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harkinmr

No Azamara For Me

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This is my first time posting to any Cruise Critic board.  I made two bookings on Azamara on January 23rd.  We have never sailed with Azamara.  We always make reservations for two booking dates as we are not sure of my husband's vacation awards until late in the year.  I called to cancel those reservations this morning as we will not be able to make either of those cruises.  I want to qualify my comment by admitting that I was not careful enough to look at the deposit return policy when I was making the reservations.  

 

I was told by the customer service agent that my deposits would be funded less a "service fee" of $150 for each booking.  I just lost $300 in 7 days!  While some of you might think that is fair under the circumstances, I do not.   We have sailed numerous times with Celebrity,Royal Caribbean, Oceania and Silver Sea.  I have never had a "service fee" charged by any of these lines for any cancellation.  This to me is absurd!  

 

I spoke with a supervisor and she said that the only thing she could do was send my request for a rebate of those fees to some "appeals" unit.  So I now sit and wait for a likely response of no return of the fees.  I read Cruise Critic reviews of every line and I do note that about 33% of the Azamara reviews are negative for any number of reasons, including customer service overall.  Not an acceptable percentage Azamara!  Add my name to your list of prospective passengers who will not sail with Azamara in the future.

 

I will update my post once I have heard back from their "appeals" unit (eye-roll).

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So you’re angry with Azamara because they did exactly what their policy says they will? 

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Always read the small print! 
If you want to see what Cruise Critic members really think about Azamara you could try reading the reviews rather than the Forum.  In my experience the Forums tend to be used, across all cruise companies, for people to either query things or complain about changes or things they came across before or during a cruise, so don’t necessarily give a true picture of CC members’ views of any cruise company. What is interesting is that Azamara do have a pretty high percentage of ‘returners’.

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If you Iive the U.K. you loose all of your deposit if you can cancel not just a service fee. 

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1 hour ago, harkinmr said:

.....I want to qualify my comment by admitting that I was not careful enough to look at the deposit return policy when I was making the reservations.....

That renders your comment absurd 😉....you are criticising Az for applying T&C's which are there for all to read!

Edited by hamrag

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Your TA should have explained the cancellation fee before you booked. If you didn't use a TA you on;y have yourself to blame for not being meticulous enough to read the fine print.

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I think the responses have been very restrained.  As mentioned above in the UK we lose all our deposit which would be £500 ($650) per cruise.  Because of that nobody would think of booking 2 cruises when they know they will be cancelling at least one of them.

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Harkinmr what country do you reside in? That may help with some peoples replies and can be tailored to your location.

 We are in the UK .We had to cancel an Azanara cruise last year and when cancelling the week prior to final payment we lost our deposit, which is exactly what I knew would happen. There was no service fee involved.

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It's a good lesson for anyone booking a cruise line for the first time.  When you make a deposit, find out if it's fully refundable up to final payment date.  Maybe you can ask Azamara to allow you to apply the $300 deposit for credit to a future cruise booking since it was a mistake by a new customer.   There is no harm in asking.  

 

 

 

 

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Is there another cruise that you might be able to take, to which you could transfer your deposits and not lose anything?  Azamara might be more willing to accommodate that request.

I understand being upset, but unfortunately that fine print is always what any company is going to enforce  99% of the time.

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2 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

It's a good lesson for anyone booking a cruise line for the first time.  When you make a deposit, find out if it's fully refundable up to final payment date.  Maybe you can ask Azamara to allow you to apply the $300 deposit for credit to a future cruise booking since it was a mistake by a new customer.   There is no harm in asking.  

 

 

 

 


Great approach and would suggest good will on the part of the customer.

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The last booking we made included the condition that we could move our cruise once without losing any part of our deposit or our perks.  You might ask if that’s possible for your booking, but if you’re adamant that you’ll never cruise with Azamara, that won’t really help you.  I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it does take away the incentive for Azamara to help you if you’ve said that you’ll never do business with them again.  They might be more inclined to work with you if they thought they might keep your business.

 

 

Edited by lisiamc

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Seems like a case where the cowboy burst into a bar with both guns ablazing and wondered why people fired back.

