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  #1  
Old April 20th, 2010, 07:32 PM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
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Default Airport Closures & Stranded Travelers: What Should the Cruise Lines Do?

In the wake of Iceland's volcanic eruption and widespread airport closures in the U.K. and Europe, cruise lines have taken a variety of actions. Celebrity has canceled a preview cruise to bring stranded holidaymakers from Spain back to Europe. Thomson Cruises is altering Island Escape's itinerary to drop British guests off in Falmouth. Cunard is offering future cruise credit for passengers who can't make its April 22 transatlantic crossing, while NCL and Royal Caribbean are holding cruise-only guests to standard cancellation penalties.

We want to know: How do you think cruise lines should be accommodating passengers who can't make their cruises because of airport closures or who are stranded because they can't fly home?
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:04 PM
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IMHO, anything they do is above and beyond the call of duty. Acts of God are a perfect example of why you need to consider trip/flight/cruise/vacation insurance. My opinion is the same with the airlines, if they do anything, it is a bonus.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:09 PM
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I think the travel insurance policies are treating this as a weather problem and are covering costs on this basis. If this is true, the cruise lines need not do anything.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:39 PM
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i know this is an act of God but i still believe cruise lines should help in any way by letting people cancel and being allowed to rebook at the same price in the future.. or give them a huge discount on a future cruise.

airlines we all know we can change a ticket for a cost. to me that not a big deal but losing cruise money is.

i am thrilled that celebrity at their own cost is going to Spain to help people to get home. makes me want to keep sailing with them.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:50 PM
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I don't think the cruise lines are obliged to do anything. If they choose to, it is generous. They are going to lose a fair amount from this chaos. Even if they keep the fares of cancelled guests, they lost all the on board revenue not generated by guests who could not get to the ship. They are selling lots of cabins for low prices and hope for on board spending for excursions, salon, spa, Bingo, casino, lounges/bars, alternative restaurants, photos etc That is where their profit comes from

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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:57 PM
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The thing is its a careful balancing act. If the cruiselines do nothing then that can be bad for them in the future. If they do to much then that also hurts thier profit and bottom line. So its a careful balancing act. If stopping in Falmouth helps them in the future go for it. If taking a ship and getting stranded people from Spain to where they need to go helps them in the future well good for them.

It is a business but the cruise companies have have to look at the future to. I mean hearing about some of these things makes me think good of the Cruise companies and thats exactly what they want to happen. Thats part of smart business to.

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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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They should do what they can, credit or the option of rebooking for folks that can't fly to embarkation port but on the other hand allowing stranded folks to take the empty cabins as a means to get home but not be "prepared" to be on a cruise may effect the folks who "perpared"....( ie packed the "right" clothing....left the kids at home). When I take a land only trip I don't bring the "formal gear" and "countryclub" dinner jacket.

I live in the news range for JFK airport...I feel so bad for the folks stranded there..many are running out of funds and some are in fear of the status of their jobs.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:35 PM
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ANYTHING they do in my opinion is above and beyond.

Passengers need to purchase travel insurance
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  #9  
Old April 20th, 2010, 10:42 PM
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I agree with the majority that the onus is on passengers to purchase travel insurance or take personal responsibility that they gambled by not taking the insurance, and not expect to be bailed out if that gamble comes back to bite them.

If the cruise lines do offer some sort of credit for those that are unable to make a sailing, that is extremely generous of them - but I certainly would not expect them to do so nor think anything less of any cruise line that does not offer any compensation.

Fortunately it looks like flights are running again, so hopefully the stranded people will be able to make it home safely sooner rather than later.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:51 PM
kamalani80 kamalani80 is offline
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Trying to be as un-biased on this issue as possible (since I was directly affected by the cancellation of my flight), I feel the cruise lines will need to take a hard look at this issue.
RCCL posted upon its' website, "important updates" concerning "flight disruptions - volcanic activity". Within those updates they stated clearly that they are going to treat their pax as at least two seperate groups.

