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Crystal & the Corona Virus

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20 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Princess is being very generous with their compensation. They shortened a current cruise to finish in Perth instead oF Singapore and gave people the option of staying on the cruise with a pro-rata refund depending on where they embarked plus a 50% FCC, or people could choose to cancel and get a 100% refund and 50% FCC.

Princess also has a ship with a big issue.  Not saying this is why they are doing this but...........


I suspect this is a major financial hit to Genting in proportion to the parent company of Princess which might also be a factor.

 

All of this continues to evolve so we'll see if there are any additional modifications.   Might not come in form a a refund but could come from an extension of how long  the FCC is good for.  

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Princess also has a ship with a big issue.  Not saying this is why they are doing this but...........


I suspect this is a major financial hit to Genting in proportion to the parent company of Princess which might also be a factor.

 

All of this continues to evolve so we'll see if there are any additional modifications.   Might not come in form a a refund but could come from an extension of how long  the FCC is good for.  

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

It’s not just Princess. I personally have never been on Princess, but I commend the cruise lines that have taken care of their valued passengers..hit or not hit financially.  Any ship could have big issues. That has nothing IMHO about what the other lines have done.  So you are saying Genting cannot financially play with the big boys? 

Edited by alwaysonaship

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19 hours ago, alwaysonaship said:

It’s not just Princess. I personally have never been on Princess, but I commend the cruise lines that have taken care of their valued passengers..hit or not hit financially.  Any ship could have big issues. That has nothing IMHO about what the other lines have done.  So you are saying Genting cannot financially play with the big boys? 

Yes any ship could have big issues and if so that could be a factor in approach and not all cruise lines are the same in size/market/present itineraries.

 

And I am saying that this continues to evolve.

 

Keith

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5 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Yes any ship could have big issues and if so that could be a factor in approach and not all cruise lines are the same in size/market/present itineraries.

 

And I am saying that this continues to evolve.

 

Keith

Really? 🙄

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19 hours ago, alwaysonaship said:

Really? 🙄

Yep.  😀

 

I just looked at a couple of other luxury line web sites.  Clearly  Seabourn has evolved their approach as has Crystal and from what I can tell they along  with Regent have not provided  refunds of fares for itinerary changes.   😀

 

Keith

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19 hours ago, alwaysonaship said:

Really? 🙄

Also I don't believe the two lines I mentioned offered FCC or Refund for itineraries which were revised.

Keith

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On 2/14/2020 at 1:42 PM, 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.

 

Looks like they shouldn't have included that part on my invoice.  It seems to have been a recoup of commission from the travel agents company.  All is well.

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21 minutes ago, NottheMonkey said:

 

Looks like they shouldn't have included that part on my invoice.  It seems to have been a recoup of commission from the travel agents company.  All is well.

It seems when Crystal gives a passenger a refund, it recoups commission from the travel agent.  

Fair enough, but what happens when the passenger takes a FCC in lieu of a refund.  Does the TA keep the commission?

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3 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Also I don't believe the two lines I mentioned offered FCC or Refund for itineraries which were revised.

 

I've been following Seabourn's response to CV19.  There were itinerary changes/cancellations to the Feb 15 and Feb 29 Ovation sailings.  Seabourn offered both FCCs and refunds in each instance.

The Feb 15 sailing was cancelled yesterday with only 24 hr notice after many guests had already arrived at the embarkation port.  Guests received full refund + 100% FCC + OOP expenses for hotel + air change fees.

The Feb 29 sailing had major itinerary changes.  Guests who continued to sail were offered a 50% FCC + $250 OBC pp + airline change fees up to $250 pp.  Guests who cancelled were provided 100% FCC to be used within 12 months.  In the end, this sailing was cancelled for a full refund + 50% FCC.

I don't know what's happening on Regent since they're not on my radar.
 

