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ON cruiser

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About ON cruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Toronto, Canada
  • Interests
    reading, dog-walking, community affairs
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
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  1. First, Az tchr, I am very sorry that you have to file for Unemployment. May your time on benefits be brief, and may you be re-employed swiftly--and I wish that to all impacted by this miserable virus! While CCL raised significant funds, it is likely their goal to preserve this cash for operational needs, to get them through these hard times, rather than to (easily) hand it out. All I am urging is that those would-be passengers explore their options to preserve, or reclaim, their cash. It is likely that many people who have a cruise that is not going would like to have at least the option of a cash refund. Again, if other lines are able to do this, then why would CCL companies not have that same capability?
  2. Sorry to be cynical, but I do not understand how cancelling cruises that are clearly not able to happen--because of orders from the state of Alaska, and also the government of Canada precluding those cruises touching a Canadian port--would make any more of a mess for HAL and other CCL companies, when seemingly RCCI and other lines have managed to handle it. Me thinks that some companies do not want to process refunds (rather than FCC), so are delaying this for cash-flow purposes, instead of being upfront and just acknowledging that certain cruises just cannot happen, so a refund or FCC (customer choice) is offered. If people paid by credit card, as I have posted elsewhere, consider disputing the charge with your credit card issuer. It is at least worth a phone call (you will likely be on hold. But, given many are at home anyway, what else is there to do? ) .
  3. There are a number of different threads, including "future cruise credit", where this issue is also discussed. In that thread, I raised as a possible option taking the issue up with your credit card issuer. If you made final payment for a cruise that clearly has become impossible (for example, because of government travel bans, Alaska or others with Canadian ports before July 1), yet that payment has not yet been made to the credit card as you have not yet reached your payment due date, you can explore disputing the charge with your credit card issuer. Heck, even if you paid your credit card bill, you can still ask (never hurts to ask, does it?) your credit card issuer what options you may have to dispute a charge. Interesting that Disney would process such a substantial refund so quickly while those of us on a luxury cruise line are expected to wait first for their decision to cancel, and then have an additional wait for the refund. Going forward, once the covid situation is hopefully in the rear-view mirror, customers will likely remember which lines served them well, and which did not.
  4. One would think, in these unprecedented circumstances that all cruise lines, which belong to the Cruise Line Industry Association (or a name close to that) would coordinate such measures through their association, including issues of refunds, FCC, etc. They should all be on the same page. Certainly, the lines that in this situation offer less options than others will have to wear it with the consumer, going forward.
  5. With regard to the new announcement by Seabourn to pause operations for a further 30 days (until May 14), a little comparison is apt. I checked the Royal Caribbean International ("RCI") website. That line proposes the same pause, and same choice of full refund or enhanced (125%) FCC. Yet RCI makes it clear that, in addition to the pause until May 14, other cruises beyond that date, such as those going to Singapore and Canada, are also cancelled as of now. The same option of a FCC or refund applies to those, even to those beyond the May 14th date. Seabourn still lists on its website various Alaska cruises that, as these involve Canadian ports before July 1 (the date until which such cruises are banned by the Canadian federal government), are just as impossible as the RCI cruises. Yet Seabourn has not yet acknowledged that these cruises too must be and actually de facto are cancelled, with the option of FCC or refund equally applying. Seabourn needs to get on with it, in my opinion, and not trail but at least match, if not lead, the industry in "doing the right thing". As to earlier comments by Rols, I believe it is up to us to be informed consumers and to insist, politely, on our rights as consumers. That means not accepting the "first answer" unless it is one which satisfies. Good luck, all.
  6. Yes, Cruiseej, if I cancel then that is one thing. But, in these circumstances, I am not cancelling; it is not my initiative or decision---rather, Seabourn is being forced to cancel the cruise due to government edicts. Those edicts make my cruise, and likely the cruise of others to various places that are now "no-go" zones, impossible. In such circumstances, I believe I am entitled to a refund or can choose to accept (or reject) any FCC offer that a cruise line wishes to propose. Anyway, let us see how the cruise lines handle this. Smart companies will handle this well and earn plaudits. My fallback will be trip cancellation insurance that covers due to the government travel advisories, etc.
