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ON cruiser

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  1. Just my "two cents" but, to the original poster: I would email (again) to the office of the President--and if you can find the name of the new president, I would also address it personally to that person as well as to the generic e-address that goes to the many factotums and others with limited authority. The email formula used to be first initial last name (all together, no dot) @seabourn.com In that email I would, just as you so well did above, set out the facts and what was represented to you re the credit amounts, which you subsequently learned second-hand were not being honoured. I would mention my number of days/cruises with Seabourn, and that unless the credits were honoured as they represented, you shall not be returning. I would also express dismay that nobody reached out to inform you of this change. Let them know that your future business is up to them. I would also add my Seabourn loyalty number, especially if you are Platinum. In my view, as of later June when the original poster got his response, with the committment for specific credit from Seabourn, much of the original chaos had subsided and businesses the world over were getting their act together--so, for me, and it is just my opinion, I would not cut Seabourn any slack for a supposed "mistake". They had time to read and consider the original posters' email and send a supposedly considered reply with the details of his credits. If they got it wrong, in my view they now must swallow hard and honour it. If they choose not to honour it, there are, as a poster above noted, other luxury fish in the sea. Please let us know how this works out. I am hopeful that Seabourn does the right thing and honours their promise (for this was their representation, in my view, upon which you should be able to rely, expecially as they never reached out to you to tell you, "oops, we got it wrong"; moreover, such a correction to be credible would have to be sent out PDQ). Good luck and happy sailing.
  2. Thanks so much for posting/linking the bar menu, much appreciated, folks! On Cruiser
  3. Hi folks, and happy new year (let us hope that 2021 is happier and sees us all safely sailing again!). A quick question about what is included in the Signature Bev. Package. Does anyone know which brands of Scotch or Vodka are covered within the $11 limit? For example, can I get a Chivas Regal on the rocks, and can my wife get a Ketel One vodka? Or must I try to upgrade to the Elite package? If we are gifted the SBP, I recall that some were able to pay the differential onboard to get to the Elite package. Does anyone know the approximate current differential PP PD? Many thanks, and regards, On Cruiser
  4. I am interested in Fred Olsen too...so I looked on their web site. It all looks good but, for me, one fly in the ointment: smoking is allowed on balconies. Note, I am not debating it, nor wishing to get into a pro and con on it. Just stating a fact. That one fact, for me, is unfortunately sufficient to rule them out. Others, especially those who do not care about balconies, may have different views.
  5. Well, instead of our cruise in May to Alaska to which we looked forward (12 days return Vancouver, all nicely planned, darn it!) as I am working from home a lot more we have finally bit the bullet and are renovating our home office. We are using the money refunded from that cruise. The renos are about the price of that cruise plus, plus (renovations always cost more than one plans, in my experience anyway). If the cruise lines raise prices so much that some people won't want to cruise, or may have other uses for their vacation dollars (either a different type of vacation or using the funds for other things, as we are doing), such price increases may well be self-defeating. The sales of RV's are apparently way up, and many people, who can afford it, are also looking at buying vacation properties, or taking land vacations, etc.. For example, in mid September we will go visit family in another province, assuming that other province is in the relative clear. Yet instead of flying, as there is no way I would board an airplane at present, especially as our carriers are now selling the middle seat (!), we will drive. I also want to avoid airport line-ups with strangers from heaven-knows-where. Thus, flying to the cruise-port is also problematic for some. Its a factor, or a hurdle to consider. If the cruise lines are no longer perceived as delivering value for the vacation dollar, once it is safe to cruise--and in my opinion that happy day is still far in the future--the natural group of customers for all the lines may have shrunk a lot. First, sadly there are those who lost their employment or, due to the stock market, no longer "feel" as comfortable spending the amounts that (before the increase) used to be spent to book a cruise. Then there are those whose priorities have shifted, and who will not throw down the additional funds being asked for a two week vacation. They will explore other vacation options. Don't get me wrong. We love cruises and enjoyed our time on ships very much over many years. Yet a combination of factors may now conspire to keep us on dry land for some time to come. If so, we'll adapt, and look to a return to cruising when, for us, its viable from both a safety and financial perspective.
