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Azamara refund problems (merged)


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I haven’t yet sailed on Azamara but 20 or so cruises on Celebrity, a couple on Royal. With all of the cancellations and changes to our plans, I’ve been  browsing around, looking at smaller ships like with Azamara, Windstar, Hurtigruten... I was curious to see how the Cancellation/Refund discussion was going here. Hmmm. Just as a reference point, it took forever and several phone calls to get the FCC promised for a cancelled Celebrity April 2020 transatlantic . Our October Celebrity New England and Canada trip was cancelled in July(?), today I received the FCC vouchers. So, a month or so. They are smoothing their process, speeding up. So sad that they have had so much experience to learn from.
 

Stan

 

 

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I don’t think it’s just the speed of refunds that has caused the problems. It’s the complete lack of clarity with regard to the refund process and the lack of communication from the cruise lines, together with the disregard for the truth in some instances. Had cruise lines been transparent and open with customers there would not be so many people feeling upset and angry and looking to change brands.  It appears not just with RCC but across other  cruise lines. The difficulty they may face in the future is convincing guests again, how important they are, which is the advertising hook used by some companies,  after the treatment experienced by some. 

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21 hours ago, nordski said:

 

Indeed, Of course monitoring this Forum would be a rather thankless task, albeit a very useful one.

 

I do hope that Bonnie is safe and healthy, and that eventually we have her back as part of this community when Azamara returns to service.

 

Indeed monitoring this Forum has been a very useful one for many who have received guidance from Bonnie & Grandma Cruising prior to the events of this year.

I know Bonnie is about and looking in, as she posted a "like" on my post #312 in the thread "Azamara Cruisers - How are things where YOU are"

I also hope that Bonnie is safe and healthy, and that eventually we have her back as part of this community when Azamara returns to service.

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2 hours ago, Baynanno1 said:

 

Indeed monitoring this Forum has been a very useful one for many who have received guidance from Bonnie & Grandma Cruising prior to the events of this year.

I know Bonnie is about and looking in, as she posted a "like" on my post #312 in the thread "Azamara Cruisers - How are things where YOU are"

I also hope that Bonnie is safe and healthy, and that eventually we have her back as part of this community when Azamara returns to service.

Quite agree, it would be great to see her back here.

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12 hours ago, GottaKnowWhen said:

I haven’t yet sailed on Azamara but 20 or so cruises on Celebrity, a couple on Royal. With all of the cancellations and changes to our plans, I’ve been  browsing around, looking at smaller ships like with Azamara, Windstar, Hurtigruten... I was curious to see how the Cancellation/Refund discussion was going here. Hmmm. Just as a reference point, it took forever and several phone calls to get the FCC promised for a cancelled Celebrity April 2020 transatlantic . Our October Celebrity New England and Canada trip was cancelled in July(?), today I received the FCC vouchers. So, a month or so. They are smoothing their process, speeding up. So sad that they have had so much experience to learn from.
 

Stan

 

 

Shame Azamara hasn’t learned. Viking have been excellent though. 

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17 hours ago, GottaKnowWhen said:

I haven’t yet sailed on Azamara but 20 or so cruises on Celebrity, a couple on Royal. With all of the cancellations and changes to our plans, I’ve been  browsing around, looking at smaller ships like with Azamara, Windstar, Hurtigruten... I was curious to see how the Cancellation/Refund discussion was going here. Hmmm. Just as a reference point, it took forever and several phone calls to get the FCC promised for a cancelled Celebrity April 2020 transatlantic . Our October Celebrity New England and Canada trip was cancelled in July(?), today I received the FCC vouchers. So, a month or so. They are smoothing their process, speeding up. So sad that they have had so much experience to learn from.
 

Stan

 

 

I think we may have been on the same Celebrity cruise in October. Summit?  I haven't checked for my refund.  It was just the deposit, so no great panic, but will check.

