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New bookings only frustration

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So I wanted to  pay extra to upgrade my oceanview to a balcony because the price has just dropped, but unfortunately the balcony guarantee rate is for new bookings only.  We are 2 weeks after the final payment was due now, and I wrongly thought that as long as the new rate was more than my current booking it would be allowed. Have done this many times with Celebrity bookings.  So....this once again tells me that I shouldn't even consider booking a cruise until after final payment is due.   I get that they drop prices to fill cabins....but honestly, I'm willing to pay them more and they won't take it.  I"m not asking for a free upgrade  or something unreasonable I don't think.  I'm asking for the privilege to give them more money.  Think it's silly, but am sure others will disagree.

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3 hours ago, Xcelsior said:

So I wanted to  pay extra to upgrade my oceanview to a balcony because the price has just dropped, but unfortunately the balcony guarantee rate is for new bookings only.  We are 2 weeks after the final payment was due now, and I wrongly thought that as long as the new rate was more than my current booking it would be allowed. Have done this many times with Celebrity bookings.  So....this once again tells me that I shouldn't even consider booking a cruise until after final payment is due.   I get that they drop prices to fill cabins....but honestly, I'm willing to pay them more and they won't take it.  I"m not asking for a free upgrade  or something unreasonable I don't think.  I'm asking for the privilege to give them more money.  Think it's silly, but am sure others will disagree.

Have you asked your TA to talk to them? He/she might be able to get some help.

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I agree, see if your TA is able to get your cabin category changed; it’s possible that a specific category could be upgraded to, but not a guarantee 

Edited by laurieb

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14 hours ago, Xcelsior said:

So I wanted to  pay extra to upgrade my oceanview to a balcony because the price has just dropped, but unfortunately the balcony guarantee rate is for new bookings only.  We are 2 weeks after the final payment was due now, and I wrongly thought that as long as the new rate was more than my current booking it would be allowed. Have done this many times with Celebrity bookings.  So....this once again tells me that I shouldn't even consider booking a cruise until after final payment is due.   I get that they drop prices to fill cabins....but honestly, I'm willing to pay them more and they won't take it.  I"m not asking for a free upgrade  or something unreasonable I don't think.  I'm asking for the privilege to give them more money.  Think it's silly, but am sure others will disagree.

Are you aware of the Le Club Voyage bid for upgrade system?  If you wait a little longer they may (depending upon how many balconies are left on your sailing and your LCV level reciprocal with Celebrity) offer you to bid for an upgrade.  Link here:

 

https://www.azamara.co.uk/azamara-upgrade-programme

 

Phil

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Good luck.  Azamara keeps telling you that they are Celebrity’s sister. However, as you have already discovered Azamara has a different idea of customer service.  

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As an update, finally today, after 3 escalations by my travel agent, they relented and I was able to get the balcony guarantee cabin category booked that I wanted for slightly more than what I paid for the oceanview.  A phone call earlier in the day that I place directly to Azamara was a pointless endeavour - I was SHOCKED how I was treated by their customer service representative, and a supervisor refused to speak with me.  I was extremely polite and respectful on my end, they were not so much on theirs.  I have never had this kind of experience with Celebrity.  Needless to say...unless this is one spectacular cruise...I very much doubt I'll come back to Azamara again.  I don't like be treated like that, especially wih something like a vacation.  The downside was that I lost my OBC as it had to go under a new reservation number and that meant my future cruise certificate OBC had to be sacraficed.  The savings from my original booking were substantial enough to make that worthwhile.  Anyway...while I finally got the paid upgrade I wanted.......I'm not impressed.  I'm thinking I've made a mistake returning to this cruise line after so many years.  I suspect what was once an exceptional product is no longer the case if their shoreside service is any indication.  Too bad.

 

 

Edited by Toronto Guy

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5 hours ago, Toronto Guy said:

As an update, finally today, after 3 escalations by my travel agent, they relented and I was able to get the balcony guarantee cabin category booked that I wanted for slightly more than what I paid for the oceanview.....The downside was that I lost my OBC as it had to go under a new reservation number...The savings from my original booking were substantial enough to make that worthwhile.  Anyway...while I finally got the paid upgrade I wanted.......I'm not impressed.  I'm thinking I've made a mistake returning to this cruise line after so many years.  I suspect what was once an exceptional product is no longer the case if their shoreside service is any indication.  Too bad.

 

 

 

After 45 cruises, on 15 different cruiselines, the one thing I have learnt is that the onboard experience does not necessarily mirror shoreside service which is typically poor on most lines! As an aside it is quite normal, when booked via a TA, that the cruise line will not engage with you directly and deal with the TA only.

 

With regard to the paid upgrade, I am encouraged by your success and will try again as my experience was similar to the initial response you had. I would always expect that promotions received, like OBC, would not automatically link with a new reservation unless the new reservation offers the same incentives.

