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SusieQft

Crystal Refund Roll Call

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7 hours ago, commodoredave said:

It’s Day 137 of my pending refund.

Crystal’s failure to provide “an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence” with respect to refunds when other luxury lines are paying in shorter timeframes raises a number of questions.  For example, is Crystal’s reluctance to pay up a result of cash flow issues caused by a shaky financial position? Is it simply a matter of their accounting staff being overwhelmed by the volume of cancellations requiring refunds?  Is it incompetent management? Or all of the above?

We don’t really know because Crystal’s management has not been very adept at letting us know what’s going on. So, as a public service to Crystal’s Marketing and PR Department, I have drafted a letter that Crystal’s President can send to everyone waiting for a refund. My suggested letter reads as follows:

"Dear long-suffering Crystal Client,

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write you and explain what is happening with your refund. However, since we’ve already blown by our two deadlines of 90 and 120 days to return your money, I’m feeling a little foolish. It’s not that we can’t count at Crystal. It’s just that we don’t like to.

I mean, put yourself in my shoes. I’ve got these weird bosses at Genting in Asia who are big into the gambling business. They’ve even laid odds on whether I’m going to keep my job when this fiasco is over, and right now I’m a long shot unless I can hoard enough cash to keep this cruise line afloat. Even my mother is betting against me.

Then there’s our staffing problem. My bosses made me lay off a bunch of employees to stem the losses and stop the financial hemorrhaging.  But don’t worry - most of them worked in the refund department, and the two employees still there are keeping their heads above water while they wade through the thousands of refund requests on their desks. In fact, at this rate we expect to surpass the current Guinness World Record for delays in refunding money. And while it may be the only award we get for service this year, I know that our Marketing and PR folks with their gift for hyperbole will somehow make it sound like a great accomplishment.

Finally, I’m thinking I may not get a big fat bonus at the end of this year because the cruise industry in general is not doing well, and in particular things at Crystal suck.  I mean, we borrowed billions of dollars over the last 5 years to build new ships for the river and expedition cruise markets, and now all our ships are floating idle and losing money. Thank goodness we never went ahead with that dumb idea to resurrect the SS United States!

All of which is to say is that your impatience is not helping.  We’ll get to you when we get to you. What’s a few thousand dollars anyway? Get a grip and stop whining.

Sincerely,

The Prez"

 

The ability of people with the money to blow on a luxury cruise is exceeded only by their ability to whine.  There, I said it.

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Hi @SusieQft 

I'm late to this party, but here is my entry:

Deposit only.

Cruise date: 7/7/22 (Symphony - Lisbon to Dover)

Cruise cancelled: 3/27/20

No refund as at 8/4/20, 130 days

 

Unfortunately I paid by direct funds transfer to avoid a 1% fee my TA charges for using Amex, so no charge back option for me. (I've filed that under 'false economies I have made'. Lesson learnt).

 

We have never cruised crystal - I still hope I get the chance. 

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At day 138, we finally received our refund of a fully paid off Sept 20, 2020 cruise we cancelled on Mar 13.  We did not file a dispute with our credit card for various reasons, but waited (and waited) for Crystal to do the right thing.

 

We will NEVER book a cruise with Crystal again.

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9 hours ago, KenzSailing said:

 

The ability of people with the money to blow on a luxury cruise is exceeded only by their ability to whine.  There, I said it.

What kind of whine to you prefer -- red or white?

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1 hour ago, nfcu said:

At day 138, we finally received our refund of a fully paid off Sept 20, 2020 cruise we cancelled on Mar 13.  We did not file a dispute with our credit card for various reasons, but waited (and waited) for Crystal to do the right thing.

 

We will NEVER book a cruise with Crystal again.

On the other hand, glad to hear that Crystal is in fact, refunding.  Yours is the first I've read in a long time.

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10 hours ago, Beagle5 said:

Hi @SusieQft 

I'm late to this party, but here is my entry:

Deposit only.

Cruise date: 7/7/22 (Symphony - Lisbon to Dover)

Cruise cancelled: 3/27/20

No refund as at 8/4/20, 130 days

 

Unfortunately I paid by direct funds transfer to avoid a 1% fee my TA charges for using Amex, so no charge back option for me. (I've filed that under 'false economies I have made'. Lesson learnt).

 

We have never cruised crystal - I still hope I get the chance. 

 

We need a list of TA that charges fee for using credit card.  Crystal is handling the Amex charge, so they are the one taking a hit for credit card fee.  Why is this TA charging Amex fee?  

 

Name and shame these TAs.  They don't belong in this industry.  

