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mimianderson

Nieuw Amsterdam Feb 1 Sailing Cancelled

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I do not normally rant about something in print, but this time I am just plain mad!  We just received notice that we have been rebooked on the Zuiderdam on Feb 1 with a 7 CATEGORY DOWNGRADE from our Neptune Suite to a lower level promenade deck 5 balcony cabin.  We received no communications from our travel agent, and nothing other than a notice of our new cabin number from Holland and an email with our new confirmation number.   They did not even identify the new ship nor the reason for this change.  I was able to contact my travel agent a few minutes ago and he did not receive notice either.  After many many minutes on hold at Holland America, I finally got to a supervisor who informed me that the Nieuw Amsterdam was going into repair and our cruise had been cancelled.  We have been "reassigned to a cruise sailing on the same day to the best available cabin."  I am thoroughly disgusted with the lack of communication from Holland - there has been no information made available to us at all.   I am not willing to spend the amount we spent on a suite with an itinerary we wished to experience on an balcony cabin on promenade deck to an itinerary I don't want to take.  If I wanted to do that I would have booked that cabin in the first place.

 

I have monies tied up in speciality dining, airline fares (that I did on my own) hotel, rental car, and a retreat cabin for the cruise ($400).  I have a house sitter scheduled for the time off, have taken time off from my tutoring job and rescheduled a sub etc. etc.    I honestly get that things happen, but when they do, you set up your maximum customer service operation and try to make it right for your customers.  Shame on you Holland America for making me chase you down to try to get back what should be owned me and shame on your for assuming that I would be happy to  think that I would be ok being downgraded 7 categories on a different ship with a different itinerary without even offering me a choice?  Will you be trying to keep my fare?  Will you give me hard time over refunding  me money for things I am not going to be able to enjoy or even experience?  Shame on you - this is simply greedy and self-serving.  Its easy to reassign cabins by computer, its harder to give someone a choice.  And its even harder to treat someone with respect.  You have lost a customer forever.

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If I'm not mistaken, from the information shared as long ago as Wednesday night, you'll be receiving a full refund of the fare you paid.  Is that not correct?  Sorry your cruise was in a downgraded category level, but doesn't it count for something that it matches your dates and it's free?  I don't see HAL charging you neptune prices for a regular verandah.

 

Sue/WDW1972

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To mimianderson …. see thread regarding Nieuw Amsterdam azipod issue … we have known about this since Dec. 14 … not that this makes the frustration with HAL any better.

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Is someone from HAL threatening to keep all your fare?  I would think you would, at a minimum, get back the difference between a Neptune and a balcony.  What does your TA say?  Can they not go to bat for you?

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11 minutes ago, wdw1972 said:

If I'm not mistaken, from the information shared as long ago as Wednesday night, you'll be receiving a full refund of the fare you paid.  Is that not correct?  Sorry your cruise was in a downgraded category level, but doesn't it count for something that it matches your dates and it's free?  I don't see HAL charging you neptune prices for a regular verandah.

 

Sue/WDW1972

To date, I have received no information whatsoever.  My travel agent just called and they had sent the info to him on an incorrect address - he is now working on it. 

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Just now, mimianderson said:

To date, I have received no information whatsoever.  My travel agent just called and they had sent the info to him on an incorrect address - he is now working on it. 

Another passenger on your cruise posted language from the email he received from HAL Wednesday night - that's what I'm basing my comment on.  Hopefully you'll get good news from your TA.  Evidently that bad email address is why it took so long for you to find out, but in my opinion HAL has been very generous.  My cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam isn't until March, so I've been watching for a decision/report on which cruise would end up getting canceled.  No doubt, we'd all rather keep our original booking, and it's a shame anyone had to get impacted.

 

Sue/WDW1972

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3 minutes ago, mimianderson said:

To date, I have received no information whatsoever.  My travel agent just called and they had sent the info to him on an incorrect address - he is now working on it. 

 

Go to the thread about the Nieuw Amsterdam Azipod issue. Jump to page 16 and read from there. Two people have posted what HAL offered them. You should have the same options, so if your TA doesn't know what's going on, tell him/her what these posts say. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, mimianderson said:

 

Thank you all.  My TA is now working on it as I dragged him away from his Saturday night dinner.  

 

 

What can he do on Saturday night?

