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    Hawaii - bar none

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  1. We usually see discounts. But does the opposite ever occur? Or is the brochure price effectively a price cap?
  2. But are there any cruise ships to use them and board passengers?
  3. Good point, fellow-ex-londener. The physicality, immediacy and (these days) relatively uncommonness of a mailed letter is not to be underestimated. Recorded delivery - all the better. As you say, marking it to exactly the right person is enormously helpful. All this puts you 'on top of the pile'! Good thinking.
  4. The article below is reproduced from The Times newspaper on April 29, 2020. It is stressed that it's scope applies solely in the UK. Coronavirus travel: Banks block billions in lost holiday repayments Andrew Ellson, Consumer Affairs Correspondent Wednesday April 29 2020, 12.01am BST, The Times Holidaymakers trying to get their money back for trips disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak have been blocked by banks despite having a right to refunds. Travellers are owed an estimated £7 billion for unused holidays and flights amid anger at the lack of government action to resolve the problem. They are entitled to a refund within 14 days if their holiday is cancelled, and seven days for flights. But travel operators are offering credit notes or deferred bookings instead. Many holidaymakers are unable or unwilling to accept the notes because they cannot travel at a later date or are worried that the notes will be worthless if the companies go bust. The industry has been urging the government to step in to guarantee the notes but ministers have failed to act. Thousands of travellers have turned to their banks and card operators, who are legally obliged to refund eligible customers. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, customers who booked their holidays or flights on a credit card can claim back the cost from their bank provided that the cancellation amounts to a breach of contract. However, some have been told that they are not eligible or that they must exhaust all avenues with their travel company first, which is not required in law. The Competition and Markets Authority says that four in every five complaints it is receiving at present relate to travel refunds. The watchdog is expected to announce a crackdown on unfair practices soon. Last week it said that it was “particularly concerned” about companies refusing refunds, introducing unnecessary complexity into the process and pressuring holidaymakers to accept vouchers. Industry figures expect the government to issue a statement soon to guarantee credit notes. In one case involving a bank, First Direct told a customer that it was not processing such claims because Visa was pausing all refunds. Visa has confirmed that it has nothing to do with such cases. Disputes over these refunds are civil matters and the Financial Ombudsman Service, which adjudicates on complaints between banks and their customers, says that it expects the industry to continue to process claims. A spokesman said: “We recognise this is an unprecedented situation but there is no reason not to process these claims as usual.” Some banks also appear to be unfairly preventing their debit and credit card customers from making “chargeback” claims. Visa and Mastercard holders, under their terms of service, can ask their bank to initiate a chargeback dispute if a company does not provide the service that has been paid for. The bank would contact the card company, which would then get the money back from the travel company’s bank. The cash would be returned to the customer and the travel provider’s bank could try to recoup the cost. Banks usually prefer their customers to make chargeback claims because they do not have to refund the money out of their own pocket. However, each claim involves extensive paperwork and customers of several banks, including Halifax, Metro Bank and RBS, say that they have been told they are not eligible because they have been offered credit notes, an approach that contradicts the guidance issued by Visa and Mastercard. Which? says that the number of people using the chargeback and Section 75 tool on its website has reached 10,000 since the start of March, compared with 1,000 in January and February. Gareth Shaw, of the consumer group, said: “While it is a very difficult time for businesses, the coronavirus outbreak has also put people’s finances under considerable pressure. There needs to be greater clarity and consistency about claiming through banks, and the industry should ensure that all customers have a fair chance of getting their money back.” Senior industry figures acknowledge that there have been problems, with one admitting that some staff appear to be giving customers the wrong advice, but they insist that the issues are a “(mess) up rather than conspiracy”. UK Finance, which represents the industry, said: “Generally speaking, if the supplier of goods or services has not delivered what has been paid for through a credit or debit card, then customers should be able to get their money back. However, it is important to note there is not an automatic legal right to receive your money back through chargeback rights or Section 75 as this will depend upon all the relevant facts in each case.” My holiday was cancelled but I have been only offered vouchers, what can I do? You can wait until your travel operator may be able to offer you cash or approach your bank, which should be able to get your money back though it will depend on the terms of your booking. How should I approach my bank? If you paid on a credit card make it clear that you want a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. You do not have to go to your travel provider first although your bank may well ask for evidence that you have not been given a refund. What can I do if my bank refuses to pay? Be persistent. If your bank refuses without offering a valid explanation, raise a complaint. If your bank still does not budge you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which could force the bank to refund you. What if I paid for my flights or holiday on my debit card? You can still approach your bank and ask them to start a “chargeback” dispute. You will need evidence that you have not been refunded. Is there any help available? Yes, the consumer group Which? has a free tool on its website to help with Section 75 and chargeback claims. Could anything change? Yes. If the government comes out in support of credit notes and guarantees them then it is feasible that they will be considered as good as a refund. If so, banks may accept them in return for cash, in which case customers will not be able to make Section 75 or chargeback claims.