 

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22 minutes ago, MightyQuinn said:

 

I've been following Seabourn's response to CV19.  There were itinerary changes/cancellations to the Feb 15 and Feb 29 Ovation sailings.  Seabourn offered both FCCs and refunds in each instance.

The Feb 15 sailing was cancelled yesterday with only 24 hr notice after many guests had already arrived at the embarkation port.  Guests received full refund + 100% FCC + OOP expenses for hotel + air change fees.

The Feb 29 sailing had major itinerary changes.  Guests who continued to sail were offered a 50% FCC + $250 OBC pp + airline change fees up to $250 pp.  Guests who cancelled were provided 100% FCC to be used within 12 months.  In the end, this sailing was cancelled for a full refund + 50% FCC.

I don't know what's happening on Regent since they're not on my radar.
 

 

I believe you although that is not what the website showed. 
 

Either way this is a fluid situation as evident with only a 24 hour cancellation of a cruise. 
 

Keith

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16 hours ago, MMDown Under said:

It seems when Crystal gives a passenger a refund, it recoups commission from the travel agent.  

Fair enough, but what happens when the passenger takes a FCC in lieu of a refund.  Does the TA keep the commission?


The answer to that depends on how the rebook is done, and the timing of the commission payment and the new booking.  There are scenarios where the debit and credit would hit the same statement, and in effect the agent would keep the commission they have when an FCC is used.
 

One thing is universal though, if a booking is refunded for any travel supplier, unless there is some special deal worked out with a supplier offline (NOT a case like this), then the commission is cancelled or debited.  As a matter of fact, agents and intermediaries are frequently shorted commissions because of claimed cancellations, no-shows, ineligible rates, etc., and spend a lot of their time chasing suppliers for payments on commissionable bookings they made and for a variety of reasons never received. 
 

None of that is specific to Crystal, I don’t know a supplier anywhere where you get to keep the commission when a booking is refunded.  (I’m happy to be corrected by any of the nice agents on the board with more cruise experience than I have though.)

 

Vince

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Although with World Cruise this isn't entirely possible but I'll bet in the future Crystal and other lines that can will not have multiple ships in the same area of the world at the same time. 

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“Please note that Crystal will provide two options for those guests whose Getaway voyages (February 23, March 9, March 23 and April 5) were canceled due to Singapore’s new port restrictions and/or persons who were denied boarding because of passport restrictions where our ships’ visit:

Option one is to receive a full refund of all cruise fare paid to date;”

So does anyone know what Crystal is doing with the 3/16 sailing?  The dragging of their feet is quite alarming. We have called and been told they have not canceled the 3/16 cruise. I do not understand how they can justify canceling  “Gate way” cruises before and after the 3/16 sailing. We are still in limbo and have no desire to go on a gloom and doom cruise or receiving  FCC’s.  Although avid Crystallites  – their stance has brought our unwavering devotion into question.

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55 minutes ago, Buffalo12 said:

“Please note that Crystal will provide two options for those guests whose Getaway voyages (February 23, March 9, March 23 and April 5) were canceled due to Singapore’s new port restrictions and/or persons who were denied boarding because of passport restrictions where our ships’ visit:

 

Option one is to receive a full refund of all cruise fare paid to date;”

 

So does anyone know what Crystal is doing with the 3/16 sailing?  The dragging of their feet is quite alarming. We have called and been told they have not canceled the 3/16 cruise. I do not understand how they can justify canceling  “Gate way” cruises before and after the 3/16 sailing. We are still in limbo and have no desire to go on a gloom and doom cruise or receiving  FCC’s.  Although avid Crystallites  – their stance has brought our unwavering devotion into question.

 

 

As I understand it, the cancelling of the "Getaway" cruises had to do with the passengers embarking in one country and disembarking in another one. The full cruises that start and end in Singapore are not a problem.

 

Patty

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1 hour ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

As I understand it, the cancelling of the "Getaway" cruises had to do with the passengers embarking in one country and disembarking in another one. The full cruises that start and end in Singapore are not a problem.

