Updated March 19, 2012
We came across this interesting video on YouTube earlier this week. It demonstrates a potentially dangerous problem for passengers traveling in balcony staterooms and suites aboard Oasis of the Seas. According to the video, it's very easy to lock yourself out onto the balconies.
The poster of the video claims this happened to him. Luckily, he had his cell phone with him on the balcony, and the ship's connection was up. He called home, and they called Royal Caribbean's reservation office, and that office called the ship. Two-and-a-half hours later, someone came to his stateroom to open the door for him.
As you can see in the demonstration in the video, if you accidentally move the door handle into the locked position before the door closes, it latches, and there's no way back in.
This video was posted in April 2010, so this happened almost two years ago. We assumed Royal Caribbean would have corrected this problem, and they'd be quick to tell us about it. If that had been the case, this would have been just another lead that didn't go anyplace, and there'd be no story. We asked them if the latching mechanism had been modified to prevent this from happening. We also asked if any other ships (such as sister ship Allure of the Seas) use the same latching mechanism. And of course we wanted to know what advice they have for any passenger who may find themselves locked out on their balcony, especially if they don't happen to have their cell phone with them.
We heard back right away, and they asked us to delay the story while they checked, so we did. We've kept asking for an answer to our questions, but all that we are now hearing is the sound of crickets chirping.
If they had fixed the problem, one would think they'd want to be quick to tell us. Otherwise, it seems like maybe they are delaying giving us an answer which could prove embarrassing for them.
So here's our advice if you are going to go out on any balcony. First take a few seconds and test it out. Next just be sure to take your cell phone with you onto the balcony. (Before you leave home, be sure that your phone is set up to make calls from the ship, and that you've put Royal Caribbean's phone number in your phone's address book.) If you get locked out, one thing to try is to call out to see if anyone else is on their balcony and can hear you. DO NOT try to crawl around the divider to another balcony or break the door. Both of these are extremely dangerous. If all else fails, realize that your cabin steward does come in to service your stateroom twice a day, and he can open the door, even though it might be quite a wait for him.
We'll update this item if Royal Caribbean ever figures out what to say.
Update March 19, 2012:
Royal Caribbean tells us that getting locked out is not a common experience, but it does happen, so over the next three weeks they will be considering solutions to the problem. By the end of that time, they will decide on a permanent fix, and implementation will begin as soon as practical after that on both ships.