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Ellen495

Too Good to be True? OBC

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Hello! I will be cruising Alaska in July 2020. When we booked, we were given $2000 OBC (total for our 2 rooms). 

 

I called the excursion desk and was able to get us 4 tickets on the helicopter tour in Juneau with the credit (she -said the balance to be charged to our credit card - 599 per person). I know it's a bit cheaper if you book it independently. But great deal if it's not too good to be true.

 

She (Lovely lady from excursion desk on the phone) said it's booked as a wait-list, but it's not a wait-list like other wait-lists. She said it's back office wait -list which means that it's not really wait-list. She said if I go on the website, it will show that 4 of the tickets will be sold. She said no worries - I have the excursion.

 

I love using the OBC for this, but it's a not-to-be-missed for us. I worry something will go wrong...

 

Thoughts? THANK YOU

 

 

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1 minute ago, Ellen495 said:

Hello! I will be cruising Alaska in July 2020. When we booked, we were given $2000 OBC (total for our 2 rooms). 

 

I called the excursion desk and was able to get us 4 tickets on the helicopter tour in Juneau with the credit (she -said the balance to be charged to our credit card - 599 per person). I know it's a bit cheaper if you book it independently. But great deal if it's not too good to be true.

 

She (Lovely lady from excursion desk on the phone) said it's booked as a wait-list, but it's not a wait-list like other wait-lists. She said it's back office wait -list which means that it's not really wait-list. She said if I go on the website, it will show that 4 of the tickets will be sold. She said no worries - I have the excursion.

 

I love using the OBC for this, but it's a not-to-be-missed for us. I worry something will go wrong...

 

Thoughts? THANK YOU

 

 

Seems a bit odd, as HAL's rule is that OBC can only be used onboard.  We have always had to wait until we boarded to book our excursions with OBC.  Now perhaps they made an exception in your case due to the high cost, but I would certainly verify this (you might want to have your TA check on it). 

 

Check your credit card to see exactly how much HAL charged on it for your excursion - if its $2396 (599 times 4), you might have a problem.  I would hate to have you find out at the last minute that you have to use up $2000 in OBC on something else.

 

HAL is pretty good at working these things out, even if it is against the "rules", but better to verify now.

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Like Dave said, HAL's practice has been that OBC can only be used on board.

 

Any excursions booked before the cruise is charged to the credit card used.

 

The charge can not be removed from the card and the OBC applied when on board the ship.

 

I don't understand the gobbledygook post about the wait list that is not a wait list. Maybe what you have is a reservation that is on a list until the tour operator can fill each helicopter that will be used on the day of the excursion. 

 

When that schedule is set and the passenger capacity is reached, you will probably be charged. If it is before the cruise departure, it will go on your credit card. 

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On my last cruise a nice lady at the shore excursion desk offered to refund the $200 I paid for an excursion on my credit card pre-boarding and then charge me $200 on my OBC.  I did not end up doing this as I spent the money anyway, but it was nice of her to offer.  I think this is not policy, but rather a case by case situation, so be careful in trying this.

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Just to clarify.... you called the HAL number and were connected to the EXC desk where they took your booking which won’t show as a reservation because you don’t have to pay until you board?  Did you request an email confirmation or is all this verbal?

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5 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

Just to clarify.... you called the HAL number and were connected to the EXC desk where they took your booking which won’t show as a reservation because you don’t have to pay until you board?  Did you request an email confirmation or is all this verbal?

 

I don't know if I'd say "too good to be true," but this certainly doesn't sound like HAL's standard procedure. 

 

I would definitely ask for something in writing. They can do that easily. HAL's website was being strange one time and when I looked at my VP, one or more tours I had booked had disappeared! I did have the confirming emails from when I booked. so I called HAL and the person I spoke to said he could see everything on his screen, and he emailed a screenshot to me. When the website "recovered," everything appeared again. 

