What Possibly Could Go Wrong? Our Toyota Sienna Service Experience


It started when I noticed that small piece of plastic sticking out of the front windshield of the Sienna van. We took a picture of it. I said to DH we can just fix it with some sugru. He said no, I want Toyota to fix it. This shouldn’t happen to a new van. I didn’t want to deal with the drama of going to the car dealer for something so incidental. It’s not like you can just drive in and show them the defect and they say, oh we have that part, let me pop it in place. No, that would be too simple. It’s going to involve calling and not being able to reach anyone who can actually do anything.

So, DH calls to find out what to do. Courtesy Toyota tells us to bring in the van for a look see. He asks can I email you a picture to avoid that trip to the dealer? No, they reply – a certified technician needs to inspect it to determine if it’s a warranty defect. So, we make an appointment on Saturday afternoon when we were kind of in the area on our way to another event. We stop by at our appt time, and the service advisor who we had an appt with has already gone for the day. Strike 1. The nice guy Kevin, helped us anyway and just took a picture of the defect, filled out a service request form and we were on our way in 5 minutes. That met my expectations. Ball 1. The dude said he didn’t know if they had the part, but if they had to order it in, it could be there in two or three days.

It’s Monday morning and DH gets a call from the original Service Advisor, Angie. She can’t find our van key. DH is confused. We have the van, we’re waiting to hear when part is in. Oh, She says, we  have the part. Ball 2. DH is like okay, lets do this. Make it tomorrow Tuesday. He talks me into foregoing my biking to work, so I have to drive the van to work and drop it off at lunch at the dealer. Get a shuttle ride back to work, then uber back to dealer to pick up van at the end of workday. Quite the hassle if you ask me, when I could have fixed it with a pinch of sugru.

Tuesday I drive the van, for about the 5th time since we’ve had its since January 2018. I just don’t drive much. Actually, I prefer the old Camry – don’t have to worry about dinging it up, not that I do. But, I digress. I get to the dealer and drive into the service bay where its crowded with about ten other cars. I get out and nobody approaches me by the van.  So, I go into office and the cashier tells me the service advisor Angie is around but she doesn’t know where, and tells me to just wait by my vehicle and someone will help me. When I get out there again, more people have arrived behind me. The service advisors are buzzing around directing cars in and out, writing on their clipboards and greeting others, including the guy who drove up behind me. But there I stand solitary. Looking around helplessly. Finally, a dude comes up and puts a plastic number hat on the hood of the car. Number 2. Five more minutes go by, cars are leaving the service area. The dude switches out my number to number 1. Goodie, maybe I’m next. Nope, the dude behind me is walking back with a service advisor and is exchanging information and getting his form on his clipboard filled out. I’m starting to get upset now, its been over 10 minutes. I start my yoga breathing to calm down. Breathe deep. Now another advisor is walking up to me, asks how I am. I’m pissy now. I tell him this is pretty unorganized here. Strike 2. He apologizes. Asks how he can help me. I show him the defect and explain that Angie has the part ready to install today, I’m dropping off van for replacement and I need a shuttle ride back to work, and I’ll pick it up after four pm. He’s quick and efficient as he fills out his form on the clipboard, and I tell him to call DH when its ready since that’s the phone number they have already (I don’t want to confuse them with too many different numbers).

Now its been over a half hour since I left work and I’m hating this stupid errand. I tell the cashier I need a shuttle ride five miles back to my office. She says the two drivers are out and there are three people ahead of me. It might be a while. So, now I have to yoga breathe again. I’m not sure if I should just Uber back to work (it will only cost me $1.24 since I have a $10 credit on Uber), but then I have to get back here later to pick up the van. So, I call DH. Tell him I’m at the dealer and waiting for shuttle. He can tell I’m upset. He asked if I talked to Angie. No, I didn’t. But I can see her through the window, she’s at her desk now. DH tells me he wants to talk to her. So, I go in there to her, ask if she’s Angie, she says yes, and I identify my self as Ms. Andrews and the Sienna. She remembered the discussion with DH and then I said "he wants to talk to you", handing her my phone. DH says to Angie “What’s going on there? My wife is upset". Angie assures DH that she has the clipboard and the van will be ready later. Not really sure what else was said, but Angie says to me “Well, we'll just get you a loaner car”. I’m surprised by this, but totally cool with it. So, she hands me back the phone, I tell DH "I’m getting a loaner, gotta go". Grounder, First Base.