 

Phil  

Edited by excitedofharpenden
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On 8/26/2020 at 10:34 AM, Lindy028 said:

So sorry to read this, I know how loyal you have been to Azamara and this must feel like a kick in the teeth. Our cruise was the first to be cancelled by Azamara, we were fed up waiting for our refund and finally did a chargeback on our Amex card, after waiting 4 months. Richard Twynam leaving and then Larry has really left all Azamara’s loyal cruisers with no voice or support. I had a lot of email conversations with Richard over the drinks package changes and he went out of his way to help and explain things. Sadly I do believe the Azamara we all knew and loved has gone, not just because of Covid, I may add. Loyalty is only as good as the reciprocal loyalty you receive. We feel exactly the same, we would love to sail Azamara again, the crew are exceptional, we too have made good friends with people we’ve met over the years, that is the hardest part, and why we will never say never, but it is looking extremely unlikely at this present time! 
Stay well.
 

 

Sadly, we will not be sailing Azamara again.  Unlike others, the amount that was not refunded to us, is small.  But their insistence on keeping a cancellation fee does not inspire confidence.  We cancelled our cruise - before Azamara officially cancelled it.  We also cancelled a NonRefundable hotel stay in Venice and air reservations.  In all cases, we received FULL refunds - except for Azamara, which insisted on keeping a cancellation fee.  In fact, we cancelled a total of five vacations that we would have taken between April 2020 and April 2021.  Azamara was the only vendor that kept a cancellation fee.  A small amount, but that left a bad taste in our mouths concerning Azamara.  They have lost our business.

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6 hours ago, sandyss said:

Sadly, we will not be sailing Azamara again.  Unlike others, the amount that was not refunded to us, is small.  But their insistence on keeping a cancellation fee does not inspire confidence.  We cancelled our cruise - before Azamara officially cancelled it.  We also cancelled a NonRefundable hotel stay in Venice and air reservations.  In all cases, we received FULL refunds - except for Azamara, which insisted on keeping a cancellation fee.  In fact, we cancelled a total of five vacations that we would have taken between April 2020 and April 2021.  Azamara was the only vendor that kept a cancellation fee.  A small amount, but that left a bad taste in our mouths concerning Azamara.  They have lost our business.

 

Did you use a Travel Agent who kept a cancellation fee? If not, what fee did Azamara directly keep. That's not been our experience. 

 

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12 minutes ago, suzyluvs2cruise said:

 

Did you use a Travel Agent who kept a cancellation fee? If not, what fee did Azamara directly keep. That's not been our experience.

 

Azamara has charged a cancellation fee if you cancel for some time now.  I know I paid it in 2018 [it was $50 pp then, has risen to $75 pp now].  This is why it's better to wait and let them cancel the cruise.

 

Screen Shot 2020-09-01 at 11.33.54 PM.png

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3 hours ago, suzyluvs2cruise said:

 

Did you use a Travel Agent who kept a cancellation fee? If not, what fee did Azamara directly keep. That's not been our experience. 

 

Yes.  When we booked, we were told by our TA that Azamara "might" keep a cancellation fee, although they often waived it.  But, because of our ages (over 80) and with preexisting conditions, we knew that we would not travel until a safe and effective vaccine was available.  So we cancelled before the cruise was officially cancelled by Azamara, just before final payment was due, giving them the opportunity to try to resell our cabin.   [The fee was only $75 per person (total $150) that they kept.]  Our TA requested a refund of the cancellation fee when the cruise was officially cancelled by Azamara, but Azamara refused the request.  Azamara had the right to keep the cancellation fee, but the fact that, under the circumstances with Covid rampant,  they refused to refund the cancellation fee, made us feel that they really didn't care to keep us as future cruisers.  We have previously sailed with Azamara, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, and RCL.  Other than Azamara, none of them even had a cancellation fee.

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10 hours ago, sandyss said:

Yes.  When we booked, we were told by our TA that Azamara "might" keep a cancellation fee, although they often waived it.  But, because of our ages (over 80) and with preexisting conditions, we knew that we would not travel until a safe and effective vaccine was available.  So we cancelled before the cruise was officially cancelled by Azamara, just before final payment was due, giving them the opportunity to try to resell our cabin.   [The fee was only $75 per person (total $150) that they kept.]  Our TA requested a refund of the cancellation fee when the cruise was officially cancelled by Azamara, but Azamara refused the request.  Azamara had the right to keep the cancellation fee, but the fact that, under the circumstances with Covid rampant,  they refused to refund the cancellation fee, made us feel that they really didn't care to keep us as future cruisers.  We have previously sailed with Azamara, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, and RCL.  Other than Azamara, none of them even had a cancellation fee.

