Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Sign in to follow this  
mianmike

One reason not to book an excursion through MSC

Recommended Posts

We're on the Seaside right now. Last night of a 14 day cruise. Both of our excursions to Balmoral Island were cancelled by MSC. The first week's excursion was due to a nearby tropical storm and this weeks excursion was cancelled due to a "broken boat".  Both completely understandable.  The issue is if you booked your cruise online and prepaid at a discounted rate. If MSC cancels the excursion, MSC won't let you book a different excursion at the reduced online rate. I hope they reevaluate their policy. (I filled out a comment card to leave in the hotel director's comment box but apparently they don't accept comments the last night of a cruise. Weird.) Hopefully we get a survey.

 

We prefer to book excursions through the cruise line even if the excursion is slightly more expensive, for protection, but if your excursion is cancelled by MSC you may want to consider a reliable local tour operator to book your excursion instead. It could save you a chunk of change.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OTOH, if you book a third-party excursion they may or may not give you anything back for cancelling.  You pays your money and takes your cherce...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are always afraid to book though a 3rd party. Years ago had friend on another cruise line book a tour though 3rd party. Their bus broke down returning to ship.... Ship did not wait for them! They had to fly to next port at their own expense! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, mianmike said:

. If MSC cancels the excursion, MSC won't let you book a different excursion at the reduced online rate.

 

Had this experience in May. I was absolutely livid. They cancelled our tour on the basis that one of the attractions was 'under construction' - I had prepaid for the tour months in advance and they told us onboard, 2 days before the tour - no construction on a national monument starts with 2 days notice!

 

Long story short, ShoreEx staff were really unhelpful and the 'manager' was never available. They refused to honour the lower rate - my argument was had they informed me in good time, I would have rebooked online before boarding the ship. I asked to speak to the Hotel Director at Guest Services (after ShoreEx desk wouldn't progress the issue). Meeting was set up with the ShoreEx manager, such a rude woman, who made it seem like she was doing us a favour when she agreed to offer 10% discount on the new tour price. I explained to her the Web price was 20% discounted and it took a ridiculous effort to get her to agree to match the price. Disgusting experience.

 

I wrote a lengthy complaint to shoreside on my return, and to their credit, they offered some OBC for our upcoming Preziosa cruise as an apology - but still - disproportionate effort for me to get sorted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

OTOH, if you book a third-party excursion they may or may not give you anything back for cancelling.  You pays your money and takes your cherce...

 

The good ones will refund you - and you will know this in advance as they usually make it clear on their website

 

12 minutes ago, kidless said:

We are always afraid to book though a 3rd party. Years ago had friend on another cruise line book a tour though 3rd party. Their bus broke down returning to ship.... Ship did not wait for them! They had to fly to next port at their own expense! 

 

Again, the good ones have backup transport arranged - I've read a story on CC whereby someone's bus broke down, but the tour firm had strategically placed taxis/busses along the route that could be called into action and the guests were returned to the ship on time.

 

With advance research, close scrutiny of the T&C's and reviews, I find going third-party the best option almost all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also had this happen and felt it was unfair.  They should honor the online prices if they cancel the one you booked earlier.  I ended up refusing to re-book another excursion at the higher on ship price and ended up making my own last minute plans at the port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Até said:

I also had this happen and felt it was unfair.  They should honor the online prices if they cancel the one you booked earlier.  I ended up refusing to re-book another excursion at the higher on ship price and ended up making my own last minute plans at the port.

That's what we did. Since they refused to honor the online price we didn't book an alternate MSC excursion and used a local vendor instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends how far away the excursion goes.  I wouldn't book one with a local vendor  "a few hours" away, but anything local I'd do.

 

As far as not honoring the on-line discount, it may have something to do with the vendors giving MSC early booking discounts.  I know it sounds unfair, and in principle I probably wouldn't book "if I could have gotten it for less"....but I'd have to weigh how much I want the excursion vs the extra cost.  I wouldn't want to miss the experience just because of a few dollars (I'm trying to stop being a penny pincher...lol).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That does stink but maybe it becomes all manual for them?  We usually do our own but MSC have been very reasonable.  We did have one cancelled in June and they subbed a similar one.  They really never asked us about it, just found out when we got there too rough seas.  I think they did a fair exchange.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, April42749 said:

 I know it sounds unfair, and in principle I probably wouldn't book "if I could have gotten it for less"....but I'd have to weigh how much I want the excursion vs the extra cost.  I wouldn't want to miss the experience just because of a few dollars (I'm trying to stop being a penny pincher...lol).

In my case I booked the excursion I wanted, it was cancelled.  The ones they wanted full ship board price for were ones that I obviously had less interest in.  Inflating the price to above what I could have purchased them for earlier was just adding insult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Até said:

In my case I booked the excursion I wanted, it was cancelled.  The ones they wanted full ship board price for were ones that I obviously had less interest in.  Inflating the price to above what I could have purchased them for earlier was just adding insult.

 

Indeed. In my case, the reason for cancellation made the situation far worse - something they could have e-mailed out and done weeks prior to the cruise, at which point I would have had the opportunity to rebook online, at the lower rate.

 

However - MSC prices tend to be cheaper than most mainstream cruise lines I've been on - perhaps only Costa is comparable. NCL is a joke - $180 for the same tour of Rome you can get on MSC or Costa for €60.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Captain-John said:

 

Again, the good ones have backup transport arranged - I've read a story on CC whereby someone's bus broke down, but the tour firm had strategically placed taxis/busses along the route that could be called into action and the guests were returned to the ship on time.

 

With advance research, close scrutiny of the T&C's and reviews, I find going third-party the best option almost all the time.

To each his own I guess. I’m married to safety man and we don’t take the chance. And although we avidly read reviews we take them with grain of salt. Just like one bad experience is all experiences neither is one good one. Plus you never really know who’s putting the information in a review out there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Até said:

In my case I booked the excursion I wanted, it was cancelled.  The ones they wanted full ship board price for were ones that I obviously had less interest in.  Inflating the price to above what I could have purchased them for earlier was just adding insult.

I fully understand what you are saying.  But....they can only offer what's available.  And again, this may have to do with the vendors.  MSC probably gets a discounted price based on early bookings and it's passed on to us, the passengers.

Most times things work out but sometimes they don't. You gotta roll with the punches because life is just too short to get aggravated over an excursion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, April42749 said:

Most times things work out but sometimes they don't. You gotta roll with the punches because life is just too short to get aggravated over an excursion.

I agree but I wasn't going to book another excursion with MSC, we had a fine time on our own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎9‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 8:30 AM, Captain-John said:

 

The good ones will refund you - and you will know this in advance as they usually make it clear on their website

 

 

Again, the good ones have backup transport arranged - I've read a story on CC whereby someone's bus broke down, but the tour firm had strategically placed taxis/busses along the route that could be called into action and the guests were returned to the ship on time.

 

With advance research, close scrutiny of the T&C's and reviews, I find going third-party the best option almost all the time.

That's been our experience, as well. We almost always book 3rd party-usually cheaper than excursions booked through the ship, frequently as good or better than them, too. Many of them rely on cruise passengers and know what happens if you get back late to the ship. One operator even guaranteed to fly us to the next port at their expense if we were late (wasn't necessary, but still). We've never had a problem getting back to the ship on time. We've had 2 instances of an excursion being canceled last minute (not with MSC, I hasten to add), and they were booked through the ship! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • 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
×
×
  • Create New...