  6. Since none of us are able to cruise at present, and who knows when we can, I, for one, enjoyed reading of Raphael's plight. As the original poster put it, why not now? Why indeed not? It is a cautionary tale of how a business can lose a previously loyal customer, and the OP related a problem that could happen to anyone of us--if we get back to sea--and which may have happened, in one way or another, to other people. In my view, its not usually the problem itself which causes much angst. It is how the company handles the problem. That is the acid test. In this case, if one accepts what the OP described, and I have no reason not to accept what is cogently described, then Seabourn did not handle the problem well at all. Even the cheerleaders must agree that this was not well handled. The explanation of the OP as to why things took so long I also accept. Typically one would be hopeful and would give the ship an opportunity to fix the problem. The only difference is that by early day 3 I think that I would be at the door of the hotel director, escalating the problem to him/her, and expecting at that point quick resolution or an arranged return trip home. I'm not saying for sure, because, after all, its a holiday, one wants to enjoy it, inertia is often a powerful force, and the hotel director may ask for a day, another day, one more, etc. But, I hope I would be more insistent, earlier, should it happen to me.
  7. Jenidallas, your description of a CSO was very educational--more succinct than was the Harvard article which you attached. Until reading this, I had no idea of what a CSO did. Who knew reading CC could be so educational. I can justify reading it on "office time". Given the description of a CSO, I agree that Mr. Leibowitz is likely the right person with the right skills at this time. I wish him good luck in these challenging times.
  8. With all due respect, Iancal, you are setting up the classic "strawman". One need not have "1990/2000 experience", and I don't really see that is being requested. Rather, the other posters seek quality food, some entertainment (usually, in my experience there is some, but lately there have been "dark nights" in each venue limiting the choices), and a reasonably well fitted out cabin. Considering the promises implicit in HAL's brochures and elsewhere about the wonderful experiences you will have on board, I do not think it too much to ask that the actual match the marketing hype. "Manage my expectations", after all. I would also opine that HAL is not presently a bargain--not at least for a Neptune Suite, which can clock in (using Cdn. $) at over $500 Per person, per day. I keep getting those email adverts, and keep saying, after hopefully checking, "nope". HAL's per diem also does not include liquor or gratuities, unless one gets one of the promotions. Often, for a slightly smaller suite, a better deal can be had on a more inclusive line, which may even include excursions and some air subsidy. So, for the price HAL charges at present, an upscale dining experience in the main dining room and Lido, decent entertainment choices and options, plus a comfortable cabin (good mattress, nice sofa to sit on, etc.) are reasonable expectations of mine, anyway. Some may disagree...
  9. Astride, can you escalate within your bank? Speak to a manager and go up the chain? Many banks (in Canada, anyway) have an internal Ombudsman’s office. good luck!
  10. Payment Received Update: For JPH, to put onto the spreadsheet (again, thanks for doing this): On Cruiser, Cruise date May 31/'20 (to Alaska, would be just flying home tomorrow if we had gone ) Date refund requested: April 14 Date payment appeared on Credit Card: June 9, 2020 Sorry that I did not post sooner, was actually quite busy with work these past two days. My refund took a little less than 60 days. My TA late last week pushed Seabourn, and he is part of a very large and higher volume (upscale) agency, so perhaps there was some clout there and perhaps he got to the right person, who assured him it would "soon" be processed. He and I both chuckled about that, as assurances cannot be taken to the bank. Well, what can I say, other than I am glad it was finally processed. Nearly 60 days is too long for my comfort so I cannot imagine waiting much longer. I wish everyone else good success in getting their money or SBC. For those waiting a long time, filing a dispute with your credit card issuer (I had put them on notice but never had to initiate a formal dispute) may be the way to go.
  11. From the other thread, "Refund Roll Call", where a poster helpfully is tracking in chart format the length of time it takes for most (who choose to participate) get their refunds, it appears on average to be taking about 75 days. Since that other thread was intended strictly (more or less) for factual information, I thought I would add my editorial comment here: As someone still awaiting a refund, 75 days strikes me as too long. I hit the 60 day mark on June 14. Having already discussed and book-marked a potential CC dispute with my credit card issuer, at 60 days (unless the bank prefers me to wait) I will initiate a formal dispute. It will be interesting to see if that 75 day average continues.
