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Poor Customer Service?


wvsails
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In early August, we reserved and paid the initial deposit for our Silversea Antarctica trip next year.  We did this directly through Silversea.  The cruise consultant is super friendly on the phone; however, it takes days and repeated emails and calls to get a response. I received an automated email stating that I needed to pay my invoice before I even received an invoice and while still awaiting follow-up on changing to business class flights and post-cruise options. I can understand delays due to Hurricane Dorian.  I am not counting those days as a problem.

 

Have others experienced this lackadaisical approach to customer bookings with Silversea?  If so, what did you do to get it resolved? The contrast from the phenomenal booking experience with Regent is remarkable.

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Something doesn't compute in this situation.

 

Are you certain that you were really dealing with an employee of Silversea, rather than someone posing as a Silversea agent?  I encountered this situation several years ago when I began to book a cruise on another line and found that the agent was in fact simply a TA.  I just Googled Silversea and see that there are several urls at the top of the search results that have "silversea" in the URL but are not in fact Silversea.com.

 

I deal directly with a Silversea agent.  Every time I have made any payment (including the initial deposit) I receive an email from Silversea with an updated invoice/itinerary attached.  These messages generally come within an hour or two of the transaction.

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Thank you for the responses. I am somewhat relieved to know that poor customer service is unusual for Silversea as it was making me a bit apprehensive about the trip itself.  My booking does show on my.silversea.com, so I do not think I am being scammed, although that was the first thing that crossed my mind when the service problems began.

 

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1 hour ago, wvsails said:

My booking does show on my.silversea.com, so I do not think I am being scammed

 

 

 I believe that any booking – no matter whether made directly with Silversea or through a travel agency —  would show up on my.silversea.com. I did not mean to suggest that you were being scammed.  I was simply suggesting that it was possible that you were dealing with a travel agency rather than directly with Silversea.  In any case, I hope it all works out. The fact that you find the booking on the website should be very reassuring. 

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Hello,

We've had a similar issue with slow or no response from our cruise consultant. We booked and paid in full directly with Silversea in early August. The response on questions we've had has been poor; unanswered emails and no return calls when I leave messages. We are supposed to have  air included at no charge and an on board credit yet it does not show on our reservation or invoice. He says he is waiting on the air department. I'm going to try to reach out to a supervisor. This will be our first cruise with Silversea. 

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39 minutes ago, Joe&Barry said:

Hello,

We've had a similar issue with slow or no response from our cruise consultant. We booked and paid in full directly with Silversea in early August. The response on questions we've had has been poor; unanswered emails and no return calls when I leave messages. We are supposed to have  air included at no charge and an on board credit yet it does not show on our reservation or invoice. He says he is waiting on the air department. I'm going to try to reach out to a supervisor. This will be our first cruise with Silversea. 

 

This is again strange (and disturbing).

 

The included air and OBC should appear on your official SS Voyage Confirmation (which has images of butlers at the top), below the financial information, in a section headed "Other Information" or "Remarks." I can see that you would have been disturbed to have paid in full and to have no confirmation of the inclusions.

 

Waiting for word from the air department may make perfect sense, depending upon the issues, your departure date, etc.

 

You say you have not received satisfactory response to questions. If you care to try participants on this board, perhaps we can help.

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21 hours ago, cdn.cruiser said:

WVSails,

i would suggest calling Silversea directly and ask if your booking was made by a

SS agent. Then you know for sure. The phone number is on their website.

Silversea.com . Ends in 0912.

Thank you.  i will do that.

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2 hours ago, Observer said:

 

This is again strange (and disturbing).

 

The included air and OBC should appear on your official SS Voyage Confirmation (which has images of butlers at the top), below the financial information, in a section headed "Other Information" or "Remarks." I can see that you would have been disturbed to have paid in full and to have no confirmation of the inclusions.

 

Waiting for word from the air department may make perfect sense, depending upon the issues, your departure date, etc.

 

You say you have not received satisfactory response to questions. If you care to try participants on this board, perhaps we can help.

Thanks both Joe&Barry and Observer.  My cruise consultant is female, J&B - sounds like yours is male. Hopefully, this is not either a decrease in service from what others have experienced or else Silversea is less interested in those of us who are first timers with them.  May we all have resolution and a wonderful trip!