Flight Disruptions - Volcano Activity

April 20, 2010
10:00 a.m. E.S.T

Royal Caribbean International continues to closely monitor the volcanic activity in Iceland, which is impacting travel throughout the world. Given the uncertainty of how long the volcanic activity will affect airline travel, we understand that some guests will be unable to secure flights in time to reach their ship before it sails.

Guests Who Purchased Air through Royal Caribbean

Those guests traveling on cruises departing April 17, 18 or 19, who were unable to travel to the ship due to airport closures, and who purchased air arrangements through Royal Caribbean, will be provided a refund of their air fare and a 100 percent Future Cruise Certificate in the amount of the cruise fare paid.

Guests Who Purchased Air Independently

Guests who have purchased their own air travel are asked to contact their airlines directly for assistance. For these guests, our normal cancellation policy applies. If cruise-only guests are unable to sail, we recommend they contact their travel coverage provider for additional information.

The following material is a portion of the advisory quoted from RCCL web-site advisory on April 19, 2010:
"Those guests traveling on cruises departing April 19 who are unable to travel to the ship due to airport closures, and who purchased air arrangements through Royal Caribbean, will be provided a refund of their air fare and a 100 percent Future Cruise Certificate in the amount of the cruise fare paid
Guests who have purchased their own air travel are asked to contact their airlines directly for assistance."

RCCL has revised that statement on April 20, to further state for "guests who purchased air independently":
"Guests who have purchased their own air travel are asked to contact their airlines directly for assistance. For these guests, our normal cancellation policy applies." (Normal cancellation is NO REFUND on cruise fare portion).

A couple of posts mention "act of God". That is correct, and that is what the travel insurance policy companies are claiming and therefore it is NOT covered. So those who purchased travel insurance are out more money than those who didn't. In a correspondence to me RCCL used the exact same term, "act of God", and that while they were very sorry how this situation (flight disruptions - volcanic activity) has impacted my travel arrangements....normal cancellation policies will apply. No refund since within 7 days of cruise.

EXCEPT for the select few who purchased air arrangements through Royal Caribbean. Not through your TA if you used one, but only through RCC.

I personally believe that cruise lines should deal with those cruise pax that were affected within the first seven days. While the cruise line is in no way responsible for my situation, neither was the airline, and neither was I, the travel insurance companies. The differences are: the airline is refunding all of my airfare, my travel agency is waiving their cancellation fee on my order, travel insurance companies are rebating the policy fees, and in this instance RCCL is offering full credit to a select class of pax, but is hanging other out to dry.

Ellbon's post expresses my feelings. $2500US is a lot to forfeit, I am happy that the airline refunded my NON-refundable ticket fare, I am happy that the other companies credited back my fees. I am not as happy that RCCL (as of yet) has not expanded their policy to encompass their passengers much the way the others have. Others who feel that in their opinion whatever the cruise lines do is over and beyond, have probably never lost thousands of dollars and feel sleighted when the company treats you differently based on how you booked your trip. While I will always advocate travel insurance as a neccesity, it did not and does not cover "acts of God" as this has been determined, it is more in line for travel disruptions and personal cancellations, not weather, war, or self-induced causes.

For all it is worth, I am grateful that I am home frustrated over this issue. My heart and thoughts go out to the thousands that were stuck in the airports or in cities far, far away from the comfort of their home. It is un-imaginable.

The cruise line executives and marketing departments will need to think about what other industries are doing in regards to this event when formulating their policy.

Soapbox rant over. .
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  #11  
Old April 20th, 2010, 11:00 PM
kamalani80 kamalani80 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sail7seas View Post
I don't think the cruise lines are obliged to do anything. If they choose to, it is generous. They are going to lose a fair amount from this chaos. Even if they keep the fares of cancelled guests, they lost all the on board revenue not generated by guests who could not get to the ship. They are selling lots of cabins for low prices and hope for on board spending for excursions, salon, spa, Bingo, casino, lounges/bars, alternative restaurants, photos etc That is where their profit comes from
They stand to gain the cancelled guests original fare. However, they will lose that guest and whoever that guest discusses their experience with for a far greater amount of time.
Offer the cancelled guests credit for a future cruise, they build product loyalty, that guest will be back on board in the future generating revenue, and that same guest will be telling other folks about their good experience.
Finally, that guest will purchase and tell everyone they meet, to purchase air/sea packages through the cruise lines and to purchase travel insurance. The building of cottage industries, while increasing future revenue for the cruise line. Win/win to me.