  7. Responding to both PaulChilli and Rols, thanks for your comments. I am not certain what position my bank/credit card issuer would take if Seabourn insisted on only offering FCC. I know that I would argue strenuously, both with Seabourn and with my bank, that this is not equivalent or acceptable for reasons I stated in my original post above. If need be, the matter could be pursued legally. As for Seabourn taking the purchased Alaska cruise, departing from and returning to Vancouver, and twisting it all out of shape into something else entirely, to me that would be unacceptable. We had Seabourn air on this cruise because of the air subsidy offered, and a key reason, for us, are the many non-stop flights daily (during normal times) between Vancouver and Toronto. Moving the cruise to Seattle, a Covid hot-spot, is clearly not on. Moving it out of Alaska, when that is what we wanted and booked, is also not on. Moving it to something that requires longer and connecting flights, also not on. Frankly, I am not as cynical as Rols in the above post. Substituting a port(s) does not mean entirely changing the product purchased into something not recognizable. I doubt that Seabourn would insist on that. They may offer it, they may try to make it enticing, but I doubt that, even with the most favourable contractual terms re substituting ports, etc., they can change any cruise that fundamentally, insist that it is "their way or the highway", and make it stick. Moreover, if Seabourn does that, so the cruise ends up being something that "isn't to anyone's liking", as Rols described, then they are shooting themselves in the foot. Right now, the industry needs to build goodwill with existing customers, not alienate them so even if those customers are compelled to take a vastly different cruise from what they booked, they leave the ship saying, "never again". All cruise lines also will, once the crisis has past, need to re-start trying to persuade all those who have been thinking of a cruise, but who have not yet gone. This situation has, in my view, set the entire industry back by at least 5 years, in terms of outreach to monied potential clients who enjoy luxury yet who have not cruised yet, but were considering it. Those people are likely considering it an awful lot less, currently, if even those of us who enjoy cruising are hesitant. And many regular cruisers are, with good reason, hesitant. The sooner the cruise lines (all of them) accept this, and treat customers fairly, the sooner that goodwill starts to be re-built. Moreover, if other CCL brands, and other brands (RCCI for example) are being more flexible to and respectful of customers, then why would Seabourn treat its customers any differently, and offer less choice? That would be simply not acceptable, at least not to me. In recent years, higher end cruising has been something of a sellers market, even with Ritz coming on stream. Capacity has been limited and the cruise lines, Seabourn and Regent in particular, can "name the tune". Yet, the combination of lots of capacity on lots of ships, including the new-builds coming on stream, coupled with much hesitation amongst existing customers to want to cruise ("will it be safe?", "will we be stuck somewhere?") let alone nervous newbies, along with people suffering from the economic impact so turning to less expensive holidays, all will turn cruising generally, and higher end cruising specifically, into a buyers market. If the lines want to fill their ships, not just once but ongoing, they will need to woo their potential customers, not alienate them. That includes treating customers well, shoreside and on the ship. Hopefully most cruise line executives will soon realize that they are living in and must adapt to this paradigm shift. Of course, business school is full of case-studies of companies and executives who just "didn't get it". Time will tell...
  8. If and when I am given the choice between a FCC and a monetary refund, I will select the refund. A Seabourn cruise, for me, is expensive (and generally, worth it), so the loss of $15,000 is more than an inconvenience for me. Respectfully, comparing this to "life and death" ala surviving the death camps, pursuant to post # 7 above, is in my view very much of a false equivalence to which I am entirely unable to relate. The loss of much monies to many people can have devastating consequences on its own. It is likely more than a mere inconvenience to many. It sure is to me. My cruise to Alaska was to leave at the end of May, from Vancouver (roundtrip). Given the Canadian governments' prohibition on cruise ships until July, and also given that Alaska is requiring a 14 day quarantine period, clearly, our cruise will not be taking place. Yet, puzzlingly, it has not yet been cancelled. It should be, as should be any others that are obviously not able to proceed. This is not about fault or blame. Nobody that I know of is asserting that the cruise lines caused this horrific virus. Yet, in my view, it is the obligation of the cruise lines to admit defeat when certain itineraries are just not workable, and offer their customers on such cruises a refund and, if they wish to extend a FCC in addition to or instead of a refund, to do that. Others in the CCL family of brands are doing just that: Princess, for cruises which it cancels, is offering a 100% refund or a 125% FCC. Seabourn should be doing that, and doing it promptly. For those who urge "patience", having not yet made final payment, I disagree. It is those who made payment who are potentially out lots of monies, at a time when portfolios are plunging and many are facing uncertain employment. If the cruise is clearly not to happen, no doubt many people would find a monetary refund (or on the credit card, etc.) helpful. Moreover, again, if Seabourn is unable to deliver the promised product, in that case a refund must be offered. It is not for the customer to share in the sorrow, or about being responsible, etc., as a poster above suggests. My deal with the cruise line was for a certain product. If it cannot be delivered, then, as the customer, I am entitled to a refund, full stop. As for me, having made final payment on my credit card, I was not eager to pay my credit card on the impending due date and see the large price of my cruise, which is obviously not going ahead, leave my bank account. Then I would have to wait, and possibly fight, to get the refund to which I am indisputably entitled (as are any others similarly situated). Happily, my credit card issuer was more than willing to offer me a satisfactory solution: do not pay the amount charged for the cruise until my June statement without any interest charged for that amount (and pay the rest of my balance as usual)--and by June either Seabourn will have processed the refund or, if for some strange reason not, I can then dispute the charge through my credit card. This solution may not work for everyone, depending on your relationship with your credit card issuer (in my case, my long-time bank). But it may be worth asking. Don't get me wrong. I hope that Seabourn and all the cruise lines come through this, as we will cruise again. Yet, pursuant to a thread on the HAL board entitled "Solvency of Cruise lines", things are up in the air ("under water" a better analogy for cruise lines?) at this time. Who knows which entity may have to avail itself of US bankruptcy protection proceedings (Chapter 11). Hopefully this is not the case, but the last thing I want is to have to fight to get my refund from a trustee, or find I have FCC certificates that would be lovely wall-paper, like the Eastern Airlines Stock certificates. Hopefully, better times soon prevail for all. I hope to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel (and also hope that it is not an oncoming train).
