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Crystal & the Corona Virus

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2 hours ago, NottheMonkey said:

 

As stated earlier, they cancelled the cruise and first tried to offer only FCC.  After my TA and I both called, they finally offered the refund.  It took a day if back and forth to get it resolved.

Well Done!

Good news also for Hop 77 of Singapore who eventually got a full refund, in lieu of FCC originally offered, after hard work by his TA (see post 496)

Edited by MMDown Under

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1 hour ago, MMDown Under said:

Well Done!

Good news also for Hop 77 of Singapore who eventually got a full refund, in lieu of FCC originally offered, after hard work by his TA (see post 496)


I guess they are hoping most will just bite the bullet and take the FCC. And offer the Cash refund only if they make noise. Is a good tactic to get the most out of this situation. 

At least a big load off my mind. Now making A few land reservations for dinners to make up for those dinners I should be having if the cruise was not cancelled. 

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Based on my every day experience with airlines and hotels, this is pretty typical and nothing nefarious, but the perfect example of the value of a professional travel agent.

 

Credit to a lot of reservationists, customer service, front desk clerks and ticket agents, I think they do an amazing job of keeping rules and terms straight almost every day of the week.  But when things go sideways during irregular operations, and they’re offering one thing to 97% of the callers or guests, it’s not uncommon for that to become the default talking point when they get on a roll.
 

This is where a professionally trained travel agent will know off the top of their head that if the cruise line cancels (and not alters) a sailing, and the agent is saying or sent an offer for a booking credit, that they’re simply repeating what they’ve said on the last 270 calls/messages and this case is different.  Normally you’d correct it right there, but of course there’s a chance the agent falls into the same slump and has been doing the same thing over and over, but NORMALLY the experienced agent would be able to catch it as soon as their ear or eyes see it because they’re listening for this.

 

Although my company does plenty of blocks with cruise lines, my particular teams only contract with hotels.  We write plenty of contracts with specific contingency terms to protect our clients that are non-standard.  If I had a penny for every time a Director of Sales came back to one of my housing specialists during irregular operations on a contract that they were INTIMATELY familiar with rattling off their standard offer they used on the previous 50 calls, I’d be able to afford a Crystal Penthouse.

 

Vince

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26 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

Based on my every day experience with airlines and hotels, this is pretty typical and nothing nefarious, but the perfect example of the value of a professional travel agent.

 

Credit to a lot of reservationists, customer service, front desk clerks and ticket agents, I think they do an amazing job of keeping rules and terms straight almost every day of the week.  But when things go sideways during irregular operations, and they’re offering one thing to 97% of the callers or guests, it’s not uncommon for that to become the default talking point when they get on a roll.
 

This is where a professionally trained travel agent will know off the top of their head that if the cruise line cancels (and not alters) a sailing, and the agent is saying or sent an offer for a booking credit, that they’re simply repeating what they’ve said on the last 270 calls/messages and this case is different.  Normally you’d correct it right there, but of course there’s a chance the agent falls into the same slump and has been doing the same thing over and over, but NORMALLY the experienced agent would be able to catch it as soon as their ear or eyes see it because they’re listening for this.

 

Although my company does plenty of blocks with cruise lines, my particular teams only contract with hotels.  We write plenty of contracts with specific contingency terms to protect our clients that are non-standard.  If I had a penny for every time a Director of Sales came back to one of my housing specialists during irregular operations on a contract that they were INTIMATELY familiar with rattling off their standard offer they used on the previous 50 calls, I’d be able to afford a Crystal Penthouse.

 

Vince

I understand that your travel agency blocks cabins with cruise lines like Crystal without contracting. Is this correct? You do not have to pay penalties for doing so? How long can you block those cabins? For us passengers it is not possible to do just a reservation without confirming and then paying a penalty if cancelling. 

Ivi

Edited by travelberlin

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I don't disagree with BWIVince and others who think working with a good TA is a good idea, especially in a situation like this.  However, the e-mail Crystal sent out (I am assuming it's an e-mail and it's from Crystal...I don't know for sure because I never saw it) regarding the offer of future cruise credit instead of a refund for a cruise Crystal cancelled shows Crystal's lack good faith in dealing with their customers in this particular situation.  It's possible that this was written AND sent in error, but the act of offering what is less than what Crystal is supposed to provide in situations like this, hoping that their customers will just take it instead, is both insulting and patronizing at best.

