Jump to content
Forum Maintenance: Wednesday March 20 @5:00 am ET Read more... ×
Cruise Critic Community


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


Need help re: Westerdam nightmare on New Year's Eve Cruise

Recommended Posts

Newbie here, been lurkering for awhile - LOVE these boards!


Was wondering if I could get some advice regarding the Westerdam cruise that my parents are currently on (sailed Dec 27 from Ft. Lauderdale). It has been an absolute nightmare, and I was wondering what kind of compensation/credit (if any) they should get and how they should get it.


Some background...


-They are in SS6108

-They booked their airfare through HAL (terrible flight with many stopovers)

-They are celebrating their 30th anniversary on this cruise



The gruesome details...


-They were caught in that awful holiday airport shuffle, and their luggage was lost. They made a claim and waited as long as they could, but finally had to board the ship. Someone from HAL was supposed to make arrangements for their luggage to get to the next port, but no one seems to know what's happening. HAL has, however, provided formalwear rentals and $100 room credit


-They were laundering their clothes everynight and this morning their clothes arrived stained! Since they were at port, all the shops on the ship were closed, so they had nothing to wear. After a few frantic calls, their clothes were re-washed and most of the stains came out.


-while waiting for their clothes they ordered room service and the food never arrived. More phone calls were made, and room service sent some chocolate-covered strawberries.


-Before they left I bought them a "romance package" which included a massage. My mom tried to book it on the first day, but there were no openings left for the rest of the cruise. The manager suggested she go on a waiting list.


-All the above, combined with the rough seas, 20' swells, not being able to go on deck or use their balcony has made for a truly terrible anniversary cruise (of course, HAL cannot control the weather, but it has added to their anguish)



What should they do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tell them not to travel or cruise in America during the holidays.

Most of what they have experienced is a result of choosing the wrong time.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I work in the cuise industry. I posted this list a few days ago. Sound a bit familiar?


Whats so bad about Christmas Cruises?


1. Highest prices of the year for airfare.

2. Airplanes overbooked.

3. Airline staff stressed out and overtaxed.

4. Many flights cancelled.

5. Many bags lost.

6. Most airline offices closed or barely manned for the holidays. No problem-solving ability.

7. Highest prices of the year for a cruise.

8. Ships fully booked. No emergency cabins in case yours is flooded or your aircon is not working.

9. Cruise ship staff wants to be home for the holidays. Not very jolly.

10. Cruise line staff overtaxed and stressed out.

11. Long lines for anything and everything on the ship.

12. Unsupervised children running everywhere.

13. Cruise line offices closed for the holidays. No problem-solving ability.

14. Christians complaining about not enough xmas decorations; non-christians complaining about too many xmas decorations.

15. Christmas cruise seemed like a good idea last august. Now you miss the sights. smells, sounds, family, friends at home at Christmas.

16. The German chefs version of Christmas dinner doesnt taste the same - or as good - as the one your mother/wife/girlfriend makes at home.

17. Many shore tours, shops, museums, banks, and tourist sites are closed for the holidays and you cannot visit them.

18. All rental cars are already booked.

19. The worst weather of the year is usually this week - even on a ship in the tropics.

20. The highest number of complaints is always received on the Christmas cruise. Do you want to listen to this for 7 days?

21. Customs and Immigration officials are not too happy about working on the holidays. They are surly and slow.

22. If the ship runs out of something (guaranteed), they cannot get any more this week.

23. Want to change your air tickets? Forget it. Not a chance.

24. If your bags were lost enroute to the ship (very good chance), they will stay lost until the end of the cruise - and beyond.

25. Ususally a high number of "domestic disputes" on Christmas cruises. But no spare cabins available to separate the warring spouses.

26. Influenza and noro-viruses are usually running rampant on the ship this time of year.

27. Bored teenagers form gangs by the end of the cruise and start looking for trouble. Their newest game involves going through your unlocked suitcases after you put them in the corridor on the last night of your cruise. You do not find out what was stolen or destroyed until you get home, and then blame the cruise line, airline, TSA, Bagage Handlers, Bus Drivers, etc.


These are my experiences on the past 24 Christmas Cruises on several mass-market cruise lines. THIS IS NOT EVERY CHRISTMAS CRUISE ON EVERY SHIP. A few get lucky and have a great time. I even had 2 very good Christmas Cruises out of the 24 I have worked.

But do you want to take a gamble like this if you dont have to?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sorry about your parents experience on their cruise. But lost luggage on the airlines would be upto the airlines to deal with, but it sounds like HAL is trying to help out since they booked the air through them. This is another reason why I book my own airfare, I control the stops, which I like non-stop. The weather, well, like you said, can't control the motion of the ocean, basically.


