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Booked through X site, transferred to TA, then hijinks ensued.


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Greetings,

 

Jump down to the highlighted word to hear about our situation. But first...

 

I've been lurking on this forum for more than a few weeks now and I figure my first posting here wouldn't be a question, but instead a heads up to the new folks (and potentially the seasoned vets). Before I provide context of what I encountered I thought I'd share a bit about us. My better half and I have been together for 10+ years and are empty-nesters in our mid-40s. We've been on one real vacation together during our time together because I have a tendency to work myself to death. A real vacation is one where I'm not answering work emails. Our only real vacation was earlier this year for her brother's wedding in Iceland. Had I not gone I'm certain she would have left me. 😀.  Side note: Iceland is fantastic even in the middle of January. Go if you can; it's beautiful.

 

Neither of us has been on a cruise and when we discussed what we wanted it came down to:

  1. Relaxation is a must.
  2. We love our empty nest and didn't want to be around many children. Plus I want to get my shufflboard game tight in preparation for retirement so an older demographic is preferred.
  3. I don't drink all that much but know that I want to try a variety of different drinks and I want one in my hand during most hours of the day.
  4. Ease of getting to/fro Ft. Lauderdale (direct flights out of Richmond, VA aren't plentiful).
  5. An easy-for-us itinerary with a decent amount of sea days.
  6. Relaxation is a must.

 

Knowing nothing about cruising we performed a few quick Google searches and landed on X. Admittedly the Equinox Vlog tour on La Lido Loca is what sold us. Apologies, mods, if shilling that is verboten. Since the booking we've watched the ~50 minute video multiple times because we're just that psyched to go on vacation. Accordingly, we're booked for a 10 night Southern Caribbean extravaganza w/ 4 perks on the Equinox on May 13, 2020. Again, not knowing much about cruising we believed at the time of booking, and even now, the Equinox would check the boxes above, minus the shuffleboard.

 

Too long, didn't read version: Check with your TA or X well in advance of embarkation and even right before it that your reservation matches what you booked.

 

If you read the above you'll note my knowledge of cruising at the time of booking in early September of this year was fairly thin. We booked directly through X not knowing about the many advantages TAs often provide. I continued my cruising research and stumbled upon CC and specifically this forum and learned you could transfer a reservation to a TA. Not knowing which to use I relied on word of mouth from knowledgeable friends. My current TA is OK but probably won't use him again as the extra OBC he provided upon the reservation transfer was only $50. Not the end of the world but have since learned from though context clues on this forum potential TAs for the future.

 

Once the reservation transfer to the TA was complete I logged back on to the X cruise planner and I received a friendly message that I owed money for some of the excursions I booked using the $300 OBC as part of the 4 perks. Apparently I was "downgraded" to 2 perks  (grats and internet) when the transfer occured. My TA has regular office visits from an X sales rep and indicated he'd get to the bottom of the problem promptly. To his credit he did and I received an additional $300 OBC and a bottle of wine will be sent to the stateroom on embarkation day. I'm delighted that was resolved quickly and with X doing the right thing. Since then the amount of OBC has been correct in my cruise planner.

 

Fast forward to this weekend. While the cruise isn't until 196 days away I wanted to be proactive and verify the reservation with my TA as I had mistakenly discarded the reservation documents he provided once he received the transfer. Having been lurking and voraciously reading this X forum I've read multiple folks have had issues with their sea pass cards not matching their reservations on embarkation day. And getting back to point number 3 in my checklist above I want to make sure at least one hand has a drink on it as soon as I hop on board and waiting at guest services doesn't seem like much fun. When my TA got back to me he stated that yet again my original reservation I placed directly with X didn't match the current reservation. I didn't ask my TA what the variances are because...196 days away!

 

I logged into my cruise planner a little bit ago and prior to today had $241.20 in credit. Now I owe $58.80 for a booked excursion. I pulled out the abacus and clearly either the $300 OBC as part of the perks or the "Oops we at X messed up here's $300 OBC, please enjoy" is missing. I'm not too upset about this but my TA certainly is. Perhaps I'll get another addition "oops" OBC bonus. I suppose it's possible my TA screwed up with the first or second "oops-es" but my gut tells me probably not. Assuming my gut is right and this is on X, I appreciate the willingness to make things right but I have to admit it's not a great first impression on my part. I can forgive easily, however, especially if I have a great time on the trip.

 

Anyway, I started my cruising knowledge not knowing much. I appreciate all the wisdom I've learned from the vets of CC. Because of you I feel I'm nearing expert-level cruising knowledge without ever having stepped on a ship. Thank you all!

