would bitch and make a scene to get something for nothing. I’m a fan of RC, and for those of you who have never taken a cruise but are planning to, I’d recommend them. I’ve taken cruises with Carnival and Princess, RC has them beat by far.

  23. SabrinaFaire says:

    RCL tried to rectify the problem to the customers satisfaction, which the customers accepted. They admitted they screwed up (everyone does) and the Morans still lambasted the company. I don’t blame RCL for firing them one bit.

  24. SacraBos says:

    So, after reading what all happened to the Morans, and other problems with cruise lines recently, I just have to ask one question:

    What’s the down side?

    It’s almost like the joke, 1st prize is a cruise on Royal Caribbean. 2nd prize is two cruises on Royal Caribbean.

  25. aront says:

    I think RC made the right decision… There are DEFINITELY “bad customers” and more businesses should use their right to not serve them.

    When I worked at Best Buy (it was in college, please be nice) there were so many people that were just awful to deal with even when you bent over backwards for them.

    I’m all for consumers’ rights, but I definitely think that companies have rights as well.

  26. pegr says:

    Cruise lines are an entirely service-oriented business. If you expect first-class service, it’s fairly easy for the provider to miss the mark.

    The best way to enjoy a cruise? Lower your expectations! (The stinky room would have been a deal-killer for me, though…)

  27. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    “Last September, Brenda and Gerald got stuck with a stinky, sewage soaked stateroom on their 14- night Alaskan cruise.”

    “Having concluded that we are unable to meet the expectations of the Morans, we have told them that they would be best served by sailing with another company.”

    What this says to me, honestly, is that Royal Caribean is incapable of ensuring that their rooms don’t smell like human waste. I wouldn’t want to cruise with them anyway.

    That said, the Morans really should have bit their tongues after RC offered them the additional $500 discount. Seems to me they’re the type who aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy.

  28. Lucky225 says:

    HAHAHHAA if they thought they were being scammed, why the $500 shut up money lol.

  29. apotheosis says:

    @Jaysyn: diabolical.

    there are probably some lucrative opportunities for commercial guns-for-hire, if they’re capable of writing scathing reviews.

    …commercenaries!

  30. patgillen says:

    I am going to side with Royal Caribbean… they obviously were getting tired of hearing nothing but complaints – and losing money and rep.

  31. dragonfire81 says:

    I had an english professor in college who used to gloat about all the free stuff he got from companies by whining and complaining so much.

  32. Rbastid says:

    @Lucky225: I don’t think they thought they were being scammed, they just felt the couple was telling others, hey say this after your trip and you’ll get free stuff no matter what. Thats why many times when any lawsuit is complete people are not allowed to talk of the compensation so it doesn’t give others or groups of lawyers the idea to go sue happy.

  33. astruc says:

    I give RC credit for sending them 500 dollars. If it hadn’t been for that I would have found this more annoying.

  34. seismic007 says:

    Sometimes the only way a customer service issue can be rectified is by dissolution of the relationship between the two parties. If these folks are repeatedly so dissatisfied with their experiences, then they would certainly best be served by another cruise line. Seems they just can’t figure that out on their own.

  35. Jesse says:

    Some people just like to complain and can never be happy. Frankly, the Morans are morons for going on the same cruise line if they kept getting terrible service in their view in the first place.

  36. mikelotus says:

    RC sucks. They should feel lucky. How could anyone knowingly take one cruise with them? Stick to Norwegian or Holland America at worse. RC is amateur hour.

  37. ravana says:

    fair enough I think.

  38. graymulligan says:

    I guess it would depend on the tone of the message they posted regarding the 500 dollar discount/credit. If it read “OMG…we got RC to give us money, and all we had to do was complain”, then they probably got the banning they deserved.

    However, if it was a bad review, then she amended it with “wow, RC really came through because we had a bad experience, what a great company” the banning would seem a little silly.

  39. meeroom says:

    I think they should be banned, and that they suck. These dooshes that cry wolf make it more difficult to get compensated when things really go wrong.
    And that Moran sign is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.

