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View Full Version : Booking Early can be a Hassle


Hlitner
August 27th, 2007, 04:56 PM
We recently found how "friendly" Azamara is to early bookers. We had booked a March 2008 cruise (18 days) during a period when prices seemed pretty good. A few days ago we discovered that Azamara was now offering a $200 ship board credit for the same cruise, but this was advertised as "new bookings only." Our TA spoke to the Azamara rep and asked that we be given the credit since it did no make sense to penalize early bookers. Azamara refused to give the credit unless our TA cancelled the original reservation and than rebooked. This created additional paperwork, new deposits, credit card refunds, and took TA time and effort. Since we are well outside the final payment period (and still in the period where we can get complete refunds) this was just an exercise designed to create hassles and make life a bit inconvenient. We have run into similar situations with other cruise lines (we have been on more than 50 cruises) and have seldom run into this problem. Its a very unfriendly policy which in the end costs valuable time for the TA, Cruise line staff, and even the traveler.

Hank

KS&JW
August 27th, 2007, 08:01 PM
I will never understand companies that do such things. What do they gain? :confused: $200 if you don't wish to go through the hassle. That amount of money does not make up for the poor taste it leaves in the customers' mouth. In addition, the TA has the hassle and the more hassle they have to book Azamara cruises, the less likely they are to try and sell them.

grammy anny
August 27th, 2007, 08:57 PM
The exact thing happened to us. Our Azamara Quest cruise is April 2008. What a mess! The whole cituation has me worried.
This cruise is our first trip to Europe. The only difference between our tranaction and yours is that the person at captains club said we have to use the $200. at the spa. Neither my husband or I have use for the spa. I feel bad for my TA. She had to do all the negotiations. (twice) I just got the aggrevation and inconvience.
grammy anny:(

P&M Cruisers
August 27th, 2007, 09:00 PM
That's really unusal, my recent experience was much more positive. We were able to get the recent senior discount now offered for our cruise automatically applied to our booking, just a refund for the amount. It was completely hassel free and a great perk!

Are you sure it was Azamara and not the Travel Agent making the big deal out of it....just a thought.

P&M :)

grammy anny
August 27th, 2007, 09:13 PM
did you get your senior discount by talking directly with Celebrity?

Olivia'sMom
August 27th, 2007, 09:50 PM
That's really unusal, my recent experience was much more positive. We were able to get the recent senior discount now offered for our cruise automatically applied to our booking, just a refund for the amount. It was completely hassel free and a great perk!

Are you sure it was Azamara and not the Travel Agent making the big deal out of it....just a thought.

P&M :)

WHAT senior discount?? What cruises does it apply to and at what age do they consider you a senior??? LOL -- we might qualify!!

Host Andy
August 27th, 2007, 10:13 PM
WHAT senior discount?? What cruises does it apply to and at what age do they consider you a senior??? LOL -- we might qualify!!

Hi Olivia's Mom !

To qualify for the Senior rate, 1 person in the cabin must be age 55 or above. Most sailings do not have the Senior discount. They tend to pop up, as it gets closer to your sailing date, so it pays to keep an eye out for it.

If you have booked through a TA, make sure to tell them to keep checking for you. Good Luck !

Olivia'sMom
August 27th, 2007, 10:22 PM
Hi Olivia's Mom !

To qualify for the Senior rate, 1 person in the cabin must be age 55 or above. Most sailings do not have the Senior discount. They tend to pop up, as it gets closer to your sailing date, so it pays to keep an eye out for it.

If you have booked through a TA, make sure to tell them to keep checking for you. Good Luck !