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20 hours ago, YWW said:

We cancelled our August 2020 Crystal Symphony cruise on March 21, 2020, a few days before our final payment was due. It's been over 210 days (today is Aug 3) and still no refund for our deposit. Crystal customer service did say they had just finished processing refunds for people who had cancelled on March 19 and they said it should be "soon" for us. However, we are not going to hold our breath because we had called Crystal on June 15 about the refund and we were told they had just finished processing refunds for people who had cancelled on March 15. It took them a month and a half to move from March 15 to March 19 so my guess is it'll take them likely another 1.5 to 2 months to process our March 21 refund if they have any cash left. What a joke! There's simply no way in hell we'll sail with Crystal again with this experience.

Just noticed a typo. Not 210 days but number should be 135+ days. I thought about filing a dispute with the credit card company but I booked it thru my travel agent so will the dispute end up with my travel agent instead of Crystal?

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34 minutes ago, YWW said:

Just noticed a typo. Not 210 days but number should be 135+ days. I thought about filing a dispute with the credit card company but I booked it thru my travel agent so will the dispute end up with my travel agent instead of Crystal?

NO.  The travel agent is an intermediary.  The charge on your card is from Crystal Cruises, not your TA.  The chargeback is against Crystal, not your TA.  Do it ASAP or you will keep waiting.

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Posted (edited)

It’s Day 138 of my very patient wait for a refund from Crystal, and my suffering continues.

I see that Crystal appears to have pushed back the restart of its sailing schedule until the beginning of January 2021. This is a smart decision, but I wonder if it may still be too early given the likelihood that a Covid-19 vaccine may not be widely available until at least February.

Regardless, I want to do my part to help Crystal market these January cruises even if there is a strong possibility they may have to be cancelled. Consequently, I have drafted a potential Press Release for Crystal to use in marketing these cruises. I offer it up tongue-in-cheek for their and your consideration:

 

"Crystal Introduces 145-day Book with No-confidence plan for All New Bookings in January 2021

Offers travelers an opportunity to dream big and make deposits on cruises that may not take place

 

(August xx) -- World renowned, very unique, spectacular, extraordinary, amazing, unwavering, unparalleled Crystal Cruises today announced a new marketing plan to encourage consumers to make deposits on future cruises that may not take place.

As part of the scheme travelers can make reduced deposits on cruises departing in January, and then wait 145 days or longer to get their money back after the cruise is cancelled.

These cruises include:

-- Hot Spots of Brazil: This 14-day cruise will depart Miami and sail to Brazil, where Crystal Society members will have a private audience with the country’s president, who will give a short talk on the health benefits of drinking Clorox. They will also have the opportunity to hand out face coverings in Rio de Janeiro.

-- A Taste of Mexico: This 16-day cruise will sail to the Ensenada for two days and then return to Los Angeles for a 14-day quarantine at the dock.

-- A Very Cool Crossing: This 15-day cruise will depart Miami in January and sail across the frigid North Atlantic to Barcelona. As part of Crystal’s special hygiene protocols, all meals and activities will take place outdoors, including lectures by Dr. Eppy Deemie Ologist.

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact when and where cruising can resume,” said Darwin Doolittle, Head of Marketing. “This presents an opportunity for us to sell cruises in January that may not take place, but will enhance our cash flow with deposits that we won’t have to repay for at least 145 days after the cruise is cancelled.”

About Crystal

Only Crystal delivers a world-renowned, very unique, unwavering, unparalleled, spectacular, extraordinary, amazing, smashing and excellent standard of service. The luxury line was recently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving the longest period to give customers refunds.

For more information about booking a January cruise with Crystal, contact your doctor.”

Edited by commodoredave

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1 hour ago, cruisr said:

NO.  The travel agent is an intermediary.  The charge on your card is from Crystal Cruises, not your TA.  The chargeback is against Crystal, not your TA.  Do it ASAP or you will keep waiting.

 

That is for the most part correct, but I believe there are some agencies that actually put the charge through their own CC terminal on behalf of the supplier. Early in the travel ban there were several articles in various trade publications dealing with small agencies getting hit with CC chargebacks for air tickets purchased by clients that had been cancelled. The best way to know would be to check the CC statement to see whose name is on the charge. If it says Crystal Cruises, then Crystal processed the charge. 

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Wonderful news, everyone!  I received my refund from Crystal!  I cancelled my cruise on March 12, which was the June 2020 cruise on the Crystal Symphony from London to Stockholm. It was a back to back cruise. The credit appeared on July 28, which was a few days ago, but I don’t check that often.  I’m so happy, and I wish everyone here who has not received their deposits yet the best of luck. Hang in their!

