Just back from our Feb 13th Radiance cruise and what a great time we had. Haven’t had time to even think about a review yet, but I’ll do it this week. I have to say that although the cruise was great, one of our group (8 of us) had a less then fantastic cruise. This put a damper of sorts on the rest of us the last couple days. On Thursday evening my wife, myself, and my brother in law decided to skip the evening show and enjoy the hot tub. We went out and found no outdoor hot tubs open for use. They are going full blast with nets over them. RCCI will hear about that later. No reason to close 2 (cleaning is the excuse) out of 3 hot tubs on the ship at 8 o’clock in the evening. We proceeded to the solarium where we found that the small hot tub there was open, but full. We waited for my brother in law to arrive in back of the hot tub where you can walk between the sides of the ship. There are lounges there and we sat waiting for the hot tub to clear a little. It never did after 15 minutes. My brother in law arrived about then and as he walked toward us we started to converse. He was no more than 3 lounge chairs away from us and his feet suddenly went out from under him as if he were on ice. We found out later that this area is almost always wet. This due to the sun never hitting that area. The roof was retracted for a time on the first day but I never saw it open again the rest of the week. This made for a very warm, moist environment in that area of the ship. Tonight, the wood floor was not only wet, it was slimy wet. You can imagine how slippery it was. He went down so hard. Tom knew immediately that it was bad because he used to play rugby and knows about pain. He and I both heard the crack of his ankle. My wife (an RN for almost 30 years) immediately jumped up and said “don‘t move”. She called emergency on a nearby phone and it took forever to get an answer. At least 5 minutes later security comes, but no medical help. He calls on his phone to someone and probably another 5 minutes goes by and a nurse shows up. She asked what happened and her first comment was “he was walking too fast”? Due to recent hip surgery, Tom does not walk fast. She asks Tom “can you move you ankle and toes”. He responds and shows that he can and she replies that “it was just a bad sprain as you would not be able to move the ankle if it were broken”. WHAT? She say’s he’ll need a wheelchair and takes off. She never came closer than 6 feet from Tom. No examination, nothing. Said she needed to get an exam room ready for his arrival. A couple minutes before the nurse left, Tom’s wife Joyce arrives and is obviously in shock as much as my wife and I were. My wife and sister both informed the nurse about the recent hip surgery and that he wouldn't be strong enough to lift his leg by himself. She didn't listen to a word they said. The wheel chair comes and there is just no way. Tom is in terrible pain and cannot possible get himself in it. Even if we got him in it, where is his injured foot supposed to go? Security (4 of them now) just keep whispering among themselves and it’s so obvious that they are not trained for this. They are all afraid to offer help in any way. My wife tells the head security person that he needs a stretcher, not a wheel chair. Security then calls the nurse who again tried to talk Tom into the wheelchair idea over the phone. My wife and sister again insisted on the stretcher.
The stretcher arrives and my wife actually had to ask them to lower the stretcher so they could get him onto it. The untrained personnel made no attempt to immobilize / stabilize the leg. No splint, nothing. Joyce and my wife took care of this “minor” detail as they lifted him on the stretcher and started down to medical 7 floors directly below. Down there, the doctor arrives, examines, and takes x-rays. He pronounces it a “soft tissue injury”. A bad sprain is all. He wraps the ankle with a pressure bandage. The doctor gives Tom a shot for pain, some pills, and says come back in the morning for a further check up. There was to be an orthopedic surgeon on duty then. Tom felt better after the ankle was wrapped and the shot started to kick in. No help was offered whatsoever after the visit. They didn’t give him any instructions. Not even a suggestion to put ice on it. This medical office did not even have a pair of crutches that were acceptable. They only offered a mismatched set which were barely usable. One of the handles of one crutch actually had a bent finishing nail holding the pin in. I had to push him up to his cabin which was no big deal, but I think help should have been offered. The wheel chair would not fit through the door of his cabin, so it was tough getting him in this night. He ended up putting his knee with the bad ankle on a chair and sliding inside the cabin on it pushing with his good leg. The night was very long for Tom and his wife as neither slept at all.