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Nothing wrong with being pro active and you are doing a great job.  Your ta should be able to give you the res documents they have thru them and also what celebrity has.  This is where a TA, a good one anyway, comes in handy and they will work for you not against you.  Yours seems pro active, many aren't and only out for commission then hands off.  Talk to TA they should be able to get to the bottom of this overall. 

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I am not clear on whether or not you got the 4th perk reinstated as you didn't mention a drinks package.  If having a cocktail in your hand upon embarkation is important (as it would be to me), I encourage you to make sure your drink package is in tact.  If not, ask your TA to switch your perks.  Be advised however, you will likely have to pay the new gratuity fee associated with having this perk.  Even with the new fee, it is still the best perk, IMO.

 

Regarding the confusion with your reservation, I feel certain it will get worked out in the end, although I can't guarantee that it will be a stress-free process.  Our experience is that a TA is the way to book and I think you've figured that one out already.  (A shame your current TA couldn't cough up more OBC than $50.  We usually score about 10% of our cruise fare with ours...in addition to whatever Celebrity is offering.)  But I think you've made a wise choice in selecting Celebrity.  Welcome to CC.  Great maiden post!! 

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4 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

I am not clear on whether or not you got the 4th perk reinstated as you didn't mention a drinks package.

 

Pardon my lack of clarity on this. I was writing the OP during a fantastic ending to the World Series and was a bit distracted. The original reservation had the 4 perks which we requested. The 4 perks includes the premium BV which we definitely wanted at the time of booking and continue to want. Right now it's unclear which of the 4 perks are still active but I know my TA is working to resolve the situation. I'm not stressed about all of this, again, as we embark in 195 days and there's plenty of time to get this resolved. My main takeaway to share was for the new folks like me to remain diligent on your keeping up with your reservation as the ball has been dropped on a pair of occasions. I'll sheepishly admit I'm a bit happy these errors have occurred as there's a potential for extra OBC in it!

 

While my TA didn't get us a great amount of extra OBC in the beginning I appreciate his pushing on X to get the situation resolved. If he's able to get us even more OBC due to this latest oversight then I'll feel comfortable keeping him at the top of a shortlist of TAs to use for future cruises.

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You are doing well so far! Here is some common advice that you will find here on these boards.  Make sure you print out and take any and all documentation from Celebrity with you to the cruise just in case you need to get something corrected on board.  If possible call Celebrity or Captain's Club (you can join before your cruise).  Make sure while on the phone with them you are satisfied with your documents (usually called Guest Copy).  Have them email a copy to you to check while you have them on the phone. Also these Guest Copies get updated as you go forward with payments, etc.   We take the one after final payment and make sure all of our perks and OBC are listed.  You can also do this through your TA who could make the calls for you and forward the final Guest Copy from Celebrity.

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If you call the celebrity reservations number there is an option to have a confirmation emailed to you.  However, I book direct and not sure if this will work if you have TA.  I do know the perks don't  always show on confirmation until closer to sailing.   If you booked a cruise with all 4 perks, the premium package is usually one  of the perks.  

i always keep all the confirmations to avoid any errors and many times there are. 

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8 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

You are doing well so far! Here is some common advice that you will find here on these boards.  Make sure you print out and take any and all documentation from Celebrity with you to the cruise just in case you need to get something corrected on board.  If possible call Celebrity or Captain's Club (you can join before your cruise).  Make sure while on the phone with them you are satisfied with your documents (usually called Guest Copy).  Have them email a copy to you to check while you have them on the phone. Also these Guest Copies get updated as you go forward with payments, etc.   We take the one after final payment and make sure all of our perks and OBC are listed.  You can also do this through your TA who could make the calls for you and forward the final Guest Copy from Celebrity.

I agree completely with TeeRick, but would clarify that most of that excellent advice is for BEFORE the TA became involved, at this point all the negotiations/phone calls should go through that person.

 

It takes awhile to find the TA that suits your "style", and some people are just better satisfied/comfortable handling things on their own and would never use one TA. Sometimes getting the absolute cheapest "best" deal is less important than having someone else deal with the hassles. The TA, even one who doesn't give a lot of onboard credit, is going to do a lot more business with Celeb than you ever will, so should have a lot more pull to make things right. I'd be sure the beverage package is correct though, that's important!

 

Have a great trip

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Just a quick update on the shenanigans. I heard back from my TA and he informed me of some error that occurs when I make updates in my cruise planner it impacts my reservation. This is what the X sales rep said to the TA. The sales rep couldn't explain why this occurs. I've seen this posted elsewhere on CC but I'm happy to chalk to this up to "Celebrity is consistently inconsistent."