  40. weakdome says:

    Time to book a cruise with RC – at least I know the Morans won’t be on my ship :)

  41. 6 cruises ….. 6 whines ….. Oh good grief.

  42. flyingphotog says:

    I think RC was perfectly in-bounds to ban the couple. They complained enough to take their compensation (credits, vouchers, discounts) below the level of profit to RC, so therefore RC doesn’t need them as a customer any longer.

  43. NotATool says:

    @darkryd:

    If the Morans complain about every cruise, then why do they keep taking cruises with this company?

    Makes no sense.

    Well, it’s because they’re morans!

    (OK, this really needs to be the last moran/moron joke.)

  44. TheAlphateam says:

    I’m glad they did ban them. If RC can’t serve them to their level of expectation, then try someone else.
    I used to work in a restaurant where this lady ALWAYS complained to get a free meal. My boss ALWAYS gave in. If it was me I would have told her not to come back.

  45. Jacquilynne says:

    @mikelotus: I really liked RC and really loathed Norwegian. All that proves is that different sailings and different customers have different experiences.

    In general, thing about online reviews of experiences (I work for a food and restaurant review site) is that people are motivated to mention the extraordinary. So you get ravey postings from people who loved something and nasty postings from people who hated it. The people who thought it pretty much met their expectations aren’t as inclined to post. Realistically, the complaint linked from the NBC story (I couldn’t find the followup post after the $500 credit was offered) is quite balanced — they point out the things they liked and the things they didn’t about the cruise. They don’t rail on and on at length about the sewage problem, just note the problem and the solution–which was only minimally adequate in my mind. If that’s the sort of feedback that RCC feels the need to ban people for providing, they’re going to end up banning a whole world of customers in the years to come.

  46. Alger says:

    @aront: Yup, definitely “bad customers” for complaining about sewage in their stateroom. How dare they!

  47. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Hey, in this case i agree with Royal. If you keep taking their cruises, then routinely gripe about the service you receive, then go somewhere else!!! I would rather lose their business instead of the potential dozens that might not sail with them due to the negative comments that they post! Go Royal!!

  48. christoj879 says:

    I blame both sides. RC for having shitty (no pun intended) ships, and the Morans for bitching and moaning about everything. If I were RC though, I too would tell them to hit the road (or the seas).

  49. PinkBox says:

    I’d like to see their actual reviews/complaints. If their complaints were very minor, and they were simply trying to submit honest reviews, I don’t see why that should result in their being banned.

    Royal Caribbean made the choice to gift them with $500, so it shouldn’t be held against them that they chose to do so.

  50. ObtuseGoose says:

    They were stuck in a sewage soaked stateroom and afterwords thought of going on another Royal Caribbean cruise? Obviously it wasn’t as bad as they made it sound. Me thinks these “Morans” are professional moochers.

  51. PinkBox says:

    @NameGoesHere: If you click on the MSNBC link, it has a link to the reviews in question.

    [www.cruisecritic.com]

    These are bad reviews worthy of getting them banned?

    Sorry Royal, but I think you jumped the gun on this one.

  52. zeepow says:

    Eh I don’t see the problem with this. If they feel as though they’re getting the shaft from RC maybe their time and money really is better spent on a different cruise line. Sucks that RC had to make that choice for them, though.

  53. arsbadmojo says:

    Whoever made up the phrase “the customer is always right” was smoking crack.

    I am all for great customer service, but some people will always try to take advantage of it, which just ruins it for the rest of us.

    I have no problem with RC severing the relationship with these Morans.

  54. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    Is there a version of Internet Tough Guy magazine for women?

  55. neuman1812 says:

    not harsh at all. First rule of being a customer. If you don’t like the service take your business elsewhere. If they complained about every cruise they took and Still continued to go on them, its their own fault. I’m siding with the business on this.

  56. vermontwriter says:

    You know, I’ve never been on a cruise and have never had an urge, but I heard another story about RC recently that I think would keep me from choosing them. My uncle is a seasoned traveler and just took his sixth cruise. He opted for RC this time and went to the breakfast buffet to grab some fruit. He skipped one table and went to the table where the fruit was located A woman address herself as the captain’s wife and stated very rudely that everyone knows that when you are on a cruise, you must start from the end of the buffet table and work you way through everything whether you want it or not. She went on making a very public display of herself, even after he apologized and said he’d been on many cruises and no one ever did that. She responded by telling him he was a liar and obviously had never been on a cruise.