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And if I were Crystal, I would send everyone affected by this cancellation a memo that contains a correction to the previous memo, offering all of them a refund, along with a sincere apology (not any of that "sorry for the misunderstanding" nonsense) for the mistake.  If they don't do this, Crystal will be missing an important opportunity to (partially) redeem itself.

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15 hours ago, neilridd said:

Thanks for this information, just received this back from Crystal:

Thank you for your email advising that you are a citizen of the UK. That does make a difference in the cancellation policy. Kindly note, your booking has been cancelled. !00% of monies paid, will be refunded in the way in which it was paid. Thank you for choosing Crystal Cruises.

Just for clarity, we were booked on the 1st.March sailing initially Singapore to Hong Kong with a pre-cruise stay in Hong Kong, this cruise has not been cancelled.

We were initially told we wouldn't be able to board because of our stay in Hong Kong and would only receive 100% FCC.

When i read on here of the different T's & C's for uk customers i went back to Crystal & that's when they agreed to refund the whole amount.

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40 minutes ago, neilridd said:

Just for clarity, we were booked on the 1st.March sailing initially Singapore to Hong Kong with a pre-cruise stay in Hong Kong, this cruise has not been cancelled.

We were initially told we wouldn't be able to board because of our stay in Hong Kong and would only receive 100% FCC.

When i read on here of the different T's & C's for uk customers i went back to Crystal & that's when they agreed to refund the whole amount.


Neil,


Pleased you finally got this resolved - I’m also pleased now I chose the Indian Ocean for my holiday - there’d have been toys flying in all directions if I’d had to go through your experience!!!! 

 

Anne..

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20 minutes ago, Jayayeff said:


Neil,


Pleased you finally got this resolved - I’m also pleased now I chose the Indian Ocean for my holiday - there’d have been toys flying in all directions if I’d had to go through your experience!!!! 

 

Anne..

Thanks Anne, strangely when i looked into cancelling prior to final payment, due to unrest in Hong Kong, the UK t's & c's weren't as favourable as the US ones.

Hope you enjoyed your trip although i saw that you didn't have perfect weather.

Neil

 

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8 hours ago, NottheMonkey said:

 

As stated earlier, they cancelled the cruise and first tried to offer only FCC.  After my TA and I both called, they finally offered the refund.  It took a day if back and forth to get it resolved.

I had exactly the same, and heard this morning that it is now a cash refund. My blood pressure has now returned to normal! 

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In light of the unknowns of corona virus, cruise companies that deal with International travelers will to need to get creative on how they can support/help their future customer feel secure in keeping a booking that still is not in penalty. How things are now, there are multiple ways a person could run into severe travel difficulties at multiple moments along the way. It will be impossible to secure new insurance coverage for these "Act of God" times. Even if a person is willing to risk traveling, it will not be prudent without both parties being willing to support each other 

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2 hours ago, neilridd said:

Just for clarity, we were booked on the 1st.March sailing initially Singapore to Hong Kong with a pre-cruise stay in Hong Kong, this cruise has not been cancelled.

We were initially told we wouldn't be able to board because of our stay in Hong Kong and would only receive 100% FCC.

When i read on here of the different T's & C's for uk customers i went back to Crystal & that's when they agreed to refund the whole amount.

hi Neil,

Crystal refunded based on the fact that you were going to stay in Hong Kong pre-cruise? We are also booked on March 1 sailing. I am having difficult time trying to

1. Figure out the next steps with future cruise

2. Figure out the airfare that we booked independently. I called the travel insurance company, they are not covering any losses related to pandemic. As corona virus has a status of pandemic now my travel insurance doesn't cover anything. Even if Crystal would cancel March 1 sailing the insurance still won't cover the airfare.   

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2 minutes ago, kiramoli said:

hi Neil,

Crystal refunded based on the fact that you were going to stay in Hong Kong pre-cruise? We are also booked on March 1 sailing. I am having difficult time trying to

1. Figure out the next steps with future cruise

2. Figure out the airfare that we booked independently. I called the travel insurance company, they are not covering any losses related to pandemic. As corona virus has a status of pandemic now my travel insurance doesn't cover anything. Even if Crystal would cancel March 1 sailing the insurance still won't cover the airfare.   

Hi Kiramoli, The reason Crystal refunded us was because of the UK terms & conditions and that there was a major change in the itinerary. There original offer we could have carried on with the cruise & they would pay us 50% of the cruise fare (a considerable amount as we were booked in a PH) to rebook flights direct to Singapore.

Our flights in & out of Hong Kong were booked using Virgin Miles & have been refunded.