 

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19 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

May I ask when you first booked the cruise did you call Silversea or did you get solicited either through an e mail or a phone call from someone.

 

The whole thing is very strange which is why I am wondering how this began.

 

Keith

Hi Keith,

After researching cruise lines that visit Antarctica on the IAATO website for ships that fit the style of trip we desire, I went to silversea.com and selected, "Request a Quote." The next day, a personal cruise consultant called me. During that call, I made my initial deposit.  I did receive a thank you email with a booking number from Silversea and I think two more emails from Silversea that day.  The email did not state the remaining amount due, nor when it was due. In spite of this, I would consider all well those first couple of days. It was after that when I attempted to reach my personal cruise consultant again that these long delays and difficulty reaching her by phone and email began.  To be fair she does eventually call me back, it just takes a week.

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I know it's too late but I would not recommend booking through the cruise line.

 

Years ago I did speak with the reps at Silversea and I still get calls from them.  However, I booked the cruises through our TA.

 

Even if you can get the same perks with a TA, a TA can do many other things and possibly provide benefits for things that have nothing to do with the trip from private insurance (not through the cruise line) to hotels.

 

Also, should someone go wrong with the cruise or cruise line I would want someone who is my advocate and I think there are times that someone from the cruise line couldn't be your advocate.

 

I realize this was not the question but I wanted to share my perspective.  

 

Keith

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4 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

 

 

Also, should someone go wrong with the cruise or cruise line I would want someone who is my advocate and I think there are times that someone from the cruise line couldn't be your advocate.

In our experience a TA has not been able to apply leverage with SS or act as an advocate when something has gone wrong. Dealing direct with SS has usually been the better approach. 

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I have had some issues as well.  I booked directly with SS.  I emailed my consultant after making the initial deposit but didn't hear back.  When I called, I found out that he isn't working there anymore and had a new person.  I have sent emails to her and haven't heard back.  I did receive confirmation about my booking and can access my account through the mysilversea.com link.  However, I still have questions and they are not being answered.  I don't think I will book directly with them again.

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10 hours ago, wvsails said:

Hi Keith,

After researching cruise lines that visit Antarctica on the IAATO website for ships that fit the style of trip we desire, I went to silversea.com and selected, "Request a Quote." The next day, a personal cruise consultant called me. During that call, I made my initial deposit.  I did receive a thank you email with a booking number from Silversea and I think two more emails from Silversea that day.  The email did not state the remaining amount due, nor when it was due. In spite of this, I would consider all well those first couple of days. It was after that when I attempted to reach my personal cruise consultant again that these long delays and difficulty reaching her by phone and email began.  To be fair she does eventually call me back, it just takes a week.

 

This account makes me believe that you were not dealing with a Silversea cruise consultant (i.e., a Silversea employee who books only Silversea travel).  Instead (and here I am drawing on experience some time ago with another luxury cruise line), I believe your request for a quote was referred by Silversea to a travel agency who works with Silversea.  I cannot recall ever receiving a voyage confirmation from Silversea without detailed financial info and cancellation deadlines.   IME, official Silversea voyage confirmations have for many years had images of butlers at the top.

 

Wanting to keep as many bookings in-house and maintaining good relations with travel agents is a delicate dance for Silversea.  (Oldtimers will recall the demise of Renaissance, due in significant part to its dissing of TAs.)  Thus the referrals when people ask for a quote.  If this experience with the TA (assuming I am correct!) has been unsatisfactory, you should let Silversea HQ know.

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7 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Also, should someone go wrong with the cruise or cruise line I would want someone who is my advocate and I think there are times that someone from the cruise line couldn't be your advocate.

 

 

I have found that my Silversea cruise consultant has been a forceful and effective advocate for me on the (rare) occasions when there have been issues.  The consultant has direct access to Silversea managers and has been able to get me responses promptly.

 

One of the things I appreciate about working directly with a Silversea consultant is that s/he has real-time access to availability of various suites.  This is especially valuable in booking back to back cruises.  TAs with whom I have dealt have had to call Silversea to ascertain availability of specific suites.