From a business perspective it is so damn Short sighted to keep $150 from you but spend more than $150 in future acquisition costs to gain another new customer.  It is a policy that drives me crazy regardless of who I do business with. Azamara was a great cruise line.

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14 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Azamara has charged a cancellation fee if you cancel for some time now.  I know I paid it in 2018 [it was $50 pp then, has risen to $75 pp now].  This is why it's better to wait and let them cancel the cruise.

 

Screen Shot 2020-09-01 at 11.33.54 PM.png

 

Thanks....I may have been confusing Azamara with other RCG lines. One more reason why I won't book another Azamara cruise until close to final payment when we're assured of going. 

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4 hours ago, suzyluvs2cruise said:

 

Thanks....I may have been confusing Azamara with other RCG lines. One more reason why I won't book another Azamara cruise until close to final payment when we're assured of going. 

 

The practice has been common to most small-ship cruise lines because there are so few of any category of cabin that folks sitting on multiple reservations and waiting to decide which one to use really reduced the desirable options for others.  Granted that's not the issue right now, but that's where the practice started. 

 

Nor is the policy now:  Azamara's "Cruise With Confidence" program allows cancellation with 100% cash back up to 48 hours before the cruise sails:

https://cancellation.azamara.com/?brand=Z

 

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4 hours ago, MakingUpForLostTime said:

From a business perspective it is so damn Short sighted to keep $150 from you but spend more than $150 in future acquisition costs to gain another new customer.  It is a policy that drives me crazy regardless of who I do business with. Azamara was a great cruise line.

 

Exactly.  

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19 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

The practice has been common to most small-ship cruise lines because there are so few of any category of cabin that folks sitting on multiple reservations and waiting to decide which one to use really reduced the desirable options for others.  Granted that's not the issue right now, but that's where the practice started. 

 

Nor is the policy now:  Azamara's "Cruise With Confidence" program allows cancellation with 100% cash back up to 48 hours before the cruise sails:

https://cancellation.azamara.com/?brand=Z

 

Not a Cash Refund.  "Cancel at least 48 hours before the sail date, and you will receive a Future Cruise Credit that can be used on any cruise through the later of December 31, 2021 or 12 months from the date you cancel."

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18 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

The practice has been common to most small-ship cruise lines because there are so few of any category of cabin that folks sitting on multiple reservations and waiting to decide which one to use really reduced the desirable options for others.  Granted that's not the issue right now, but that's where the practice started. 

 

Nor is the policy now:  Azamara's "Cruise With Confidence" program allows cancellation with 100% cash back up to 48 hours before the cruise sails:

https://cancellation.azamara.com/?brand=Z

 

It has always bugged me, slightly, that there are people who make multiple reservations, then just walk away at the last minute. Whether it is restaurants or cruise cabins, it seems that they care little about others who might be looking for that scarce resource. To say nothing about the impact on the businesses.

Another example closer to the cruising topic would be those who “reserve” poolside chairs just in case they might want to go there sometime later.

As you may gather, I am in favor of non refundable deposits.

 

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24 minutes ago, sandyss said:

Not a Cash Refund.  "Cancel at least 48 hours before the sail date, and you will receive a Future Cruise Credit that can be used on any cruise through the later of December 31, 2021 or 12 months from the date you cancel."

 

You are correct.  I misread the Step 2 cash refund offer, which only applies if Azamara cancels the cruise.  But I've been advising for months (regardless of cruise line) that it is better to wait because you always get a better deal that way.

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25 minutes ago, GottaKnowWhen said:

It has always bugged me, slightly, that there are people who make multiple reservations, then just walk away at the last minute. Whether it is restaurants or cruise cabins, it seems that they care little about others who might be looking for that scarce resource. To say nothing about the impact on the businesses.

Another example closer to the cruising topic would be those who “reserve” poolside chairs just in case they might want to go there sometime later.

As you may gather, I am in favor of non refundable deposits.

