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parallax

Frustrated with Crystal Personal Cruise Sales Team

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A couple of months ago, our Crystal travel agent left the company.  She was wonderful to work with.  I was trying to make a final payment on the November cruise.  I sent her several emails and left several voicemails.  I did not hear from her.  Finally, another sales consultant contacted me and indicated the he would handle the processing of the payment.  He did not indicate my current agent had left Crystal.  Eventually, he told me that he would be taking over the account.  I was shocked that Crystal had not provided any notice.  A couple of weeks later,  I was looking over the final invoice and saw that there was no reference to the OBC.  I reached out to my new sales consultant and he indicated that I was to receive $400.  I was adamant that it was $650.  After much back and forth and providing the documentation from my original sales consultant, he finally agreed to the $650.   Jump forward to 10 ago,  I asked my sales consultant to price tickets for  our trip next to Europe on the Serenity.  Once again, I'm passed to a new sales consultant.  Apparently, my most recent sales consultant has left Crystal.  Again, we were provided no notice.  It has been a nightmare to try to book tickets.  He has been slow to respond to my emails and calls. I'm still trying to book the tickets.  I'm getting ready to escalate to management.  This is just bad business practice and is shocking for Crystal.  

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I would find a Travel Agent who specializes in Crystal and other luxury lines. Check with friends who sail luxury lines and even those you meet on your upcoming cruise and interview perspective agents as you would to find other professionals. 
 

Find someone who is part of a multi person agency so there are alternatives should the person move on.

 

Keith

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Parallax,

 

Regarding the current bookings you have direct with crystal, do escalate your issues with management!!!  While I've never booked directly with crystal, I've had a few less than stellar experiences relating to reservation issues that my TA was able to get with crystal management and the end results were more than satisfactory.  Crystal's management does want to know about these matters and will do their utmost to sort things out.

 

good luck, 

 

Nancy

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, parallax said:

A couple of months ago, our Crystal travel agent left the company.  She was wonderful to work with.  I was trying to make a final payment on the November cruise.  I sent her several emails and left several voicemails.  I did not hear from her.  Finally, another sales consultant contacted me and indicated the he would handle the processing of the payment.  He did not indicate my current agent had left Crystal.  Eventually, he told me that he would be taking over the account.  I was shocked that Crystal had not provided any notice.  A couple of weeks later,  I was looking over the final invoice and saw that there was no reference to the OBC.  I reached out to my new sales consultant and he indicated that I was to receive $400.  I was adamant that it was $650.  After much back and forth and providing the documentation from my original sales consultant, he finally agreed to the $650.   Jump forward to 10 ago,  I asked my sales consultant to price tickets for  our trip next to Europe on the Serenity.  Once again, I'm passed to a new sales consultant.  Apparently, my most recent sales consultant has left Crystal.  Again, we were provided no notice.  It has been a nightmare to try to book tickets.  He has been slow to respond to my emails and calls. I'm still trying to book the tickets.  I'm getting ready to escalate to management.  This is just bad business practice and is shocking for Crystal.  

For heavens sake (and the sake of your wallet)  agree you should stop booking directly with Crystal immediately. Find yourself a good TA and they will likely offer you OBC or rebates which effectively lower the cost of the cruise by 8 to 10% or more.

Edited by edgee

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23 minutes ago, edgee said:

For heavens sake (and the sake of your wallet)  agree you should stop booking directly with Crystal immediately. Find yourself a good TA and they will likely offer you OBC or rebates which effectively lower the cost of the cruise by 8 to 10% or more.

I have had mixed results with TAs.  Back in the 90s, one tried to abscond with our payment.  Others have provided ineffective service even though their firm is top rated.  I have also found that there is not a big price discrepancy.  For the November cruise, there was no real price differential.  The best service I had from a TA is through one of the big internet cruise companies.

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1 hour ago, nancygp said:

Parallax,

 

Regarding the current bookings you have direct with crystal, do escalate your issues with management!!!  While I've never booked directly with crystal, I've had a few less than stellar experiences relating to reservation issues that my TA was able to get with crystal management and the end results were more than satisfactory.  Crystal's management does want to know about these matters and will do their utmost to sort things out.