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To cut to the chase, my understanding  (SOMEONE-PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG) is if you do not care to take the cruise HAL assigned to you or do not wish to accept the downgrade, you receive a full refund AND 50% off a future cruise if taken within 12 months. 

 

I've also heard that claims can be filed with HAL for flights (but you will likely only receive the penalty amount which is usually $200 per ticket as your ticket usually still has value beyond the penalty/change portion. Non refundable hotel charges would be harder to collect as thy don't require you to arrive a day early. 

 

Bottom line-it is still a huge issue for anyone affected by this cancellation. I'm scheduled for the 15th and hope they're successful with the repair as they apparently were not when the NA was in for repairs in December. 

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Ok Come on people IF THIS HAPPENED TO YOU HOW WOULD YOU REACT? Not your money, time , vacation, and most of all a crappy downgrade as a consultation prize from a NS. Ok so you say full refund! They have not heard it yet!!  Put yourself in there shoes!!!’ I have been there and it is not fun.

Denise😊

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Mimi, I'm so sorry your cruise was canceled. I hope you get the lesser cruise for free plus a refund, that way you can still have a nice (but not as nice) trip now on their dime (and use your hotel/flights), plus a really excellent cruise soon! I'm glad your agent is on it and hopefully you'll get some really good news soon! 😎

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Wow, that is awful, just to let you know now.  It has been discussed on this forum, and it seems like others got the information much sooner than you did. Sorry for all the disappointment. 

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2 minutes ago, Vict0riann said:

Wow, that is awful, just to let you know now.  It has been discussed on this forum, and it seems like others got the information much sooner than you did. Sorry for all the disappointment. 

 

 I think the delay compared to the posters we'e heard from was because HAL sent the info to OP's travel agent at the wrong email address. For most discussions related to a booking, if you book through a TA, HAL isn't supposed to talk to you about it. So that might be why they didn't have much to say over the phone beyond explaining that NA was going to have repairs done. 

 

Mimi, if you do take the Zuiderdam cruise and they can't give you a cabana or work out your specialty dining, you will get that money back. I know that isn't the same as getting what you planned, but that part of the money that you have tied up will come back to you.

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I can understand your frustration and hope that your travel agent can help you sort things out to your satisfaction. Feb 1 is just around the corner and it doesn’t leave you much time to shop for a substitute vacation.

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4 hours ago, Roz said:

 

What can he do on Saturday night?

Wait unti Monday morning when the HAL office reopens?

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My TA is working on this for me and told me HAL is actually answering their phones to help people rebook. Best of luck! 

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I can't imagine the frustration I'd feel, but based on everything I've read...if you booked with a TA, isn't that where HAL should have reached out?  Much like the fact that upgrade offers come through your TA (if you booked that way), wouldn't this information about the cancellation and re-booking also go first to your TA, and not to you directly?

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I wouldn't make assumptions that HAL is handling this all correctly.  We were not on this cruise, but my husband saw it on the internet yesterday.  I knew my cousins were on the cruise so  called to see what was going on with them.  As of Sat. morning they had not been notified, 2 separate cabins, and only were made aware by us.  For the record they booked directly through HAL.  When they called HAL, they were not very helpful and said they sent a "letter" on Wed, and that it couldn't be dealt with until Monday.  All other correspondence has reached them, just not this notice.  Eventually they were able to rebook, but on a different date....not everyone can do that.   On the same date or within a day, they were only offered an inside cabin, when their original  booking was a balcony.  And, fortunately a different agent was more helpful, and able to do this on a Saturday! 

 

I am a 4 * mariner and not likely to criticize HAL, as we obviously like the cruise line.  But I think this was not handled well.

In the end they made out ok, but not everyone will and it doesn't do much for customers who are not HAL loyalists.  They need to compensate well to keep new and old customers.

 

Having had a Neptune twice and one coming up in 2 weeks, I feel very badly for Mimi.  It is a very different experience from a balcony and you pay a lot more.  Although we find we will book anything from balcony to Neptune, not everyone will and HAL should have been aware enough not to simply rebook them.

 

Anyway just my opinion...

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13 minutes ago, carken47 said:

 

Having had a Neptune twice and one coming up in 2 weeks, I feel very badly for Mimi.  It is a very different experience from a balcony and you pay a lot more.  Although we find we will book anything from balcony to Neptune, not everyone will and HAL should have been aware enough not to simply rebook them.

