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apuleius

Anyone going to Cuba?

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Thanks for the update Hasbeen; I'm not sure that any of us from the UK have had a direct update from the Monaco office: we seem to all have received the standard ABTA response i.e. a reply will be given to our complaint within the statutory 28 days required. Has anyone heard anything different.

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We booked through Star Clippers UK and have the have had the same response as you has been

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Just got this from my agent...

 

Re: Star Flyer sailing 16 February 2014.

 

Thank you for sending your constructive criticisms regarding your recent sailing on board Star Flyer. We have now completed our investigations and should like to address your points as follows:

 

Firstly, a considerable amount of planning took place to prepare for this operation in Cuba and the Cayman Islands. A number of Star Clippers’ marine operational personnel, Captains, Cruise Directors and tour managers were sent to Cuba to meet with the Cuban Authorities and local Agents, plus to check the ports of call and anchorages.

 

The advertised itinerary had been checked and approved by the Cuban Authorities. Unfortunately, the various Authorities do have a tendency to change their minds, on a regular basis, and this was the case regarding the planned call at Cayo Blanco. We were instructed to anchor at a different location to that originally inspected and, when the ship arrived, the crew found it unsuitable. Therefore, swimming was arranged from the ship’s gangway. We now have a more suitable beach stop arranged for the first day.

 

The call at Casilda was preplanned and the nautical charts show adequate depth in the channel. Star Flyer made a successful call at Casilda during the previous sailing from Panama to Cuba. Unfortunately, this channel has not been properly dredged and the ship was grounded on sand, during this cruise, with the pilot on board. It was necessary to order a tug to move the vessel, which took some time to arrive. We now have a suitable anchorage, for future calls, off a nearby beach with easy access by car to Trinidad.

 

The delay, waiting for the tug, caused the cancellation of the planned call at Cayman Brac and meant a late arrival into Grand Cayman, affecting the shore excursions available.

 

At Cayo Largo our anchorage was changed again, meaning that the area had to be checked by our crew first, causing another delay and shortening the beach stop there. We now have a better anchorage and a shorter tender ride to the beach and marina.

 

The next day was advertised as sailing in the archipelago. Unfortunately, much of the area is shallower than depicted on the charts, plus there was a swell that day, so swimming from the ship or a photo tender was not possible. We now have a beach/BBQ stop arranged for this day on subsequent sailings.

 

We understand that there were problems with some transfers between Havana and the ship and we have asked our travel partners to ensure their bookings are confirmed, with correct timings, with the local operators.

 

We also had assurances from the port authority in Cienfuegos that passenger facilities, such as chairs, tables etc, would be prepared for Star Flyer’s arrival, however, this did not materialise. We are continuing to pressure the authority to provide this at the port.

 

As shown in our brochure and on our website, this was the first cruise for Star Flyer, from Cienfuegos to Cienfuegos, and Star Clippers is pioneering in arranging these sailings in such a destination. Even with considerable planning, many aspects of operation only become apparent after the ship physically arrives at the destination. Plus negotiating with the Cuban Authorities will continue to be a challenge, although it is already improving.

 

Nevertheless, we do understand your disappointment and, as a gesture of goodwill, we should like to offer a discount of 50% from the brochure fare of a future sailing on Star Flyer, Star Clipper or Royal Clipper in 2014 or 2015. This discount may be combined with other brochure discounts such as Repeat Passenger and Early Booking, if applicable.

 

We do hope that you can understand our position and that we may be given the opportunity to welcome you on board again in the not too distant future.

 

>>>>>>

 

Steve

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Are you going to accept this, or are you going to push for more? I don't think this really addresses the issues that we faced. Please DM off the forum. I am hoping to co-ordinate a group response.

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Not happy with this response at all. We are not regular cruisers and would doubt we would cruise again so soon. I am all for pursuing a coordinated response

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Hi, I have hopefully sent you a message as well. I am absolutely gobsmacked with their response and feel that they really do not care less that their total incompentency ruined so many holidays.

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The base cost of this holiday package put together by SC in the UK was £2365 pp (based on the lowest grade cabin) and economy flights - so one is looking at minimum cost for two people of around £5000 or more depending on cabin grade, and flight class. What they are in effect offering is the equivalent of £600 pp which is the cost of a mid-grade cabin for a week on one of the Clippers. This does not in any way equate to their inefficiency and 'loss of enjoyment' experienced. In addition the descriptions on SC website remain unaltered.

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The base cost of this holiday package put together by SC in the UK was £2365 pp (based on the lowest grade cabin) and economy flights - so one is looking at minimum cost for two people of around £5000 or more depending on cabin grade, and flight class. What they are in effect offering is the equivalent of £600 pp which is the cost of a mid-grade cabin for a week on one of the Clippers. This does not in any way equate to their inefficiency and 'loss of enjoyment' experienced. In addition the descriptions on SC website remain unaltered.

 

Is that how you see it?