 

Patty

The 3/16 also has a getaway portion. It was a 7 night cruise, but now a  6 night, so they can leave us at Phuket, instead  of the middle of the ocean. 😀  Maybe they aren't boarding additional passengers for the 2d half of this cruise (3/22-end) and that's the difference??

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On 2/17/2020 at 2:54 PM, BWIVince said:


The answer to that depends on how the rebook is done, and the timing of the commission payment and the new booking.  There are scenarios where the debit and credit would hit the same statement, and in effect the agent would keep the commission they have when an FCC is used. One thing is universal though, if a booking is refunded for any travel supplier, unless there is some special deal worked out with a supplier offline (NOT a case like this), then the commission is cancelled or debited.  As a matter of fact, agents and intermediaries are frequently shorted commissions because of claimed cancellations, no-shows, ineligible rates, etc., and spend a lot of their time chasing suppliers for payments on commissionable bookings they made and for a variety of reasons never received. 

 

None of that is specific to Crystal, I don’t know a supplier anywhere where you get to keep the commission when a booking is refunded.  (I’m happy to be corrected by any of the nice agents on the board with more cruise experience than I have though.)

 

Vince

 You're right Vince, the answer is "it depends". An FCC issued for a paid in full cruise where the commission has already been paid the TA gets to keep the commission. When it is applied to a subsequent new booking, Crystal treats is as a non-commissionable discount from the original cruise price in much the same way as the Crystal Society or Onboard Booking discounts and the TA does not get paid a commission on the amount of the FCC. At least that has been my experience with Crystal as well as a few other lines where similar things have happened. And yes, that can be a surprise to the new TA if the new cruise is booked with a different one. Lines do also issue FCCs for other things, like as a "mea culpa" for some onboard issue and those usually do not affect the TA commission. And yes, the commission, in my experience, is always recalled when the cruise line issues a full refund.

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Those of us the United States need the same legal protections as those afforded to UK citizens by  protective UK tourism laws (see discussion earlier on this thread). I am contacting my US congressman and senators and I urge other US citizens to do the same. I just sent the letter below to Crystal. I know not everyone who posts on this forum will agree with the sentiments I have expressed, but I think a large number of those of us caught up in this unfortunate corona virus situation are extremely resentful of the disappoint way in which the situation has been handled by Crystal Cruises.

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

We are currently booked to sail in Asia on Crystal Cruises Symphony on the trip scheduled for March 31 – April 13. Our booking number is XXXXXXX (XXXX, client numbers xxxxxxx and xxxxxxx). We have paid in full. You have previously denied our request to allow us to cancel our booking without penalty. Via the most current Advisory Update issued by you (February 15, 2020 2PM EST), you have communicated that should we chose not to sail that you are not offering the option to receive a refund of the cruise fare and port charges paid; and have advised instead that you will only refund port charges and issue to us a (ridiculously) restricted Future Cruise Credit (100% FCC to be used on voyages commencing on or before April 2021), but we will be given that only if we notify you before February 21, 2020 of our decision not to sail.

 

With the deadline for notice imposed by you, we feel manipulated into the FCC option as the only alternative to losing all the monies paid and entrusted to Crystal Cruises. You have put us in an untenable position with the whack-a-mole changing of embarkation and other ports, the strong likelihood of an Asia “cruise to nowhere,” and the utterly and demonstrably inadequate precautions against this serious health risk (Please: How can you credibly maintain that checking embarking passengers for fever is adequate when we have recently learned that 14 of the passengers recently returned to the US from the quarantined Princess Diamond tested positive for the coronavirus despite being completely asymptomatic. And here’s a tip: Quit starting every communication and advisory with Crystal’s utmost priority is the health, safety and security of our guests and crew” since by your handling of this situation to date you have made crystal clear that Crystal Cruises doesn’t give a whit about our health, safety and security.).