  12. Having had a couple of business encounters with Mr. Meadows over, ironically, a couple of customer complaints, one when he was EVP at HAL, and one at Seabourn, on both occasions I found him very professional and most pleasant to deal with. Certainly, he responded to my emailed complaints promptly; it was not just a "form" but rather, both times, a thoughtful response. Far more than I received from the President of Regent when I raised concerns with him about a recent Regent cruise! As to the refunds, I have expressed my concerns about the CCL subsidiaries not dealing with their customers in a timely fashion. Yet I do not blame any one person for that--it is a corporate-wide failure for which I do not blame Meadows, personally. If you look at his biography, you will see that Meadows filled many different roles in the cruise industry, working his way up. In my view, the antithesis of an "overpaid title". It is a shame that his operational experience and knowledge will be lost to Seabourn, although tough decisions must be made. I hope that, once the situation settles, and after a period of "enjoying his garden", Meadows will return to the cruise or tourism industry in some capacity. As for the most part we enjoyed our cruises on Seabourn (and HAL), I thought that Mr. Meadows was a net contributor to Seabourn and to CCL--just my opinion, of course
  13. @bvocruise and anyone else waiting longer than the time specified for your refund, whether or not your credit card issuer can assist will only be determined if you make the call to enquire. I urge you to do so. Most credit card issuers are aware of this problem. Moreover, you are calling before your sailing date (hopefully, or at least before your cruise end-date). For $7 grand, I would make the call and ask to initiate a "dispute". You have nothing to lose, that I can see, by trying. Also, like insurance companies whose first answer is usually "no", if the first answer received is "no", escalate up the chain. Good luck to all those who seek the refund of their money. If you consider it "found money", then look at it this way: you can donate some of it to a local charity that is, in these times, struggling.
  14. I respectfully disagree with all that Rocketman posts. There is nothing wrong, and everything right, about those who are owed a refund being provided with clear communication, and a schedule. Moreover, that others are doing things better in that regard is highly relevant. As to somehow being short-sighted by making demands on HAL that we may regret later, if Rocketman is raising the spectre of bankruptcy or restructuring, that may or may not already be in the cards. While, as a 5 Star mariner, I would be sorry to see HAL vanish, CCL restructuring its various subsidiaries is a real possibility. In any case, the ocean floor is filled with former lines that exist nowadays only via fond memories--the cruising public survived those failures (Home Line, Sitmar, to name just a few) and, when/if we can return to cruising or desire doing so, the public will survive further changes as the marketplace determines. If the CCL companies treat their customers worse than others, leaving a bad taste in our mouths, then when cruising begins, former loyal CCL customers (the cheerleaders excepted, of course!) may be incited to look elsewhere.
  15. In his ongoing defence of the cruise lines, RocketMan sets up a "straw man" by asserting that people are demanding their money "NOW"; not, frankly, that there is anything wrong with that, as it is their money, if it were true. Yet most--the majority that I can see from other postings--people are prepared to accept a reasonable schedule for a refund; say, 30 days, 60 at the outside, and only ask that the companies stick to their commitment, with clarity, communications, and integrity. That does not seem to be happening with HAL. The timelines keep shifting outward (originally 14 days, then 30, then 60, now 60 or even 90 business days for some, etc.) and the communication has been inconsistent and poor. As CruiseMom notes above, other lines seem able to do this somewhat better than the CCL companies. That is what many, including me, find problematic. Yet, even if other companies were adhering to an unrealistic or anti-consumer standard, does not make it right. Nor is it acceptable. As other posters have observed, we are not banks, and it is certainly not our obligation to unwittingly fund cruise lines (especially not interest-free). Their cash-flow problem is not mine. They should use their borrowed funds to take care of those passengers awaiting refunds, or they risk badly damaging the brands to many. Finally, for those waiting for refunds, like those who were "Waiting for Godot", if you need what you are entitled to sooner than the elastic and uncertain schedule of the cruise line, call your credit card issuer to at least explore a dispute. For those who can afford or wish to wait out of some sense of loyalty to a corporation (which will never reciprocate such unrequited love), good for you. Yet that choice is not at all the only moral or correct choice.
