Is this enough compensation? Raw sewage smell in my room, but no repeat cruise

To say that Michael Harr-Trueblood’s 10-day cruise aboard the Disney Wonder was disappointing might be an understatement.

On his first morning on board, he woke up at 5 a.m., “coughing, choking, eyes burning to an overwhelming smell of raw sewage.” And while Disney made efforts to address his complaint during the voyage, the question is: Did it do enough?

Let’s rewind to the morning of the sewage incident. Harr-Trueblood had spent $4,400 on his cabin and then an extra $1,700 to upgrade to a “family deluxe veranda” cabin. These numbers are important, as you’ll see in a minute.

After he and his six-year-old twins were awakened, he opened the veranda door and the cabin door, pulled the children into the hallway and phoned guest services. They promised someone would be in touch around 7 a.m.

I checked the bathrooms and the smell was not coming from there, it was coming out of the ventilation grate in the ceiling.

After a few minutes, the smell dissipated out the veranda door and we returned to the cabin. I left the veranda door open. (Six-year-old curious boys and an open veranda door at night — scary!)

We put the kids in our bed with us and tried to sleep.

For the next seven days, the family asked Disney to be moved to another cabin.

“We complained daily about the stench and demanded repeatedly to speak to management,” he says.

On the eighth day of their cruise, a guest-services representative finally said they could switch cabins, he says.

On the morning of the ninth day, I got to have a my first face-to-face with the manager of guest services, “Gary.”

On behalf of Disney, he refunded the $1,700 upgrade, and gave us a $300 shipboard credit. “Gary” stated that was all he could do onboard ship and he would have “corporate” call us when we arrived back home.

He stated he was recommending to “corporate” a full refund and a repeat cruise, same cabin category or better, 10-day cruise. That calmed me down.

I had no idea what had caused our itchy skin rash, coughs, burning eyes and strangely enough, what had caused the silver jewelry my wife brought along to tarnish. I just knew our cabin and everything in it including all our clothing smelled like, well, sh*t!

Needless to say, no romance, stressed out dad, pissed off mama, sick sons.

It isn’t clear what happened to the Harr-Trueblood’s cabin. I haven’t asked Disney about this yet, because it’s possible that they were offered enough compensation for their hardship. Here’s how Disney addressed the problems, post-cruise:

I received a call from “Executive VP” Joseph Paris from Disney Cruise Lines corporate offices in Florida.

He stated that he had reviewed my “perceived issues” and had decided we had been compensated “more than enough” and, in his opinion, “too much.”

When I stated that he had an obligation to protect the crew, passengers and especially children from H2s and other sewer gasses, he became rude and asked, “Are you a chemist? Did you take air samples? Did you bring them to a lab?”

I replied, “No, I just know what it was like for my family to smell sewage for too many days of a 10-day cruise. He response was, “Well your expectations were too high.”

Harr-Trueblood thinks the original proposed offer of a refund and do-over is fair, given his family’s inconvenience. I think Disney could have responded to his complaints much sooner and that refunding the upgrade and moving the family was appropriate.

But a full refund and a do-over? I’ve never heard of that kind of compensation.

I’m troubled by the phone call between Harr-Trueblood and the Disney executive. It’s very un-Disneylike. But I’m not sure if more compensation is warranted.

What do you think?

(Photo: hubsterd isney/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • Josh

    I definitely do not think this is sufficient compensation.  However I do not find it surprising as I think Disney Cruise lines has lost their way recently.  We finished our third Disney Cruise this past February and while we have another booked and I have not made any formal complaints it very well may be our last. I definitely feel that the quality of the help and facilities is not being maintained over time.  Our first two cruises the cabin was akin to a Courtyard level of quality.  Everything was clean, functional, and nice.  Not phenomenal or Ritz quality level, but nice.  By the time we reached our third cruise things had dropped more to the Days Inn level of things.  There was staining in the bathroom/showers, small stains on the carpet, just an overall look of neglect (and apparently this was two months after the ship came our of dry dock).  Our cabin attendant did a great job with our rooms (we had adjoining rooms) but you can only do so much with what you have.  Additionally the food, while good, was not as good as it had previously been and the service, while also good, was missing that pizzazz that had been there on the first two cruises.  It was almost like Disney had stopped trying and was just coasting, knowing they had a captive audience (which if you have very small children then sort of do).