 

 

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Thank you for your replies. They didn't say anything about charging my credit card other than the cost beyond the 2000. She said she was using the OBC and would charge the rest of my card. I thought she meant when we boarded but it's fine if she does it now. I looked at my card and no charge -though it was Friday at 4 pm EST so might not have gone through yet. I wouldn't like it if they charged 2400 now, but I would live with it.

 

I asked for an email confirmation and she said I'd get one closer to the sailing date which didn't make me very comfortable. I totally believe her - she couldn't have been nicer. I told her my biggest concern was that the large cruise line wouldn't have the reservation at the time of sailing and it would be too late. She told me not to worry. I still worried so I posted. She even told me the time I am booked (10:15 am). It was all verbal - but she said she could see the reservation.

Edited by Ellen495

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I would be uncomfortable as well.  You should get a confirmation immediately.  I am not saying that she does not know what she is doing, but rather that this is a bit unusual, so I would be extra cautious.  You really do not want to miss this excursion - its one of the best we have ever done in 25 cruises!

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1 hour ago, Ellen495 said:

I told her my biggest concern was that the large cruise line wouldn't have the reservation

 

What does that ^^ mean?  “The large cruise line”

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Sounds strange to me.  Whenever we book an excursion with HAL prior to a cruise, I receive an email confirmation that states the date, time, excursion's title, and number of persons booked, price per person and total price, which HAL has charged to my credit card.  If anything is incorrect, I can alert HAL immediately.

 

I cannot see HAL waiting to send the confirmation.  I would call them back and insist on the written confirmation if I were you.  This particular excursion sounds important to you, so you want to make certain that you are indeed booked.  We took the glacier helicopter tour in 1997, and it was worth every penny, so you want to be sure you are confirmed rather than disappointed.

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Big cruise ship I meant it's a big cruise line. I'm new to cruising. I just meant that she (the agent) I'm sure was totally honest and believes she booked it just right. But once you board (which is in July) who knows if the line and the agent have it ... I'm not sure exactly what I mean. I just mean it's not  a small company like Dyea Dave who doesn't pre-charge.

 

Thank you all. I will call Monday and reiterate my concerns and say if she is unable (not her fault) to provide that to cancel it and I'll pay out of pocket. I would rather absorb the cost than miss it!

 

Again thank you so much and I apologize for being so "green." 🙂

 

Ellen

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Definitely call again. If she can see the reservation I don't see why she can't send you a confirmation.

 

Check your credit card before you call. Mine shows charges immediately as "pending," so if my card had been charged as she said it was, I'd be able to see it.

 

I don't think the agent is dishonest, but I'm not sure she's doing things correctly.

 

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Yeah but if I heard her correctly she’s saying I won’t be charged until I board July 12. She’s definitely not dishonest I agree she could be wrong. 

 

 I will certainly call Monday thank you guys so much! 

Edited by Ellen495

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On 11/16/2019 at 7:42 AM, Homosassa said:

Like Dave said, HAL's practice has been that OBC can only be used on board.

Any excursions booked before the cruise is charged to the credit card used.

The charge can not be removed from the card and the OBC applied when on board the ship.

 

It seems some are able to get a refund for the shore excursion they booked and then use the OBC to pay for it onboard. The policy is that any "refunds" of pre-paid excursions have at least a 10% cancellation fee while onboard (no fee if cancelled before you board). Refunds go to your shipboard account as refundable OBC, then at the end of the cruise put on the card you gave them for the cruise (not necessarily the same card you used to book the excursion originally).

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I spoke to a different agent yesterday. She did indeed find a wait-list reservation which she emailed me. She said indeed it is a special type of wait list and 100% guaranteed. She said it doesn't happen often that they allow OBC to be used - and that our CC will be charged upon disembarkment for the balance. We won't pay ahead of time - nothing on our CC prior to the cruise.  She said it has happened before and there's never a problem... She said they have removed the tour for purchase (removed 4 of 6 tickets on the 10:15 am helicopter tour) so it's ours. My TA spoke to them and said they told him the same thing.