But I am biased, , once again.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 11:02 PM
pris993 pris993 is offline
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What the cruiselines do will somewhat depend on how long this goes on, i.e., if the situation continues for 13 months like it did in the past they may very well need to develop some long term approaches.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:09 AM
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This is a cruise forum and I am surprised that people are questioning whether or not the passengers have travel insurance. I have cruised many many times and part of the booking process is providing the cruise line with details of ones travel insurance policy, which is compulsory! Do people actually give false information when booking just to save buying travel insurance which can be very costly? In that scenario, the passengers should receive no compensation whatsoever from the cruise line because they have effectively broken their contract!

Now about insurance!!!! Here in the UK, many insurers are pleading Act of God as a get out clause which in my opinion is iniquitous! Taking this stance they are effectively saying they believe in God in which case, doesn't any incident which prevents a traveller from taking a cruise/flight/package holiday fall in to this category. Say for example I had booked an air cruise and there was a strike of airport staff, would they cough up? If not why not because this is effectively an Act of God, who believers consider omnipotent and in control of every blink of an eye or breath we take or thought we have!
In my opinion is so unfair that insurers can insert clauses in to policies which allow them to refuse payment! Quite immoral I would say!
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:44 AM
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One word: "insurance" says it all. If people want to be protected from the effects of unexpected events, they should arrange for such protection. To the extent cruise lines have made accomodations, they should be applauded.

To criticize them for not accepting massive losses for the purpose of keeping customers happy is simply childish. Why not criticize the ailines for not arranging hotels for their stranded passengers? Why not criticize the airport authorities for not providing beds?
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabelleuk View Post
This is a cruise forum and I am surprised that people are questioning whether or not the passengers have travel insurance. I have cruised many many times and part of the booking process is providing the cruise line with details of ones travel insurance policy, which is compulsory! Do people actually give false information when booking just to save buying travel insurance which can be very costly? In that scenario, the passengers should receive no compensation whatsoever from the cruise line because they have effectively broken their contract!

Now about insurance!!!! Here in the UK, many insurers are pleading Act of God as a get out clause which in my opinion is iniquitous! Taking this stance they are effectively saying they believe in God in which case, doesn't any incident which prevents a traveller from taking a cruise/flight/package holiday fall in to this category. Say for example I had booked an air cruise and there was a strike of airport staff, would they cough up? If not why not because this is effectively an Act of God, who believers consider omnipotent and in control of every blink of an eye or breath we take or thought we have!
In my opinion is so unfair that insurers can insert clauses in to policies which allow them to refuse payment! Quite immoral I would say!
MamabelleUK, it is not required in the US for passengers to have insurance as it is in the UK, so it is a somewhat different situation. I don't think anyone is lying; we are not required to assert that we have insurance.

That said, I agree the cruise lines do not bear responsibility for the weather and there should be no expectation that they will offer or issue any refunds. I do agree that "doing what they can," even if a small gesture, would certainly be looked on favorably.

As to being stranded, it is a fact of travel. My mom was stranded in Paris for a week back in the 1970s when there was an unexpected airline strike. As a family we were stranded in NYC's JFK for a couple of days at the start of our European vacation (I think in the early 1908s?) when the Delta L-1011 Tristars were grounded for safety checks. And another time we were also stranded for several days during the air traffic controllers' strike.

These things happen with travel. Best to purchase insurance.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabelleuk View Post
This is a cruise forum and I am surprised that people are questioning whether or not the passengers have travel insurance. I have cruised many many times and part of the booking process is providing the cruise line with details of ones travel insurance policy, which is compulsory! Do people actually give false information when booking just to save buying travel insurance which can be very costly? In that scenario, the passengers should receive no compensation whatsoever from the cruise line because they have effectively broken their contract!