    We will be going on another cruise with Disney in 2012 but if the quality continues to fall I can fairly safely say it will be our last.  The most unfortunate part is that as far as I can tell, Disney really doesn’t care.

  • Mindy

    OP is asking for too much.  Full refund AND a free cruise? One or the other is an acceptable solution.

    I would like to hear Disney’s side of the story.  I have a feeling we’re not getting the whole picture here.   

  • Tom

    Wonder is a 12 year old boat which by cruise ship standards is about 50 in human years. Still this guy sounds a little like a drama queen, “I left the veranda door open. (Six-year-old curious boys and an open veranda door at night — scary!) We put the kids in our bed with us and tried to sleep.” I also would be interested in hearing Disney’s side of the story. 

  • Absherlock

    I’m normally not one for “over the top” compensation, but there are a few ways in which Disney Cruise Lines really dropped the ball, the first and most important of which being that the OP didn’t get to speak to the guest services manager for nine days. I can understand not moving him immediately if they don’t have the room, but at least talk to the man!

    The second reason I think he should get more compensation is that the CSM, the top person on the scene, suggested to both the OP and the cruise line that he should get it. For that decision to be overturned by some faceless bigwig who had no firsthand knowledge of the incident is galling.

    Finally, I agree with the OP completely about his children and the veranda doors. We cruised Disney back in 2001 with our then six and three year olds in a similar cabin and found the configuration disturbing. You’d walk into the room from the corridor and it would be the “master bedroom” which would then lead through a partition (french doors, maybe?) into the room with the bunks which then led out to the balcony. Why would you design the stateroom so that the children had access to the veranda doors in the middle of the night?

  • Robyn221


  • BillC

    Taken at face value I think that more of a refund is in order. A complete refund and another cruise is too much. Perhaps 50 – 75 % off would be appropiate.

    The client went a little over the top when the problem went from opening the veranda door to dissipate the smell to the gas causing skin rashes, burning eyes and tarnishing metal. I would assume that he has some medical documentation from the ship’s doctor. How could he stay in the room for any length of time. There was also no mention of this toxic gas affecting any other passengers.

    I do find it difficult to believe that a Disney VP would say that his expectations were too high for not wanting to smell sewage.

  • FL Traveler

    I was going to offer virtually the same comments. One additional: if the conversation with the “executive” went as described (rude and belittling) I would say those are grounds for a further complaint.

    I have been on 13 crusies total and 2 of those were on Disney. While that hardly makes me an expert, I know I, and many other cruisers, have come to expect a certain level of  service (and politite service at that) from cruise lines. This was hardly that and as someone put it VERY un-Disney! 

  • Walt Blackadar

    It’s clearly not enough compensation.

    I’d split it down the middle and say either a full refund or a do-over, not both.  But as it is, the guy paid $4000 to get sick from the sewage smell for a week.  That is clearly unacceptable.

    Frankly, if I were him, I’d have moved my “living quarters” to the most expensive dining room on the ship and told them that either they could find another cabin or I’d be taking sponge baths in the middle of their restaurant at prime dining hours. 

  • Mbods2002

    In my world,  $6,000 is a LOT of money.  To vacation with that awful smell, for that kind of money, is, well indecent.  Disney should be falling all over themselves apologizing and at the very least, give them a full refund.  Now look what happened, the whole world knows and we’ll think twice before we book a Disney cruise!

  • sirwired

    One or the other… personally, I’d take the refund and run.

  • Zewinsky

    OP simply doesn’t deserve two free cruises because their room smelled like poo-poos. One is enough and more is just greedy. OP is a poo-poo for asking for this much.

  • DS

    A full refund AND a do-ver may be too much…but the OP was only offered a refund on the upgrade!  At the very least, he should have received a full refund for his cruise – meaning the additional $3,400 refunded as well as the upgrade!  And that exchange with the “executive VP” is completely unacceptable!