 

In consideration of above, and under protest with respect to your refusal to fully refund the cruise fare and port charges, we hereby notify you of our decision not to sail – please note that we have given this notice prior to the deadline imposed by you. Please make note that we will feel abused and deceived if, after forcing us into the FCC option by February 20th, you end up subsequently cancelling the cruise (and thereby become legally obligated to provide to passengers the full cruise fare/port charge refund that we requested).

 

We can only hope that you will reconsider your very poor corporate decision to deny cancellation without penalty. Your handling of the coronavirus situation and your current position on refunds is not only destroying your corporate brand, you are literally making the case for the need for stronger legislation to protect US citizens from abuses by companies who sell cruise tickets in the United States.

 

Regards,

Christine L. Reiss
George E. Reiss, M.D.

 cc: US Congressman Neal P. Dunn
       US Senator Marco Rubio
       US Senator Rick Scott

 

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1 hour ago, CoveGirl338 said:

Those of us the United States need the same legal protections as those afforded to UK citizens by  protective UK tourism laws

Just wondering if you posted in the various threads from the UK posters complaining how they they overpay compared to those booking with American TA's .Did you volunteer to pay more ? And I wonder if the Brits will start posting that they are content with higher fares because of the extra consumer protections their government mandates .Everyone wants it all . They want the lowest possible prices and also want the maximum possible government mandated regulations . Everyone wants the proverbial free lunch . 

 

(None of the above is a comment on Crystals shameful backhand to its customers )

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I read that Singapore has a policy to not accept more than 20% tourists from one country, so they couldn't be held hostage by any particular country.  

 

Does anyone know what % of Crystal cruises involves Chinese ports and/or Chinese passengers?

 

This might be a good policy cruise lines and the travel industry could take on board in the future.  

Edited by MMDown Under

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Is the money passengers pay for deposits and cruises put in to a "trust account", not to be used by the cruise line until the cruise commences?  Therefore readily available for refund by the cruise line, if the cruise gets cancelled.  Is this the case with Crystal?

I used to be comforted that monies I paid to a TA were paid directly to the cruise line.  

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No trust account, just general cash.  Cash if fungible. The deposits are recorded as a current liability with the revenue recognized as the cruises are completed (sometimes pro-rata for lengthy cruises).

 

This is a concern if a cruise line is rapidly expanding and is using current deposits to fund future expansion, ie. building new ships.  This issue surfaced with regard to Viking as they were requiring large non-refundable deposits way before a cruise was scheduled. Customer deposits are a source of cheap capital.

 

Genting Hong Kong's last reported earnings statements shows losses, albeit lower than previous.  The stock is trading near it's 52 week low, but most of the travel industry is trading low.

Edited by CruisingAlong4Now

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45 minutes ago, MMDown Under said:

I read that Singapore has a policy to not accept more than 20% tourists from one country, so they couldn't be held hostage by any particular country.  

 

Does anyone know what % of Crystal cruises involves Chinese ports and/or Chinese passengers? 


That would be a challenge if Crystal limited US guests to 20% - not sure how they’d fill their cruises To make up the numbers 

 

Maybe some cruises in Asia would have a higher percentage of Chinese guests - but overall they form a very small percentage of guests on Crystal 

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There  has been much comparison  made of the regulations regarding cancellation and refunds as they apply to the UK traveller compared to other nationalities. If people are interested, the UK trade body ABTA (Association of British travel agents) has released some guidance for companies that trade in the UK market. The package travel and linked travel arrangements regulations 2018 are the rules that apply, and a synopsis of these regulations can be viewed here. 

 

As other posters have alluded to, we do pay more for our holidays in the UK as opposed to say the US, but the protections offered are greater. Whether paying more for greater protection is worthwhile is I guess for the consumer to decide!

Edited by Flak999

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1 hour ago, MMDown Under said:

Is the money passengers pay for deposits and cruises put in to a "trust account", not to be used by the cruise line until the cruise commences?  Therefore readily available for refund by the cruise line, if the cruise gets cancelled.  Is this the case with Crystal?

