Reimbursement from Pacific Princess hitting the breakwater in Nice

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#1
10,776 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
This post is a follow up to our experience being reimbursed for expenses we incurred after the Pacific Princess struck the breakwater in Nice, France on October 14, 2016. Several people have asked me to do an update about how we were reimbursed from Princess and travel insurance when it was finally settled. It was settled with two checks from Aon Affinity for Princess Vacation Protection that we received just yesterday.

For my perspective on the incident, and to see what other credit passengers were given, please see
http://pescadoamarillo.blogspot.com/...ays-early.html and the following post.

When we finally returned home from the Pacific Princess on January 20, 2017, I immediately put together collection of receipts totaling $888 and submitted them to Princess Customer Relations (CR) for reimbursement, as we had been instructed in writing to do as we were leaving the ship on October 14. This request covered expenses related to an additional night's stay in Nice, phone calls to Princess that we had been instructed to make to get more information after they had enough time to come up with a solution to our unique situation, phone calls and texts from the ship to my cell phone as things were being decided, dinner each night in Nice, a taxi to the Nice airport, tips for the taxi driver and bell hop who had brought our luggage to our room at 2am, Uber from our home airport to our house, seat selection on our return flight to Rome and transportation from the Rome airport to our hotel and to the pier.

These expenses were specifically related to getting us home and returning us to the ship. I believed that they should rightfully be reimbursed by Princess; Princess CR felt otherwise. Again, we encountered the issue with them that we had from the start: we were not doing a single cruise. We were not even doing B2B cruises. We were doing a series of seven B2B cruises in a row. Still, Princess CR treated our case as if it was no different from others who were doing just one or two cruises.

We were told that meals in Nice and tips were not being reimbursed for any affected passengers. I wasn't thrilled with that but thought it was at least fairly applied. I took more issue with the Uber from our home airport to home and our seat selection for our return flight to Europe. We were told we would have had to go home at some point and so we were responsible for that cost of over $100. I pointed out that we still had to return home again, at the end of our cruises and the interim return was directly related to the Nice incident, to no avail.

We had purchased chosen seat assignments for just the flight from our home airport to Frankfort on Lufthansa, for $70 total. We did not purchase pre-assigned seat assignments from Frankfort to Rome because the flight was so short. We were told that if we had indeed purchased seat assignments on the flight to Rome, that expense would have been reimbursed because the next cruise left from Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. But we had to first connect through Frankfort, not the embarkation port, and that meant to Princess CR that those expenses were not reimbursable.

And, finally, Princess CR told us they were not reimbursing phone calls or texts for anyone affected. We had been instructed by Princess CR the day of the incident to make two calls late in the day California time (2am in France). They thought they might have something figured out for us by then. The phone calls to On Call International and AON Affinity were made during the night. On Call could offer us nothing other than to book us full priced tickets home, but they connected us with Princess CR who kept us on hold for well over hour ($108 phone call) but offered us no assistance at all. We also had several phone calls and texts to and from the Pacific Princess. The sole assistance we were given came from the ship. Through them our trip home was arranged.

While I accepted that meals and tips weren't being reimbursed, and scratched my head at the logic that seat selection costs were only being reimbursed on the flight to Rome (which we didn't pay extra for), and not for our overnight flight, it was the phone call decision that caused me to ask about escalating this within Princess CR. I was told it wasn't possible. These reimbursements were non-negotiable and senior management had signed off on them. (Big mic drop)

I was left with about 4 weeks to stew about it while I awaited the check. Of the $888 I'd submitted, only $360 was reimbursed.

The day I received the check from Princess, I started to compile information to submit to our travel insurance, Princess Vacation Protection. By then the pile of pages had grown to 30, with information documenting the purchase of the cruises and PVP, the notes we had been given on the Pacific Princess as we were disembarking on October 14, the expenses I'd submitted to Princess CR, detailing what was and wasn't reimbursed and finally the costs we incurred during the three nights we stayed in Rome before rejoining the Pacific Princess, for hotels and meals. I was seeking reimbursement for everything Princess had not paid for, as well as our stay in Rome when we would have been on the Pacific Princess but it was being repaired.

Yesterday we received checks (one for DH and one for me) for $1300, reimbursing us in full. This matter is now closed to our complete satisfaction…but only because we had purchased travel insurance.

The experience on whole reinforced some things we already knew and taught us a few extras.

 Always buy travel insurance. We like Princess Platinum coverage because of its 100% back if you cancel for any reason. This coverage gave us a choice: Fly back to Europe and resume our Pacific Princess cruises or choose not to return, cancelling our remaining cruises and using PVP to recover the cancellation charges for future travel.

 Save every slip of paper you are handed, every receipt and every hand written note. Keep track of the names and dates as you talk with people. I was able to submit all these to Aon Affinity with our claim, and the former auditor in me had everything referenced and matched.