  • Guest

     The on-ship employee probably went too far in what he was “recommending.” It’s not a good idea to suggest to a customer something that you personally cannot provide. He did what he could in the moment, and that was fine.

    The OP is asking a lot for a full refund AND another cruise. One or the other is appropriate–and he should definitely get one or the other. He has not been compensated “too much” for this incident.

  • john4868

    I don’t think we’re getting the whole story. The comments from the shipboard and port personnel are too different. The length of time they lived with it and the severity that they are reporting are too inconsistent. The statement from the “Executive VP” is so un-Disney-like its hard to believe that it was actually made a phrased. I wonder if the OP is selectively recalling only certain statements?

    But I also know that I have seen reports and reviews where bringing the Dream online has taxed Disney’s ability to provide consistent service across all of their vessels.

    Having said that and not having Disney’s side, I would say a refund and a do over is too much. Either another cruise during the same time period in the future in his original cabin class, since the upgrade was already refunded, or a refund of the original cabin cost. 

    If nothing else, I would think Chris should at least get Disney’s side of the situation.

  • Jonathan

    I have to say “get involved,” but not so much to get them more compensation but rather to get to the bottom of two questions.

    The first is the reported behavior of their executive on the follow up phone call (although without a recording of the conversation, this may be impossible to get the truth on).  I’ve been at WDW when they were closing down the park because of Hurricane Floyd and saw cast members POLITELY AND PROFESSIONALLY stand up to guests who were demanding refunds (was well-publicized before the opening of business that they were closing at noon b/c of the storm and that if you entered the park that morning, you would receive no refund).  So to me, it seems weird that an exec would behave like this.  Not saying that the OP is lying or anything like that – just that it seems weird based on previous experience with Disney people.

    The second question I would demand an answer to is “why did it take EIGHT DAYS for the family to get moved to another room!”  Was the cruise a sellout and another family disembark after the eighth day?  If you were on a WDW property in Florida, it’s safe to say that the smell alone would have warranted an immediate room change.  This is an unacceptable thing to happen!  An ideal scenario way back would have been an immediate room-change (well, later that morning – not necessarily at 6:00 AM!), a refund of the upgrade, and a voucher for a free upgrade on a later cruise.

    Got a bad feeling about this one, though, that NOTHING will be resolved any further.

  • MikeZ

    The problem here was that the cruise line did not even discuss the issues or move him until almost the very last day of the trip. Horrible smells like this can and will ruin a vacation and the cruise line should 100% refund more than just the upgrade costs.  Shame on the Disney manager for being so rude on the phone.  

  • cjr001

    I, too, have a lot of questions about this one.

    There have been reports of sewage smell issues on Disney’s ships in the past, although according to my wife (who keeps up on this stuff more than I do), they tended to be relegated to certain decks of the two original ships – Magic and Wonder. But this one appears to go well above and beyond the others: there have been claims of all of one’s belongings smelling, or it causing possible illness.

    Did they only get the smell on the one day? Or was it every day? It only says that they demanded a new room every day.

    But then, apparently haven’t been such complaints in the last few months either, so I wonder how old this one is, and if the problem has been solved.

    On our last Disney cruise, we had a problem, and we were able to get it resolved satisfactorily, and it did involve getting a new room, which we received right away. It seems absurd that they were unable to get a new room for 7 nights, only to suddenly get one on the 8th.

    As for the customer service from ‘corporate’, it wouldn’t surprise me if problems are starting to develop there. Disney launched a third, much larger ship at the beginning of the year, and it sounds like things haven’t gone well. With current crew members transferring to the new ship, and all of the new crew members aboard all 3 ships, it sounds like the quality of service has slipped quite a bit as a result. And it’s going to get much worse when the other new ship launches next year.

    In the end, I voted yes. They were offered $1700 in a refund, plus credit. They stayed in the room a week, when there’s no way I would continue to stay in a room with such a smell in the first place – and I’ve personally dealt with a serious mildew-smell issue that was unbearable (and my clothes didn’t smell like mildew after I changed rooms, either).

  • cjr001

    Umm, the configuration of the stateroom doesn’t really matter – they’re going to have access to the veranda door, regardless.