 

If I end up being successful with a paid upgrade, no matter how painful the process, I will be impressed as they absolutely are within their rights to stick to the 'available only for new bookings' mantra. Azamara will be a new experience for us, and I am extremely positive given the honest and (in my view) balanced opinions about the product across all the various threads.

Edited by hamrag

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16 hours ago, hamrag said:

 

After 45 cruises, on 15 different cruiselines, the one thing I have learnt is that the onboard experience does not necessarily mirror shoreside service which is typically poor on most lines! As an aside it is quite normal, when booked via a TA, that the cruise line will not engage with you directly and deal with the TA only.

 

With regard to the paid upgrade, I am encouraged by your success and will try again as my experience was similar to the initial response you had. I would always expect that promotions received, like OBC, would not automatically link with a new reservation unless the new reservation offers the same incentives.

 

If I end up being successful with a paid upgrade, no matter how painful the process, I will be impressed as they absolutely are within their rights to stick to the 'available only for new bookings' mantra. Azamara will be a new experience for us, and I am extremely positive given the honest and (in my view) balanced opinions about the product across all the various threads.

Within their rights, absolutely.  Good customer service it is not.  The good thing is they have many competitors.  I'll see how the cruise goes before making any future decisions.  I'm hoping it's great.  Just not at all impressed by my interactions with this company so far, and with the prices they are charging they need to substantially up their game IMHO.

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I'm glad you informed us about Azamara's limited upgrades. This would be a problem for me since I haven't found a good TA.

Edited by Cruise4Twos
better wording

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3 hours ago, Cruise4Twos said:

I'm glad you informed us about Azamara's limited upgrades. This would be a problem for me since I haven't found a good TA.

This topic is about changing your booking to a higher grade of cabin at a price that reflects the current difference difference between these cabin grades. However remember Azamara also have an upgrade system where once you get to round about 90 days before a cruise you can bid to upgrade ( see the sticky topic Upgrade Bid Experiences).

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7 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

This topic is about changing your booking to a higher grade of cabin at a price that reflects the current difference difference between these cabin grades. However remember Azamara also have an upgrade system where once you get to round about 90 days before a cruise you can bid to upgrade ( see the sticky topic Upgrade Bid Experiences).

I'm glad this topic informed us about not being able to change your booking to a higher grade without a TA fighting for you on Azamara. This would be a problem for me as I haven't found a good TA.

Edited by Cruise4Twos
better wording

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This is the main reason I found a travel agent. I couldn't be dealing with customer services directly (which was then Guatemala). However, even with a travel agent I still get the distinct impression that once you are booked, Azamara is very keen to just make any changes as difficult as possible to the detriment of the guest and their financial favour. 

 

Phil 

Edited by excitedofharpenden

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12 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

This is the main reason I found a travel agent. I couldn't be dealing with customer services directly (which was then Guatemala). However, even with a travel agent I still get the distinct impression that once you are booked, Azamara is very keen to just make any changes as difficult as possible to the detriment of the guest and their financial favour. 

 

Phil 

Perhaps I’m in the minority, or have just been lucky, but I’ve not encountered the poor service on the phone.  

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1 hour ago, laurieb said:

Perhaps I’m in the minority, or have just been lucky, but I’ve not encountered the poor service on the phone.  

It may be better now, but the call centre went through some real growing pains a few years ago and every so often when I speak to my travel agent it still can be a bit of a struggle. I had an excellent conduit to the LCV Ambassador when Nicole was in the office. I've lost that since she left and miss it. 

 

Phil 

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2 hours ago, laurieb said:

Perhaps I’m in the minority, or have just been lucky, but I’ve not encountered the poor service on the phone.  

 

Being in USA, perhaps you were not dealing with Guatemala.

Like Phil we had all sorts of difficulties a while back.

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In August I phoned requesting a quote.  I phoned Wichita and hoped that the service had improved since I had previously experienced from Guatemala .

In my opinion nothing had improved.  The phone was answered, I spoke to someone saying I wanted an Azamara quote, they sound surprised, put me on hold.  I waited but gave up.  I tried again later and the same thing happened.  I am from the UK and  apparently pay for these calls.

I then filled in an online form asking for a quote on the same B2B I am already booked on.  The reply said "thank you for your booking let me know if I can assist you on anything else"  I replied that I didnt understand since I was enquiring for a friend who was interested since in the UK online prices had dropped.

The reply said that they didnt quote since I was already booked and that there were no lower fares !  That was untrue since I was monitoring prices precisely because I was already booked and the balcony cabin price was now very close to the OV I have booked.  I also asked them to confirm what benefits I might lose if I transferred my booking to a balcony. That was 22nd August.  On 2nd September I asked if I was ever going to get a reply since I understood that the move to Wichita was meant to improve customer service.

The reply came with a quote which confirmed that prices had reduced on one of the cruises by £732.  In the meantime my friend had booked on Viking.