 

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Just now, harkinmr said:

This is my first time posting to any Cruise Critic board.  I made two bookings on Azamara on January 23rd.  We have never sailed with Azamara.  We always make reservations for two booking dates as we are not sure of my husband's vacation awards until late in the year.  I called to cancel those reservations this morning as we will not be able to make either of those cruises.  I want to qualify my comment by admitting that I was not careful enough to look at the deposit return policy when I was making the reservations.  

 

I was told by the customer service agent that my deposits would be funded less a "service fee" of $150 for each booking.  I just lost $300 in 7 days!  While some of you might think that is fair under the circumstances, I do not.   We have sailed numerous times with Celebrity,Royal Caribbean, Oceania and Silver Sea.  I have never had a "service fee" charged by any of these lines for any cancellation.  This to me is absurd!  

 

I spoke with a supervisor and she said that the only thing she could do was send my request for a rebate of those fees to some "appeals" unit.  So I now sit and wait for a likely response of no return of the fees.  I read Cruise Critic reviews of every line and I do note that about 33% of the Azamara reviews are negative for any number of reasons, including customer service overall.  Not an acceptable percentage Azamara!  Add my name to your list of prospective passengers who will not sail with Azamara in the future.

 

I will update my post once I have heard back from their "appeals" unit (eye-roll).

I think it is your attitude that is causing the reactions you are getting from this board, or at least it was to me. To not wait at least a few days until A final resolution and to add “(eye-roll) to your posts did not help.

 

 Sounds like you have experience cancelling other cruise lines without rebooking and never paying a cancellation fee, which surprises me when cruise lines I have cruised all have “Administrative fees” for cancelling before final payment unless you rebook. There is an administrative cost to the cruise line to booking a guest that then cancels causing more costs albeit not large but I would want to discourage the practice.

 

You are entitled to express your opinion as I am, but would not expect sympathy based on your post.

 

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2 hours ago, Jimmycruiser said:

 Sounds like you have experience cancelling other cruise lines without rebooking and never paying a cancellation fee, which surprises me when cruise lines I have cruised all have “Administrative fees” for cancelling before final payment unless you rebook.

 

 Oceania has none.  Celebrity has none unless you specifically book deals where it's non-refundable.  Every time you book a new line, you need to check.

 

I do sympathise with OP or anyone who makes a mistake and is out $300 for it.  What I would do is call Azamara and say, "I think I made a big mistake and was wondering if you could help me out.  I've never cruised Azamara before and I stupidly forgot to read the cancellation policy.  Can you do anything to help me?  Even credit toward a future cruise would be great.  Thanks, I really appreciate your help and anything you can do."  I don't think most people at any company wants to see someone like that lose the deposit and be out $300, especially someone new trying Azamara for the first time.  Now, if they were inflexible after that, I can see someone feeling really let down.  That's bad business.  I know others feel differently.

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Since Azamara didn’t specify a time frame for refunds, I don’t imagine the fact that the booking was only a week old will change their policy. That would open the door to people requesting refunds after 6 days and, then 8 days and on. If you aren’t interested in transferring your deposit to a different cruise, perhaps the appeals process will work in your favor, if you were very, very nice when you explained your situation. 

It could be worse.

I failed to read the fine print on a contract with a large, online cruise agency. When I wanted to cancel a cruise because I’d changed my mind about both date and itinerary, I discovered that I had a specific time period to do that, or face not only the Azamara cancellation fee (which I was aware of) but also the agency’s own cancellation fee of 15% of the total cruise price! I had never heard of such a thing, couldn’t even believe it was legal, but yep, there it was in the fine print, page 3. That was after 4 previous bookings with these people!  I found another cruise, of course, as well as new travel agent. I ended up happy not to have had my fine print reading failure cost me anything but embarrassment at not knowing what I should have. 
 

FYI - All my cruises have been on Azamara and I have two coming up. If you can get past your current disenchantment, you might love them. I certainly do.

 

Good luck,

Melissa

 

 

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Just now, hubofhockey said:

 Oceania has none.  Celebrity has none unless you specifically book deals where it's non-refundable.  Every time you book a new line, you need to check.

 

I do sympathise with OP or anyone who makes a mistake and is out $300 for it.  What I would do is call Azamara and say, "I think I made a big mistake and was wondering if you could help me out.  I've never cruised Azamara before and I stupidly forgot to read the cancellation policy.  Can you do anything to help me?  Even credit toward a future cruise would be great.  Thanks, I really appreciate your help and anything you can do."  I don't think most people at any company wants to see someone like that lose the deposit and be out $300, especially someone new trying Azamara for the first time.  Now, if they were inflexible after that, I can see someone feeling really let down.  That's bad business.  I know others feel differently.