    The doors also have multiple locks, including one at the top of the door. They’re also heavy doors that even I, as an adult, tend to struggle with at times.

    That, and when is the last time you’ve heard of a kid going overboard on ANY cruise line? Obviously this configuration isn’t a problem whatsoever.

  • cjr001

    Additional: you have the ability to see the room configurations before you book. So there’s no excuse for not knowing this kind of thing ahead of time.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I voted that Disney did NOT provide enough compensation.  A full refund is in order, although another cruise on top of it would be too much.

    I live 3 miles from the county landfill.  4 or 5 years ago, they decided to start accepting gypsum from a local chemical plant.  Gypsum decomposes to H2S, hydrogen sulfide gas.  H2S is heavier than air, so when it settles somewhere, it stays there.  Local businesses (stables, farms and a vineyard) ending up closing.  A small town had to shut down their meeting hall.  People ended up with headaches, burning eyes and sinuses – and their silver tarnished.  At 3 miles away, *I* could not go outside in my yard or open my windows because of the headaches, etc.  I was taking Organic Chemistry at the time, so I’m very familiar with H2S.  The concentration of H2S needed to do all this was definitely in the hazardous range for humans.  (This did get resolved: Local residents went to the county commissioners with evidence and experts.  The county commissioners told the landfill to fix the problem or they’d prohibit the gypsum.  Landfill liked the high revenues, so they fixed the problem.)

    H2S can be generated under anaerobic conditions such as a poorly maintained septic tank.  This points to some troubling problems with maintenance on this ship.  Mr. Harr-Trueblood’s family was much closer to the smell/gas than any of us in the 3 mile radius of the landfill.  He and his family were exposed to levels of H2S well above those deemed safe.  A full refund is in order.  Anything more – well, that’s between him and his attorney.

  • LindaJ

     I think what he was saying is that to get fresh air the sliding doors had to be opened all the time. This would mean keeping an eye at all times on the children, especially at night time.

  • ViviW

    As I read it, it was the Guest Relations Manager who suggested the full refund and a do-over cruise as compensation, in addition to the refund of $1700 and $300 OBC.  While that compensation is more than I think this case warrants, it was one of Disney’s employees who suggested it and Disney should honor it.  I bet that manager isn’t going to be suggesting such compensation in future.

    Disney failed this family by not moving them immediately after the first complaint.  Clearly they had another cabin available.  If it were me, I would take the $1700 and never cruise Disney again, plus I would make sure this story was posted on every cruise board. 

  • Brooklyn

    For me, the big issue is that they left them for days in a cabin that may have constituted a health hazard! Sewage carries germs and if they – and especially their kids – were breathing it for days, they could have been very ill.  Add that to the rudeness of the Disney rep and the sky’s the limit to what they should get.  Why wasn’t the problem fixed at the next port of call?  And if it couldn’t be, they should have been offered the option to leave the ship at the next port, fly home at Disney’s expense and get a full refund and another cruise. I’m surprised the parents didn’t kick up more of a fuss at the time.

  • Irene Harner

    I would have answered “Yes” had it not taken Disney until the 8th day of a 10 cruise to move them.

  • Eric

    I said NO.  Mainly becasue they should have had their cabin moved after the first day, which would have saved most of their trip.  You can’t see a manager for eight days?  That completely unnacceptable.  I’m wondering if this ship has Chinese drywall.  In a marine environment that Chinese drywall would be outgassing Hydrogen Sulfide like crazy.

  • Joe

    My question is – did the traveler do enough? Sometimes they think that making a phone call is enough of a complaint – unfortunately, in many cases, an in person visit to the front desk / guest services desk is warranted – and you need to be willing to stand there until you receive some satisfaction.

    Did he report standing for hours at the front desk waiting for a manager? 

    In my experience, for the few times that I have had travel related issues, this is the only way to be sure that you leave happy.

    If all he did was make a daily phone call or two complaining of a bad smell, and didn’t follow up with face to face visits, then I don’t feel that he did enough.