    He complained on board and was told that the captain’s wife could do as she felt was necessary. He called RC after the cruise and they told him they’d call him back and never did. I don’t think they are all that great anymore.

  57. katylostherart says:

    if they think the service sucks but go back 6 times they should probably stop complaining or find a new place to complain about. first complaint was legitimate, but i mean why go back after two failed attempts?

    i’m on rc’s side.

  58. tkozikow says:

    I wonder if this pertains to Celebrity as well since they are part of the same company as RCCL.

  59. peepytweep says:

    I am with Royal Caribbean on this one. I worked for a pool contractor recently and they had to do the same thing with a customer. She had complained her way out paying service bills for over a year. It was obvious the service didn’t meet her standards so we severed the relationship.

  60. PalmBayChuck says:

    It’s RCL’s prerogative. When a complaint is valid, most legitimate companies will work with the customer to satisfy them. Some people are just whiner babies and cannot be satisfied. That might be the case with the Morans.

    I’ve worked with these kinds of abusive customers and they do us all an injustice.

  61. ChuckECheese says:

    Why does it seem, from reading online, that cruiseships are nothing but floating cesspools? Stories about sewage leaks, sewer gas, and fulminant diarrhea. I want to vacation someplace where universal precautions are taken. Where’s my bubble?!

  62. Just read the reviews. There is no way they should have been banned. The reviews were mostly positive. The complaints were often only a tiny percentage of each review.

  63. joebloe says:

    I wish I get a $500 check so I’d never have to go with Royal Carribean again.

    I wish I get a $500 check so I’d never have to go to with Macy’s again.

    I wish I get a $500 check so I’d never have to go with United Airlines again.

    I wish I get a $500 check so I’d never have to go with comcast again.

    What’s all the b!tching about?

  64. coold8 says:

    Well I agree with Royal on this one. My sister tried Norwegian 3 times, 3 times they screwed up, she did some soft complaining, but figured out that even if it was free it is not for her. Now she is back to Carnival without a complaint in the world, and decided to through away the $400 credit that Norwegian threw her, since it was just not going to work out. This couple should have done the same.

  65. Shevek says:

    Hrm. I think the critical issue is not that the Morans complained, but that RC banned them for writing negative reviews. That is astounding to me. I think it perfectly possible that the Morans enjoyed their trips and expected RC to improve their game (personally, I wouldn’t have stuck around after the bad toilet and I would have been far angrier in my write-up).

    Imagine if another company did something like this? I’m a adult fan of LEGO; what if I purchased several sets and wrote negative reviews of them on a AFOL forum? There are certainly plenty of poorly done sets out there to choose from. Now, LEGO decides that I can no longer purchase from their website because they don’t want me writing about their product?

    The consumer isn’t allowed to evaluate their trip for the benefit of other people interested in the same thing? Sorry, that’s crosses my line of what I consider appropriate corporate behavior.

  66. trujunglist says:

    Wow, if I were RC, I would’ve been like CHECK CANCELED, FUCK YOU VERY MUCH. All of the Morans negative reviews probably lost more business for them than the Morans could ever make up even if they renounced their RC hating/loving? ways and called RC the messiah. Fucking Morans…

  67. thalia says:

    Ban sounds fair to me. Who the hell continues to go on a cruise twice a year for three years if all they do is complain about each trip?

    Then again I’m biased, I had two roommates who loved to go to the same restaurant and complain about how disgusting it was each time, and I was really hoping the restaurant would just hurry up and ban them already.

  68. I think the cruise line may have just been worried that a bunch of other people would read it and try to take advantage or RL and claim something along the same lines to get a 20% credit and $500 next time they went on a cruise.