I go to the rental car window and wait behind the guy who pulled up behind me and was served first and now see him getting a comp loaner too! Is it because he has a tie on, he got served before me? He didn’t have any expensive car, it was a little one, maybe a Scion or something. Maybe he has a personal relationship with the service advisor and when he pulled up he knew to just his guy hook him up quick. Anyway, it didn’t sit well with me. You know how sometimes, some places a guy gets better service than a girl? I felt the female discrimination factor was slipping in here at this dealer. I dreaded coming back.

Its been at least an hour now, but I drive away in a shitty little Corolla. It was a new car with only a few thousand miles on it, but compared to the van, it was a shitty car. I call DH after getting back to the office and tell him I dread going back. He offers to come to my office after work and switch out the car, and drive the rental to the dealer to pick up the van. I readily agreed.

I’m so relieved to be home after a stressful day with the stupid dealer. DH is not home yet, so I call and he answers; he’s still at the dealer. I ask "What’s happening there?" He is in the middle of a pow wow with the service advisor Angie and two of her managers. The technician fucked up.  And the service advisor fucked up. DH had turned in the rental, got in the van and was about to drive out when he glanced over and noticed the defective piece of plastic was still sticking up on the passenger side. Strike 3. Out.

There were no moving parts, and the van didn’t need a lift or any service that would require a master, genius tech. No. I think they probably put their least experienced guy on the job. The tech replaced the piece on the wrong side of the van. He took off a perfectly good piece of cowling, and replaced it. The bad one – still there.

DH gets out and calls over Angie. He is mad. How did this happen? She looks at the work order to see who did the work. She tracks down the technician and starts talking to him like he screwed up. He glances over at DH and says “I don’t have to listen to this” and walks away. DH tells Angie he needs to speak to her supervisor. She goes into one of the offices and starts talking to two guys, while DH stands outside looking in. He hates when staff people try to explain away problems to their bosses instead of letting him speak directly to the boss. He is mad, but a calm mad. He decided he needed to be heard, so he joined the little trio whether they wanted him to or not. They were in spin control now.

DH says “In case you can’t tell gentlemen, I am livid.” They could tell. “This is not the first screw up at your dealer. This sort of stuff happens every time I come here for service. I learn from past situations, and try to clarify my expectations before bad things happen, but that didn’t help this time. I want you to fix the defect and have your best guy do it. I don’t want to see any damage on my new vehicle from repeated attempts at the repair.” The repair on the driver side was noticeable, there was glue visible. The discussion continued, and they determined they have the parts in stock to replace both sides of the cowl.

Now for the CYA, please give me a five star review show. The managers tried to be all friendly and started throwing perks at DH. We’ll wash the van. We'll detail it. And we'll fill it up with gas. Plus we’ll let you have the loaner overnight, and we’ll deliver the completed vehicle to your wife’s office so you don’t have to come back again. How bout that? Angie says, will that get me a five star review?


Wednesday the van should be ready. DH calls the dealer to confirm the deal – clean it up, fix the defect and deliver it to my office. Supposed to happen before noon, and it does. Pretty anti climatic ending, the driver manages to find the office and park the van. It sparkles in the sun, cleanest its been since we bought it. The molding looks good, both sides. We switch keys, I point to the loaner car. He opens it, but then decides to have a smoke and watch the horses in the pasture a minute, enjoying the beautiful day. Then he's off like a thief in the night, speeding through the parking lot. I hope that's the end of Toyota in my life. At least until the van gets to ten thousand miles. Next year.


Adventure OTS Day 12 At Sea - Golf and Flowrider

Nice day on the decks. Partly cloudy, 24C (72F) with 8 ft seas, 23 mph winds. We had to make some last minute changes to our rental car in Port Canaveral the next day because RCL decided everyone disembarking had to do it by 9am. We were getting off the ship a day early in Port Canaveral, rather than going on to Ft Lauderdale to save ourselves from a 5 hour drive home on Sunday.


After making arrangements we decided to head up to the sports deck and join the mini golf tournament. I didn't do so well, but with practice became better. Scott got a hole in one.