  • Rosered7033

    If I got as sick as this family did after the first few hours of this, I would be camped out at the Purser’s desk and would go up the chain of command until  we had been moved to another room that suited our needs.  Every contact would be documented so when I returned stateside, I could present my case and request at a minimum a refund of the upgrade, firmly but politely.  Why/how could someone stay in a room like that?

  • cjr001

    Absherlock’s complaint was about the configuration of the room in the first place, which is what I was responding to.

  • David

    Agree – one or the other.  And since he’s already been refunded the $1.700, fair would be the remainder of the what he paid.  Also, if they could move him on the last night, then obviously there was an open cabin (unless some guest jumped overboard mid-cruise,) so that should have been done IMMEDIATELY.  Come on Disney – get with it.

  • I don’t think a refund AND a do-over are valid requests, but I do think that one or the other is a legitimate expectation. The guy complained immediately and repeatedly (as opposed to waiting until the end and complaining) and was told that his complaints were legitimate and reasonable by the on-site cruise representative.

    Disney cruise lines seems to have been infected by the general low-level approach to customer service that seems representative of most cruise lines lately. 

  • sunshipballoons

    Here’s the thing: Harr-Trueblood’s description of what Joseph Paris told him is almost completely unbelievable.  It raises serious doubts in my mind as to the reliability of his description of the entire experience.  While I’m sure he had some problems with a raw sewage smell, I simply don’t believe, given all the context, that it’s as bad as he says. Therefore, I say, enough compensation.

  • Joe Farrell

     Simple solution – Chris contacts Disney – and repeats the story, without the dramatic words.  Asks his contact:  “Is this the attitude your management is supposed to express to staff?”  “Why are you overruling the onsite Manager in this situation?” 

    Tarnished silver jewelry from H2S is certainly evidence of the concentrations.   

    I think the OP gets a refund here – let HIM decide if he wants to cruise again.

    I agree with Ms. Ellenoy that cruise companies simply do not care about customer service.  They deal with thousands weekly on every ship and have a contract giving them absolute autonomy and apparently their future bookings support their attitude – why bother dealing with customers when they keep sending you their money.  Once cruise companies started appealing to the average middle class person whose standards are slightly above Hampton Inn, it really did not matter what they offered – the buffet and dessert bar open 24/7 was enough. 

  • Raven

    Di$ney definitely did not do enough and sadly, this is what that company has become–a joke.

    Just ask any park-goer who has experienced “Turismo” which are South American Tour Groups of Teens. These groups lack all kinds of manners, yet Di$ney keeps inviting them back. Last summer, I witnessed Turismos doing the following:
    –Sending “guides” to get 200+ fast passes, thus cleaning out the machines and not allowing anyone else to claim them.
    –Blocking walkways and doorways as they sit/stand wherever and whenever they want.
    –Cutting lines. They will send a “guide” to stand in line at a popular attraction and then 200 kids will run through the crowd, pushing and shoving, to run to the front. CMs see this and do NOTHING.
    –I witnessed these one of these out of control groups nearly run over a woman in a wheelchair as they rushed through the line at Haunted Mansion. They pretend not to speak English and will physically SHOVE you out of the way. Again, CMs do nothing.
    –Shouting during shows, chanting like they are soccer games.
    –Disrupting hotel pools, rooms, etc. Even at high-end resorts these kids run wild and the CMs do nothing.

    If that isn’t enough proof of Di$ney’s greed…the Mouse recently put in a trademark request for “Seal Team 6.” Yes, Di$ney wants to own the right to market the name of the heroes who killed Osama bin Laden!!! Don’t believe me, google it.

  • Tom brollini

    If everything said was true, Disney really screwed up & should be hammered.
    I’m an old farm boy & can stand knee deep in pig poop, but my wife & kids gag, big time, at a fart.
    She would sleep on the deck rather than in a room with sewage smell, & my life would be worse than hell until it was resolved.
    In addition, Disney charges really hi rates, and should take care of “any” problems, with alacrity.
    Also, if the exec, actually spoke to Michael that way, he should be severely disciplined or fired!
    I can emphasize since we had a room problem (not a smell issue) with Princess & couldn’t get moved.
    There response was less than adequate so as Chris knows, when that happens, I get “even”.
    In this case, “get the $ and another cruise”, & punish the exec, that would be a good resolution to the matter.
    At any rate, if you can, do your magic Chris.