Well hot diggity!! We both qualify (sad to say :( ) and we sail on the 8th. Wonder if there's still time... I'm emailing my T.A. now...

njhorseman
August 28th, 2007, 12:07 AM
We recently found how "friendly" Azamara is to early bookers. We had booked a March 2008 cruise (18 days) during a period when prices seemed pretty good. A few days ago we discovered that Azamara was now offering a $200 ship board credit for the same cruise, but this was advertised as "new bookings only." Our TA spoke to the Azamara rep and asked that we be given the credit since it did no make sense to penalize early bookers. Azamara refused to give the credit unless our TA cancelled the original reservation and than rebooked. This created additional paperwork, new deposits, credit card refunds, and took TA time and effort. Since we are well outside the final payment period (and still in the period where we can get complete refunds) this was just an exercise designed to create hassles and make life a bit inconvenient. We have run into similar situations with other cruise lines (we have been on more than 50 cruises) and have seldom run into this problem. Its a very unfriendly policy which in the end costs valuable time for the TA, Cruise line staff, and even the traveler.

Hank

Wow, that makes no sense from anyone's perspective, including the cruise line's. By making you jump through those hoops, they are also incurring additional clerical and data processing expenses to process the cancellation and rebooking.

After we booked the Azamara Journey, I discovered I had a $100 Captain's Club discount coupon that could be applied to the price. I called my TA, who called the cruise line, and all I was asked to do was fax the coupon to the TA, who then sent it along to Celebrity, and they applied the coupon to my final payment. No need to cancel and rebook to get the lower price.

I have the feeling you ran into a combination of a bad customer service agent at Celebrity and possibly an inexperienced TA, who wasn't assertive enough.

Jancruz
August 28th, 2007, 02:02 AM
We havent had the experience of having to rebook or any of that..I suggest it may be as the above poster said..not knowing who to or the agent not being assertive enough.
Jan
*************

emcee207
August 28th, 2007, 06:02 AM
With all the traveling Hank does there is no way he has an inexperienced TA!!

kelmac
August 28th, 2007, 07:23 AM
We book our cruises very early, and most of the time something does come up that effects the pricing. I every case, we have had no problems rebooking. Cancelling, and rebooking is a five minute job, but the TA will come in at a lower commissioned rate.
Getting a customer the lowest rate is good customer service!:)

Have a great cruise,
Kel

P&M Cruisers
August 28th, 2007, 07:40 AM
did you get your senior discount by talking directly with Celebrity?

Hi,

We only dealt with our Travel Agent, they are big so when it came up on their site, I called and it was so not a problem.

Our Cruise is on November 29th.

Good Luck!

P&M Cruisers
August 28th, 2007, 07:50 AM
Well hot diggity!! We both qualify (sad to say :( ) and we sail on the 8th. Wonder if there's still time... I'm emailing my T.A. now...


Sure hope you get it, I think you should, ours was $900 per cabin, now we have spending money. It was great!

And I agree if you get a good TA company that specialize in Cruising it does make any of these issues none issues.

We are in Canada and I have dealt with a US large Cruise company a number of times and have always had great service. I was a little scared at first since they are so far away, but it has never been a problem and we have booked about 4-5 cruises with them to date.

I also find their website is excellent and now I deal with the same person there every time I call.

cruisePRN
August 28th, 2007, 10:14 AM
Unless the TA offers a perk I find it easier to book directly with the cruise line. When an issue comes up you can call X directly and resolve it without going through the hassel of a TA especially on the week end or after hours. I'm glad you got your OBC :D

Dolphins
August 28th, 2007, 10:25 AM
In spite of this apparently rare experience, we have found booking early has many advantages. You can lock in the cabin you want. If the price increases in the future, which is happening more frequently, you have locked in the lower price. If the price comes down, which occassionally happens, your TA can usually get you the lower price. If you change your mind, you can cancel up to your final payment date without penalty and your deposit is refunded. For us, a no lose situation.

susiesan
August 28th, 2007, 10:59 AM
For my 3/1/08 Quest cruise, the price dropped $300 after I booked and deposited. My TA called and got us the lower price. Then I got an e-mail from an online agency with a $200 OBC and prepaid gratuities and half price deposit for the exact same cruise. I let my TA know to see if she could match this offer, but she couldn't come close. So I canceled with her and rebooked with the new TA and got all the freebies and the same cabin category. the new agency assures me if I seethe price drop again to just call and I'll get the lower price applied.

cruisePRN
August 28th, 2007, 04:36 PM
Right now for new bookings on Quest they are offering up to $200 OBC. I called and they said new bookings only. I am over a year away from my cruise and really feel ripped off enough to cancel my cruise. They are holding my $900 deposit for 18 months and could care less about my loyalty as an elite member. Customer appreciation sure isn't what it should be.:eek: Princess has a better deal on my itinary so you'd think X would care but they don't.