After the mini golf we watched people on the Flowrider, a simulated surf. Mark decided he would try after watching some others, and figuring he might not get another chance. The flowriders are only on bigger ships, and there were no kids on this cruise so it was a good choice.


Mark, Scott & Marie watching the flowrider

Mark getting ready to try it again
Mark really made it look hard


Here's a live video of his first effort

Later in the day we met up with Wes & Karen from Victoria, BC in the Blue Moon during the happy hour.

The concierge had a special performance in the Diamond Lounge of juggling bartenders and special martini drinks. They also had the izumi chefs there to present platters of sushi and special appetizers.

Ended the day at the Quest game held in Studio B.

Well, that's it for our repositioning cruise. We settled up our account, paid our tips in cash to the staff who took care of us and packed up our stuff. We'll be back on another short Thanksgiving cruise for our 26th anniversary at the end of the month.


Adventure OTS Day 11 _ At Sea Skating

Woke up to an overcast day, partly cloudy with chance of showers with cool temps 16C (61F) with winds 35 mph, seas at 8ft.  The ship had a small swagger to it, or maybe that just me walking the hallways as if I'd been drinking already.  Nothing too bad, just a subtle shimmy like riding on a train.  


Breakfast in the windjammer, one of the servers Funjei.

We were invited to a backstage tour of the skating Studio B. It was pretty unorganized but what else did we have to do? Packing? We did get to see the mini Zamboni they use to prepare the ice.

The skaters have to buy their own skates at $1200 for the boots, and the blades are another $300.

We decided to try our own ice skating and managed to have fun and not kill ourselves, Scott and I didn't even fall. We pretty much had the rink to ourselves. Mark on the other hand was another story.





Dinner again, we had such a great time with these people.
Production Showtime was "Can't Stop the Rock" staring the singers and dancers.
 
Distance traveled 2,446 nm

Adventure OTS cruise, Boston, Massachusetts Day 10

Today our port of call was Boston, MA from 7am to 4:30 pm. It was mostly sunny, 14C (57F) with 25 mph winds. We were biking to Quincy Market area and going on a duck boat tour of the city. The duck boat cost $40 each.


 The Cheers bar in the TV show.
 A government building


 They asked if anyone wanted to drive the duck boat in the Charles River and of course Scott did.
 I decided I should drive too, when would I ever get the chance again?



A really old church. We toured all over the city for an hour - Beacon Hill, the Aquarium, Quincy Market, Granary Burying Ground, Boston Common, MIT, MOSI, and more.
Kilted Colin was a street performer in Quincy Market, he juggled and rode the unicycle while playing the bagpipes. Right at noon he wrapped up and another performer moved in. It is expensive to get permits to perform there, but they must do alright with the tips.

The Granary Burying Ground where many historical figures are buried including Sam Adams. Boston has many historical sites they have preserved in the city, they can be toured on foot by following the Freedom Trail.
 The city of Boston has great roads for bikers with marked lanes on the inside of parked cars. They were painting the bike lane green they day we were there. The drivers in the city are mean though. Boston does have a share bike program called Blue Bikes, they are $10 for unlimited 24 hour use for 2 hour periods. Use the app to check in and out. We'll do that next time.
After biking on our way back to the ship, we ran into our friends Mark and Jan on their way to have lunch. We stopped to join them at Legal Seafood on the water near the ship. They had spent the day with friends who live in Boston.
 Sailaway was interesting because we were tucked in a port and needed to back out quite a distance. It was definitely one of the trickier moves by the Captain. Approaching rain showers in the distance.
 Mark and Marie watching sail away from the Diamond Lounge

Fort Independence on Castle Island, one of a number of forts that protected the city of Boston.
 Kevin Johnson, ventriloquist with Clyde and Matilda was the headliner show for the evening. We remembered him from Summer Nights at Busch Gardens in 2008 and were excited to see him again. We skipped dinner in the MDR so we could see both shows at 7pm and 9pm. We ate in the windjammer which was the only night we did that, but it was really good. Our dinner friends were more fun though.  Anyway, Kevin Johnson did not disappoint.
 There was another event later in the evening, the Love and Marriage Show. It was funny on this cruise, there were no newlyweds, the newest married couple to be found was married 6 years.