  9. Hoping that Bill & Mary Ann made it home safely and are just catching up on laundry and other house chores, rather than being stuck in Sydney airport where their story last left off. Feel like this is a "cliff-hanger"! Eagerly awaiting the next installment--of course, when you are recovered from jet lag, etc.
  10. It is a little rich for those who have not yet made final payment to urge "patience" to those who already have, and who, like Dave34 above noted, shelled out $12 grand and, understandably, since his cruise is clearly not going, wants it back. The myriad of excuses offered for the cruise-line (they are busy, they have other tasks, etc.) fall flat when a competitor, RCI, no doubt equally busy and having to juggle the same balls in the air, comes out with a policy that is fair, and which will also go a long way to preserve customer good-will. Not only Alaska but RCI has extended their overall cancellation--sensible in the circumstances. Its not whether the Alaska season is at risk of not happening, or at least a large part of it. For those who have made final payment for cruises leaving during the absolute ban, there should be no doubt nor hesitation: offer our money back. If you want to offer whatever incentive you wish to include to get us back another time, that is the decision of the cruise-line. Yet only silence to those who have made their payment, when they now know they cannot go and who, now, may also be facing financial challenges given the stock market, job market, etc. (almost 1 million claims for Employment Insurance in Canada so far this month!) is not treating your customers well. I am by no means a HAL-basher, by the way. I am a five star mariner who also sails Seabourn, and who is awaiting Seabourn's formal cancellation of our Alaska cruise that, because of the Canadian ban and Alaska ban, is not possible. So yes, I have skin in the game, just as does Dave34.
  11. Fingers crossed that Copper can help them get on a plane, any plane, heading to Florida. Look forward to reading of the successful outcome (and, second all the thanks to Copper and Ccole. "Goodness against the gloom").
  12. Glad to hear that your journey home has begun. Hope you get well rested in the hotel and have a relaxing day. Look forward to reading of your successful (ultimately, despite any "hiccups" which are now common) travels home.
  13. Certainly, the cruise lines did not cause the pandemic. Yet, with the accumulation of debt and building ever more ships (adding capacity), and spending heavily (including large executive pay packages), with nothing saved for the proverbial and inevitable "rainy day", one can fairly state that they did not plan well, either. Is their lack of planning and business prudence the responsibility of the taxpayer? Something to ponder.
  14. Thanks KWB, for linking that article in your above post (# 21). As a free-market guy, I tend to agree. Not everything can be "too big to fail". If people have not watched the great film, The Big Short, while social distancing at home, now is the time for it. After the 2008 recession, GM reduced brands, axing Oldsmobile and Pontiac. I wonder if the major corporate entities, which operate various cruise-lines brands, will have to do the same? I think change and restructuring is a real possibility for the industry, whether it involves acquisition or merger, or Chapter 11 . My personal worry is that I have a Seabourn cruise booked, and just charged final payment to my credit card before this all blew up. The cruise is now impossible as it was to Alaska, Vancouver return, and Canada has prohibited cruises at this time. As I have not reached the payment date on my credit card, I am thinking to call my credit card and dispute the payment, so it goes into suspense rather than me shelling out a huge amount of money that may take quite some time to get back. I would rather keep the money while this gets sorted out, thanks. Even if all stay solvent, it will take Seabourn some weeks to get around to it. And KWB, while I loved and miss my mother-in-law, I still think your definition of "mixed emotions" is great.
  15. And the post above, from Love the Beach, is a business-case study of how a company can alienate long-time customers. Especially when right now experienced cruisers are uncertain about whether and when to return to cruising ("is it safe?", "is it sanitary?", etc.) and potential new customers are running for the hills, with lots of new-build capacity to soon hit the market, now is the time for all cruise lines to be sensitive to their customers, not to annoy them. Has anyone seen the CCL stock price? In this case the above poster is only asking for the same deal that all others obtained. He or she is not asking for "the sun, moon and stars". If I were that poster, now that I have a 2021 cruise, so purportedly long outside the new cancellation-without-penalty date, I would explore cancelling it and making new plans when and if the time is right. I would also send either an email or letter to HAL corporate, or post on their Facebook page, advising them of my decision, and why I made it. Good luck to all who are currently in cruise-limbo.
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