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I understand  that Crystal has notified Travel Advisors and Guests who  were on the  getaway  sailings that had  to be cancelled  due to Singapore's Requirements that they will  give them an alternative  of a 100% refund  for the  cruise fare  paid instead of the 100% FCC.  This would apply to those  specific getaway bookings regardless of country someone is from.

 

If someone  is on one of the affected getaways and has not yet received the notification  I would get your TA to followup  for you.

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, Keith1010 said:

I understand  that Crystal has notified Travel Advisors and Guests who  were on the  getaway  sailings that had  to be cancelled  due to Singapore's Requirements that they will  give them an alternative  of a 100% refund  for the  cruise fare  paid instead of the 100% FCC.  This would apply to those  specific getaway bookings regardless of country someone is from


Unfortunately on this occasion Crystal have handled this poorly and have suffered reputational damage with both guests and Travel Agents - both groups having spent unnecessary time and effort lobbying Crystal to achieve these refunds. I know that even when we had heard some were tonne given cash refunds Crystal were still telling some that there would be no refunds  

 

 

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18 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


Unfortunately on this occasion Crystal have handled this poorly 

 

 

Agreed.  It was a big mistake not to have notified guests/travel advisors from the get-go they would receive a 100% refund for payments made for the getaway cruises which were cancelled as they did for other cancelled cruises in the past.  

 

Keith

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There is a reason Crystal has not been as generous with its offers during this Virus Crisis than have the other cruise lines.  We can only guess at why that is, but we can presume that there is some logic in what they are doing.  They are fully aware of what the other lines are doing and they have deliberately opted not to follow that course.

 

I proffer one possibility.

 

Somewhere back in this thread there was a mention that a related Genting Company was having cash flow problems.  Perhaps this might explain the slow reaction and reticence to being so generous with their offers.

 

Crystal has only two ocean based cruise ships and both are located in the Far East at the height of the Virus scare.  With the parent Company already experiencing a Cash crunch related to the other related company perhaps the need to issue refunds to all the customers that would be eligible for the refund might stress the entire conglomerate to a breaking point.  Add in making an offer that is not part of the contract but perhaps the right thing to do ie rescheduled cruises as Carnival is doing would put even further stress on the cash reserves of the Company.   Genting may be a billionaire but it does not mean he has a billion dollars in cash.

 

Think of it like a run on the bank.  The bank may be solvent but a run would put the bank out of business because its current cash position will not satisfy all the  people requesting their funds.  See Jimmy Stewart in a Wondeful Life for an example.  The banker will appeal to the withdrawers to be patient. 

 

 In the case of Crystal, it may be that the reps are told to try to defer the run on their cash reserves by pushing the Future Cruise Credit but that if push comes to shove that the Rep will need to issue the cash refund to comply with the contract terms.  It is not that the Reps do not know the terms of the contract but that the higher ups at the Company have made it clear that cash leaving the Company is the last resort.

 

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Full refunds for sailings cancelled by Crystal is of course the right thing to do but Crystal could have avoided a ton of bad blood had they simply offered a two year window to use the FCCs or changing the wording from "must sail by or before" to "must book by or before".

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46 minutes ago, Wonderingabout said:

There is a reason Crystal has not been as generous with its offers during this Virus Crisis than have the other cruise lines.  We can only guess at why that is, but we can presume that there is some logic in what they are doing.  They are fully aware of what the other lines are doing and they have deliberately opted not to follow that course.

 

I proffer one possibility.

 

Somewhere back in this thread there was a mention that a related Genting Company was having cash flow problems.  Perhaps this might explain the slow reaction and reticence to being so generous with their offers.

 

Crystal has only two ocean based cruise ships and both are located in the Far East at the height of the Virus scare.  With the parent Company already experiencing a Cash crunch related to the other related company perhaps the need to issue refunds to all the customers that would be eligible for the refund might stress the entire conglomerate to a breaking point.  Add in making an offer that is not part of the contract but perhaps the right thing to do ie rescheduled cruises as Carnival is doing would put even further stress on the cash reserves of the Company.   Genting may be a billionaire but it does not mean he has a billion dollars in cash.

 

Think of it like a run on the bank.  The bank may be solvent but a run would put the bank out of business because its current cash position will not satisfy all the  people requesting their funds.  See Jimmy Stewart in a Wondeful Life for an example.  The banker will appeal to the withdrawers to be patient. 