  16. To be clear, I have no opinion on whether HAL or CCL management should resign--as compared to the executives at other cruise lines, I have no basis to say the CCL team is any better or worse. They are probably doing as well as they believe they can, given all the circumstances. That refunds are taking as long as they are for sure is not satisfactory, but I am not at this stage calling for anyone to walk the plank (given we are talking of a cruise organization, a nautical term seemed apt). What I am fussed about is the attitude of some posters that those asking for refunds are somehow wrong, or are overly impatient. The excuse for this is as Despeque wrote above--in essence, you could afford it at the time. Yet, as I posted on another thread, the times have changed. Imagine that you are a successful business owner of, say, a retail store or a restaurant. Things are going well and you can afford a cruise holiday. Then, Covid enters the picture, your cruise is cancelled by the cruise line, and your establishment is shuttered so you have no income coming in--which is the fate of many. Can you use your refund now, to pay your rent or mortgage, or your staff, or your bank or suppliers, or to feed your family? Of course! Same analysis applies if you are a manager in a business that no longer has a revenue stream--you agree to a 20% or greater pay cut to keep your job and help your employer "save the furniture", hoping better days return. Or you are a young associate accountant or other professional, a dentist or hygienist, just getting started, with a mortgage, and little or no income coming in and lots of demands on your monies. Can you use your refund now, rather than waiting 90 days? You betcha! What was budgeted for as a vacation is no longer a viable plan, just as the prior year's government budget is also blown by this. Moreover, the refund due is your money. You have a right to it, unapologetically. Whether the corporate entities have to restructure or not, is not the concern of anyone owed monies for services not rendered. If people can afford to wait, great. For those who cannot, the anxiety is real. Hopefully those people will avail themselves of the credit card dispute option to speed up the process. I really hope that posters who throw in the face the statement that "you could afford it when you booked" reconsider, and try to walk a mile in the shoes of those people who, for whatever reason, want or need the monies they are legitimately owed.
  17. Hello JPH (original poster), thanks so much for your efforts! Just seeing this thread today, please add us to the list: Scheduled sailing Sojourn, Alaska, r/t Vancouver, May 31, 2020 (12 days),booking included r/t biz class air to/from Vancouver, arrival May 30th. Seabourn finally cancelled the cruise on April 14th. TA requested cash refund that same day. Form letter from SB advising of the two options, FCC or cash refund, advised that "processing your election of option 1 or 2 may take up to 60 days as our team works through each booking." NB: no mention of "business days", and "up to" 60 days signifies to me that this is the outside date. Not yet halfway through that 60 day timeline, we have received nothing yet.
  18. CruiseMom42, I agree with all your write above, but especially with the excerpted paragraph. Well said!
  19. Gee, when the cruise lines were trying to sell me cruises, I got snail-mail brochures, seemingly targeted letters addressing me by name, and voluminous amounts of emails offering a myriad of promotions. Obviously, the cruise lines have a sophisticated internal communication system--so, why can't it be used to communicate to customers, even in a form letter/email style, as to the status of refunds? It is all about "managing expectations", and in my opinion, a better job of that, using existing tools, could be done.
  20. So, you are a small business owner (or a medium size one) and, happily, profitable. You were selling your products in your retails store(s), or your restaurant was a smashing success, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, including cruise holidays. Or, you are a dentist, or a physiotherapist...get the picture?? Then, Covid came along...and you had to close your doors, all revenue coming in has stopped and you do not know when you can re-open and, when you do, if your customers can or will return. All that you have worked for may be ashes. Please, some empathy for those who booked a cruise and then, when the world changed, and their cruise was cancelled, can really use that refund...not in 90 days but now, to pay the mortgage, pay the landlord, pay their staff, pay themselves. For those who want to patiently wait for their refund, great. Most, however, have for good reason, less patience.