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At this rate, my vacation will be in my Guest Room.

The kitchen staff knows how we like our food prepared.

The Pillow Menu has pillows we like.

Pets are allowed

No Masks are required

Towels left on the floor will be washed and replaced by the housekeeping staff.

Just like summer camp, you will have to make your own bed daily before being allowed to do arts and crafts

Movie night is all day every day

And No tipping is required

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8 hours ago, kent9xxx1 said:

Why is this TA charging Amex fee?  

Name and shame these TAs.  They don't belong in this industry.  


I think you need to consider local practice may be different in other markets

 

It’s very common in Australia, where this poster lives and booked, for most local TAs to add a surcharge for credit card payments. There is legislation that governs how much the maximum surcharge can be (not to exceed the actual amount charged by the credit card company)

 

Of course the OP had the choice to shop around and find a TA who didn’t surcharge - they certainly exist in Australia and the US 

 

The bottom line is that as long as people are prepared to pay the surcharge then these agents will continue to exist in some markets 

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I have had some partial success.  The cruise I canceled was the Sept. 11, 2020 voyage from Venice to Athens.  I canceled the cruise booking on March 20, 2020.  All calls to Crystal were met with "your refund is processing, but we don't know when you will receive yours."  Finally, on July 14, 2020, I decided to file a dispute with American Express.  I received 2 case numbers; one for the July 2019 down payment, and one for the Dec. 2019 final payment.  Amex did not give me a conditional credit.  On July 29, 2020 (131 days), I received a credit on Amex for the final payment (by far the largest of the 2 payments).  No word yet on the down payment. 

 

I am tempted to write to Crystal and tell them that it could take up to 90-120 days for the dispute on the final payment to be canceled. 😉

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Good News !  We finally got our refund for our deposit on our 2022 World Cruise which we cancelled on March 17, 2020. We received the credit back on our Amex account on August 1st, 2020.  For those who have not received their refunds yet, there is hope. Crystal is a bit slow, but I think they are working on it. I know it’s been a long  time, but 

the whole travel industry is suffering, not only a little, but a great deal. 

 

We have had a lot of happy times on Crystal and have met a lot of wonderful people onboard. When it is safe to travel again ( hopefully 2021), we will definitely book with them again. 

We miss being on the ship and also the crew members who served us well. Hope when we are sailing again, we will see all the familiar faces. 

 

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16 hours ago, Mackenzie1 said:

Wonderful news, everyone!  I received my refund from Crystal!  I cancelled my cruise on March 12, which was the June 2020 cruise on the Crystal Symphony from London to Stockholm. It was a back to back cruise. The credit appeared on July 28, which was a few days ago, but I don’t check that often.  I’m so happy, and I wish everyone here who has not received their deposits yet the best of luck. Hang in their!

Cancelled that cruise a week later than you did.  Still waiting for refund.  Glad to hear some people are getting refunds.   

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Just received the below response from Crystal in regard to our refund that is now approaching 130 days. Not sure if this is good or bad news but at least it confirms that someone is still there. I am happy to see from the roll call that refunds are being issued and looking at the dates I am hopeful we are in the next batch, thanks for putting it together Susie. We still have a booking for 2022....wouldn't it be nice if we are cruising by then and can look back and laugh about delayed refunds, I really hope so.

 

Good afternoon Mr. XXXXXX

 

Thank you for your email. Our team is currently working diligently to process refund requests, however due to the extreme volume of claims we have had some delays. Your claim is currently in the refund queue for processing. I assure you that we are working on processing your request as expeditiously as possible.

 

I apologize for the delay & thank you for your patience.

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27 minutes ago, Lord Haw Haw said:

Just received the below response from Crystal in regard to our refund that is now approaching 130 days. Not sure if this is good or bad news but at least it confirms that someone is still there. I am happy to see from the roll call that refunds are being issued and looking at the dates I am hopeful we are in the next batch, thanks for putting it together Susie. We still have a booking for 2022....wouldn't it be nice if we are cruising by then and can look back and laugh about delayed refunds, I really hope so.

 

Good afternoon Mr. XXXXXX

 

Thank you for your email. Our team is currently working diligently to process refund requests, however due to the extreme volume of claims we have had some delays. Your claim is currently in the refund queue for processing. I assure you that we are working on processing your request as expeditiously as possible.

 

I apologize for the delay & thank you for your patience.