  5. To cdwise: sorry to nit-pick on a matter that has been repeatedly mentioned on CC, but Cunard has no reserves. Cunard is merely a brand; it is not a company. It is Carnival, of which Cunard is a part, that the NASDAQ article is discussing. Equating Cunard with Carnival, when discussing financial matters, may be misleading.
  6. Unless things are different in the UK, compared with NAm on this one, you do not need to "apply" for the FCC; it will automatically be credited to you by Cunard. They have stated this clearly and repeatedly. So your travel agent is not on the ball. What you do need to "apply' for is the option of a refund of payment(s) already made.
  7. Bluemarble, re: "All he has paid prior to the cruise being cancelled is the $300 deposit while booking on board. So he can't expect to receive FCC for 125% of the full $4000 cruise fare". I beg to differ. A distinction needs to be made between 'contract' and 'payment', two key terms in contract law, which is what governs this issue. The contract in the example is for $4,000. That payment to date is $300 - or any other figure from zero upwards - is irrelevant to the issue. It's not uncommon for confusion between contract terms (the key here) and payment. Payment is part of the execution of the previously agreed contract which, by definition, has to be established before any payment can be made on it.
  8. If and when they start cruising again, can you imagine the lineups at the purser's desk, with all these 'trust us, it's automatically credited to your account'? I wouldn't be an onboard "guest services" employee for all the tea in China. It all presupposes that the land-side administration know what they're doing and get it all right, up front. Just like their website.
  9. It's a gamble In this situation, T5LHR, a bird in the hand might be worth 1.25 in the bush. To betting man, that's odds of 4:1 on. So, what it comes down to is do you think the odds on Carnival being able to honour their offer are better or worse than 4:1 on? And all this assumes, of course, that the price of a future cruise is roughly the same as now. There's a lot of variables. And finally, let's not forget the golden rule of gambling: never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  10. The form referred to in the red-type hotlink above applies not only to bookings directly with Cunard but those via TAs as well. This seems to be a departure from a fundamental tenet of Cunard and most other cruise lines. If the FCC option is selected and funds are credited to the customer's 'guest account' at Cunard, I wonder if this means that the ensuing future booking(s) must be made directly with Cunard also and not through a TA. Can anyone in the know clarify, please?
  11. I fear, brockstout, you are going to have to change at least one of your parameters, not least of which is going somewhere other than Alaska. In June 2021 there is just one cruise the whole month that takes 5 days: Norwegian Sun, June 17, out of Seattle. Of the 4 days away from port, 2 are sea days, one is In Ketchikcan AK and one is in Victoria BC. Not much Alaska, and not very far north - Ketchikan is just north of the Canada border - so no glaciers. Up to you but a lot of effort for very little Alaska. If you can wait until September, the Celebrity Millennium has a 6-day outing from Vancouver, visiting Ketchican, Juneau and Tracy Arm (glaciers). She sails September 03. You've stressed "affordable", so the Disney Wonder on July 07, also 5 days, out of Vancouver doesn't fit the bill. The irony is that there are 150 Alaska cruises currently available, but as others above has said, they are, by far, either 7 or 14 days.
  12. oskidunker: cancelling your September 11 2020 cruise is an option.
  13. 1. My experience is that, in terms of durability, you get what you pay for. 2. For carry-on baggage, check the airlines' (latest!) maximum measurements and buy one that has two wheels, recessed as much as possible into the body of the case, and that is as close to those measurements (take a marked tape measure) as possible. That way, you maximize the usable space inside the box. 3. Do not buy right before you travel or you may be rushed into something that quickly reveals it is sub-standard. 4. If the baggage handler don't get you, those curbs and steps will ruin the tiny axles that the wheels spin on, if you don't take care there. 5. Remove any debris from the wheel hubs and add a tiny drop of oil to them to keep the case easy to pull along, as well as on the two handle extenders (they can rust and jam up after they get wet).
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