  21. I agree with all that Iancal has posted on this thread. As the original poster asks for our experiences with disputing a charge by credit card, I can share mine. It involves Seabourn, a sister company of HAL and part of CCL. A bit of a long story...sorry. We were due to go on an Alaska cruise, roundtrip Vancouver, at the end of May. We had just made final payment about a week before the Covid situation really flared up. Subsequently, it became obvious that the cruise could not go when the Canadian (Federal) government closed Canadian ports to most cruise ships. Not only was our embarkation/disembarkation port impacted, there was at least one other Canadian port on the trip. Finally, the state of Alaska had implemented a 14 day quarantine, meaning that once the ship arrived at the first Alaskan port, we would be stuck. These details make clear that there was no way this cruise could proceed. Yet for some time after all these restrictions were imposed, Seabourn did not cancel it. It was still even for sale on the Seabourn website! My understanding was that I could cancel the cruise, but then would be limited to FCC as it was my decision to pull the plug and cancel. So, like many others, I reluctantly got involved in a "game of chicken", or "who would blink first" with the cruise line. Finally, CCL and Seabourn threw in the towel and cancelled the cruise--amongst many others. My TA filled out the form, selecting our choice of a 100% cash refund versus a 125% FCC ("a bird in the hand"). We were told at the time 60-90 days until we get the refund. Now, recall that I had made final payment on my credit card shortly before all this awfulness revved up. When it became clear that the cruise could not sail, before that months credit card bill was due, I did not want to pay the portion of my cc statement representing the cost of this cruise, and then have to wait and perhaps fight to get it refunded. So, (finally getting to the point and answering the question) I called my credit card issuer. Rather than initiating a formal dispute, the cc issuer agreed to put the monies for this cruise into a suspense account, no interest will accrue and I need not pay it until "at least" the June statement. The expectation by the cc issuer is that by then the refund should be processed. If not, the cc issuer may give CCL/Seabourn a little more time, or may ask me to then initiate a dispute. Either way, I am not out the monies for a trip that cannot happen. Like Iancal, as Seabourn cancelled the cruise, I cannot possibly think of a justification or answer they may have to not accept that the refund is owing. Moreover, if there is an eventual bankruptcy, at least with my credit card, I am still protected. I suspect many credit cards offer that customer protection--but do check if that is a worry. There is simply no downside to the consumer to at least speaking to your credit card issuer and exploring the dispute option. I will say that there seems to be a difference if it is the passenger who cancelled the cruise before the cruise line did, or if the cruise line was the one to pull the plug. Not that I agree with that difference if Tuesday the passenger cancelled their trip, when on Wednesday the cruise line then announced a cancellation. Seems to be punishing customers who were pro-active. In any case, my experience resorting to my cc issuer has been positive so far. I would rather keep the funds in my bank account, rather than have to fight later to get them put back. If I had already paid my credit card statement, I would also have initiated a dispute, to get a provisional credit, and then eventually have that credit confirmed. Good luck to all who seek their refunds.
  22. I agree that the cruise lines were a significant contributing factor, albeit not hardly the only one. But my impression from the article was not the same as Tampa Girl's. Rather, it was what Crusinbanjo said: There was a lack of transparency and also, as the article laid out compellingly, a seemingly deliberate series of omissions and failures to disclose, and failures to follow their own established procedures and protocols. All this made an already difficult situation that much worse.
  23. Well, Tampa Girl, with what facts in the article do you disagree? While this hopefully is a rare event (actually, there have been other viruses, SARS, etc., and arguably every nation ought to have been better prepared, yet that is "another story"), that does not mean that the standard safety precautions for any outbreak of infection, which precautions are described in the article, should have been ignored, as the article asserts was the case. Of course, assertions are just that. Yet, as another poster above noted, the article, which describes how the cruise industry just ignored or overlooked their own protocols, is pretty damning. It does not inspire me to run right out and book a cruise.
  24. Thanks, ABoatNerd, for posting that USA Today article on refunds. It shows quite clearly that some cruise lines (like RCL) are doing a better job than others--better communication, better management of customer expectations, and faster processing of refunds. As for the speculative downside about initiating a dispute with ones credit card issuer as Jakers discussed above, frankly, I don't see it. Because one disputes a charge the company will consider you no longer a customer ever more, especially when HAL, for example, can easily see your Mariner status and cruise history? Doubtful that any cruise line would write off a potential future customer, especially when I suspect that customers of cruises will, at least initially once we come through this, be rare and thus treasured. As to being denied your credit card dispute, if you paid for a cruise that the line cancelled--so you did not get what you paid for--I am hard-pressed to see how your claim for a refund wouold in such circumstances be denied. Anything is possible, I guess, but again, there is nothing wrong in calling your credit card issuer and asking the questions, and bookmarking your claim if you choose to do so.
  25. Just a post-script to mine above: on the "Refund Timing" thread, a number of posters are reporting success with refunds/credits applied by their credit card issuer. So, notwithstanding the "unprecedented" nature of the situation, the individual consumers are being made whole, one way or another.
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