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.