Hlitner
August 28th, 2007, 04:50 PM
I feel a "need" to address some of the comments. When it comes to experience, after more than 50 cruises (lost count at 50) and going-on two years of my life on ships we do have a little experience. As to travel agents, we use several that are all very experienced agenices that specialize in the cruise industry. We do not generally book direct with any cruise line because we can always save money by using TAs, since most of our TAs can get group booking rates (cruise lines will not try to match agency prices). We currently have 4 cruises underbooking for the next few months (about 53 days) and this entire incident developed when we were doing our periodic due diligence on pricing. In the case of Azamara our TA (who is a very large experienced cruise agency) had to cancel and re-book. That is it,, plain, simple, and quite stupid since Azamara must now refund our original deposit and process another deposit for the re-booking (why do they do this to themselves). At the same time we ran into a similar situation with Princess where a new advertised rate was 23% below our already booked rate on an April 08 cruise. Our TA called Princess, they immediately reduced our rate (no cancellation necessary) upgraded us to a higher category at no additional charge, and changed our cabin to a better location, all with no hassles, re-bookings, paperwork, etc. I do not understand the customer relations and booking attitude we continue to find at Celebrity, but they need to go back to "customer relations" school where they used to teach that the customer comes first. Yes, we like Celebrity (and hopefully will like Azamara), but it has reached a point where we dread dealing with their customer relations/booking folks. The irony to us is that we have never had any hassles when dealing with RCI (we also like to cruise on this line) who is supposed to be step-down from Celebrity/Azamara.

Hank

NINAVMD
August 28th, 2007, 06:16 PM
We recently found how "friendly" Azamara is to early bookers. We had booked a March 2008 cruise (18 days) during a period when prices seemed pretty good. A few days ago we discovered that Azamara was now offering a $200 ship board credit for the same cruise, but this was advertised as "new bookings only." Our TA spoke to the Azamara rep and asked that we be given the credit since it did no make sense to penalize early bookers. Azamara refused to give the credit unless our TA cancelled the original reservation and than rebooked. This created additional paperwork, new deposits, credit card refunds, and took TA time and effort. Since we are well outside the final payment period (and still in the period where we can get complete refunds) this was just an exercise designed to create hassles and make life a bit inconvenient. We have run into similar situations with other cruise lines (we have been on more than 50 cruises) and have seldom run into this problem. Its a very unfriendly policy which in the end costs valuable time for the TA, Cruise line staff, and even the traveler.

Hank

Yep, thats the "SERVICE" you get from Azamara and Celebrity.. TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never again for me..

BarbD49
August 28th, 2007, 09:23 PM
We sail Saturday and I have just read about possible Senior Discounts. Does anyone know if Celebrity can tell us if the 9/1 cruise has a Senior discount?



Barbara & Don

Host Andy
August 28th, 2007, 11:03 PM
We sail Saturday and I have just read about possible Senior Discounts. Does anyone know if Celebrity can tell us if the 9/1 cruise has a Senior discount?



Barbara & Don

Hi Barb !

As it is so close to sailing date, I would say it is very unlikely. However, it is worth a phone call. I highly recommend calling your TA, or Captains Club and asking them directly. They would be the best source of information. Good luck, and enjoy your Cruise !

cujosmom
August 28th, 2007, 11:13 PM
There is a senior discount on my sailing and in my category booked BUT they will not give it to us because we are sailing with PROMOTIONAL AIR...According to Azamara's CS you can either have the senior discount OR promotional air. I couldn't get them to budge and neither could my TA. In our case, it wouldn't pay us to cancel the air portion for the senior discount as the air fare would be much more than the SD would save us. But I'd still like to have BOTH !! ;)

1cruiselvr
August 30th, 2007, 01:25 PM
My experience has been that when the SBC is offered to new bookings only there is no savings to cancel and rebook as they cruiseline expects the new booking price which has always been more than our original booking so the SBC is worthless. Be careful when cancelling and rebooking to get an advertised SBC. Be sure you are getting your old booking price and not the new price with the SBC offered. The cruiseline usually offers a SBC incentive as an enticement to book but at a higher rate. Happy Sailings!