Now about insurance!!!! Here in the UK, many insurers are pleading Act of God as a get out clause which in my opinion is iniquitous! Taking this stance they are effectively saying they believe in God in which case, doesn't any incident which prevents a traveller from taking a cruise/flight/package holiday fall in to this category. Say for example I had booked an air cruise and there was a strike of airport staff, would they cough up? If not why not because this is effectively an Act of God, who believers consider omnipotent and in control of every blink of an eye or breath we take or thought we have!
In my opinion is so unfair that insurers can insert clauses in to policies which allow them to refuse payment! Quite immoral I would say!
In the US, travel insurance is not required. Many people do not buy it.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 07:33 AM
FionaMG FionaMG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabelleuk View Post
Now about insurance!!!! Here in the UK, many insurers are pleading Act of God as a get out clause which in my opinion is iniquitous! Taking this stance they are effectively saying they believe in God in which case, doesn't any incident which prevents a traveller from taking a cruise/flight/package holiday fall in to this category. Say for example I had booked an air cruise and there was a strike of airport staff, would they cough up? If not why not because this is effectively an Act of God, who believers consider omnipotent and in control of every blink of an eye or breath we take or thought we have!
Actually, I think for an airport staff strike they would use the cop-out clause of industrial action . But, yes, I entirely agree with you. No-one can actually prove that (any) god exists, so how can you prove that anything is an act of god? And, of course, there's the "Natural Disaster" cop-out clause, too, on many insurance policies...
Really, though, since this is no-one's fault, anything any of the carriers, hotels, cruise lines do to help is (in my opinion) to be applauded, but they should be coherent. The RCI attitude reported here of dividing passengers into air-cruise and cruise-only really doesn't seem fair or, from a purely business point of view, wise. And if Cunard can fill the empty cabins of people unable to make it to the cruise port surely they should be giving all those people a full refund and not just waiving cancellation fees...
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Old April 21st, 2010, 07:55 AM
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Without wishing to be argumentative, all the people on this thread who keep saying travellers should buy insurance are not paying attention. From a British point of view, almost all the Brits would have bought travel insurance (because we have to) but the insurance companies are NOT PAYING. Many familes are stranded, they have prepared for the worst by taking a credit card and are now very worried as they have run up £1000s of debt.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 08:04 AM
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We have been directly affected by the air chaos and despite the upset and dissapointment feel it was necessary for our flights to be cancelled. It is good to see that the UK government and authorities have taken the necessary actions to assess and manage the risk and then get aircraft flying as soon as possible.

A measure of how good a company is is how they treat you when things go wrong and on that basis we have nothing but praise for our TA Thomas Cook, Princess and the wedding experience in re-scheduling our cruise and wedding so quickly and at no additional cost to us.

Please take out travel insurance even though ours (and I suspect most others) are not valid when the relevant authority grounds aircraft.

If you live in the UK we advise you to book a 'package' through the cruise line as that buy's much protection over and above what insurance provides. If you do save money and book independantly be aware that you are not as well protected and at your own risk.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 08:43 AM
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This thread has quite properly deviated to insurance.
I always take out travel insurance for the peace of mind - I sleep better knowing that I'll be covered.
If in this instance insurance companies are going to hide behind their small print (and that's still unclear in the UK) it will wreck that peace of mind for everyone, so perhaps we'd all be better off not taking out insurance. We could save some cash and not have the uncertainty - we would at least KNOW we're not covered.
If the whole insurance industry agrees to pay out, none of them lose a competetive edge - they will all recoup their costs in the long run with higher premiums, and for the traveller that's small beer compared to the worry & risk of being un-insured.

Well done those cruiselines which helped stranded travellers, esp Carnival whose ship was happily available & in the right place. They've given a cruise taster to a couple of thousand potential new customers, and its been good PR for them & for the cruise industry.

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