Quantum of the Seas passengers were left stranded in Brisbane after being denied a cabin when their eight-night South Pacific cruise was overbooked.

The guests arrived at Brisbane International Cruise Terminal on Tuesday only to be given a letter (see below) saying there were no cabins available on the cruise they had paid for. The guests, among a group of 12 with cabin bookings, were denied entry to the ship at the Port of Brisbane when they arrived for their intended 8-night cruise.

“We regret to inform you that currently we have been unable to allocate a stateroom number to your reservation,” the letter said and went on to apologise for the error.

“The time and effort you took to plan your cruise is important to us, and we apologise for the inconvenience,” the letter stated. “Every aspect of your time with us should be enjoyable, so we have put together some alternate options for you.”

The letter then offered four options for the disappointed passengers.

The first was to remain on standby and “hope that a stateroom will be assigned at the pier before check-in closes,” plus $US100 (about $150) of on-board credit as a “gesture of goodwill”. If no cabin became available, they would get a full refund and a 25 per cent future cruise credit.

The Quantum passengers left stranded also have the option to “move to a similar itinerary” in January with no additional charge, or offered an alternate 7- or 8-night cruise. The fourth option offered a full refund and a 25 per cent future credit.

What Royal Caribbean said

In a statement, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines said “while disruptions to their plans can occasionally happen, we do our best to minimise those chances”. 

“The demand for the recent Nov. 28 cruise on board Quantum of the Seas went beyond the rooms that were available. Unfortunately, efforts to accommodate all those who wished to sail that fell short for a group of our guests, and some were unable to sail as planned.

“We take these disruptions seriously, and we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused. We have worked with each guest that was affected to rectify the inconvenience this has caused.” 

One Quantum of the Seas passenger left stranded was later contacted by Royal Caribbean head office and was offered a full refund plus 100 per cent Free Cruise Credit and a free deluxe drinks package for any cruise length.

One social media post on the Quantum passengers left stranded booking error received more than 4000 comments in just a few days. 

Overselling is a common practice, especially with airlines but unusual in the local cruises. In the event a passenger cancels, a ship or plane has more passengers in line for the trip, meaning it does not depart with any costly vacancies.

Quantum passengers left stranded
The letter issued to stranded Quantum passengers.