The next day I pushed Tom down to medical where he was greeted by a different nurse that had no idea he was coming. She took vitals and took him into the exam room. There, the new doctor happened to be walking by the posted x-ray of Tom’s ankle and pronounced it broken. IN 4 PLACES!!! How could any reputable doctor misread such an obvious injury as the first doctor did. Tom and Joyce heard later of other misdiagnosis’s by that first doctor. A cast was put on at this time and Tom immediately felt somewhat better because the injury was immobilized now. The doctor said that he would probably need at least a pin for a permanent repair after getting home.
In all of our group’s opinion, the medical services as a whole on the Radiance at this time is not adequate nor professional. The second doctor that Tom visited was the only one we saw that showed any professionalism in the medical facility. The first doctor could not read an x-ray of an obvious fracture. The first nurse showed no professionalism as she left an injured person under the care of medically untrained RCCI security personnel. The second nurse was better, but not a lot.
I would not want to be on this ship if I had a serious medical condition. If you ever had a heart attack and seconds counted, this ship being staffed the way it is now, would be the last place I’d want to be. I’ve heard great things about medical facilities on cruise ships. The Radiance is not one of these. I hope no other cruise ship is.
Friday after the cast was applied, Tom and his wife finally got some rest. Tom really was insistent that we all continue to enjoy OUR vacation, but as you can imagine, much of the fun of the previous 4 days our group had dissolved somewhat. At breakfast we saw our assistant waiter Vonda and told her of Tom’s ankle. At dinner this night our waiter Edwardo knew of Tom’s injury and he did not ask if we wanted to take something back to the cabin for him like most waiters would. Between dinner and desert, he personally took Tom’s meal to his cabin. He was definitely one of the best waiters we’ve had in 15 cruises even before this above and beyond act of kindness and service. His assistant Vonda, was equally impressive. Always there for anything we needed.
On Saturday, Tom joined us on deck for a couple beers before dinner. Still in much pain, but better than the day before. Beer always helps too. Tom did make dinner on this last night, but retired early after that in preparation for the long plane ride back to Albany. It had been a long 2 days and he needed a good nights sleep.
On Sunday our group of 8 all had early debarkation because now we had 2 people in wheel chairs. This was quite painless except for Tom. RCCI insists that they transport you off the ship basically just so they can get the wheel chairs right back ASAP for new passengers in need coming on. Glad for the help but the people they have doing this are not experienced we found. The person pushing Tom smashed his injured ankle into a beam in the wall while turning the chair around. How careless can someone be?
Overall, RCCI dropped the ball on this whole situation. They never offered any acknowledgement at anytime of the accident.
After two visits to the medical facility, the couple found charges totaling $705 on their seapass account. It took two visits to guest relations and three telephone calls before these charges were finally removed. On the first visit to guest relations, my sister was told that an investigation had been conducted and that the ship was in no way at fault, which was why the charges were valid. They later called guest relations and asked about what investigation had been conducted... Who did they talk to? They never asked my sister or her husband any questions, nor did anyone talk to the two witnesses to the accident, myself and my wife. The person Tom spoke to stammered and stuttered a bit and said she would call him back. Then the charges were removed. No apology, no offer of compensation of any kind. This is the third RCCI cruise my sister and her husband have taken and they've always been thrilled with everything about their cruises until now. They were extremely disappointed with the lack of consideration shown them, with the exception of their room steward, who was very considerate and kept checking on Tom to see if he needed anything or there was anything he could do to help, and the waiter who personally delivered his meal to his cabin. Joyce wrote three pages of comments when she left the ship asking that they take care of the area near the hot tub where the accident occurred and at least put some sort of non-slip surface down so nothing like this happens to anyone else. She's hoping that RCCI will now at least somehow acknowledge the accident and offer some sort of apology or compensation, but that remains to be seen....