Olivia'sMom
September 1st, 2007, 11:53 PM
Well hot diggity!! We both qualify (sad to say :( ) and we sail on the 8th. Wonder if there's still time... I'm emailing my T.A. now...


I checked with our T.A. and sadly, no senior discount for our 9/8 cruise. Don't know if it's because it was so close or if it wasn't offered on this sailing at all. Would love to know which sailing had the $900 cabin discount. That was a deal!!

Hlitner
September 2nd, 2007, 09:21 AM
My experience has been that when the SBC is offered to new bookings only there is no savings to cancel and rebook as they cruiseline expects the new booking price which has always been more than our original booking so the SBC is worthless. Be careful when cancelling and rebooking to get an advertised SBC. Be sure you are getting your old booking price and not the new price with the SBC offered. The cruiseline usually offers a SBC incentive as an enticement to book but at a higher rate. Happy Sailings!

Good advice and yes, we were careful. The interesting thing about this exercise in unnecessary work was that after our TA did all the work (cancel, dealing with refunds, new deposits, re-booking) we got the same cabin. After all the work the only difference was the new SBC. In an aside, three days ago we noticed a really big price reduction on balconies for our upcoming Brilliance of the Seas cruise and called our TA. Within 10 minutes we had the lower price ($700 savings) with no problems, no re-booking, no refund of deposits, etc. Just one quick phone call, a little computer time by our TA and that was that! We also noticed that on our Azamara cancellation (and re-booking) the Celebrity folks quickly refunded our original deposit but somehow felt the need to process the refund by giving us three seperate credits to our credit card (totaling to the proper amount). So, I guess Azamara and Celebrity have found some wisdom in doing multiple credit card credits, processing re-bookings, changing booking numbers (creates one more hassle in getting our stockholder credit) etc etc. Time is money and Azamara is wasting their own time, my TAs time, and my time by following these ridiculous procedures. I guess they see this as a "reward" for early booking.

Hank

PianoGary
September 2nd, 2007, 03:58 PM
The consistency seems to be the problem here with Azamara.
Two weeks before our 8/11 sailing, the price was reduced by $200 p/p. (we found it).
We called our TA, who called X, and the refund was applied to our CC within six days!
A fantastic, great, experience!

bubbie617
September 2nd, 2007, 10:29 PM
...the Celebrity folks quickly refunded our original deposit but somehow felt the need to process the refund by giving us three seperate credits to our credit card (totaling to the proper amount).

Hank:

We have cancelled cruises in the past for various reasons and when they refunded our deposit, it has always been shown as two or three credits. I believe it has to do with taxes, port charges, and commissions paid to the travel agents. Their bookkeeping has it broken down that way. As long as I get my whole deposit back, I don't worry about how many line entries it takes them to do it.

fog1
September 3rd, 2007, 10:05 AM
I do not understand the customer relations and booking attitude we continue to find at Celebrity, but they need to go back to "customer relations" school where they used to teach that the customer comes first. Yes, we like Celebrity (and hopefully will like Azamara), but it has reached a point where we dread dealing with their customer relations/booking folks. The irony to us is that we have never had any hassles when dealing with RCI (we also like to cruise on this line) who is supposed to be step-down from Celebrity/Azamara.

Hank

While we were on one of the earlier Azamara cruises, the lack customer service and smirkly attitudes of both those in Miami and on-board the Journey have left me with a new attitude...no more Azamara and no more Celebrity. Fortunately, all of my crusing with RCI was great, so the company will continue to receive revenue from me.