I used to be comforted that monies I paid to a TA were paid directly to the cruise line.  

 

1 hour ago, CruisingAlong4Now said:

No trust account, just general cash.  Cash if fungible. The deposits are recorded as a current liability with the revenue recognized as the cruises are completed (sometimes pro-rata for lengthy cruises).

 

This is a concern if a cruise line is rapidly expanding and is using current deposits to fund future expansion, ie. building new ships.  This issue surfaced with regard to Viking as they were requiring large non-refundable deposits way before a cruise was scheduled. Customer deposits are a source of cheap capital.

 

Genting Hong Kong's last reported earnings statements shows losses, albeit lower than previous.  The stock is trading near it's 52 week low, but most of the travel industry is trading low.

 

That's not quite accurate.  Passenger fares don't necessarily go into a trust account, but two entities require bonds against future performance.  Both are partial, but one is pretty significant for a good reason. 

 

The first is the Federal Maritime Commission, which monitors the level of coverage against future bookings for all lines that embark passengers at U.S. ports (like Crystal).  The other (and most significant) are the credit card processors.  Credit card companies don't usually worry about most retail-type merchants which are selling goods and services, but when the merchant is amassing funds and holding them for some future date, the processors want money held against those future liabilities.  After 2007, the credit card companies SIGNIFICANTLY boosted these bond requirements for deposits and fares for future travel and liabilities because they don't want to be holding the bag if any of these companies failed en masse to deliver the services that they collected the money for. 

 

Personally, I would always pay by credit card so I have a claim in at least the merchant processor pool -- and generally speaking the credit card route provides more stringent requirements and a clearer route of claim.  Travel insurance that covers default of a provider is also highly recommended.

 

The cruise line may have access to your funds, but it's only because they've bonded a large percentage of their future bookings and liabilities at any given moment.  That gets lost in a lot of these discussions.

 

Lastly, if you're looking for confidence in a cruise line based on financial performance, you'll have never felt good about Crystal.  If pressed, I'm not sure I could actually name two moderately profitable years for Crystal out of the last 30!  Fortunately for us, Crystal has served other needs for both of the owners in its history and enabled both companies to make money in other ways...  Both owners have generally called it a win when Crystal's operations just pulled their own weight.

 

Vince

 

Edited by BWIVince

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As of today, Oceania is bailing on ALL cruises in Asia through June 2020, some with similar itineraries to upcoming voyages on Symphony.  Wonder what they see that Crystal doesn't.

Oceania wants to update you on the status of our scheduled cruises to Asia this year. Out of an abundance of caution and as a result of the uncertainty surrounding port entry and berthing availability in various destinations in Asia, Oceania Cruises has made the prudent decision to cancel all voyages in Asia through June 2020. Our commitment to the safety and well-being of our guests and crew is uncompromising and always our number one priority. Accordingly, the following sailings have been cancelled:

 

  • Nautica March 4, 2020 roundtrip Singapore
  • Nautica March 18, 2020 Singapore to Tokyo
  • Nautica April 3, 2020 roundtrip Tokyo
  • Insignia April 9, 2020 Cape Town to Singapore
  • Nautica April 13, 2020 Tokyo to Singapore
  • Nautica May 1, 2020 Singapore to Dubai
  • Insignia May 9, 2020 roundtrip Singapore
  • Insignia May 24, 2020 Singapore to Tokyo
  • Insignia June 11, 2020 Tokyo to San Francisco

The Nautica May 19, 2020 voyage from Dubai to Rome will operate as planned.

 

All guests on cancelled sailings will receive a 100% refund of the cruise fare paid along with a Future Cruise Credit, valid for any 2020 sailing, equal to 25% of the cruise fare paid to recognize their patience and understanding with this evolving situation. The Future Cruise Credit must be utilized for a 2020 voyage.

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