Despite much time passing and a "rebranding" of the cruise line, the simple fact is that since the experience in the editorial below, the matter has never been adequately addressed by Carlson Companies or Radisson/Regent Seven Seas Cruises.  Since being posted there are many, many visits logged by corporate folks and lawyers with Carlson and RSSC.  But no response.  That is obviously their perogative, but it reflects the company's attitude when it falls short of promises and expectations shaped by advertising.

Some have wondered why this message is kept up, even though the event is now seven years old.  The answer is simple -- Carlson Companies and Regent Seven Seas Cruises has a cavalier and arrogant attitude about customer service and satisfaction.  They could learn lessons from their competition, including Starwood Hotels (Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis), Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Pan Pacific Hotels, and Hyatt Hotels (whose owners also have a controlling interest in Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited).  Consumers have choice, and it is my belief that we should support those who show they value our patronage; not those who take consumers for granted and view them as expendable.

In going on a cruise, one needs to be willing to accept that things sometimes go wrong.  Problems are often addressed and fixed while one is onboard, though in some situations they are not.  In these cases, it is fair to expect (and is usually the case) that companies will address the problem and “make things right” if raised to their attention after one returns home.  An obvious exception is Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and its parent company Carlson Companies.  Consumers may want to think twice before trusting the brand names owned by the Carlson Companies.  They may be fine if everything goes as planned, but based on my experience they leave much to be desired if something goes wrong.


EDITORIAL - Radisson’s “Yes I Can Attitude” More Accurately Is an “I Don’t Care Attitude”

My wife and I took a 16-day cruise on the Radisson Diamond in May 2000.  Though the cruise generally was above average, it was marred by a bartender who became passive-aggressive toward us the third day of the cruise.  The aggressive behaviour escalated over the course of the cruise.  The situation was raised several times to senior onboard management.  The Food and Beverage Manager responded by saying that that bartender "is a difficult employee.  We’ve had trouble with him before.”  But nothing was done to change the bartender's behaviour nor to correct the continually escalating problem.  We had to resign ourselves to his snide comments, to abusive actions, and eventually to his friends joining in his campaign.  Interestingly, I learned more than a year later that this bartender was still working for the company and behaving much the same.

When we returned home, we wrote to Mark Conroy, CEO of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises.  We expected he'd be as outraged as us by the behaviour and would respond apologetically.  To the contrary, he ignored the problem and demonstrated a naive belief that we would return to Radisson for a 35-day cruise we had booked for March/April 2001 on the Song of Flower.  We raised the matter to Marilyn Carlson Nelson,  CEO of Carlson Companies (parent company of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and Radisson Hotels).  She ignored our correspondence, but we did receive additional correspondence from Mr. Conroy.  My travel agent described the letter as arrogant.

In October 2000, Mr. Conroy sent another letter (in response to a second letter I sent to Ms. Carlson) that in effect called us liars.  He said that we hadn’t given the company a chance to resolve the problem on the Diamond because we hadn’t notified staff or management -- he ignored the fact that we had told him that the matter had been raised to shipboard management four or five times -- and he demonstrated ignorance about the way the Radisson Diamond was being run.  Contrary to the fact that the bartenders at the Splash Bar had a music system which was wired to speakers around the bar and around the pool, over which they played the music they liked (rap, rock and roll, whatever) with no regard for passengers, Mr. Conroy insisted that the only music played anywhere on the ship was controlled from a single central location (which wasn't the Splash Bar). His letter was so insulting that we again wrote to the CEO of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' parent company and asked that the matter be addressed.  That letter was ignored.  

In January 2001, my travel agent received an unsolicited call from one of Mr. Conroy’s assistants.  He asked, “What can we do to get Dr. Klein back?”.  I was told of the phone call the following day, and was told by the Carlosn Wagonlit agency’s manager that she would be in contact with RSSC to see what could be arranged.  To make her task easier we sent a fax outlining what would get us back to take the cruise on the Song of Flower;  we left open the type of gesture they could make to get us back in either December 2001 or April/May 2002.  After two weeks, and no follow up by RSSC with my travel agent, I called Mr. Conroy’s delegate and offered to discuss the matter.  He flatly refused to discuss it, indicating that he would only talk to my travel agent.  So that he would have the fax I had sent to my travel agent I sent him a copy.  He called my travel agent that afternoon (Tuesday) to say that he received my fax and he was working on a response and would have it on her fax machine first thing the following morning.  By Friday, having heard nothing, my travel agent called RSSC and was told that he had sent a letter to me, per my instructions.  I had given no such instructions.  I received a letter one week later essentially dismissing the whole matter.  A corporate vice president of the Canadian arm of Carlson Companies was quite upset by the way we had been treated and intervened on our behalf.  He was told, "they are not welcome on any of our ships."  We had been blacklisted.

Needless to say, we won’t be returning to RSSC and we would caution others about using any product provided by a Carlson company.  Both Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and its parent company appear to have an “I Don’t Care Attitude.”  This is in stark contrast to their advertising that promises a "Yes I Can Attitude."  Buyer beware!!!

As a postscript, a message was posted in January 2003 on the Usenet newsgroup in which the writer complains of music being played (under the control of bartenders) around the pool and that when she complained or asked that it be turned down, the bartenders instead turned the volume up.  The workers obviously know that they have all the power and that the passengers can complain all they want -- it won't make any difference.

Brands owned by Carlson Companies include: Regent® International Hotels; Radisson Hotels Worldwide®; Country Inns & Suites By Carlson®; Park Plaza® hotels, Park Inn® hotels;T.G.I. Friday’s®, Italianni’s®, AquaKnox, Star Canyon, Timpano Italian ChophouseSM, Samba Room and Taqueria Canonita restaurants; Stix Fresh Asian Kitchen; Radisson Seven Seas Cruises; Seamaster Cruises; Singles Cruises; All Aboard Travel ; Cruise Specialists; ; ; Results Travel®; Carlson Wagonlit Travel (co-owned with Accor of Paris); Travel Agents International; Results Travel;  Cruise HolidaysPick Up Stix Restaurants; Carlson Destination Marketing Service; Carlson Marketing; Provisions; Carlson Marketing Group; Carlson Leisure Services; Peppers & Rogers Group; and Gold Points Reward Network® .  Carlson Real Estate Company is related by common ownership to Carlson Companies.

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