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mattcruise615

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About mattcruise615

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    Berlin, Germany

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  1. Hi DerTobi and others, Thank you for the updates. An update from me as well: I booked through msccruises.de and have had a lot of difficulties with obtaining any information or getting a refund (see my previous posts). I previously submitted a complain to the European Consumer Centre Germany (https://www.evz.de/en/index.html), asking them to take up arbitration with MSC. Unfortunately, they can only mediate arbitrations between Germany and other European Union countries. They recently replied that, since MSC is based in Switzerland (a non-EU country), they said that they are unable to do this. I then submitted a request for arbitration to the Zentrum fuer Schlichtung e.V. in Germany (a German consumer protection organization, https://www.verbraucher-schlichter.de/). They accepted the case and contacted MSC recently to invite them to negotiate. MSC has a deadline of 2 weeks to accept. I will update the forum on what happens with this in the coming weeks. The German consumer protection agencies released this information on April 21: https://www.verbraucherzentrale-sachsen.de/aktuelle-meldungen/vertraege-reklamation/gutscheine-statt-geld-gesetzesplaene-in-der-coronakrise-46420 Essentially, the German Bundeskabinett recently passed a bill that will ask consumers to accept a voucher for all bookings made prior to March 8, 2020, and that, if the voucher solution is unreasonable because of personal circumstances (for example, if you had a concert ticket and cannot attend the concert on the new date or need the money for rent or energy bills) a refund can be requested instead, and further if the voucher is not redeemed by December 31, 2021 then a refund can also be requested. This bill is NOT YET law, because it has not also been passed by the Bundestag. So, at the moment, companies SHOULD be refunding all tickets (instead of giving vouchers). However, they are not doing this and are in violation of German (and European) law. The German Consumer protection agencies are not in favor of this bill (which has not yet been passed). They write: "Consumers can and should gladly accept vouchers to support providers and artists who have been particularly hard hit by the crisis. But this has to be done on a voluntary basis. Because many consumers are currently suffering from the consequences of the pandemic. Many people currently need their own money and they must continue to be free to choose what they spend their money on. We consumer advice centers therefore reject these legislative plans. Because they are nothing more than interest-free compulsory loans from customers to companies. At the same time, they run the risk of not getting their money back in the event of bankruptcy." The agency urges that all Europeans write to their legislature to discourage this kind of manipulation of consumer funds. They have published a draft letter that can be used for this (specifically for the bill in Germany): https://www.verbraucherzentrale-sachsen.de/zwangsgutscheine-sind-unfair-schreiben-sie-ihren-abgeordneten-46642 I will submit this letter to my representative in the German parliament. And I hope that my money will NOT continue to serve as an interest-free compulsory loan to MSC, as it is now. The crucial fact is that, the current law on the books says that consumers in Germany are entitled to a refund within 2 weeks of the cancellation. My cruise was cancelled on March 16, so it has been over 5 weeks since the cancellation. So I should have received a refund or at least some information about when that would happen by now. But, despite calling MSC over 15 times over the past 5 weeks and sending them a lot of emails, I haven't received any info about refunds. They are playing the situation as safe as possble and leaving customers in the dark, trying to avoid saying anything at all in the hopes that maybe they can get away with not refunding anyone. It's extremely disappointing for all of us. I agree with the others that, when this is all over, most people will never trust MSC again. In the cases where MSC is providing refunds (for customers who booked through the UK office, msccruises.co.uk, and the American office, msccruisesusa.com), these refunds were mandated by government decisions. I'm hoping the same will happen here in Germany. If this bill is passed by the Bundestag, it will mean that a refund is promised after December 31, 2021. The question is, will MSC still exist at that time? Best regards, Matt
  2. Hi Tobi, Thanks for your reply 🙂 Yes, I'm from Germany! I finally received a reply from a representative from MSC who wrote me that "a refund of the travel value is currently not possible." I then filed a complaint with the European Consumer Center Germany (https://www.evz.de/en/questions-complaints/) and recently heard back from them that they cannot arbitrate the dispute because MSC is based in a non-EU country (Switzerland). I'm now filing the same complaint with the Universalschlichtungsstelle des Bundes (https://www.verbraucher-schlichter.de/start) to start an arbitration with the German MSC office. Please feel free to send me a private message with your email. When I try to send you a message it says "This feature is disabled." Best regards, Matt