If I were a stock holder, I'd be one of those gadflies that would keep things stirred up as to why things are like this.

Ol' Salty Dog
September 3rd, 2007, 02:17 PM
We recently found how "friendly" Azamara is to early bookers. We had booked a March 2008 cruise (18 days) during a period when prices seemed pretty good. A few days ago we discovered that Azamara was now offering a $200 ship board credit for the same cruise, but this was advertised as "new bookings only." Our TA spoke to the Azamara rep and asked that we be given the credit since it did no make sense to penalize early bookers. Azamara refused to give the credit unless our TA cancelled the original reservation and than rebooked. This created additional paperwork, new deposits, credit card refunds, and took TA time and effort. Since we are well outside the final payment period (and still in the period where we can get complete refunds) this was just an exercise designed to create hassles and make life a bit inconvenient. We have run into similar situations with other cruise lines (we have been on more than 50 cruises) and have seldom run into this problem. Its a very unfriendly policy which in the end costs valuable time for the TA, Cruise line staff, and even the traveler.

Hank
Hi Hank,
We recently moved to PA and are looking for a travel agent for a possible July '08 cruise out of Copenhagen on the Azamara Journey. With your knowledge and experience, we would be grateful for your recommendation. Thank you.
Paul

Hlitner
September 3rd, 2007, 03:44 PM
Paul. Its against the board posting rules for me (or anyone else) to recommend a TA by name. But, for what its worth, we do not use any TAs located in PA. Over the years we have simply developed our own "short list" of cruise specialty agents that we access via the internet or 800 number. We generally shop around with all of our short list and go with the best price which is what we did with our March Azamara booking.

Hank

Ol' Salty Dog
September 3rd, 2007, 04:17 PM
Paul. Its against the board posting rules for me (or anyone else) to recommend a TA by name. But, for what its worth, we do not use any TAs located in PA. Over the years we have simply developed our own "short list" of cruise specialty agents that we access via the internet or 800 number. We generally shop around with all of our short list and go with the best price which is what we did with our March Azamara booking.

Hank
Hi Hank....Sorry. Should have known that was not allowed. Thanks for the information you were able to supply. Will check it out. This looks like the only ship I could find able to visit the smaller ports of Norway.
Paul

Hebe
September 3rd, 2007, 05:37 PM
Hank

You never said if the cruise that had the new booking was higher in price than what you originally booked. Sometimes I find they will not rebook at your original rates if it is lower. So sometimes these special deals really cost you more money.

We just rebooked a room because the price was the same and we were on a ship to get an onboard credit. It was very tricky for our travel agent to do since our room had a waitlist and we did not want to lose the room when it was cancelled and rebooked. Yes -- we did have to put down another deposit and wait for our refund.

I agree with you that it should be a simple refund.


Paul

We live in PA and I have an excellent cruise agent who is also in PA. He is available online or by phone. If you are interested -- you can email at hebeeast@aol.com.

Deb

kelmac
September 3rd, 2007, 08:41 PM
While we were on one of the earlier Azamara cruises, the lack customer service and smirkly attitudes of both those in Miami and on-board the Journey have left me with a new attitude...no more Azamara and no more Celebrity. Fortunately, all of my crusing with RCI was great, so the company will continue to receive revenue from me.

If I were a stock holder, I'd be one of those gadflies that would keep things stirred up as to why things are like this.

RCI owns Celebrity and Azamara. Same company, same training. Azamara and Celebrity are the upscale versions of Royal Caribbean. :rolleyes: :)

Enjoy!
Kel

capegranny
September 12th, 2007, 03:57 PM
I am SO relieved to see that others had a bad experience with Celebrity/Azamara Customer Service. I had a horrendous interaction with a rep who insisted that there were NO airline spots available from Boston to Miami on the date that I thought we were booked. She was downright rude. I asked for her supervisor, and have to say that within 15 minutes, the supervisor had straightened things out for us with the dates/times we'd requested, was pleasant and helpful, and managed to actually cheer me up! So they CAN do it!! The first interaction, though, had me ready to cancel.