Booking Early can be a Hassle

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#1
New Cumberland,PA, USA
26,625 Posts
Joined May 2000
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
#2
SF Bay Area
206 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
I will never understand companies that do such things. What do they gain? $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.
#3
20 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
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
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#4
Greater Toronto Area
56 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
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
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#6
Roanoke Virginia
34 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by P&M Cruisers
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!!
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Olivia's Mom


Norwegian Seaward, Norwegian Dreamward, Norway, Norwegian Sea, Norwegian Dream, Norwegian Crown, Dawn Princess, Caribbean Princess, Carnival Conquest, Azamara Journey,HAL Veendam, and one more I've forgotten![/color]
#7
Boca Raton, FL
18,782 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by Olivia'sMom
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 !
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#8
Roanoke Virginia
34 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Host Andy
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...
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Olivia's Mom


Norwegian Seaward, Norwegian Dreamward, Norway, Norwegian Sea, Norwegian Dream, Norwegian Crown, Dawn Princess, Caribbean Princess, Carnival Conquest, Azamara Journey,HAL Veendam, and one more I've forgotten![/color]
#9
17,131 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Originally posted by Hlitner
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.
#10
5,387 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
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
*************
#11
Boston,MA
4,987 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
With all the traveling Hank does there is no way he has an inexperienced TA!!
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Louis and Margo
#12
Albuquerque, NM
7,450 Posts
Joined May 2003
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
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Future Cruises: NCL Escape (06/2017), Celebrity Equinox (06/2017), NCL Pearl BtoB (12/2017), MSC Seaside (Yacht Club, 03/2018) and Cunard Victoria (WC, 02/2019).
----------------
Past Cruises:
Celebrity -- Horizon (‘93), Galaxy (‘97), Zenith (‘98), Constellation (‘02), Century (‘02), Millennium (‘03), Summit (‘04), Mercury (‘05), Galaxy (‘05), Century (‘06), Millennium (‘06) , Constellation (‘08), Constellation (‘08), Solstice (‘09), Solstice (‘10), Eclipse (‘11), Summit (‘11), Millennium (‘11), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('13), Infinity ('13), Infinity ('13), Century ('13), Century ('14), Eclipse ('14), Reflection ('15), and Equinox ('15).
Holland America -- Veendam (‘03), Volendam (‘04), Zuiderdam (‘05), Westerdam (‘06), Maasdam (‘07), Maasdam (‘07), Westerdam (‘08), Maasdam (‘09), Nieuw Amsterdam (‘11), and the Westerdam ('16)
Royal Caribbean -- Rhapsody of the Seas (‘01), Voyager of the Seas (‘02), Splendor of the Seas (‘02), Grandeur of the Seas (‘04), Vision of the Seas (‘04), Radiance of the Seas (‘09), Allure of the Seas ('12), Navigator of the Seas ('14), and the Anthem of the Seas ('15)
NCL -- Starward (‘78), Norwegian Dream (‘95), Norweigan Sea (‘01), NCL Jewel ('15), NCL Jade ('16), and the Getaway ('17)
Princess -- Star Princess (‘03), Caribbean Princess (‘05), and the Golden Princess ('13)
Azamara -- Journey (‘07) Oceania -- Regatta (‘09) Cunard -- Queen Mary 2 (‘10), and Queen Mary 2 ('13)
Sitmar -- Fairsea (‘82)

(508 days total)
#13
Greater Toronto Area
56 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by grammy anny
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!
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#14
Greater Toronto Area
56 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by Olivia'sMom
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.
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#15
Las Vegas Nevada
5,782 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
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
#16
Commack, New York
5,683 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
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.
#17
Kansas City, MO
1,667 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
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.
#18
Las Vegas Nevada
5,782 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
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. Princess has a better deal on my itinary so you'd think X would care but they don't.
#19
New Cumberland,PA, USA
26,625 Posts
Joined May 2000
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
#20
Jersey
98 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by Hlitner
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..
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