 

It doesn't matter so much with Celebrity or Royal, since they have so many cabins in most categories and so many of their itineraries are repeated.  There are a few unique locations on those ships [e.g. suites], and I think they're moving toward cancellation penalties.  But in general they have so much inventory that it doesn't seem to bother them.

 

BTW I'm guessing that our British friends feel much more strongly against non-refundable deposits this year than in the past. 😉

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

The practice has been common to most small-ship cruise lines because there are so few of any category of cabin that folks sitting on multiple reservations and waiting to decide which one to use really reduced the desirable options for others.  Granted that's not the issue right now, but that's where the practice started. 

 

 

 


You are correct about sometimes people sitting on multiple reservations, but sometimes it was an even more devious plan.

 

Not certain if I remember the details correctly, but there was a group of Oceania cruisers who would reserve two classes of cabins, cancel the higher class at the last minute, and then apply for the now available upgrade at their lower class price.

 

Hence the introduction of the non refundable deposit.
 

I’ve always assumed that non refundable meant just that, so I just accept the practice.

 

As you posted, the only certain path to compensation is if the cruise line cancels.

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44 minutes ago, nordski said:


You are correct about sometimes people sitting on multiple reservations, but sometimes it was an even more devious plan.

 

Not certain if I remember the details correctly, but there was a group of Oceania cruisers who would reserve two classes of cabins, cancel the higher class at the last minute, and then apply for the now available upgrade at their lower class price.

 

Hence the introduction of the non refundable deposit.
 

I’ve always assumed that non refundable meant just that, so I just accept the practice.

 

As you posted, the only certain path to compensation is if the cruise line cancels.

 

I am aware of the scheme you remember, but as I understood it this cabal would book all the cabins in the lowest category on Oceania [R-ships have very few Insides or Oceanviews] in the hope of getting free upgrades to Verandas.  If they got, they took and cancelled all the rest; if they didn't get, they cancelled all.  They were banned for life from Oceania!  And deservedly so, IMHO.

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

I am aware of the scheme you remember, but as I understood it this cabal would book all the cabins in the lowest category on Oceania [R-ships have very few Insides or Oceanviews] in the hope of getting free upgrades to Verandas.  If they got, they took and cancelled all the rest; if they didn't get, they cancelled all.  They were banned for life from Oceania!  And deservedly so, IMHO.


Thanks for the clarification.

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On 8/31/2020 at 11:53 PM, Grandma Cruising said:

Interesting to hear it’s not just Azamara, and I guess it’s also not just RCL brands, where people are having problems getting refunds/FCCs etc.

We have a 2022 cruise booked with Crystal. With their parent, Genting Hong Kong, now in financial straits, I went on the Crystal board and found a thread regarding this. Boy, you should read the comments about Crystal being extremely poor in getting refunds to patrons! "Worst in the industry" one person wrote. Welcome to the club!

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4 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

But I've been advising for months (regardless of cruise line) that it is better to wait because you always get a better deal that way.

 

Assuming the cruise line cancels in a reasonable time frame when they know they cannot sail.  Celebrity (same parent company as Azamara) has been playing a game of waiting until final payments are due before cancelling cruises that cannot happen.  I had an Australia/New Zealand cruise scheduled for Oct. 28th of this year.  I cancelled on July 28th, the day before final payment since Celebrity was still pretending that cruise could happen. They didn't cancel it until August 26th (even though it is still not listed on their website as a cancelled cruise!).  Sure I could "get a better deal" if I had loaned Celebrity the full cruise amount and then wait a few months for them to give me a cash refund.  I'd rather take the FCC for the deposit and hope I get to use it.

 

The one bit of praise I will give Celebrity is they did not charge me the usual $100 per person fee for cancelling and I received my FCC in 3 weeks.  I am rather surprised that Azamara is taking cancellation fees when Celebrity is not (I don't know what Royal is doing.)

Edited by mchell810
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9 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

You are correct.  I misread the Step 2 cash refund offer, which only applies if Azamara cancels the cruise.  But I've been advising for months (regardless of cruise line) that it is better to wait because you always get a better deal that way.

Sometimes though it’s not possible to wait eg when flights or leave arrangements get cancelled so lift and shift does help

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