 

good luck, 

 

Nancy

Thanks.  I did have a lengthy conversation with a manager and everything seems to be heading in the right direction again.  

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1 minute ago, parallax said:

Thanks.  I did have a lengthy conversation with a manager and everything seems to be heading in the right direction again.  

 

 

You're welcome.

 

glad all is heading back in the right direction.

 

Nancy

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1 hour ago, parallax said:

I have had mixed results with TAs.  Back in the 90s, one tried to abscond with our payment.  Others have provided ineffective service even though their firm is top rated.  I have also found that there is not a big price discrepancy.  For the November cruise, there was no real price differential.  The best service I had from a TA is through one of the big internet cruise companies.

Suggest that more research would be beneficial. My TA rebates around 10% of the cruise cost to me in the form of a check which arrives about a week before embarkation, or in the form of cruise credit, depending on the cruise line.

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I am also one who always books with a travel agent. Crystal agents represent Crystal. My TA represents me! She is willing to fight for me if something doesn't go right. I don't have to.

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2 hours ago, Coral said:

I am also one who always books with a travel agent. Crystal agents represent Crystal. My TA represents me! She is willing to fight for me if something doesn't go right. I don't have to.

 

I booked with a Crystal agent for years.  She really represented me well and got me arrangements (she had a buddy in a department called Inventory, I think) that I doubt many TAs could get.

 

She took ill and had to leave Crystal.  I was puzzled that the farewell message came from her gmail account -- a personal farewell.  And I heard nothing from Crystal corporate about her departure, movement of my account to someone else, etc.

 

I was quite happy to forego a bit of OBC to get the superb service I have routinely received from Silversea and Crystal corporate agents. 

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1 hour ago, Observer said:

 

I booked with a Crystal agent for years.  She really represented me well and got me arrangements (she had a buddy in a department called Inventory, I think) that I doubt many TAs could get.

 

She took ill and had to leave Crystal.  I was puzzled that the farewell message came from her gmail account -- a personal farewell.  And I heard nothing from Crystal corporate about her departure, movement of my account to someone else, etc.

 

I was quite happy to forego a bit of OBC to get the superb service I have routinely received from Silversea and Crystal corporate agents. 

Observer I am guessing we had the same Crystal sales rep, one who went above and beyond with her clients. I got to meet her in 2017 after she left Crystal. I had a long layover in Los Angeles after a cruise, so we met for lunch since she lives near LAX. I also had some surprises from the "Inventory" department plus one trip had 5 of her clients on the same voyage so she put us in touch and we all shared a Rome Cab to Civitavecchia. Now I go through a TA and that works very well for me too.

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7 hours ago, mskatiemae said:

Observer I am guessing we had the same Crystal sales rep, one who went above and beyond with her clients. I got to meet her in 2017 after she left Crystal. I had a long layover in Los Angeles after a cruise, so we met for lunch since she lives near LAX. I also had some surprises from the "Inventory" department plus one trip had 5 of her clients on the same voyage so she put us in touch and we all shared a Rome Cab to Civitavecchia. Now I go through a TA and that works very well for me too.

It does sound like she went above and beyond. Impressive.

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14 hours ago, edgee said:

Suggest that more research would be beneficial. My TA rebates around 10% of the cruise cost to me in the form of a check which arrives about a week before embarkation, or in the form of cruise credit, depending on the cruise line.

I thought that Crystal does not allow TA's to pay rebates.  Am I wrong about this?

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9 minutes ago, jssabs said:

I thought that Crystal does not allow TA's to pay rebates.  Am I wrong about this?

I believe there are limits to what Crystal allows agents to rebate, but it's definitely permitted to some degree.  That said of course, it's difficult to enforce if an agency is just cutting checks to clients.

 

Vince

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The initial rep I had was fabulous as well.  She handled all three bookings and did a great job following up.  For our next two sailings,  she was able to get all three rooms together, which required "coordination" with the inventory department.  We were very appreciative and we received a very nice OBC for each sailing.  Things just hit the skids when she left due to health reasons.   However, things are back on track.