 If you have a large credit for a prior insurance claim or goodwill offering from Princess, pay the new cruise in total with your credit card. THEN apply the credit to it. This will force your booking into an overpay situation and Princess will issue a credit to your original form of payment. We lost a lot of the 50% of the first cruise that was returned to us because we had used a credit to pay for part of our final payment. Had we paid for the cruise in full and applied the credit after that; we would have received nearly $1000 more back from Princess when the ship was wrecked. Learn from my mistake.

 Things you're told verbally as you walk off the ship (“go settle in for the night and have a nice meal on Princess)” have no bearing on what Princess CR will ultimately do. Even the letter we were handed as we walked off the ship that said we could submit incidental expenses to Princess CR for reimbursement led us to believe that things like phone calls back home to reassure families who might have see some of the news stories or meals would be reimbursed. They weren't.

We were saved through the efforts of two people on the ship (HGM Leonardo and Passenger Relations Manager Gidea). We were very lucky to have been on a small ship where our situation (staying on for 91 days) was fairly common knowledge, and to have sailed with Gidea in the past. (Her first question to me when we boarded was “how long this time?”) In the same situation on a larger ship, I'm afraid our experience might have been much different because Princess CR would have had to be relied on even more and I have little faith that any good would come from that.

It's over and together we checked off that To do on our iPhones and laughed at the little jingle that is played when a task is complete. All that's left are the memories of the cruise...and the stacks of paper to be shredded.
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#2
1,953 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
This is appalling and petty on their part. Nothing you describe seems excessive or luxurious and your lifetime value to the line should be seen as well beyond this amount. I'm glad Aon/PVP came through in the end.

With the EZ-Air improvements and surprisingly reasonable First and Business fares, I've been booking PVP as it's based on the cruise fare and not the airfare, but also covers the air. Beware the travel provider who screws up something with a couple of premium seats on the line.
#4
2,588 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Wow, that's horrible customer service! Thank goodness you ultimately received all your money back thanks to your travel insurance! Thank you for sharing your experience.


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#6
Zhengzhou, China
1,837 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by PescadoAmarillo
Things you're told verbally as you walk off the ship (“go settle in for the night and have a nice meal on Princess)” have no bearing on what Princess CR will ultimately do. Even the letter we were handed as we walked off the ship that said we could submit incidental expenses to Princess CR for reimbursement led us to believe that things like phone calls back home to reassure families who might have see some of the news stories or meals would be reimbursed. They weren't.
This goes to show the importance of having everything in writing; and THEN not assuming anything. You have to analyze everything 'word for word'. In this case - what exactly does "incidental expenses" mean? The word 'incidental' is vague. It's very easy to 'gloss over' important words/phrases thinking you know what something means when you are, in fact, making assumptions... perhaps reasonable assumptions... but that doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what is specifically 'spelled out'.

P.S. I'm glad everything worked out... and that you had insurance.
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#8
3,542 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Thank you for the tips and I'm glad it all worked out for you.


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#9
Georgia
571 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Thank you for posting your experience--I've learned a lot! I am really astonished at how you have been treated by Princess. With the number of cruises that you have done with them, you and your husband are de facto Loyalty Ambassadors!

I guess this experience just underlines what many of us experienced cruisers know but don't enjoy talking about--that loyalty with cruise lines only works in one direction.
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#10
Springfield, MO, USA
2,588 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Thanks for the update. I followed along your journey. I was so sad when I read what happened and the thought of missing the winter cruising. I was very happy when you were able to fly back to catch the next cruise after the repairs were made (selfishly, your daily blog gets me through the dreary winter months!). As it was all unfolding, it sounded like they would take care of your incidentals...you were certainly in a unique situation different from most of the other cruisers and you were following the sound advice of the ship personnel.

I'm glad it worked out, but I also agree that Princess should have been more lenient for your situation--caused by them--rather than the insurance. Although, I guess that is why we buy insurance. I wonder if you didn't have insurance if they would have ponied up more or not. One would think they would have your account flagged, not only because of the sheer amount of days spent on board yearly, but also because of how many followers you have your blog!
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#11
North Carolina, USA
2,117 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
J & G, we were on the PP with you through eastern Med ports, western Med ports, Transatlantic and Caribbean. We certainly agree with others who believe Princess should and could have done a better job for you two, but glad all that is behind you and your trip insurance paid off. Just curious...will you sail with Princess again? Jim & Mary Jane
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#12
Victoria, BC
5,122 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
thanks for the update. i'm glad its finally settled for you.

i have a question: with a trip paid in full by credit card, how do you apply your obc (from a cancelled cruise) to it?
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#13
Zhengzhou, China
1,837 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by cdngrl
i have a question: with a trip paid in full by credit card, how do you apply your obc (from a cancelled cruise) to it?
I get the jist of what PescadoAmarillo is saying, but I too can't quite 'follow' the logistics of how this would work -

"If you have a large credit for a prior insurance claim or goodwill offering from Princess, pay the new cruise in total with your credit card. THEN apply the credit to it. This will force your booking into an overpay situation and Princess will issue a credit to your original form of payment. We lost a lot of the 50% of the first cruise that was returned to us because we had used a credit to pay for part of our final payment. Had we paid for the cruise in full and applied the credit after that; we would have received nearly $1000 more back from Princess when the ship was wrecked. Learn from my mistake.