    If they just posted the negative part and didn’t tell them what they got as far as compensation from RL, I don’t think they would have banned them. (speculation of course)

    But its within their rights to post it and keep it up. Just as it is within RLs right to deny further service to them (as long as its not based on sex, race, yada yada).
    Honestly though, I don’t see how anyone who was forced to stay in a stank ass stateroom would want to go back to the same cruise line.

  69. amightywind says:

    their name reminds me of that classic A&W rootbeer commercial. the name is…


    + Watch video

  70. Geekybiker says:

    I agree with RC. They had a customer they thought could not be pleased and it was just not to do further business. No different than blacklisting people who have an unusual level of returns from a store, etc.

  71. carbonmade says:

    The Morans sound like a couple of Morons. I’d ban them, too.

  72. Jordan Lund says:

    I just looked up the cost of a 14 day Alaskan cruise… they start at $1100 and go up to around $3000 so a 20% discount and $500 isn’t really anything to sneeze at.

    That being said… I would have pushed for a partial refund of the current cruise rather than a discount on a future cruise.

  73. Orv says:

    @Ash78: Oh, absolutely. I knew a guy who practically made a hobby of it. Every time he went on an airline flight, he’d write a letter to the airline complaining about the service so he could get a freebie from them.

  74. Sudonum says:

    I’ve had plenty of customers that would have liked to tell to take a hike but didn’t. But there was one time, I was working as a Project Manager for a GC doing a renovation for a major hotel in Chicago. For the first couple of floors everything we did was wrong or sub-standard. We were getting killed during every punch. Quite frankly, the work was very good, I couldn’t see what they were complaining about. Finally after the hotel rejected a closet rack that THEY had purchased, I told them that I was going to recommend to my boss, the company owner, that we pull off the project “since they were obviously were not happy with our work, and I didn’t think we could please them”. They begged me not to make that call, and after that the job settled down.

  75. Lambasted says:

    RC made the right decision. Morans were troublemakers who deserved to get permanently booted. If I invited someone to my house but they complained every time they were there, the invitations would cease–hang out at someone else’s house if mine is so bad. RC shouldn’t have to put up with chronic bitch, moaning, and complaining either.

    I don’t want people banned after their first or second cruise complaint because that would amount to a cover-up. But after six cruises, clearly nothing RC did was going to make this couple happy.

  76. lalawgirl says:

    @darkryd:

    “If the Morans complain about every cruise, then why do they keep taking cruises with this company?

    Makes no sense.”

    They kept cruising b/c they love they cruise line. They also love the compensation they get everytime they complain. I think they were scamming the company and taking advantage of the company’s willingness to compensate for every little thing.

    What’s worse, if you read their review of the cruise with the sewage issuse on cruise critic, they gave it 4 out of 5 stars!
    B

  77. lamorevincera says:

    After reading the thread on this from CruiseCritic.com, I’ve got to side with RCL.

    Apparently, this lady has been a thorn in several cruise lines’ sides. She takes a blacklight into every cabin and screams about anything that glows. And while her CruiseCritic reviews look like they’re mostly okay, she had been saying nice things publicly and then immediately turning to RCL and telling them that she’d humiliate them on the cruise boards if they didn’t do what she wanted, and NOW.

    According to the other members of that forum who know her, she’s prone to taking a small event and embellishing it with each retelling.

    Basically, she’s scamming this cruise line, and will tell anyone who listens that she’s gleefully doing it.

  78. HeartBurnKid says:

    The review that got them banned.

    It seems like it’s an overall positive review that mentions a few niggling problems (and one really big problem — the sewage thing — that they actually glossed over). If this is banworthy griping, then Royal Carribbean had better be prepared to ban every single customer with an internet connection.

    I’m all for “firing” problem customers, but RC seems more like they can’t take any sort of criticism at all.

  79. Concerned_Citizen says:

    How are they banned for online reviews, when online reviews are the reason they got compensation? Maybe if the cruise line offered compensation over the phone from their own customer service operators, people wouldn’t have to post everything online. Royal Caribbean had ample opportunity to fix this off the record. But to me this is more than enough of a reason to ban them “sewage soaked stateroom”. If it really was soaked in sewage, a discount in price wouldn’t have allowed them to sleep in it. These honestly do sound like false complaints.