The message, not sure what to tell you about that, but I am sure some of the experienced cruisers here will have some wonderful suggestions.


Good luck.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not knowing the particulars, I am not sure that HAL "owes" them anything except a rebate for a portion of the romance package if in fact a massage could not be booked. HAL cannot be held accountable for their bags when the entire country's air system went whacky, nor are they responsible for bad seas....your folks are on a SHIP.


The other items were truly minor and HAL was nice enough to remediate each incident. I may be flamed for my response, but given the situation you described I am not sure any compensation is due.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be in general agreement with Local Lady.


As for the lost baggage, if it ever shows up, don't see where any more compensation would be due. If the baggage is really lost and never shows up, absolutely never, then some compensation would be due. Whether that should be from HAL, the airline, or any insurance company. Did your parents have the traveler's insurance?? They did make some compensation via the $100.00 and I really wouldn't expect more for an inconvenience factor.


As to HAL's laundry doing the damage to your parents clothes, HAL should definately make some form reimbursement based on the value of the lost clothes. As for the inconvenince, would guess HAL tried to compensate w/the chocolate covered strawberries and I wouldn't expect any thing more.


As prior post indicated, HAL should adjust the account if the romance pkg is not provided.


Other than that, am sorry to hear of your parents misfortune.


Philip 217 posting, while somewhat amusing, never the less, has some truth in it. Maybe even a lot of truth.....


Happy New Year To All.......

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only things under HAL's control from what I could tell in your post was the room service snafu. stained laundry, and the booked-full spa. The luggage mess, which really seemed to precipitate the biggest headaches, was out of HAL's control. If others had booked the spa ahead of time or first thing when getting on the ship, then that's unfortunate for your mom but just the way it can happen sometimes. Putting her on a wait list is about all they could do.


I also do not see where HAL owes your parents any compensation. Too bad the factors all came together as they did to put a real wet blanket on this special anniversary cruise.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

-They booked their airfare through HAL (terrible flight with many stopovers)

I grew up on the Island as well, I really doubt there is a direct flight from VIC- to FLL. I would assume you would have had 3-4 stop overs. If there were more then that, then I agree that is excessive. But should you be compensated? I don't think so. I think even if you booked this on your own you would have had similar stops. I have left from Courtney before (now they had non stop west jet flights to many places) but in your case and mine, you will have one probably in Vancouver, then again somewhere in the middle of the USA (ours is Dallas), and sometimes depending on the airline there might be a stop over in their "hub" city.


I know it must be fusterating since it is a LONG way from home and more then likely a special once in a life time trip, and things went wrong. I don't know how that could have fixed the swells you mentioned :p , or the problem with the missing luggage. If you watched TV at all over the Xmas holidays you will have seen thousands and thousands of people were effected by this. Of course HAL didnt know what was happening, because by the sounds of it the airlines certainly didn't know either.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

They can certainly file a claim with the travel insurance company for the delayed or lost luggage, assuming they bought insurance. If lost and no travel insurance, they can file a claim under their homeowners insurance.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks to me like HAL is off the hook on the lost or misplaced luggage. Per HAL's brochure, even if they make the airline arrangements, brochure states:


"If your flight is delayed, we'll make sure someone is at the airport to meet you and help you with your luggage".


In another part of the brochure on baggage policy:


"Holland America Line cannot be responsible for any loss, delay or damage that occurs before baggage comes into Holland America actual custody, etc"


HAL never had custody of the luggage. The're off the hook. Seems to me to be a matter between the airline and any insurance company, either the airlines or your travel insurance, if purchased.....

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, dear, we have friends on this sailing and an e-mail received from them indicated some rough seas but they were alright. They drove to FL so they were fine there too. We just returned from Carnival Spirit's Christmas cruise from San Diego and it was wonderful and two years ago we did Rhapsody out of Galveston and it was great too. BUT, we drove to port both times. We don't fly! Seems like an overdose of bad luck and I surely hope it all turns out well and that the luggage is located. I'd be pretty upset over the laundry situation and not getting a pre-arranged anniversary package would really be upsetting. We're taking our first HA cruise in March and hope our experience is nothing like this. Hoping all turns out well for your cruisers eventually.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very unfortunate situation, and because of the expense of sailing at this time of the year, probably feels a whole lot worse. The best time to sail is the week before Christmas and get of the ship around the 23/24 and witht he savings book a 5* Hotel for 2-3 days in the embarkation port. Last year we sailed the week before Christmas, had 2 balcony cabins for 4 people with the average cost p/p per day of only $85 incl all taxes. Probably double or triple that the next week. If you must sail at Christmas, arriving 2-3 days early might be a good idea. Airline travel used to be enjoyable, but is now a the best example of poor service from overpaid employees.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations