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Impossible to get advertised deal


david,Mississauga
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It is not my intention to have a rant nor to upset the “we only cruise with Holland America” people. I am curious as to whether the following is normal procedure that we should expect again should we book a future cruise with HAL.

 

Because our previous cruise with HAL was 40 years ago, we are as close to being “first-timers” as you can get. To their credit, HAL acknowledged that long-ago cruise and has given us one-star Mariner status. :) We booked a Neptune suite for an Alaska inside passage cruise for next spring and were promised the Explore 4 package and the $300 OBC. A short while ago there was a significant price reduction for the Neptune suites for our cruise. Through our travel agent (a cruise specialist for 42 years) we asked if we could get the lower fare and keep the other perks as the Website indicates this for “new bookings only.” Being eight months away we could certainly cancel without penalty and re-book if necessary.

 

After contacting HAL he was advised that they were not aware that the new fares and the perks were being offered even though it was quite clear from the Website. So I did a “copy and paste” and sent that off. That wasn’t good enough for the reservation office. They wanted the URL. Because I was away for one day, there was a short delay before I could send this. The lower fares and the generous offer were still showing on the site at that time. The next day the minimum Neptune rate (SC category, I believe) was sold out. So their stalling game worked and it would cost us more to re-book or get a re-pricing.

 

On principle I should have told HAL to get stuffed and get a refund of the deposit. But we have booked other arrangements coinciding with this cruise so we will grin and bear it. I am surprised at this behaviour as we have cruised with seven different lines and never experienced anything like this. Our last eight voyages have been with another Carnival line (Cunard) and we have never had any difficulty getting advertised deals – prior to final payment, of course - and have received some great upgrades (not upsells) to ensure our loyalty. We haven’t given up on Cunard; they are our favourite. We just want to stay closer to home next year and HAL to Alaska seemed to be a good choice.

 

I’m not looking for sympathy. We are under no obligation to go through with this trip but I really wonder if this is something that others have experienced or is an unusual occurrence.

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Hal really, really loves to punish people that book early. It's too bad that they feel the need to do this and most people will get tired of it especially when they give away the farm at the end. Is this a good way to conduct business? I'm going to Princess for my next one or two cruises. I'd rather have someone that appreciates my business.

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Sorry for your experience. We've always been successful in getting a credit for a price drop by calling our TA. I know there have been posters that had to give up Explore 4 in order to get the reduction but for them it was a fair trade off.

I do agree that HAL needs to stop punishing those folks who book early and pay full price. It certainly doesn't instill loyalty.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Sorry for your experience. We've always been successful in getting a credit for a price drop by calling our TA. I know there have been posters that had to give up Explore 4 in order to get the reduction but for them it was a fair trade off.

I do agree that HAL needs to stop punishing those folks who book early and pay full price. It certainly doesn't instill loyalty.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

What she said and double it.

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Is there something missing here?

 

For a particular cruise, HAL charges a given price that includes certain perks. Later, they decide to lower the price as they are eliminating the perks. Perhaps the web site has a small delay in conveying this information.

 

Now it seems as though you are expecting to get the lower price and still retain the perks. This does not sound reasonable as the price was lowered because, in part, the perks were not being included.

 

I guess I don’t understand your complaint. You made a deal for a cruise and now you want the opportunity to ignore the agreement. And as long as it is before the final payment date, HAL will permit you to do so.

 

But is it really reasonable for you to expect HAL to give you both the lower price and the perks?

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Is there something missing here?

 

For a particular cruise, HAL charges a given price that includes certain perks. Later, they decide to lower the price as they are eliminating the perks. Perhaps the web site has a small delay in conveying this information.

 

Now it seems as though you are expecting to get the lower price and still retain the perks. This does not sound reasonable as the price was lowered because, in part, the perks were not being included.

 

I guess I don’t understand your complaint. You made a deal for a cruise and now you want the opportunity to ignore the agreement. And as long as it is before the final payment date, HAL will permit you to do so.

 

But is it really reasonable for you to expect HAL to give you both the lower price and the perks?

 

That is just what I was thinking. If one is a really savvy shopper, there is money to be saved, and we certainly have taken advantage of that from time to time. There is no way one can expect to get the lowest possible price every time, especially when you don't stay on top of the cruise market.

 

For a Neptune Suite, we would happily trade off the perks for the lower price. A $ignificant price reduction will pay for an awful lot of schnapps! :D

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Is there something missing here?

 

For a particular cruise, HAL charges a given price that includes certain perks. Later, they decide to lower the price as they are eliminating the perks. Perhaps the web site has a small delay in conveying this information.

 

Now it seems as though you are expecting to get the lower price and still retain the perks. This does not sound reasonable as the price was lowered because, in part, the perks were not being included.

 

I guess I don’t understand your complaint. You made a deal for a cruise and now you want the opportunity to ignore the agreement. And as long as it is before the final payment date, HAL will permit you to do so.

 

But is it really reasonable for you to expect HAL to give you both the lower price and the perks?

 

Well thought-out reasoning. Thanks.

Edited by SilvertoGold
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Yes....it happened to us about two years ago...

I was on the phone to HAL and staring at my laptop screen that was showing a nice promotion....they said they couldn't "see" it....after a lot of discussion we changed our mind and didn't book....

We still prefer HAL and have booked other cruises....just hope it doesn't happen again......I know your frustration.....!!!

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That is just what I was thinking. If one is a really savvy shopper, there is money to be saved, and we certainly have taken advantage of that from time to time. There is no way one can expect to get the lowest possible price every time, especially when you don't stay on top of the cruise market.

 

For a Neptune Suite, we would happily trade off the perks for the lower price. A $ignificant price reduction will pay for an awful lot of schnapps! :D

 

It don't think that just because you get a good price it means you are savvy. I'd say it has a lot more to do with being able to come and go whenever you feel like it. That is not an option for most people in the workforce.

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Hal really, really loves to punish people that book early. It's too bad that they feel the need to do this and most people will get tired of it especially when they give away the farm at the end. Is this a good way to conduct business? I'm going to Princess for my next one or two cruises. I'd rather have someone that appreciates my business.

 

You always say that, but that's not the case always. If these folks are familiar with Cunard, well that's just good for them. I can't afford that cruiseline but good that they do. Hal isn't "punishing" anyone last I checked. If you see a price drop, they'll honor it. If you want an upsell, as you did, you got it. Not sure what you are talking about all the time about moving to Princess. So do it. Be done with it.

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I have had no problem getting my cruise fare lowered ( or onboard credit ) by calling HAL.

 

I booked on September 15th, 2014 for a March 2015 cruise with Explorer 4.(Neptune Suite SC )

 

Two weeks later I received a private sale offer in the mail and had the two fares lowered by $400.00 each ( and kept the Explorer 4 deal )

 

Then during the National Cruise Week sale I called and they added another $200.00 in onboard credit.

 

I don't know, maybe I am lucky?:confused: I did book directly with HAL and when I made my calls Hal was super helpful and made the process easy.

 

I will not drop the Explorer4 though so after October 31 I will be out of luck with price drops. For me there is HUGE value in the drinks package. I have research to do in the style of POA1 and this will make it much easier to do:D..as well as cheaper ;)

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You always say that, but that's not the case always. If these folks are familiar with Cunard, well that's just good for them. I can't afford that cruiseline but good that they do. Hal isn't "punishing" anyone last I checked. If you see a price drop, they'll honor it. If you want an upsell, as you did, you got it. Not sure what you are talking about all the time about moving to Princess. So do it. Be done with it.

 

You have your opinion and I have mine. You do not need to put me down just because you believe something different. The hal cheerleaders are quick to pounce on anything about there beloved cruiseline. I can't understand half of what you are saying here but you seem to be really upset for no reason. Please explain to me how you get the lower price after final. I can hardly wait to hear. Would love to know how you know that I always say that. Aren't you supposed to be a new poster? If you read my countdown clock you would see that I have moved to princess so what in the world are you talking about?

Edited by cruz chic
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You always say that, but that's not the case always. If these folks are familiar with Cunard, well that's just good for them. I can't afford that cruiseline but good that they do. Hal isn't "punishing" anyone last I checked. If you see a price drop, they'll honor it. If you want an upsell, as you did, you got it. Not sure what you are talking about all the time about moving to Princess. So do it. Be done with it.

 

HAL does absolutely no favours to those who book well in advance. I know that for sure as most of my cruises are booked well over a year ahead of time. After final payment date, that's when prices drop like a rocket at times, and once you've paid in full all you can hope for is some OBC or an upgrade. So yes, I agree with Cruz chic on this.

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HAL does absolutely no favours to those who book well in advance. I know that for sure as most of my cruises are booked well over a year ahead of time. After final payment date, that's when prices drop like a rocket at times, and once you've paid in full all you can hope for is some OBC or an upgrade. So yes, I agree with Cruz chic on this.

 

Case in point, my cruise has dropped $1000 since I booked. That was a VH catagory. That catagory was not even available when I booked in May. They release that at final. Pretty hard to book it when it's not available.

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Case in point, my cruise has dropped $1000 since I booked. That was a VH catagory. That catagory was not even available when I booked in May. They release that at final. Pretty hard to book it when it's not available.

 

Well, didn't you call them? Price drop that huge, yep.

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David, I would be unhappy with my travel agent, not Holland America. What is the use of a travel agent if he can not get you an advertised price? Did your travel agent maximize the price you paid to maximize his commission?

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Well, didn't you call them? Price drop that huge, yep.

 

Call them and what? I booked a VF because that was the lowest catagory available for balconies. They did not release the VH until after final. Too late for me to switch. I did ask my PCC if they would do anything. No, because that is not the catagory I booked. Can't book something that is not there.

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David, I would be unhappy with my travel agent, not Holland America. What is the use of a travel agent if he can not get you an advertised price? Did your travel agent maximize the price you paid to maximize his commission?

 

I so agree with whogo. The B & M TA that we have used for years has always gotten us not only advertised price breaks but additionally some that only they and the cruise lines are aware of. As soon as the newest Explor4 was announced this summer she secured that at no additional cost - in fact she actually lowered our fares. Although our business is just a drop in the bucket for her she treats us as if we are her best customers.

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Because we travel as a family of 4 and stay in cabins for 4 we pretty much are out of last minute booking. We book long in advance and then our cabins have never decreased in price. I have seen similar events as the OP spoke about and emailed our TA but nope, always not valid for a cabin for 4. No flash sales for more than 2 people per cabin.

 

I have taken screen shots before and emailed them to my TA. So now I have a new TA and know to include the URL.

 

Thanks David in Mississauga...perhaps it is a Canadian thing??!

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I guess I was fortunate when I emailed my TA when there was a price drop and asked her if there was a chance HAL would pass it on to me.

 

A couple of hours later she emailed me back - they'd passed on the savings and I kept the promotional perks (which I hadn't even thought to ask about).

 

It was over $600, so I thought worth the question...

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I guess I was fortunate when I emailed my TA when there was a price drop and asked her if there was a chance HAL would pass it on to me.

 

A couple of hours later she emailed me back - they'd passed on the savings and I kept the promotional perks (which I hadn't even thought to ask about).

 

It was over $600, so I thought worth the question...

 

A good TA is worth her weight in gold.

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Although I was not already booked, I had a similar experience this summer (full story here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2048207&highlight=green+mariner ).

 

I was price-shopping & noticed an unadvertised sale connected to our mariner #, but no one at HAL could see it. I had to capture a Print Screen and send it to them. In my situation, the website was advertising the sale before they had it at headquarters. I, too, was concerned it would sell out if I didn't act. It took quite a bit of my time going back-and-forth.

 

I'm sorry for the OP's experience.

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Is there something missing here?

 

For a particular cruise, HAL charges a given price that includes certain perks. Later, they decide to lower the price as they are eliminating the perks. Perhaps the web site has a small delay in conveying this information.

 

Now it seems as though you are expecting to get the lower price and still retain the perks. This does not sound reasonable as the price was lowered because, in part, the perks were not being included.

 

I guess I don’t understand your complaint. You made a deal for a cruise and now you want the opportunity to ignore the agreement. And as long as it is before the final payment date, HAL will permit you to do so.

 

But is it really reasonable for you to expect HAL to give you both the lower price and the perks?

 

I completely agree with you! Every cruise operator, airline, tour operator, supermarket, drugstore, department store etc. normally have sales of left over inventory.. The higher fare had a perk attached to it & the lower fare does not, which is quite normal.. I would be very upset if I booked early with a perk & then those who booked just prior to final payment got a much lower fare with the same perk..

 

Why anyone would expect a guarantee to keep a perk with a lower fare is beyond me.. I too have had a price reduction, & have lost a perk, which I believed was reasonable. as I saved a bundle on the lower fare.. However, booking early usually guarantees the cabin you want..

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