Family's Epic Dinner Reservation Fight Leads to Lawsuit Against Royal Caribbean

All the Goldberg family wanted was to sit down for dinner on their Royal Caribbean cruise last summer. Gail and Joshua Goldberg had booked the cruise on the Freedom of the Seas to celebrate their grandmother's 81st birthday and were looking forward to starting the trip with a nice meal in the ship's restaurant.

Those plans went overboard in a hurry, the Goldbergs say, when the ship's crew claimed they couldn't find the family's dinner reservation. The disagreement quickly devolved into a hostess calling the Goldbergs "liars," ominous confrontations with security guards, and the ship's captain kicking the whole family off in St. Thomas and demanding their arrest. That's according to a new lawsuit from the Goldbergs, at least.

Neither the Goldbergs' attorney, Louis Vucci, nor a Royal Caribbean spokesperson would comment on the lawsuit when reached by Riptide.

But the federal complaint lays out the restaurant fight and what the Goldbergs claim describes as an unreasonable fallout afterward.

The trouble began July 28, 2013, when Gail and Joshua Goldberg, who are Pennsylvania residents, say they made reservations for dinner. After a manager couldn't find the reservation, an employee they ID as "Navva" told them their whole party of 13 guests -- including an 88-year-old WWII vet -- would have to wait two hours to eat.

That didn't sit well with Gail Goldberg, who finally located another manager who allegedly said Navva wasn't a manager and that indeed they did have a reservation. The family happily ate dinner.

But that wasn't the end of the drama. The Goldbergs were allegedly followed by security staff and harassed multiple times by employees after dinner. The next day, they were called to a guest relations desk and confronted with a claim by "Navva" that they'd been abusive.

Finally, on July 31, when the ship docked in St. Thomas, Gail Goldberg says, she was manhandled by a security guard and then taken to a security room. "The Plaintiffs were told by the staff captain they were being kicked off the ship," their complaint says, "because of the Navva incident." The staff added that Joshua and Gail Goldberg "were going to be arrested in St. Thomas for being uncooperative."

The whole party, including that 88-year-old vet, had to drag their luggage off the boat, find cabs in St. Thomas, and book flights back to Miami.

The Goldbergs claim they each sustained injuries from their run-ins with security and are now asking the court for $75,000 in damages in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Royal Caribbean Complaint

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Sabrina Rodriguez

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