 

My TA is waiting on documentation back from X to confirm my once again my booking in writing. Additionally he'll be including written documentation of the orders placed from the cruise planner.

 

Finally, I scored an additional $100 OBC for the inconvenience. Again, I'm fine with X continuing with the errors. I should be able to buy the bar a round of drinks if they keep it up.

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44 minutes ago, Weenah said:

Just a quick update on the shenanigans. I heard back from my TA and he informed me of some error that occurs when I make updates in my cruise planner it impacts my reservation. This is what the X sales rep said to the TA. The sales rep couldn't explain why this occurs. I've seen this posted elsewhere on CC but I'm happy to chalk to this up to "Celebrity is consistently inconsistent."

 

My TA is waiting on documentation back from X to confirm my once again my booking in writing. Additionally he'll be including written documentation of the orders placed from the cruise planner.

 

Finally, I scored an additional $100 OBC for the inconvenience. Again, I'm fine with X continuing with the errors. I should be able to buy the bar a round of drinks if they keep it up.

Hopefully keep getting errors n then plenty of obc to spend.  Glad it’s working out. You are dealing with a good proactive ta. Might not be the best xtra perk but finding someone who does all the work without issues is good to have.  

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Weenah, you need to visit our roll call here on CC for the Equinox 5/13/20 sailing.

 

We have sailed Equinox a couple years ago, along with several other Celebrity sailings. Celebrity offers a great trip and I'm sure you will enjoy the ship and the cruise.

 

Welcome to cruising and watch out for the cruise bug.  It will hit you on board and you'll need to book your next cruise before you leave the ship.  Cruising can be very addictive!  A great way to see the world (as we have been doing)

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12 hours ago, Weenah said:

Just a quick update on the shenanigans. I heard back from my TA and he informed me of some error that occurs when I make updates in my cruise planner it impacts my reservation. This is what the X sales rep said to the TA. The sales rep couldn't explain why this occurs. I've seen this posted elsewhere on CC but I'm happy to chalk to this up to "Celebrity is consistently inconsistent."

 

My TA is waiting on documentation back from X to confirm my once again my booking in writing. Additionally he'll be including written documentation of the orders placed from the cruise planner.

 

Finally, I scored an additional $100 OBC for the inconvenience. Again, I'm fine with X continuing with the errors. I should be able to buy the bar a round of drinks if they keep it up.

 

 

Well done to your TA - worth keeping. Still take any documentation with you stating all the perks, including your additional OBC, to use as evidence should you need it once onboard. Yes, this has happened on more than one occasion to us and we’ve had to visit GS showing what we should have been getting. They then have to verify with Miami before instating the perks 😉.

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Keep checking your documents even after final payment and emails too...

 

We once had a miscellaneous 11 pence arrive back on our balance...we knew when we received an email saying if we didn’t pay up in full our cruise would be cancelled...This was about a month before sailing. When we phoned up they had no idea where the 11 pence had come from but said the email would have been automatically generated.

 

On another occasion we received an email saying we had an outstanding balance of $0 which must be paid. Bizarre as we booked through Celebrity U.K. and paid in ££. Even more bizarre after contacting Celebrity and being told not to worry we then received the stronger version of the mail threatening to cancel our cruise as we still had $0 outstanding.

 

Until recently we almost boarded expecting to find OBC missing and just automatically took a copy of our OBC evidence to the Michael’s concierge to sort. Last three cruises no issue (fingers crossed for the next)!

 

As others have said, stay alert and take copies of everything with you.

 

I would add on both the above occasionally Celebrity were extremely apologetic (OBC), could not really offer any explanation other than ‘IT’....It is perhaps as well they have great cruises!

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Glad you worked it out!  We just got back from a four perk cruise with premium beverage package and extra OBC from our TA, and HAD to do spa appointments and specialty dinning to use up all the credit.  It was GREAT.  

 

One hint to save annoyance on the first day of the cruise:  the OBC does not always show as available on the first day, but usually will show up in a day or two when you check your account on the tv.  Just make sure, as others have said, to bring the printouts of everything you've been given, and you'll be fine.

 

Andrew

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I'm confused.  You originally booked direct with Celebrity and had all 4 perks.  It sounds like when you transferred the booking to the travel agent that your booking was changed to only 2 perks.  Don't know how that could happen but make sure you have the paperwork from Celebrity stating you have all 4 perks before you board.

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It looks like you are doing your homework.  I had a TA I liked quite well, but decided to try the big box company that so many seem to love.  Fast forward to present, and I love my original TA that I had for years.  She truly is the best, so when you find that rare gem, don't be fooled in to thinking there could be an even better deal out there.  For myself, it was an experience that made me really appreciate what a great TA can do that others just cannot.  Also, I can call on weekends too!

