A letter from Trevor Strickland, QBA Brisge Holidays Coordinator
Our forthcoming Around Australia Bridge Cruise aboard Radiance of the Seas has been cancelled. An unknown number of Queensland bridge players are booked on this cruise with the expectation that Sarah & I will be running bridge sessions each day at sea.
When disgruntled cruisers voice their displeasure with the QBA, please pass on our apology. We share their disappointment.
This is how it happened:
On 29 May 2015 I submitted my "2016 Wish List" to the Miami office of Royal Caribbean featuring the Around Australia Cruise: 31-Oct - 3-Dec - Radiance of the Seas - Sydney-Perth-Sydney
On 11 September 2015 our cruise was confirmed.
On the strength of this confirmation I started promoting the Around Australia Bridge Cruise through the QBA Bulletin and www.qbatravel.com. Sarah took time off work, I declined all directing engagements for the 6-week duration of our travels and booked non-refundable flights to and from Sydney.
On 21 September 2016 I was notified that Royal Caribbean planned to offload us in Fremantle (and we'd have to pay for flights home). I have since been unsuccessful in getting them to reconsider this decision. The Fremantle - Sydney leg was almost fully booked although cabins were still listed for sale on the Royal Caribbean website. (Most Bridge enquiries had been for this leg, so probably most Bridge bookings.) We had up to 80-odd for Bridge sessions on our last Royal Caribbean cruise - most of whom booked that departure only because we were running the Bridge sessions. I expect a similar scenario for the Radiance of the Seas cruise.
This is not the first time we have been "bumped" by Royal Caribbean from a heavily booked departure - it happened in 2012 on a Tasmania Cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas. It seems the cruise company prioritizes short-term $'s (by selling "our" cabin) over keeping Bridge players happy.
Note that we are not remunerated for our services - we have a relatively cheap holiday. We pay our airfares (approx. $300) plus crew gratuities (approx. $1300) - on top of forgoing approximately $6000 income.
In light of this fiasco, I tender my resignation as QBA Cruise Coordinator. I will no longer be contributing a Bridge Travel column in the QBA Bulletin, nor will I maintain the QBA Travel webpage www.qbatravel.com (which I have erased).
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