 

Anyway just my opinion...

 

 

I'm just wondering if it was a case of blocking the available cabins for those dates before they were booked, then working with the guests to arrive at a suitable outcome.

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We had the same cruise booked. It is disappointing!  We are traveling with my sister and her husband. As always, we had Neptune suites next to each other. 

 

Our travel agent called us Friday morning and was on the phone with HAL for four hours. We decided to do the Zuiderdam for the first week and board the NA on the second. We were able to again get Neptunes, but probably won't be next to each other. We won't know cabin numbers until we board. 
 

Our TA was also on the phone with a HAL rep Saturday because of questions we had. 
 

We not only will get one week 50% for future cruise credit, we also received additional obc, a refund of a few hundred (because Zuiderdam a bit cheaper) and $50 beverage card. 
 

I am not happy about changing ships and I'm sad our cabins won't be next to my sister and brother in law, but I like the itinerary the first week on Zuiderdam more than first week of NA and I'm just going to try to stop being upset. I certainly feel your pain. 😢

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We are experienced cruisers; our first trip with HAL was to be the Feb 1st  Nieuw Amsterdam. Not a great first impression - we received notice from our travel agent but our friends who booked directly through HAL received no notice. We scrambled (after over an hour waiting on the phone) and booked the Feb 2 Nieuw Statendam. Not happy with the itinerary and we also were demoted several categories (8th floor to 3rd floor directly below the auditorium). We were fortunate to get a cabin but very disappointed in HAL's  handling of this situation. We were promised a voucher for 100% toward a future cruise, but later told it would be good for about $500 pp - nowhere near the 100%. 

Edited by ajgobucks

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19 hours ago, molemaui said:

Bottom line-it is still a huge issue for anyone affected by this cancellation. I'm scheduled for the 15th and hope they're successful with the repair as they apparently were not when the NA was in for repairs in December. 

 

I don't think there was ever any evidence that NA went in for repairs in December. They apparently went to Freeport to get approval to sail with a single azipod. 

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We just got off the Nieuw Amsterdam yesterday.  We were on the January 4 sailing.  Unfortunately for us, our cruise had many issues.  Some which were in the control of HAL and others which were not.  In answer to the Azipod, no it was not fixed in December.  The ship is running on one Azipod.  The Azipod with the electrical problem had the blades taken off of it and it is being used primarily as a rudder.  Because the ship only has one working Azipod, it is impacting their top sailing speed.  This in turn affected our itinerary.  Only after boarding the ship, did we find out that our stop at Sint Maarten was replaced with a stop at St. Croix.  Also our arrival time into Puerto Rico was delayed from morning to afternoon.  We were given $50 ship board credit per passenger for these changes.  We were also fully refunded all cancelled shore excursions and applicable port fees and taxes.  The Nieuw Amsterdam has to go into dry dock to fix it.  They need to remove the broken Azipod and replace it with a new one.  And after our experience, I would want two functioning Azipods on the ship.

 

Our cruise also unfortunately experienced a host of other problems.  Our day in San Juan was impacted by the 6.4 earthquake that struck the morning of January 7.  HAL, Carnival, and Norwegian all made the port call later than expected that day - arriving at 3 pm that afternoon.  The cruise lines had been informed by the port that power would be back on by Noon, but that did not happen.  When we got off ship, there was no power and water in San Juan.  Almost everything was closed, as would be expected after a natural disaster.  We felt terrible that we were impacting the locals during this situation by being on shore.  The port was on back up generators and flashlights were used to screen cruise passengers for re-boarding.  We also experienced a Coast Guard helicopter medical evacuation on our second sea day that diverted from our Half Moon Cay course and resulted in us arriving late to Half Moon Cay by several hours.  Then when we did arrive, due to rough seas and hurricane force winds, we were not able to tender ashore to Half Moon Cay and had to leave and sail on to Fort Lauderdale.  Because of the weather and the one Azipod, we then arrived later than normal into Fort Lauderdale. 

 

Trust me, you will have a better cruise experience if you are on a ship with two working Azipods.  The crew did feel terrible about everything that happened.  Like I said, they couldn't control earthquakes, weather, and a medical emergency, so we were understanding about all of that.  However, the Azipod issue did impact itinerary and speed and they definitely need to fix it. 

 

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