  80. ugly says:

    I agree with the general sentiment here. This isn’t just an arbitrary banning, and the cruise line has every right to refuse to service customers that have exhibited that they aren’t a match for RCCL’s service.

    Looks like the cruise line tried to do right, and after enough attempts figures it’s best just to let this customer go in order to focus more on their other customers. Seems fair to me.

  81. Nearsite00 says:

    Ban the Morans – I hope someone didn’t use that line in an earlier post.

  82. S-the-K says:

    Let me get this straight, they went on six cruises with the same company and regularly received poor service and poor accommodations?

    What is it called when someone does the same thing over and over again and expect a different result?

  83. IrisMR says:

    I dunno huh? I’m not sure it’s harsh… I mean, if they sucked that much why did they continue going with them? Because they knew they’d get discounts if they complained? I think RC were being good guys here and got rid of possible bloodsuckers.

  84. abz_zeus says:

    I can see both sides of this.

    Yes there can be scammers but

    There can be problems with bad service on each cruise, people can point it out to try to get a company to live up to the contract or the promises they made in advertising. If a ship isn’t performing to expectations and no one complains then levels will steadily sink till someone does indeed complain. I’ve seen it happen, as the staff get complacent, usually occurs in the public sector where no matter how bad someone is they aren’t sacked.

    Now as to posting compensation levels given, that’s tricky. Whilst posting a bad review and then RC have given us satisfactory compensation (no amounts) is OK; posting amounts is problematic in that RC don’t want the world +dog to know what they’re prepared to offer as, if they screw up again (certain) then people know what to expect! Not good business.

    However banning for life, is just bad PR. As is telling them you can’t meet their expectations, as they are based on RC promises. advising them to move up to one of RC’s premier brands would be better, and make it worth their while with a 50% initial discount.

  85. daniinpa says:

    Most of the people in this thread didn’t actually read the reviews. The reviews weren’t harsh at all, and the last one was glowing. Royal Caribbean has the right to do what they did, but the Morans are not some evil or stupid couple. They kept taking the cruises because they LIKE the company, and their reviews are mostly positive.

  86. Garbanzo says:

    If you actually read the review that got them banned, you’ll see that it was a fairly positive review. So this couple got banned because the woman isn’t a Pollyanna who will say, “Everything was perfect! We especially enjoyed the earthy aroma of sewage in our room. It really reminded me of my carefree childhood summers at camp where my tent was next to the latrine!”

    This reviewer writes a balanced account of both good and bad points. Clearly the couple believes that over the years the good has outweighed the bad, because they keep going back. By including both in a review, she can help her readers make up their own minds about whether they would accept the same trade-offs.

    Apparantly Royal Carribean considers anything less than undiluted highest praise to be intolerable.

  87. BigElectricCat says:

    It’s kind of like “constructive eviction,” where you offer a tenant a rebate on a couple month’s worth of rent if he/she agrees to be gone by a certain date and not trash the place.

    That being said, screw RC’s management for asking the Morans to remove their online comment.

  88. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    @NameGoesHere: It definitely doesn’t seem to be that bad of a review. I regularly read cruisecritic.com, and in reviews like that (and even in the forums), people complain about the bad things (which tend to be food, sewage smell, chair hoggers, bad service, and bad customer service on the boat), which can and do occur on any cruiseline, as well as applaud the good things. This review is fairly long, and the complaint about the sewage smell only takes up a paragraph of it. I didn’t click through to find the poster in the forums, but that review by itself isn’t bad at all, much less bad enough to fire these passengers (they still gave that cruise 4 waves or whatever it is).

    While I am all for severing relationships for customers who abuse the system (worked in hotels, and had to do that in the past), from the information given, I certainly can’t side with RCCL here.

    As for people who think they were gaming the system (maybe they were, maybe they weren’t, but we don’t know), everyone (well, most everyone, and people reading this site) understand that when you complain to a company about something ligitimate, you expect the company to rectify the situation to the best of their ability, and this may be in the form of discounts/refunds/etc, or just changes in their service. Every cruise, every plane flight, every hotel that I have been on I always mean to fill out a survey card/write a letter (doesn’t always happen, but that’s another story). This isn’t because I expect something, this is because the best way for these companies to know how things are going or to fix things is to hear from customers who have experienced it, since typically the higher-ups that receive this letter or the card don’t know what is happening at the customer level.