 

I see it as - a brochure price for a future cruise at 2500pp, times 2 for a couple = 5000. At a 50% discount = a 'Refund' of 2500. The higher the price of the future cruise the more of a 'Refund'.

 

Having said that, even without the problems, I will not be going on that ship again. Apart from the food, there was nothing special apart from the cost, which was way too high.

 

So - I would need a cash reimbursement, not a discount & that is not going to happen.

 

And apuleius - I cannot find you on tripadvisor.

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Sorry - I was reading dollars not pounds & I wasn't factoring in the air fare or transfers.

 

My fare was $2750 US just for the cruise 7 days but if I were to travel with them again I would go on the Royal for 14 days which would no doubt be more than double that. The discount offered is based on the future cruise so the refund would be 2750 or there abouts.

 

I should also add that the offer has been made to me. Others may get a different offer.

Edited by has been

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Hmm, if they start cherry picking offers, they're an even worse outfit than I thought!

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Hmm, if they start cherry picking offers, they're an even worse outfit than I thought!

 

 

They are not going to 'Cherry pick" anything.

 

Their offer is this'.... we should like to offer a discount of 50% from the brochure fare of a future sailing on Star Flyer, Star Clipper or Royal Clipper in 2014 or 2015. This discount may be combined with other brochure discounts such as Repeat Passenger and Early Booking, if applicable.'

 

You will be the one doing the picking, cherry or otherwise.

Edited by has been

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We are not avid cruisers and have no intention of taking a cruise in 2014 or 2015 therefore the offer they are making is of no interest to me at all. They need to consider all guests and not just themselves.

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Point taken about the offer being made to you and it may be that a different one is placed before us, but somehow I doubt it

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Point taken about the offer being made to you and it may be that a different one is placed before us, but somehow I doubt it

 

Have they actually made you an offer? If not, then they are not offering you anything at all.

 

Have you written to them your concerns & expectations of what they should do?

If not, then I doubt they will not make you any offer.

 

On another note- Last year I had an even worse experience on Oceania. A mega cost cruise line. I managed to contact the President to tell him why I would not be travelling on his cruise line again. His response - an offer of a discount against a future cruise.

Edited by has been

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As you quite rightly say they have not made me an offer therefore there is no offer. However, I would be very surprised if they were not offering the same deal to all. I have made my views known to Star Clippers and got the statutory response that everyone who complained got ie, they are investigating and will contact us once their investigations are complete. So watch this space

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I feel that a discount off a future SC cruise is not acceptable - even if it is to be offered. My travelling companion is unlikely to be able to take such a long journey again - so as I said previously a future discount would be of no use.

The total cost of the trip - was far in excess of the cost of the cruise due to the distance of Cuba. I would never have flown to Cuba for the 3 nights pre and 1 night post cruise alone.

I feel that SC must sort out a deal that works for most of the unsatisfied customers.

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Have just received the 50%off next trip offer and now plotting next move ....

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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I got this reply from SC today - they seem to think everything was just great!! no offer no nothing

 

‘Firstly, a considerable amount of planning took place to prepare for this operation in Cuba and the Cayman Islands. A number of Star Clippers’ marine operational personnel, Captains, Cruise Directors and tour managers were sent to Cuba to meet with the Cuban Authorities and local Agents, to check the ports of call and anchorages.

 

The advertised itinerary had been checked and approved by the Cuban Authorities. Unfortunately, the various Authorities do have a tendency to change their minds on a regular basis, and this was the case regarding the planned call at Cayo Blanco. We were instructed to anchor at a different location to that originally inspected and when the ship arrived, the crew found it unsuitable. Therefore swimming was arranged from the ship’s gangway. We now have a more suitable beach stop arranged for the first day.

 

The calls at Playa Ancon (for Trinidad), Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman all ran according to plan & as advertised. Many passengers enjoyed these calls. With regard to the excursion on Grand Cayman, there are many different tours, with differing prices, offered locally. Our Agent states that the tour was run correctly:

 

I am sorry your guests did not enjoy their experience . It seems that the guest friends have given them an entirely different description of a another Catamaran Tour.

Our tour as always was completed as per Tour Description, with Unlimited Fruit Punch and Iced water. All guests had access to masks and snorkels and snorkel vests, for the Stingrays as per Cayman Law no footwear or fins are allowed at the Sandbar.

 

There had been an itinerary change a few months before the departure from Little Cayman to Cayman Brac.

 

Cayo Largo was also planned in the advertised itinerary. The waters are shallow here and the tender journey was around 45 minutes however we have now improved this to 35 minutes on later sailings.

 

The next day was advertised as a day at sea, however to improve the itinerary we added a beach/BBQ stop at Cayo Rico before sailing on to Cienfuegos, which was enjoyed by many passengers.

 

In conclusion, we feel that this cruise went well and we have received good feedback and ratings from fellow passengers. We are sorry that you did not like some of the ports of call, however these were the calls we had advertised in advance, plus the extra beach stop in Cayo Rico to compensate for the inability to call at Cayo Blanco.’

 

Needless to say I am not happy

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