  • Absherlock

    If the stateroom were configured so that the room with the queen bed was the one with the access to the veranda door, rather than the room with the bunks, the kids aren’t going to have access to those doors without walking past the adults, so the configuration does matter.

    As for your last comment, I’m going to have to assume you don’t have kids. The configuration was a problem for me. The fact that you’re ignorant to a possible danger doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    Finally, you’re right I could have looked at the configuration online before I cruised. Of course, it’ll be ten years ago in November and it was our first cruise, but I’ll accept whatever blame you feel is mine for assuming that a cruise line that caters to families with young children would structure their staterooms so that the children wouldn’t be sleeping in a room with direct access to a balcony/veranda.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I forgot about that potential source of H2S.  I figured the raw sewage smell (a lot of methane) was masking and being accompanied by the rotten egg smell (hydrogen sulfide) and had to have come from a source of sewage.

  • SoCalMom

     I agree.  I also think there is more to this story. We took a Disney cruise in Jan 09 and our room was right below the pool deck (rookie move on my part!) so every morning at 6am they would move chairs!  We were in a suite so there was nowhere to move us that was comparable.  They called and apologized and offered us 15% off our next cruise. At the time I had no intention of taking another Disney Cruise…however, the kids begged this year to take the Disney Dream which we are taking in July.  Now my 15% coupons had long expired…I called Disney customer relations in FL and they honored them for this cruise!  Very Disney-like!   As far this guy, I would see if it affected anyone else and I would Disney make it right with him.  They usually aim to please.

  • Cheryl

    The family was moved after 8 days, that is hardly accommodating.  Cruise lines almost routinely upgrade their guests if rooms are available, so that’s really no gift either.  Yes I think you need to step in and help!

  • Cheryl

     The family asked every day to be moved, they did not wait 8 days and ask to be moved.

  • Carver

    Why should the onus be on the wronged party.  Once the cruise line has been notified it’s up to them to step up.  Its not for the traveler to make a nuisance of himelf 

  • Sershev

    He is not asking for it. A guest service manager on the ship suggested that kind of compensation. And yes, if cruise employee would say I could get that much, I would want as much as I want. Although a refund or do over would be enough compensation not $300 onboard credit.  

  • Thanwalasukumar

     Do over is not warranted, but a full credit (not shipboard credit) would be sufficient.

  • djp

    Maybe I am missing something….but he complained right from the start and the cruise didnt respond until DAY 8—Why so long???

    What was in this…who knows…but it was more than just sewage.  I bet a tox screen would have come up with other things.  Personally I wouldnt have slept in the room and instead gone up to the capitains room and raised hell.

    I thought they were required to have a safety/occupational health specialist as part of this crew. 

  • cjr001

    No, I don’t have kids. And you know what? It doesn’t matter one bit, because if you’re going to freak out that much, then you shouldn’t stay in a veranda room at all. You shouldn’t go on a cruise at all, because, perish the thought, your children get up on deck or something.

    But then, seeing as you didn’t provide any stories of kids falling overboard from verandas, it is apparently a completely non-issue to the rest of the world.

  • Gini Denninger

    Ugh! Never went on a cruise before… do I want to after this??? Especially not on Disney! 

  • Srmagical

    IF everything posted is 100% true I don’t think Disney did enough. I’m having a hard time believing we’re getting the whole story though.  

    Since 10 day cruises on the Wonder are rare, I’m taking a guess this happened on the 4/17 Mexican Riviera trip. If so… I not only sailed on that cruise, I upgraded at the port, so I know there were open staterooms. 

    I’m having a hard time believing it took Disney 7 days to move the family and 8 days to get a manager involved if complaints were made daily and things were as bad as claimed. 

    Was this family experiencing itchy skin, rash, coughs, burning eyes, and an odor the entire cruise? If my family was dealing with those kinds of issues you can bet I would have been camped out at the guest services desk until a manager was involved and my concerns were addressed. Waiting until the end of the cruise and asking for compensation then wouldn’t have cut it for me.