  89. joellevand says:

    Not harsh, just the facts of life. You can’t bitch about a company, get deals and incentives as part of a company’s good-faith effort at customer service, then bitch about what they gave you. I mean, yes, sewage in the room isn’t right, but to accept a compensation package, as shitty as it was, and then bitch about said package? Go find another cruise line; this one clearly isn’t up to your standards and never will be.

  90. quagmire0 says:

    Guess they won’t be riding the Genesis. :P

    Skimmed over a couple of their reviews. It’s all pretty typical. Reviews like theirs are actually the ones I appreciate the most when I am researching cruises. They are nice and detailed. Anyway, it seems like if there is anyone to blame it is the jealous posters who had to complain to Royal Caribbean because they felt the Morans were getting preferential treatment. This story is just exposing the underbelly of the secret societies that exist in the cruise world. Some people are just waaaaayyyy too obsessed with the companies in particular – to the point where they would call the company and complain about a total stranger getting compensation.

    WHO CARES! These are the same people that turn up their nose or scowl at people that do anything on the cruise ship that doesn’t meet their approval. Total Cruise Nazi’s.

  91. aront says:

    @Alger: I’m not saying that particular complaint is unwarranted. What I am saying is that some customers (which you sound like you fall into this group) can never be made happy. If they go on that many cruises with the same liner and have a complaint every time, than I have ZERO sympathy for them. There are other cruise liners on the ocean, you know.

    It’s kind of like complaining about every Gizmodo article in the comment section but refusing to ever read Engadget. Get over yourself and go find some other boat to ride.

    I bet these people paid for the trip with frequent flyer miles and coupons of some sort – cheap bastards is what they are.

  92. lawstud says:

    @BigElectricCat:

    That is not constructive eviction. Constructive eviction is when something is substantially preventing one from using the property for its intended purpose.

    Like the doors to your apartment building being locked to keep you out.

    Or the court case in which a slum lord had the sewage from the house go into the basement and would come by every month to pump it out. (happened in Utah) The family lasted 3 months before moving. The slumlord sued since the contract was for a year. The tenants argued they were constructively evicted and won.

  93. ChuckECheese says:

    @quagmire0: People are turning their noses up over something else.

    Suggested alternatives to cruises: Kayaking at the sewage-treatment plant. Converting a port-a-john into a pontoon party boat.

  94. mythago says:

    I once worked for a fairly well-known copy chain, and we’d have customers who complained that the copy/print job we’d done was somehow inadequate, therefore we should get a discount. Our policy is that if you didn’t like the job, we’d do it over again and do it right (at no additional cost), but we had high standards and refused to give our customers substandard work.

    This was hilarious because it completely flustered scammers. People would come in griping about a job and then say we shouldn’t charge them full price. When we told them no, we wouldn’t sell them the crappy work, we’d do it over and do it right, they had absolutely NO IDEA how to respond. They had it in their minds that if they bitched about the “bad job” we did, they’d get a freebie. It was hilarous to see them try to explain that they didn’t actually want the job done right at all….

  95. rolla says:

    RC should have given them more than just $500 since they were stuck with a sewage smell for 14 days. i dont care what people think…you try and enjoy a long-awaited vacation with the smell of sewage. Go ahead, hang out in a public bathroom for 14 days and see if $500 can make up for it.

  96. dantsea says:

    Sewage smell a legitimate complaint, but there are some people who believe that complaining about everything on messageboards makes them sophisticated connoisseurs; these two were champion nitpickers. However I am surprised that they provoked such a negative reaction at Cruise Critic, where the average poster seems to be perpetually angry and/or poo-flinging crazy.

  97. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    I know one thing, I’ll never cruise with RC. Then again, I’ve never taken a cruise.

  98. baristabrawl says:

    All of the cruise line are pretty much owned by the same company.

