My elderly friend paid RCI $3600 for a cruise+resort package. It was to be a luxury cruise followed by a resort holiday for two with a choice of hundreds of resorts to choose from. When we booked we were offered a 7-night cruise with Costa or Norwegian, the lowest priced cruises. Holland America was extra. They gave me our cost, I priced it on Vacations To Go — $20 a person more for the same date and cabin category. This came as no surprise to the RCI agent. His response was “Well that’s the way it is.”
We decided to do a 10-day Rhine River Cruise and had to pay $5,000 extra. Somehow they even talked my friend into paying over $600 in insurance when we both had coverage (and that didn’t cover the resort portion. I have since uncovered horror stories about that also.) When I looked up our cruise with the cruise line, had we gone directly through them the identical cruise would have cost $6,000 a couple (could even have had our own cabins…with no single supplement)… so we saved $1,000. Even so, RCI now had $2600 of our money. For this they gave us a choice of 6 resorts. RCI will tell you there is a choice of hundreds…funny, I talked to many reps over a 6-month period and I was never offered more than nine…the better ones being unavailable, sometimes for up to a year. According to customer feed-back on Trip Advisor what was available was crap. I was told “We do not offer any of the resorts we have in the RCI book…and I was told that many times.
I finally got a six-month extension until I found something decent. We settled on Harbour House in Ft. Myers Beach Florida. When booking I told them we absolutely had to have two beds as we were friends 75 and 84. The response was “In order to guarantee two beds we will have to put you in a studio,” to which I agreed. We were given one bed and a pull-out sofa which my 84 year old friend slept on one night and said it was the worst sleep of her life. The desk said RCI considers a sofa bed a “bed” and had put a couple with wife in a wheelchair in that room the same week. Harbour House upgraded them. Great people! I tried in vain for 90 minutes (I timed the call) to get two beds from RCI and was finally told they would call back. They did not call — but Harbour House, knowing how unfair this was, upgraded us also, at no charge.
RCI preys on novice travellers and elderly people. The only good thing I will say for them is they sure know how to hire. Their salespeople are charismatic and master manipulators. The scary thing is, when criticizing RCI for the way they do business one of the head-honchos indignantly announced they sell thousands of these every week. Scarey!!
And another thing. When a supervisor writes a rebuttal after someone expresses their disappointment, it’s just another smoke-screen. I contacted a supervisor…very nice…she promised me something better, had one of the higher-ups call me, but within days I was redirected right back to where I started. But after all what could she do? It is what it is folks….a scam. We bought into it….we have to live with it. But if writing this can keep even one person from buying into it, it will be an accomplishment. Trouble is, before we can tell our friends and family any travel agent can offer a much better deal, it is usually too late. My suggestion is that everyone should write the travel editor of their local newspaper and ask them to keep reminding us of the rip-offs out there, especially RCI Cruiser’s.