I was invited to contact my TA  to get a price to upgrade but I was not told what benefits I would lose.  (on board booking by my lovely friend Lottie).  

At the moment I will continue to read these boards to see if I can make any sense of the rules.

Just back from a Saga cruise,  the back office customer service was brilliant and puts Azamara to shame.

 

 

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We always book with a travel agent and our recent experience has been quite different. For example, last year we transferred a Celebrity booking to an Azamara one, it wasn’t an onboard booking and the only deal was BOGOHO+ so we had to top up the deposit to the full £500. It took a while for the change to be done mainly down to Celebrity not having a process for transferring the deposit. However that’s not important, in the summer I noticed the price had dropped by roughly £1000 so I contacted our travel agent to see what the saving would be if we cancelled and rebooked. To our surprise he came back saying there was no need to cancel and rebook we were allowed a change on the booking so other than lose the free Wi-Fi from the booking all would remain the same except the price would decrease by £942, an excellent result!

Using a travel agent gives us certain advantages however Azamara can then only deal with the agent and can’t discuss changes to the booking with the passenger.

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5 minutes ago, Riocca said:

...Using a travel agent gives us certain advantages however Azamara can then only deal with the agent and can’t discuss changes to the booking with the passenger.

 

Absolutely, and you have nailed the point that some are overlooking or not fully comprehending!

 

The position we are in, with our Journey bookings for 30 Nov and 7 Dec, is that the pricing for CC Suites has reduced significantly and to a level that definitely attracts. The problem is we got a fantastic deal for an inside cabin (same cabin each leg) which included $500 OBC on each leg. The website TA we used (USA based) has been really helpful in contacting Az, and has outlined clearly the response....which is that, for those rates, we need to cancel (lose 50%) and rebook. Aside from that, we lose the OBC which I expected....however, the value we place on any OBC is only about 50% of it's value as we would be using it for the sake of spending it!

 

Right now we are sticking, but I haven't given up on a different answer in the coming days and weeks, andour TA knows we are following daily!

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24 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I've never been able to swap a deposit from Celebrity to Azamara. I didn't think it was allowed?

 

Phil 

Agree. Nor from Azamara to Celebrity. I lost deposit 

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7 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I've never been able to swap a deposit from Celebrity to Azamara. I didn't think it was allowed?

 

Phil 

Yes that was Celebrity’s initial answer, they said it was only possible between Celebrity and RC. However a quick reference to the t&c’s where the wording only says “Brands” brought a very quick change of mind, don’t know if it’s subsequently been changed but all three brands had the same information.

Years of being involved in terms of sale and purchase sometimes pays off, it is a total minefield and has to be difficult for companies trading in multiple markets where legislation is different.

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This is the extract from Celebrity’s terms and conditions:

 

1.12 CAN I MAKE CHANGES TO MY BOOKING AFTER IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED?

Should you wish to make any changes to your confirmed holiday, you must notify us in writing as soon as possible. Whilst we will endeavour to assist you, we cannot guarantee we will be able to meet any such request. For guests wishing to make a significant amendment to their booking outside of 56 days from departure, such as changing the ship, sail date, flights or brand, please note that a booking transfer fee is applicable. 
Please note that any amendments for hotels, transfers and flights may result in the loss of the amount that was collected at the time of booking for these additional components.

The transfer fee is £75 per guest which is limited to the first two guests on a booking, therefore any additional guests on the booking will not be charged as well. Please note, the transfer fee is a non-refundable amount, which will be included in any cancellation charges as detailed in section 1.11 above. Please note that guests who are Elite and above within our Captains Club loyalty scheme are entitled to one free change per booking.

 

Also it’s not the first time we’ve done this our first Azamara cruise in 2010 was also swapped from a Celebrity booking.

 

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Also this is from Azamara’s t&c’s almost identical:

 

1.11 Can I make changes to my booking after it has been confirmed?
Should you wish to make any changes to your confirmed holiday, you must notify us in writing as soon as possible. Whilst we will endeavour to assist you, we cannot guarantee we will be able to meet any such request. For guests wishing to make a significant amendment to their booking outside of 56 days from departure, such as changing the ship, sail date or brand, please note that a booking transfer fee is applicable. Please note that any amendments for hotels, transfers and flights may result in the loss of the amount that was collected at the time of booking for these additional components.The transfer fee is £75 per guest which is limited to the first two guests on a booking, therefore any additional guests will not be charged as well.

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18 minutes ago, Riocca said:

Yes that was Celebrity’s initial answer, they said it was only possible between Celebrity and RC. However a quick reference to the t&c’s where the wording only says “Brands” brought a very quick change of mind, don’t know if it’s subsequently been changed but all three brands had the same information.

Years of being involved in terms of sale and purchase sometimes pays off, it is a total minefield and has to be difficult for companies trading in multiple markets where legislation is different.

Thanks John 👍. I've never been able to, but didn't read the terms and conditions.  Now I know. 

 

Phil 

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