 

Another issue:  Who is going to be my advocate if the TA drops the ball.  This happened to me a few years ago (and I know my experience was not unique).  My emailed instructions were clear, and I did not immediately notice that they had not been followed.  The result was costly and the TA refused to make me whole:  S/he acknowledged that s/he had not followed my written instructions but said I should have checked the paperwork more carefully.  Who was going to be my advocate when s/he dug in his/her heels and s/he was co-owner of the travel agency? 

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2 minutes ago, Observer said:

 

I have found that my Silversea cruise consultant has been a forceful and effective advocate for me on the (rare) occasions when there have been issues.  The consultant has direct access to Silversea managers and has been able to get me responses promptly.

 

One of the things I appreciate about working directly with a Silversea consultant is that s/he has real-time access to availability of various suites.  This is especially valuable in booking back to back cruises.  TAs with whom I have dealt have had to call Silversea to ascertain availability of specific suites.

 

Another issue:  Who is going to be my advocate if the TA drops the ball.  This happened to me a few years ago (and I know my experience was not unique).  My emailed instructions were clear, and I did not immediately notice that they had not been followed.  The result was costly and the TA refused to make me whole:  S/he acknowledged that s/he had not followed my written instructions but said I should have checked the paperwork more carefully.  Who was going to be my advocate when s/he dug in his/her heels and s/he was co-owner of the travel agency? 

I hear you on the first point and that of Silver Spectre.  I still prefer using a TA for all of our cruising but certainly as you both note there are other options.

 

As the the TA dropping the ball if it was big enough I would get another TA.

 

Our TA has never dropped the ball.  So I would find the right TA.

 

As I said we use our TA for more than just booking the cruise and that includes the other benefits we get including hotels.

 

In our case we had an issue with Silversea on one of the two cruises we took and our TA was successful in being our advocate.

 

But as I said you both have certainly brought up a good point on the SIlversea consultant but for me I will continue with a TA including for a Silversea booking.

 

Keith

 

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43 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

I hear you on the first point and that of Silver Spectre.  I still prefer using a TA for all of our cruising but certainly as you both note there are other options.

 

As the the TA dropping the ball if it was big enough I would get another TA.

 

Our TA has never dropped the ball.  So I would find the right TA.

 

As I said we use our TA for more than just booking the cruise and that includes the other benefits we get including hotels.

 

In our case we had an issue with Silversea on one of the two cruises we took and our TA was successful in being our advocate.

 

But as I said you both have certainly brought up a good point on the SIlversea consultant but for me I will continue with a TA including for a Silversea booking.

 

Keith

 

 

Thanks.  I think that Silversea (and another luxury line I have been frequenting) invite confusion by referring queries to independent TAs whom they do not control.

 

I did indeed abandon the TA with whom I had the issue I described.  I then turned to another agency and had another (much less consequential but not trust-building) issue.  

 

It was then that I moved to booking directly with my Silversea cruise consultant.  One of the things I appreciate is that Silversea has a deep bench of its consultants, and they cheerfully and ably fill in for one another when a colleague is on vacation, etc.

 

I do get benefits from him/her.  But an independent TA can indeed provide other benefits (e.g., an included land tour, slightly larger OBC, etc.)  At this point in my life the assurance of first-rate service trumps those possible perks.  I always book my own air/land arrangements (and I am fairly aggressive about getting good deals with upgrades, free breakfast, etc.) 

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Just a little discreet input here and I Have to be carful what I say but  my OH has recently opened his own TA specialising in luxury and river cruising. He has been speaking to SS and they seemed extremely keen on offering him recommendations  from regular cruisers locally that usually book direct. They do seem to prefer people to use a TA.

 

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I too have experience difficulty reaching and getting a response from my  Silversea rep.  No email response, voice mail goes un returned, etc.  I normally deal with a cruiseline travel agent and always get immediate response or feedback. This being first cruise with this line I  figured I vwould do better with a company employee.  Just didn't happen.

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2 hours ago, 92118 said:

 This being first cruise with this line I  figured I vwould do better with a company employee.  Just didn't happen.

 

Are you certain that you were dealing with a company employee rather than a travel agent to whom you were referred by Silversea in response to an online query?  I think you should escalate this matter by calling the Silversea reservation lines at 888 978 4070.

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