 

While we will use travel agents at times, at least for me, I sometimes question their worth. I have traveled around the globe for both work and pleasure and I enjoy figuring out  how to get there, where to stay and what to do.  Unlike other aspects of the travel industry, travel agents still dominate the cruise market.  I will use them from a deal standpoint if it makes sense but my preference is always to cut out the middleman.  This is just my preference and I understand others derive a different value from the use of travel agents.

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parallax...Since you prefer to book with Crystal I would suggest asking for the Manager of the department.  Explain your situation and also ask to have a new person who is highly experienced and efficient.  In other words ask for someone they consider to be the best.

 

I know if this is me this is what I would do.

 

Keith

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8 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

parallax...Since you prefer to book with Crystal I would suggest asking for the Manager of the department.  Explain your situation and also ask to have a new person who is highly experienced and efficient.  In other words ask for someone they consider to be the best.

 

I know if this is me this is what I would do.

 

Keith

Thanks, Keith. Good minds think alike.  I have already had this conversation with the manager.

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My feelings about TA's is that when you need them you NEED them.    We had just gotten off a cruise in Dublin on 9/11 and were to fly back to the US the next day.  Obviously, that didn't happen - our TA found us hotel in London, and several days later a flight in to Halifax, a 1 night hotel there - then ferry to Bar Harbor, ME then car rental etc.  I'm fairly certain we would have never been able to do it as well with a great TA.  Hopefully, none of ever experiences those days again but when you need you NEED.

Unfortunately, our great TA retired a couple of years ago and I'm certain we haven't found an equal yet.

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1 hour ago, ctjon said:

My feelings about TA's is that when you need them you NEED them.    We had just gotten off a cruise in Dublin on 9/11 and were to fly back to the US the next day.  Obviously, that didn't happen - our TA found us hotel in London, and several days later a flight in to Halifax, a 1 night hotel there - then ferry to Bar Harbor, ME then car rental etc.  I'm fairly certain we would have never been able to do it as well with a great TA.  Hopefully, none of ever experiences those days again but when you need you NEED.

Unfortunately, our great TA retired a couple of years ago and I'm certain we haven't found an equal yet.

 

Interesting.  Was this on Silver Whisper?  I boarded that ship in Dublin on 9/11.  I had multiple issues, including issues related to the fact that the ship was diverted from New York to Philadelphia.  Even so many years ago, I was able to arrange everything (with some assistance from great Silversea staff) via the internet, while enroute.  If I experience a hiccup while traveling now, I simply hop on the internet and can make alternative bookings in the (near 🙂) blink of an eye, rather than waiting for a TA to mediate for me. I can recall recently being diverted to CLE while traveling with a colleague.  It was an overnight; crew had gone illegal.  My colleague insisted on having the fine corporate TA handle the disruption.  I got a room at a Marriott and was on the van in minutes.  My colleague ended up at some very grim motel, since all decent rooms had been taken.

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Yup Whisper. I got off you got on. Must have been an interesting cruise not totally knowing what you were going to. We even considered trying to get back on figuring it might be a quicker way back to USA
 

although I agree we can do so much more ourselves these days a great TA can still provide options you might not think of. 

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6 hours ago, ctjon said:

Yup Whisper. I got off you got on. Must have been an interesting cruise not totally knowing what you were going to. We even considered trying to get back on figuring it might be a quicker way back to USA


there might well have been room for you on the westbound transatlantic.  A number of the passengers were from New York, where the cruise was scheduled to terminate.  There would be a number of days at sea, interrupted only by a stop in the Faroe Islands. The ship was scheduled to depart Dublin several hours after the attacks on the WTC. In what I thought was a very classy move, an announcement was made that Silversea would permit anyone who Wished to cancel the cruise and disembark, with a full refund of the fare paid.  I understand that a handful of guests did remain in Dublin.  The now-deceased cruise director (my memory is failing, but I believe her name was Judi Abbot) mounted a very moving memorial service several days into the cruise.

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Everyone has different requirements and desires.  Personally, I always like to book online for a variety of reasons.  Mainly because I am in control of everything with no middleman.  If I want to make a change at 2 am on Saturday morning - I can.  I don't have to wait until Monday to contact a TA, wait for them to contact that cruise line, and then get back to me.  And if I don't like the answer, I don't have to wait for another back and forth.