 

 In the case of Crystal, it may be that the reps are told to try to defer the run on their cash reserves by pushing the Future Cruise Credit but that if push comes to shove that the Rep will need to issue the cash refund to comply with the contract terms.  It is not that the Reps do not know the terms of the contract but that the higher ups at the Company have made it clear that cash leaving the Company is the last resort.

 

I agree,  I was contemplating this possibility also . As a cruiser that has paid in full (early, to receive an extra discount) for an Endeavor August thru October, far east cruise, I have some serious decisions to make and there is no good answer.

Edited by C-sea

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Update.  The cancellation invoice I received still tried to leave a charge of approx.  $790 despite assurance of no penalty.  More to follow.

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1 minute ago, NottheMonkey said:

Update.  The cancellation invoice I received still tried to leave a charge of approx.  $790 despite assurance of no penalty.  More to follow.

not good!

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45 minutes ago, Wonderingabout said:

There is a reason Crystal has not been as generous with its offers during this Virus Crisis than have the other cruise lines.  We can only guess at why that is, but we can presume that there is some logic in what they are doing.  They are fully aware of what the other lines are doing and they have deliberately opted not to follow that course.

 

I proffer one possibility.

 

Somewhere back in this thread there was a mention that a related Genting Company was having cash flow problems.  Perhaps this might explain the slow reaction and reticence to being so generous with their offers.

 

Crystal has only two ocean based cruise ships and both are located in the Far East at the height of the Virus scare.  With the parent Company already experiencing a Cash crunch related to the other related company perhaps the need to issue refunds to all the customers that would be eligible for the refund might stress the entire conglomerate to a breaking point.  Add in making an offer that is not part of the contract but perhaps the right thing to do ie rescheduled cruises as Carnival is doing would put even further stress on the cash reserves of the Company.   Genting may be a billionaire but it does not mean he has a billion dollars in cash.

 

Think of it like a run on the bank.  The bank may be solvent but a run would put the bank out of business because its current cash position will not satisfy all the  people requesting their funds.  See Jimmy Stewart in a Wondeful Life for an example.  The banker will appeal to the withdrawers to be patient. 

 

 In the case of Crystal, it may be that the reps are told to try to defer the run on their cash reserves by pushing the Future Cruise Credit but that if push comes to shove that the Rep will need to issue the cash refund to comply with the contract terms.  It is not that the Reps do not know the terms of the contract but that the higher ups at the Company have made it clear that cash leaving the Company is the last resort.

 

So, they tried to do the wrong thing to cover their asses.  And assets.  That doesn't give them a pass in my book.  Another example of the land-side part of their business being far behind the on board side of their business in customer service.  They tried to "pull a fast one" on unsuspecting or unsophisticated travelers, and there's nothing in their bottom line that will make that look better to me.  I"m not saying I won't cruise with Crystal again (I know I will), but it does go in the list of pros and cons.

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23 minutes ago, calliopecruiser said:

So, they tried to do the wrong thing to cover their asses.  And assets.  That doesn't give them a pass in my book.  Another example of the land-side part of their business being far behind the on board side of their business in customer service.  They tried to "pull a fast one" on unsuspecting or unsophisticated travelers, and there's nothing in their bottom line that will make that look better to me.  I"m not saying I won't cruise with Crystal again (I know I will), but it does go in the list of pros and cons.

It makes me feel like I should only do uncomplicated, basically local cruises with Crystal (I do enjoy the onboard product) that if there is a problem, I would be able to handle it without their help. In the recent past, whenever my T.A. has had to deal with the office it's usually slow and not truly helpful.

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Finally got the refund after my TA contacted Crystal at least couple times.
Crystal should have done the refund automatically when it’s due without wasting affected passengers or TA’s time and effort. 

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17 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


Sounds like a plan - enjoy Silversea 

 

I always laugh when people start saying “they’ll never do something because....” 

 

Give it a month or a great itinerary or deal coming up on Crystal and they’ll be back in a heartbeat - I’ve seen it so many times with so many suppliers 

 

People’s outrage subsides very quickly 

 

Now should Crystal do the right thing? Of course they should but whether they do or don’t won’t stop people sailing on them in the future - unless the people are very principled 

 

17 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


and I thought this thread was about Crystal and the Corona virus - guess not

Given the first 2 post I wasn't sure what you meant given that you seem to defend Crystal in the first post . Your rudeness is a touch hard to decipher .

I get it when you posted " I always laugh when people start saying “they’ll never do something because....” , but you seem to be making light of peoples anger . 

Now if you'll excuse me , I have to go back to my ESL . Thanks

 

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