 

Thank you for planning your cruise vacation with Holland America Line. Please keep this email as confirmation that you've been added to the waitlist shown below. Once the Shore Excursion Tour becomes available, we will notify you by email with instructions on how to complete the purchase. You will then have 72 hours to make your purchase before the space is released to the next person on the waitlist.

Waitlisted Shore Excursion Tours

Your reference number for this transaction is : 

Booking Number: 

Edited by Ellen495

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Glad you worked it out!  I knew it was not a normal deal, so its so good that you got written confirmation.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, DaveOKC said:

Glad you worked it out!  I knew it was not a normal deal, so its so good that you got written confirmation.

 

 

 

I agree. Always get it in writing!

 

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On 11/16/2019 at 9:42 AM, Homosassa said:

 

I don't understand the gobbledygook post about the wait list that is not a wait list. Maybe what you have is a reservation that is on a list until the tour operator can fill each helicopter that will be used on the day of the excursion. 

 

 

I think the site has a number of spots on some excursions held basically as phantom bookings so that they get the "limited"/"[X] spaces left" banner on the excursion.  For example, I'm sailing later this month and the jetski excursion at HMC said "4 spaces left" for a while.  I'm highly skeptical they had booked up all but 4 spaces on the approx. 40-80 jet ski excursion spots several months before departure.

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46 minutes ago, jb008 said:

 

I think the site has a number of spots on some excursions held basically as phantom bookings so that they get the "limited"/"[X] spaces left" banner on the excursion.  For example, I'm sailing later this month and the jetski excursion at HMC said "4 spaces left" for a while.  I'm highly skeptical they had booked up all but 4 spaces on the approx. 40-80 jet ski excursion spots several months before departure.

Excellent article in, IIRC, the Wall Street Journal about a week ago about how websites are manipulated to entice buyers into buying immediately.  The most prominent was the "limited"/"[X] spaces left".  That may also explain why cruise line websites do not show all the available cabins in a category.  Some cruise lines will show a maximum of only 10 cabins even if there are many, many more available.

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1 hour ago, RocketMan275 said:

Excellent article in, IIRC, the Wall Street Journal about a week ago about how websites are manipulated to entice buyers into buying immediately.  The most prominent was the "limited"/"[X] spaces left".  That may also explain why cruise line websites do not show all the available cabins in a category.  Some cruise lines will show a maximum of only 10 cabins even if there are many, many more available.

 

HAL doesn't show more than 10 cabins at a time. Of course, you can search other cabins by number, but that's time-consuming and a lot of people don't know that's possible.

 

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1 hour ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

HAL doesn't show more than 10 cabins at a time. Of course, you can search other cabins by number, but that's time-consuming and a lot of people don't know that's possible.

 

Perfect example. How many topics have you seen asking about possible upgrades since there are so few cabins left?

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1 hour ago, RocketMan275 said:

Perfect example. How many topics have you seen asking about possible upgrades since there are so few cabins left?

 

Or people fretting because there are no "good" cabins left in their category. When I was looking for a NS near the lounge last year, there were no cabins showing near the lounge. I started plugging in cabin numbers and got a cabin right where I wanted. But HAL didn't make it easy.

 

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31 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Or people fretting because there are no "good" cabins left in their category. When I was looking for a NS near the lounge last year, there were no cabins showing near the lounge. I started plugging in cabin numbers and got a cabin right where I wanted. But HAL didn't make it easy.

 

I just did the same thing two weeks ago.  Was worthwhile since I ask and got a great location when I called in for the upsell offer.  

 

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I'm curious about the source of the $2,000 OBC if you don't mind sharing. Did it come from the TA you mentioned above or from HAL or is it a combination from both sources? If any of it came from your TA, I wasn't aware a TA would be able to post OBC to your shipboard account until right before you boarded?

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