Edited by Lastdance
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You not only are keeping up with things, you’re keeping a good attitude!

you might want to create a folder in the computer (smart phone) and move every single piece of info on your cruise into it. 

That way you have instant reference and proof. 

It’s a good idea to take printed copies showing what you are entitled to, and keep them with your proof of citizenship you’re taking with you. 

Keep them all in a safe place, but don’t forget where the safe place is. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, helen haywood said:

I'm confused.  You originally booked direct with Celebrity and had all 4 perks.  It sounds like when you transferred the booking to the travel agent that your booking was changed to only 2 perks.

We park our cars in the same garage of confusion!

 

My TA contacted me today and provided a soft copy the latest booking reservation. Feel free to haze me on my amazing penmanship using my mouse as a "pencil". There are some differences between the "original" reservation and the latest one the TA provided today.

 

For what it's worth the original reservation was placed on Sept 2, 2019; well before the craziness with the beverage package pricing changes on ~Oct 10. The total price for both passengers is the same on both the original and latest reservation even though the latest one has missing line items for the 4PERKS and SAIL NOW SAV. To make up for those missing line items, Celebrity increased the cost of the latest reservation's Cruise Fare line item for each passenger by $150 (totaling $300). If I had to guess the latest reservation is missing the SAIL NOW SAV line item because it's not a current promotion. If not I'd be curious to hear @Alsmez's opinion on this given his/her waaaay-over-my-head sorcery math analysis on another recent thread where the topic of X's unique pricing strategy is discussed.

 

All things considered everything important appears to be aligned between the original and latest reservation. Please keep me honest there is a misalignment.

original.png

latest.png

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We try to never make any changes, additions or deletions., esp with X looking to add fees to the  Classic alc perk and the ever changing promotions!  I think  X booking  has become more complicated that it can handle,  We will take all our booking paperwork for excursions and dining, etc,

 

Not sure why  giving the booking to you TA would change your  terms or perks.????

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1 hour ago, Weenah said:

We park our cars in the same garage of confusion!

 

My TA contacted me today and provided a soft copy the latest booking reservation. Feel free to haze me on my amazing penmanship using my mouse as a "pencil". There are some differences between the "original" reservation and the latest one the TA provided today.

 

For what it's worth the original reservation was placed on Sept 2, 2019; well before the craziness with the beverage package pricing changes on ~Oct 10. The total price for both passengers is the same on both the original and latest reservation even though the latest one has missing line items for the 4PERKS and SAIL NOW SAV. To make up for those missing line items, Celebrity increased the cost of the latest reservation's Cruise Fare line item for each passenger by $150 (totaling $300). If I had to guess the latest reservation is missing the SAIL NOW SAV line item because it's not a current promotion. If not I'd be curious to hear @Alsmez's opinion on this given his/her waaaay-over-my-head sorcery math analysis on another recent thread where the topic of X's unique pricing strategy is discussed.

 

All things considered everything important appears to be aligned between the original and latest reservation. Please keep me honest there is a misalignment.

original.png

latest.png

 

Yes, in your case it sounds like they just added the $150 from the two missing line items to your base fare and kept everything else the same so your bottom line remained the same. If you want to see what has happened to the price of your cruise since you booked, though, I would suggest you go to the Celebrity website and start a dummy booking for the same type of room you have. I imagine you will find two very different prices for refundable and nonrefundable fares and a slew of other confusing charges as you go through the process.

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On 11/1/2019 at 8:00 AM, chemmo said:

.......On another occasion we received an email saying we had an outstanding balance of $0 which must be paid. Bizarre as we booked through Celebrity U.K. and paid in ££. Even more bizarre after contacting Celebrity and being told not to worry we then received the stronger version of the mail threatening to cancel our cruise as we still had $0 outstanding.

 

This reminded me of a friend who had been making payments on his car and had the car paid off in full. 

Then he kept receiving requests for payment of the remaining balance due of $0.00, even threatening to repossess his car if he didn't pay.

 

So he sent them a check for $0.00.

It seems to have worked as he never heard from them again after that.

 

Edited by varoo
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For verification purposes, everyone should always get the Celebrity invoice from their TA the minute a quote has been given.  Get another one once the deposit has been made to make sure everything has stayed the same.  Do the same after the final payment.  It's always good to print it and bring it with along on the cruise.

Edited by DrivesLikeMario
typo
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On 11/1/2019 at 1:41 PM, Muushka said:

Just a quick observation.  OP, I like your style! 

 

Best wishes for everything to work out for you.

Agreed.  Love your style.  Hope you'll be posting more (and having headaches less).

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