  3. Hi DerTobi75, I also booked through the German MSC office and my cruise was cancelled (Grand Voyage departing March 29) -- my story is in a post a bit further up in the thread. I'm trying to send you a message but the website says "This feature is disabled". Please message me if you can! Best wishes, Matt
  4. Hi nunuc2000, Thanks a lot for your post. It sounds like the American MSC office is the only MSC office worldwide that is offering any possibility of refunds at this point. We booked through the German MSC office and have been offered a Future Cruise Credit plus 200 Euro on-board credit. No option for a refund was offered. MSC has not responded to any of my emails requesting refunds, and when I call them, they tell me to write an email to their "Kundenbetreuung" ("customer support") email address. Please see my post above for further details about what happened with our cruise. The cancellation email that we received said nothing about refunds, and the German MSC website does not say anything about refunds either. I've read similar posts from cruisers who booked through the United Kingdom MSC office and they are experiencing the same problem. So it sounds like the Canada MSC office is doing the same thing. I agree that MSC's behavior is very disappointing. If we are forced to accept a Future Cruise Credit, we think that it should have no expiration date, or at least be valid until the end of 2022, because we think it will be difficult to people travel for well into the future. We also think that the FCC should definitely not have any geographic restrictions (why do they do that?). And of course a credit is only worth something if the company stays afloat, which is looking more and more difficult for the smaller, weaker cruise lines (I don't know if MSC is among those...). We are happy to join you in your quest if there's any way we can help! Best regards, Matt
  5. Hi Chrisgalwv, I'm really sorry to hear about your experience over the last several weeks with MSC. We've also gotten no money back or help at all from MSC following our experience (see more details about our cruise in the post above). If you have not been refunded yet that does not bode well for the rest of us... please keep us updated on any news you receive from MSC. Best, Matt
  6. Hi Onetimearoundtheworld, Thanks very much for your post. We also booked through the German MSC office and are in a similar situation. Our cruise was the 16-night Grand Voyage from Santos, Brazil to Barcelona, Spain, scheduled to depart on March 19, 2020. We flew to Brazil on March 14 and waited in Santos to board the cruise, which was currently at sea on a short 3-day Brazilian cruise. The German MSC office emailed us late in the afternoon on March 16 that the Grand Voyage was cancelled. We took the 2-hour bus ride back from Santos to Sao Paulo, and then got stuck in Brazil for about about a week before we were able to purchase a flight back to Germany. MSC did not offer to help us in any way with travel plans or figuring out a way to return to Germany. The cancellation email that we received on March 16 said that we would get a Future Cruise Credit valid until end of 2021 plus an on-board credit of 200 Euro. There was no mention of anything related to a refund in the cancellation email. Nor does it say anything about refunds on the German MSC website (msccruises.de). We responded by email to MSC to request a refund as soon as we received the cancellation email. We still haven't received any response. I've also sent several follow-up emails requesting a refund over the past 3 weeks, but we've received no responses to any of these emails either. I've also called the German MSC office multiple times, but every time I call, they tell me that they can't do anything and that if I'm dissatisfied, I should write their "Kundenbetreuung" email address to complain or request a refund. We would greatly appreciate it if you might be willing to share with us the text of the email that you sent to MSC after 14 days about the T&C and customer law in Germany, and the fact that they are required to refund during that timeframe. We would like to email them a similar message because they cancelled on March 16 and it's now been more than 3 weeks since they notified us of the cancellation. Feel free to send me a private message if you feel comfortable with that! Again, many thanks for your post. Best regards and stay healthy, Matt
  7. Hi Gerard02, Wow! They did not give a lot of notice on the cancellation. We are in a similar situation -- sailing with MSC Seaview from Santos, Brazil to Barcelona, Spain (March 19 to April 4). Not cancelled as of today. Did they provide any information about why the MSC Sinfonia grand voyage was cancelled?