  • Ghost

     At the very least a full refund.  I can see the reason why he is asking for a do over.  
    1) He probably had to fly or other transport to the port where the ship set sail which is not refundable.
    2) He had asked for 7 days to be moved to another room and they did not respond.  Not even to say that there were no other rooms to move to.
    3) If the onsite manager recommended the refund and do over, there must have been something seriously wrong with the room.

    They should have had the skin rashes examined by a doctor and have the doctor make a prognosis.  He should have bagged some of the clothes in a zip lock or garbage bag.  My guess from the smell, tarnishing, and rashes is that an acidic cleaning agent (probably drain cleaner) somehow got into the air system (probably used in a nearby unit) and he took the brunt of it.

  • Andi330

    I actually wonder if perhaps the Guest Relations Manager said he would recommend a full refund OR a do-over and the OP heard what he wanted to hear. It seems like way too much compensation, and more than the manager would have the authority to offer otherwise. 

  • I agree that a full refund and a do-over are too much, but they should receive one or the other.  The fact that they had to complain for 8 days before they got a new room is more than enough of a problem, without even counting the executive’s horrible response!

  • Luke J.

     OP indeed is a poo-poo

  • Grant

    In defense of Disney, My (now-ex) wife and I went through something similar with Norwegian Cruise Lines… waking in the wee hours to a choking, disgusting, overwhelming smell. I was furious, but fortunately, before I took it out on NCL, I realized that my lovely ‘ex’ had spent the prior evening drinking Chardonnay and gorging herself on those big shrimp NCL has. So, a word to the wise to the OP, you might want to check with the lovely Ms. H-T before you assume that Disney is at fault.     

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  • Crissy

    They spent the vast majority of their trip in a smelly room.  If they were eventually moved then they could have been moved earlier in the trip.  I would say they deserve a refund or at least 3/4’s of a refund, but not another free cruise too.

  • MVFlyer

    I agree with several other posters–IF Disney truly acted the way they did, THEN they do deserve more–just refunding the trip doesn’t necessarily cover the angst, the vacation time, and all the rest.  But something smells bad about the way the OP put it (sorry, couldn’t resist!).  Find out Disney’s side and then decide.

    Personally, if I had to live with that smell for more than a few hours, and I couldn’t talk to the customer service rep, I would have found the customer service office and started there in person.  If no one could help there, I’d insist on seeing the captain.

    [As an aside, when I pulled up this discussion on my computer, the automatic ad generator had a big banner exhorting me to take a cruise on Disney cruise lines through Europe.  I’m sure after reading this post I’d really want to take a Disney cruise!  And Chris, you just made a penny or so from Disney!]

  • Ghost

    But in the case reported here, the person said they traced the smell to the vent.  Until Disney responds and explains their side, I have to take things as truthful.

  • Billy Bob Jerk

    I can’t remember the last time I read a story about a toddler getting killed in a car accident, so I guess it’s a non-issue.  I will quit buckling mine up.

    I’m not providing any stories about houses getting burglarized so it is apparently a complete non-issue to the rest of the world.  I guess I won’t lock the door anymore.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  • Tyler

     The whole thing is ONE room! All there is is a curtain that can be kept open! And as they said THERE ARE LOCKS on the doors. You truly seem like one of those people that isn’t happy unless you have something to worry about! Get over your self! Lock the door!!!

  • Tyler

     Nope impossible! There are no “French Doors” it’s a curtain! And if you put the bed in the way of the verandah door, I bet people would complain about that too! 

  • Tyler

     This guy seems like he went onboard wanting to complain about something, he does know that silver always tarnishes right? and that rash causing odor seems unlikely. The manager on the ship might have just told the guy that he should be receiving a full refund and another cruise just to calm him down. I think he got more than enough. I agree that we should see Disney’s story first. 

  • cjr001

    Well, your ‘examples’ are certainly fitting with your handle.

    By all means, find me just ONE story from the last FIVE years. Otherwise, stop making fools of yourselves.

  • acproductions

    One or the other.  Double compensation is far too much.  If he doesn’t want to try again, then take the refund.