This was our last port, so we could pack up our folding bikes now. Still two more days of the cruise.



Adventure OTS cruise, Portland, Maine Day 9

Our port of call today was Portland, Maine from 7am to 5:30 pm, a full day. The weather was mainly sunny 11C (52F) with winds up to 35 mph. We planned on biking the bike trails around the city. Its still very cold and windy, but the sunshine was a nice mood lifter.

Pano of Fort Allen Park lookout

Tug Boats in the Harbor off Commercial Street

Here's our progress so far, we're in the home stretch, one more port tomorrow then two days at sea to arrive in Port Canaveral, FL.

Selfie at Fort Allen Park in Portland, ME

When we were back in our room in late afternoon, parents were dropping off their kids for something.  Sailing club.  They were practicing maneuvering by following the leader in and around the many moored boats in the marina next to the ship.
After biking around the Eastern Promenade, East End Beach, Bayside Trail, Back Cove Park, Fort Allen Park, Casco Bay Bridge we met our friends for a beer at RiRa Irish Pub.
 After a dip in the hottub we went up to the Diamond Lounge for sailaway, and of course our favorite server Beverly was there. She sure worked the ship, she went to every venue whenever there was an event - Schooner Bar for trivias, Casino in between, Diamond Lounge for happy hour, the Imperial Lounge or Lyric Theatre for shows. Nice gal.

 The Norwegian Gem was in port with us today, and sailed away just before us.
No shows tonight since we've seen the ice skating show already, just dinner at the MDR.
Boston is tomorrow.




Adventure OTS cruise - Bar Harbor, Maine Day 8

Arrival in port at 7am however we have to be processed by U.S. Customs and Immigration and this is a tender port. We anchored near 7am but a letter dropped in our cabin stated to be in the MDR on deck 5 at 7:45am based on our deck.  Non-U.S. Citizens were instructed to go to the Imperial Lounge for processing.  Permanent residents were to go to the MDR with U.S. Citizens


Today was a long day in port, form 7am to 6:30 pm at 13C (55F), with winds up to 29mph. It was partly cloudy in the morning, and rain showers moving in around 2 pm.




We had to tender by using local boats to get to Bar Harbor. Here is the first one bringing the ramps.

Sunrise in Bar Harbor, ME
 We brought our bikes to shore and it was simple on the tender boat, they let us hang in back with the bikes, first one and first off.

Once on land again we had intended to get an Uber to the top of Cadillac mountain and ride our bikes down. But there were no Uber drivers and the taxis wanted tour groups not to give one way rides to the top of the mountain. So we opted to lock up the bikes and took an hour tour on Ollie's Trolleys for $25 each. They drove us up to the top of  Cadillac mountain and told us the history of the area.
1763 French Indian war, in 1688 Antionne Cadillac was an original landowner in New France. Bar Harbor is a 108 sq mile island, second largest in area behind Long Island.

 Acadia National Park, home of Cadillac Mountain
 View of RCL Adventure of the Seas just off of Bar Harbor, from Cadillac Mountain
 Scott, Mark, Kathy, Marie, Chrissy at the top of Cadillac Mountain
 On the Top of Cadillac Mountain - Mark, Kathy, Marie, Chrissy, Joel
 
 Our full dinner group - Mark, Chrissy, Joel, Jan, Scott, Mark, Kathy, Marie
 
 The bar in Bar Harbor, its a sand bar
 A nice Halloween decoration
 Pano on the top of Cadillac mountain
 Biking on the Shore Path along coast, Grant Park and Agamont Park.
 A lobster roll from the Deli, only $16.95
 This Pedego shop rents our electric bikes which could make it up the mountain on the carriage roads, only $59 for 4 hours. They have a tandem to rent too! 
 We stopped at the Stadium Pub for a $6 draft of Blueberry Maine craft beer. Yum!


We got back on the ship before the rain picked up and enjoyed another evening in the Diamond Lounge. We talked Arnold and his friend Barbara, they hail from Toronto on their way to Marco Island for the winter. He was 91 years old and quite the character, offered us a ride in his Bentley which is being shipped to Florida.
 The Motown show was our evening entertainment "Marcus Terrell & the Serenades".