Not to belabor the point, but Oceania does have a $250 per person administrative fee if you cancel after deposit but before final payment, but may be converted to a future cruise credit if booked within 12 months and completed prior to 24 months. This is according to their website. Whether they choose to enforce it or are more lenient than AZ, I do not know.

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39 minutes ago, Jimmycruiser said:

Not to belabor the point, but Oceania does have a $250 per person administrative fee if you cancel after deposit but before final payment, but may be converted to a future cruise credit if booked within 12 months and completed prior to 24 months. This is according to their website. Whether they choose to enforce it or are more lenient than AZ, I do not know.

 That's not exactly correct.  That admin fee only kicks in between 91 and 120 days on cruises 14 nights or less (151 to 180 for longer cruises).  Azamara's kicks in immediately. 

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24 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

 That's not exactly correct.  That admin fee only kicks in between 91 and 120 days on cruises 14 nights or less (151 to 180 for longer cruises).  Azamara's kicks in immediately. 

Yes, you (hubofhockey) are correct, the $250 fee kicks in at 91 days prior to departure for Oceania..  A bit earlier for cruises 15 days or longer: 151 days.  The fee is larger for Owner's Suites.

 

For RTW cruises it kicks in at time of booking.

 

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/Documents/Legal/56049/TC-US.pdf

Edited by 1985rz1

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Many cruise lines have had to do this specifically because people book multiple cruises, only to cancel one or all at a later date.  Maybe not a big problem for lines with lots of cabins, but for a line with few cabins, it can have a really big impact.  

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4 hours ago, 1985rz1 said:

Yes, you (hubofhockey) are correct, the $250 fee kicks in at 91 days prior to departure for Oceania..  A bit earlier for cruises 15 days or longer: 151 days.  The fee is larger for Owner's Suites.

 

For RTW cruises it kicks in at time of booking.

 

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/Documents/Legal/56049/TC-US.pdf


A number of years ago Oceania charged no or very low fees. Consequently, some of its reservations were gamed by a “gentleman” and some  fellow schemers.

 

They would buy up a whole group of staterooms including OV’s and Verandas and then dump the Verandas at final payment. Lest the ship sail with a lot of empty Verandas, those staterooms were then sold off or opened up for upgrades at significantly lower prices.


The “gentleman” and his cohorts would then swoop in to pick up the Verandas and pocket the savings.

 

Others will correct me if I have misconstrued the details of this plan. I also imagine that the skill of computers in now constantly monitoring the dynamics of stateroom reservations would immediately spot this manoeuvre.

 

But perhaps that is why Azamara traditionally has tried to protect its reservation commitments, and that Hubofhockey and now others have suggested a reasonable path in applying to Azamara to use the fees for another cruise itinerary.

 

 

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I’d be interested in comparisons between numbers of UK cruisers cancelling cruises and numbers of US cruisers doing so, given that if we cancel we lose our total deposit (£500 per couple). 

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13 minutes ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

I’d be interested in comparisons between numbers of UK cruisers cancelling cruises and numbers of US cruisers doing so, given that if we cancel we lose our total deposit (£500 per couple). 


Even though we're in the US, it would never occur to me to book cruises I didn't plan on taking.  I understand things come up, but when I hear about people putting down deposits on multiple cruises, knowing they will cancel, I don't get it.  I'm assuming that's why Celebrity is really pushing nonrefundable deposits now.

 

I will admit we are considering changing the current South American cruise we have booked, though, because business class airfare is so high.  We're still ten months out, so I'm hoping prices might drop in the next couple months and we can keep that booking.

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1 hour ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

I’d be interested in comparisons between numbers of UK cruisers cancelling cruises and numbers of US cruisers doing so, given that if we cancel we lose our total deposit (£500 per couple). 

Indeed! And really, it is outrageous that in the USA one can book a number of cruises on deposit and later decide which one to sail (or none) and have the deposit refunded! Little wonder they are getting wise to that little trick, which is there across all cruise lines for US booked cruises.

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