 

I understand that a big booking agent can buy blocks of rooms way ahead of time and get a per room discount (that they pass on to you).  I understand they can offer OBCs taken out of their own profits, etc.  I also understand that, as middlemen, they also have to make a profit over the basic cruise list price.

 

With all that said, and after having booked online with multiple cruise lines,  I have been super, super impressed with Crystal's pre-cruise online support.  Let me repeat that: super impressed.  I was assigned a Crystal liaison and that person answered every dumb email question within the hour.  Every change and request I had was honored, including a room change (!) and all the things (drinks, newspapers, canapés, amenities) I asked to have in my room ahead of time.  In fact, I once called at 6:00 pm on a Sunday night, fully expecting to get a voice mailbox to leave a message, only to be greeted by a real friendly person who responded to my request (my liaison was on vacation).  I was also given OBC with my online booking (although I did have to ask for it).  I don't know if this is because I was PH, but I doubt it.

 

Did I pay more online?  I don't know.  If I did, I don't think it was much.  I totally understand that many people like the convenience of a TA and that's great.  I'm just saying I'm super happy with Crystal online booking.  One of the greatest things is that you don't have to pay for a booked excursion, event, spa treatment, whatever until you actually take it.  So you can change your mind (up to 7 days before the cruise).  I can't say that for any other cruise line I've taken.

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On 10/21/2019 at 11:01 PM, Cruise-y said:

Everyone has different requirements and desires.  Personally, I always like to book online for a variety of reasons.  Mainly because I am in control of everything with no middleman.  If I want to make a change at 2 am on Saturday morning - I can.  I don't have to wait until Monday to contact a TA, wait for them to contact that cruise line, and then get back to me.  And if I don't like the answer, I don't have to wait for another back and forth.

 

I understand that a big booking agent can buy blocks of rooms way ahead of time and get a per room discount (that they pass on to you).  I understand they can offer OBCs taken out of their own profits, etc.  I also understand that, as middlemen, they also have to make a profit over the basic cruise list price.

 

With all that said, and after having booked online with multiple cruise lines,  I have been super, super impressed with Crystal's pre-cruise online support.  Let me repeat that: super impressed.  I was assigned a Crystal liaison and that person answered every dumb email question within the hour.  Every change and request I had was honored, including a room change (!) and all the things (drinks, newspapers, canapés, amenities) I asked to have in my room ahead of time.  In fact, I once called at 6:00 pm on a Sunday night, fully expecting to get a voice mailbox to leave a message, only to be greeted by a real friendly person who responded to my request (my liaison was on vacation).  I was also given OBC with my online booking (although I did have to ask for it).  I don't know if this is because I was PH, but I doubt it.

 

Did I pay more online?  I don't know.  If I did, I don't think it was much.  I totally understand that many people like the convenience of a TA and that's great.  I'm just saying I'm super happy with Crystal online booking.  One of the greatest things is that you don't have to pay for a booked excursion, event, spa treatment, whatever until you actually take it.  So you can change your mind (up to 7 days before the cruise).  I can't say that for any other cruise line I've taken.

Sounds like you have had good experiences booking directly with Crystal.  We always book through our TA and have been very happy with his service and our ability to contact him even when we have both been traveling.  

Just FYI.... Although we book through a TA we have never had to pay for a booked excursion, event, or spa treatment on Crystal until we actually took it. Not exclusive to those who book directly with Crystal. You can also cancel most extras once onboard with enough advance notice.

But I agree that paying in advance for extras is standard practice for most other cruise lines that we have sailed on.

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4 hours ago, tipsygirl said:

Sounds like you have had good experiences booking directly with Crystal.  We always book through our TA and have been very happy with his service and our ability to contact him even when we have both been traveling.  

Just FYI.... Although we book through a TA we have never had to pay for a booked excursion, event, or spa treatment on Crystal until we actually took it. Not exclusive to those who book directly with Crystal. You can also cancel most extras once onboard with enough advance notice.

But I agree that paying in advance for extras is standard practice for most other cruise lines that we have sailed on.

Yes correct, I should have indicated that the payment schedule for the excursions and events are the same no matter how they are booked.  It is quite a nice amenity and not one that many other cruise lines offer.  A big plus for Crystal

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