  8. Does anyone know what MSC's policy regarding re-booking if you are denied boarding? Every time I call MSC I get a different answer about this. Sometimes they say that, if you are denied boarding, you can re-book onto a later cruise until February 2021. Other times they say that you are not able to re-book. Another time they said that the people who run the check-in on the day of embarkation will make a decision on the spot about this.
  9. Many thanks for your post! I was wondering if you could share with us info about the health examination during boarding? We are nervous that if one of us by chance has a slight fever or cough, we will be denied boarding and not offered any compensation.
  10. Hi aprilF, We booked through the German office of MSC (which is located in Vienna and handles customers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). So they may have different policies, we are trying to find that out. We cannot find anything about a "no show fee" in the fine print and contract that we received with our booking from the German office. However, we called them again (the German MSC office) to ask and got a different representative and they said the same thing about a 50% charge per person will be added on to our original bill. Maybe this is a special policy that they have only for long itineraries (15+ nights), or for Grand Voyages (repositioning cruises) only? In any case, it seems like it is applicable only for booking through the German office.
  11. Hi resistk, Thanks for pointing that out! That's really helpful. I will call MSC again to clarify.
  12. Hi travelberlin, resistk, and TrinaLC, Many thanks for the helpful responses! @travelberlin, I agree with your logic and the good points you made. I'm glad that you were able to get some money back with the 40% cancellation fee. Our first choice would also be to simply cancel and ask for a refund. But MSC is telling us that if we cancel now, we will not be refunded anything because the cruise departs in 13 days. We also asked them what would happen if we simply did not show up for the cruise, and they said that we will be charged a "no show fee" of about 50% of the fare per passenger on top of the fare that we've already paid.
  13. Hi Dexddd, Thank you very much for the helpful responses! Just today also MSC discovered that a former passenger who travelled on the MSC Opera during the end of February has now tested positive for coronavirus: https://www.msccruises.com/en-gl/About-MSC/News/MSC-Opera-Update.aspx MSC reports that no one else on the MSC Opera currently has any flu-like symptoms, so they are continuing the voyage without interruption. I personally find their response somewhat irresponsible given that they don't know for sure if the individual contracted the virus on board the ship or not. Given the lack of knowledge about the incubation time, it is possible that the individual could have contracted the virus on the ship. This makes their response seem lax and not very reassuring in comparison to, for example, the cleaning job that Princess Cruises is undertaking on their own ship: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/22495-princess-issues-rfp-to-clean-and-sanitize-diamond-princess.html
  14. We (2 people) are booked on the MSC Seaview Grand Voyage from Santos Brazil to Barcelona, Spain, March 19 to April 4, 2020. As of today, the cruise is scheduled to sail as planned and will stop in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Maceio in Brazil and Tenerife, Cadiz, and Malaga in Spain. There will be 6 days at sea in the middle of the cruise. It is hard to assess how risky it will be to sail given the coronavirus situation. We are particularly concerned about being away from ports for 6 consecutive days while crossing the Atlantic. If someone on the cruise fell ill during that time and needed hospitalization, there would be limited resources available. And since the cruise is so long (16 nights), any illnesses among passengers will have ample time to spread to other passengers. An MSC representative also said on the phone that when the cruise arrives in Spain (about 3 and l/2 weeks from now), it's possible that it will not be allowed to dock, in which case MSC would look for an alternative port in the Mediterranean. MSC already made a change to one of the ports (rather than stopping in Fortaleza, the Seaview will now stop in Maceio, Brazil), but we received no information or notification about this change from MSC -- I just noticed the change when looking at our cruise information on the MSC website. This is our very first cruise (we have never cruised before!), and so we do not know what to expect and how to assess the level of risk. To the other Cruise Critic board members, we would really appreciate your input on what you would do in this situation. Many thanks!
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