  99. doug77 says:

    A sewage-smelling room is not a vacation. It is probably not even healthy. A 20% discount – to be used against a FUTURE cruise, is shamefully inadequate compensation. That said, I’m not sure why the Morans are upset by the ban. Why risk being unhappy with RC again, when there are other cruise lines?

    I once had a nightmare situation with some airline flights. I wrote the airline and told them their vouchers were wholly inadequate compensation for what they had put me through. They sent a polite apology, with larger vouchers (a rare occurance). I never used the vouchers. In fact, to this day, I have never flown that airline again. It just isn’t worth it to me. I tell this story to illustrate the difficulty I have in identifying with the Morans.

    Take the $500 check, go out to dinner and a show, stay away from sewage-smelling cruises, be happy.

  100. dantsea says:

    Ah, further investigation on Cruise Critic revealed this thread. No, her review wasn’t that bad but apparently she has something of a reputation for being coarse and confrontational on the messageboards. Also, it seems that her tale of the sewage got a bit of literary embellishment between her review and the MSNBC article. This couple — or at least the woman — is an entitlement monster and she’s angry because her game stopped working, she went to the press because she was finally told NO.

  101. seamer says:

    Not having read the article, I wonder what the other complaints were. Was the sewage the worst?

    If a company cant handle negative criticism without some hard looks at itself, perhaps it needs new public relations people.

  102. dantsea says:

    I doubt it had much, if anything, to do with the review. Cruise Critic has much more scathing reviews of Royal Caribbean ships/voyages posted, those writers have never been banned or contacted by the cruise line with a demand to remove the review under threat of ban. The Morans apparently have a history going back twelve-plus years to Usenet of being thoroughly unpleasant people and chronic complainers.

  103. ageshin says:

    Baning them is cheeper than fixing what ever problems that the couple complained about. After all what a bit of sewer gas between friends. Remember the cruse line is into making money not friends.

  104. BigElectricCat says:

    @lawstud: “That is not constructive eviction. Constructive eviction is when something is substantially preventing one from using the property for its intended purpose.”

    Respectfully, I and my attorney disagree with you. Using the method above, I ‘constructively evicted’ two tenants from a rental property a couple of years ago. They were no longer on a fixed-length lease and so the termination of an existing rental contract was not an issue.

    IIRC, state law required me to give them a minimum of 90 days to vacate the property (in the absence of a fixed-length lease ). I gave them a copy of the state law in writing, and also offered in writing to refund their last two months’ rent if they would vacate within 60 days. My attorney was quite clear in calling this method “constructive eviction.”

    The tenants accepted the offer and vacated, but left the house sorely in need of repairs. I refunded their two months’ rent, as agreed, but retained their deposit and sent them copies of the repair bills along with a letter of explanation. Frankly, the house was worth more for sale than it was for rent, and the tenants either weren’t interested in buying or didn’t think they could get a mortgage.

    As I said, what RC did to the Morans sounds like constructive eviction to me.

  105. bbagdan says:

    I worked in a restaurant where we eventually asked a continually complaining regular customer not to come back.

    Some people just can’t be satisfied, and are always looking for a special deal for their ‘troubles’.

    We eventually let him come back after a couple years, and guess what? He wasn’t a douchebag anymore.

  106. BigElectricCat says:

    @bbagdan: Perhaps said customer finally read the “Please Check Your Douchebaggery At The Door” sign.

  107. Mr. Gunn says:

    @TheAlphateam: Damn right. They’ll start using another company, complain after every cruise to try to get something free, and get banned by them, too. I bet they’re lots of fun to take plane trips with, too.

  108. ChuckECheese says:

    @doug77: You clearly don’t understand how much elite cachet there is in going on extended rides in ginormous, feces-and-gin soaked yachts. People will pay any amount and endure barrels upon barrels of sewage-based indignity just so they can brag that they went on a cruise. To be a “regular” and/or a member of one of the upper-level cruise classes is so much the better for the anally expulsive arriviste. The Morans are upset because they’ve been kicked out of the club, not because they can’t go on any more giant gondola rides down the sewer Styx.

    “But mom, all my friends will be there. And they’re in the Diamond Club.