Unfortunately, that is the same response I get from them for the past month. Now at 118 days. Dispute filed with Amex as this appears the only way to get our money

 

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On 8/3/2020 at 5:47 PM, canadianINtexas said:

We cancelled on April 3rd and, 120 days later, as of August 3rd, we are still waiting for the refund of our deposit on a 2021 cruise.   Fingers crossed we see a refund before September 3rd!   I'll keep you updated.

 

I’m at 120 also.  It appears that some people are now getting refunds at around day 139 but it keeps stretching out so I think we’ll both be lucky to receive them by Sept 3.  Good luck!

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16 hours ago, pooch1 said:

Good News !  We finally got our refund for our deposit on our 2022 World Cruise which we cancelled on March 17, 2020. We received the credit back on our Amex account on August 1st, 2020.  For those who have not received their refunds yet, there is hope. Crystal is a bit slow, but I think they are working on it. I know it’s been a long  time, but 

the whole travel industry is suffering, not only a little, but a great deal. 

 

We have had a lot of happy times on Crystal and have met a lot of wonderful people onboard. When it is safe to travel again ( hopefully 2021), we will definitely book with them again. 

We miss being on the ship and also the crew members who served us well. Hope when we are sailing again, we will see all the familiar faces. 

 

Glad you received your money back.  I would classify 136 days as very slow rather than a bit slow.  There are large number of people whose cruise dates have passed who are still waiting.

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Finally after 143 days, our refund has appeared on the credit card. Crystal said they refunded on July 30.

Glad to finally be able to put this behind us. 

 

 

 

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Crystal seems to be running short of cash and struggling to repay refund money that they owe to thousands of passengers who cancelled cruises or had their cruises cancelled. In fact, many refund timelines are now exceeding 135 days (mine is now 140 days).

So I thought it might be a good idea if Crystal’s Head of Accounting, Dis Lexic, did some media interviews to explain the company’s financial situation. Of course, the Crystal PR Department would need to prepare some key messages for Dis to use. But after he’s been indoctrinated, here’s how I imagine the first interview might go:

 

Reporter:  How much cash does Crystal have in hand to pay refunds on a daily basis?

Dis Lexic: It’s either $75 or $57, but I’m not quite sure.

Reporter: Why is it taking so long to give customers their refunds for cancelled cruises?

Dis Lexic: Everything is relative. For example, my relatives are getting their refunds in one week. Non-relatives are waiting 145 days. As I said, everything is relative.

Reporter: You’ve said in the past that Crystal has the full financial backing of your parent company, Genting.  How much money do they have available to support Crystal?

Dis Lexic: I’m not sure. The Genting headquarters is in Malaysia, and we haven’t been able to speak with them since the telco company cut off our telephone and internet service for non-payment of bills.

Reporter: Fair enough. But the last time you spoke with them, how much had they pledged to give you to help pay back refunds owed to customers?

Dis Lexic:  They promised 100,000 Malaysian ringgit, which is what we’ve been using to issue refunds to people.

Reporter: Are you accepting payment in Malaysian ringgit for future cruise deposits?

Dis Lexic: Are you crazy? That stuff isn’t worth 25 cents on the dollar!

Reporter: When things get back to normal for Crystal, what do you plan on doing?

Dis Lexic: I’m going to take an accounting course. I graduated in Sociology, but I’m told that the ability to add and subtract might be a helpful in getting refunds out to people in a timely fashion.

Reporter: Good luck to you and all the people waiting for refunds!!

 

I hope this made you smile -- it's better than getting angry or upset!

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1 hour ago, commodoredave said:

I hope this made you smile -- it's better than getting angry or upset!

Well then there is the rest of the pieces to having canceled travel.

I have flights to cancel. They won't refund the flights - booked via Amex.  No matter that the flight is to Quebec, Canada (Montreal).  The flight is still scheduled but Americans are not able to fly to Montreal.  Therefore after 90 minutes on hold, 3 agents and a supervisor, I still have a flight I can't cancel and get a refund for those tickets either.

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11 minutes ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

Well then there is the rest of the pieces to having canceled travel.

I have flights to cancel. They won't refund the flights - booked via Amex.  No matter that the flight is to Quebec, Canada (Montreal).  The flight is still scheduled but Americans are not able to fly to Montreal.  Therefore after 90 minutes on hold, 3 agents and a supervisor, I still have a flight I can't cancel and get a refund for those tickets either.

Which airline. If with Air Canada, I can provide you with contact info for someone who helped me get a cash refund for a flight from Tampa to Toronto that AC originally refused to refund, but then reversed course when someone with a brain looked at it. 

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