I had a large credit (over $1500) from Princess' Vacation Protection for a cruise I didn't take. I booked a new cruise (after final payment date) worth about $2000 to be paid by credit card. The $1500+ credit was automatically subtracted by Princess and my credit card was charged the $500 remainder.

How would you pay the entire amount by credit card, then have the insurance credit applied? (so you are in an 'overpayment' situation)
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#14
midwest
4,232 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by Bill B
I get the jist of what PescadoAmarillo is saying, but I too can't quite 'follow' the logistics of how this would work -

"If you have a large credit for a prior insurance claim or goodwill offering from Princess, pay the new cruise in total with your credit card. THEN apply the credit to it. This will force your booking into an overpay situation and Princess will issue a credit to your original form of payment. We lost a lot of the 50% of the first cruise that was returned to us because we had used a credit to pay for part of our final payment. Had we paid for the cruise in full and applied the credit after that; we would have received nearly $1000 more back from Princess when the ship was wrecked. Learn from my mistake.


I had a large credit (over $1500) from Princess' Vacation Protection for a cruise I didn't take. I booked a new cruise (after final payment date) worth about $2000 to be paid by credit card. The $1500+ credit was automatically subtracted by Princess and my credit card was charged the $500 remainder.

How would you pay the entire amount by credit card, then have the insurance credit applied? (so you are in an 'overpayment' situation)

Yes, I would also like to know how to pay it all by cc before they take the credit off. Has anyone been able to get the credit in obc's? Although I haven't had any cruise credits lately.
#15
10,776 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Thanks everyone! In terms of applying a credit (goodwill or Princess Travelcare) to a cruise, pay the cruise in full. Then phone Princess (or have your TA phone them) and tell them to apply the credit (it has an 8-digit number and shows up in your Captains Circle account in the same area as your FCCs) to that booking. It has to be done by Princess; it's not something you or your TA can do. Then tell them you'd like them to issue you a credit for the overpaid amount. This will happen automatically within a week or so or you can get the ball rolling immediately by asking them to do it. Within a few days, the credit will appear in the same credit card account you used to pay for the cruise.

If the worst happens and your cruise is ended early (or canceled altogether), and Princess issues you a credit for up to 100% of your cruise fare, you will get the full amount you are entitled to.

If you don't control which cruise your travel credit gets applied to, it will stay in your Captains Circle account until you book your very next cruise. Then it automatically gets applied to that new cruise. And if that cruise is not large enough to use the entire credit, the remainder stays in your Captains Circle account until you book another cruise.
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1203 days ~ 121 cruises ~ 29 ships ~ 19 years ~ 6 continents ~ 5 cruise lines
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#16
10,776 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by cruisenfreak
Just curious...will you sail with Princess again? Jim & Mary Jane
Hi Jim and Mary Jane- We have one large remaining cruise credit. So yes, we'll be back. At least once. I'm not letting that go to waste. But after that, I'm not sure. The crews on the ships are amazing; other things (Princess Customer Relations, environmental fines, cover ups) don't help their cause in my view.
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#17
midwest
4,232 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I will have to check that out more carefully if we ever get any credits. Never have received one for an entire cruise.

When we have received some type of credit, it was attomatically applied to our next cruise.
#18
Cincinnati. OH-Go Reds
5,558 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
wow there is something to be said for buying trip insurance. Thank you for the tips you have provided
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#19
STL, MO USA
88 Posts
Joined Nov 2014
PescadoAmarillo:

I'm sorry to interrupt this thread, but I really wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. It's a tab that is always open on my iPhone's browser. I read an entry (or two) almost every day to get me through the times when we're not on a ship. My wife and I are relatively new to cruising and you've given us both something to aspire to.

I'm happy the issue was resolved to your satisfaction and wish you and G all the best.

Thanks again for sharing your adventures.

--Matt
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#20
10,776 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by compozer
When we have received some type of credit, it was attomatically applied to our next cruise.
Even if it is automatically applied to a cruise, you (or your TA) can phone Princess and ask that it be removed from that cruise and applied to a different (sooner) cruise. Just have the 8 digit credit ID code and the old and new booking numbers at hand.

Thanks for those nice words Matt! Happy sailing!
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