  • Paula

    Something “smells” more than of raw sewage here…pun intended. While I certainly wasn’t there, so can’t say he’s lying, I do know something is not the norm here. I have cruised Disney 4 times and while no one is perfect, I can honestly say they are probably tops in customer service (I have also cruised on other cruise lines) and I myself had one disney cruise where we had a cabin that the noise outside of it (We were in a verandah room and they were working on something beneath us or above us-can’t remember) was SOOOO noisy that it kept us up and woke us up early. My DH complained at guest services (not just a phone call) that first day and we were MOVED THAT DAY! It doesn’t sound like he complained until the end. If it was THAT bad, wouldn’t he have gone to guest services and complained sooner? People are just really too much about getting something for nothing these days. It stinks that it happened, but again IF IT WAS THAT BAD HE WOULD HAVE BEEN AT GUEST SERVICES TILL IT WAS FIXED! They did change him eventually (and like I said, had he made a stink about it earlier-he would have moved earlier) That being said it was almost like he waited to see if he could get another cruise out of it.

  • cjr001

    Wow, you guys have provided SO MANY examples of kids going overboard on cruise ships, much less from veranda rooms, that I’m completely convinced that the cruise lines and their room layouts are the problem, and not you as a parent.

  •  I’m willing to bet that the tarnished silver came from the sea-air that entered through the opened veranda doors. I used to wear sterling silver jewelry when visiting my grandmother in Florida and learned that salt-water air and exposure to the air immediately above a jaccuzi/spa/hot tub would tarnish my silver rather quickly; the latter providing a pink/red color to the tarnish.

  • Gabrielle

    I think you, Chris, are remiss in posting OP’s complaint without contacting Disney first to get its side of the story. Like several others who have commented, I question the veracity of OP’s story. Enduring a week in a luxury suite reeking of sewage without complaining firmly and frequently enough to effect a face-to-face meeting with a manager is bizarre. Also unbelievable is the assertion that management deliberately waited nine days to actually meet with the OP about a problem so serious. I don’t work for Disney, own their stock, or have any other connection to the company, but justice dictates that the facts behind this complaint be laid out as clearly, fairly, and completely as possible. You haven’t done that, Chris. Bottom line: BOTH sides deserve a fair hearing.

  • sunnyinga

    We took a 7 day Magic cruise in 2011, where we returned from breakfast one morning to find raw sewage overflowing into our bathroom.  We had to ask to be moved after the clean-up several hours later because the ordor was still so strong.  We didn’t get any on-board credit or other compensation.  I agree that whoever is running DCL has a different management philosophy from Disney Parks.  We were also scammed by one of DCL’s #1 endorsed retailers, Diamonds International, on that same cruise.  Using the Disney name creates a certain expecation of service, quality, and trust.  We were disappointed.   It’s not the same as our experiences on their park properties.

  • Michael Harr-Trueblood

    Just saw this for the first time today, did not know it had posted. Follow up is, blood test and chest X-rays showed damage and evidence of H2 exposure in the twins. We have not had any long term health affects. I had no idea when i was on board the ship that i was putting the kids health at risk or what H2 was. Coast Guard and Disney knew there was a problem and had scheduled a new sewage treatment plant for the forward department at the next dry dock after the Alaska season. Ship was sold out and the cabin we were moved to was being used by a consultant/contractor that left the ship after they had completed their work. The most important thing I leaned from this whole episode was to book all future trips through AAA so that I have someone that can go to bat for me if need be. I learned to be less timid and stand up for myself when I travel. VP might have been pissed I called the Canadian Coast Guard and i believe they had a surprise inspection when the arrived in Vancouver to start the Alaska season. Ship was repaired and yes I would travel with them again if offered. I have not taken the boys on another cruise yet. We have been flying and staying and doing long drive trips. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions

  • mbods

    Glad your family doesn’t have any long term health affects Michael. Your saying the problem was already known and the ship sailed anyway, just confirms to me that we DO have to stand up for ourselves more, after all it’s our hard earned money we’re spending, to be at the mercy of organizations who really don’t care about us. Glad you called the Canadian Coast Guard and the surprise inspection!

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