Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Hutchinj

Ponant & PG's New Cancellation Policy

Recommended Posts

Many CC folks questioned if the recent acquisition of PG by Ponant, was a good thing or not. Read what my TA just posted:

 

  • Even though we had a GREAT time with “Paul Gaugin Cruises” in Tahiti and we still VERY MUCH recommend you take a Cruise there, we now STRONGLY suggest you DON’T sail there with “Paul Gauguin Cruises”!!!!! Unfortunately after we sailed with them, they were bought by “Ponant” (a French based company) and during the “Coronavirus Crisis” we saw their “true colors” and their dis-interest in treating clients & travel agents right! When people wanted to cancel their Cruise due to health concerns (even as long as 4-8 months before their sailing), even though the “terms & conditions” said they’d only lose $100 per person when they booked, Ponant changed the terms and kept ALL of our client’s money… that was $3,000-$4,000 for some people… which was very distressing for people who had no intention to re-do this trip later, who had lost their jobs and needed the money back, etc. We can NOT ethically work with/recommend any Cruiseline who changes agreed upon terms AFTER our clients have booked… it’s not fair to our clients nor to us as agents as we take the brunt of our client’s being upset about this. Again though, we STILL think Tahiti is a GREAT destination and wholeheartedly recommend you Cruise there but NOT with “Paul Gauguin Cruises” if you do so you’re RISKING losing your hard-earned money! 

 

Keep in mind this is coming from a TA who previously booked a LOT of PG cruises for his clients.

 

This, in combination with PG change to their cancellation policy (NO REFUNDS whatsoever) sickens me. After two years of planning a true once-in-a-lifetime trip to FP, now I'm wondering if it will ever happen at all. The option of a FCC in lieu of a refund does me little good if health or other issues prevent us from sailing within the FCC timeframe, not to mention it will cost us considerably more. Our (very) expensive trip insurance policy is worthless with its epidemic/pandemic exclusion. And of course, if PG/Ponant goes bankrupt then it's all down the tubes, anyway.

 

Our PG cruise is not until 4 July so it has not yet been cancelled. Time will tell but I become less optimistic as time goes on and frankly, more than a bit anxious about cruising so soon even if they do open it up in time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, this has happened to us.... we have taken MANY Paul Gauguin cruises and have taken my parents twice... and directly responsible for 6 other people cruising with them.  This is not how you treat people whose business you value. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

COVID-19 has severely impacted the cruise industry;  and the restaurant industry, and a lot of other industries.   Most businesses that have a plan for their afterlife [continued-life?] are investing in keeping their clientele.  
That isn’t necessarily offering an overnight courier delivery of all the cash they still have on hand, but rather a generous offer that ‘If you allow us to keep your deposit money for a while, we will make it up to you’ in OBC for your cabin when you do cruise, or ‘We will be able to provide you a refund in accordance with the terms you previously agreed to’ but it’ll take us 6 months - after we start sailing again - to have the available assets.  That would be good business - and good customer relations.

Hans Schulte - [past?] CEO of Ritz Carlton Intl once was asked his secret to success.  He said he didn’t see patrons as a $500.00 a night hotel guest or a $100.00 dinner fare.  He said each person who visited Ritz Carlton represented Tens of Thousands of Dollars of lifetime patronage.  “Now, if someone is willing to give you $10,000.00 ($100,000.00), isn’t he/she worth the time it would take to ensure a lifelong relationship?”

Edited by daetchief
Added the true value most Luxury Cruisers represent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Daetchief -- Don't misinterpret PG's cancellation policies or intentions.

 

The unfortunate truth is that they have CHANGED their terms and conditions AFTER cruisers have already booked and paid their deposits or pre-paid the entire cruise fare. Not only is that entirely unethical, it is NOT the way one would go about fostering "good customer relations" as you claimed. What good is a contract if one party can change the terms whenever they choose?

 

I feel badly not only for the cruisers who have or will potentially lose hundreds if not thousands of dollars from such poor business decisions, but also for the wonderful crew of the PG who have been caught up in the middle of all this.

 

I pray this COVID-19 situation gets resolved soon, at least to the point so that we may continue with our cruise plans and enjoy all that the PG and FP have to offer. But if PG chooses to cancel our cruise, passengers should be offered the option of a refund or FCC since some of us simply may not be able to travel in the future.

Edited by Hutchinj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The other issue I see is that if you cancel with less than 30 days notice you forfeit everything.  I have a June 17 sailing booked and I was happy to wait until the week before to see what is happening.  I now have to cancel as I have no idea if flights will still be available from NY nor do I know if they will cancel the cruise.  If they do not cancel the cruise but I can't get there obviously I have an issue. 

 

I should add that the cruise fare for the June 17 sailing was highly discounted as I booked it on board my last cruise and they were have a 10th anniversary sale.  I am sure that if I move the date to the same itinerary that they will NOT honor the same fare and force me to pay the difference.

Edited by FlightMedic555
edit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fully agree with all posts in regards to contract obligations.  I too have $5,000.00 tied up in deposits for a July 2021 PG sailing that we were expecting to forfeit only $200.00 by cancelling.  It is not fear of any virus or disease that lead us to request the refund - it's merely a scheduling issue with a Regent cruise that I already have $40,000.00 tied up in.  By circuitous message to PG/Ponant I would like to say "If you stay on this course you might hold on to $5K and loose $20K immediately, or you can allow clients to be served under the agreement in hand - and maybe earn far more in the years to come."

Ponant needs to realize that we are NOT isolated individuals, we're each vocal spokespersons for or against a product or service.  A negative incident like this could effect a half-dozen or more future bookings.

[Not to mention these threads on CC...]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, daetchief said:

I fully agree with all posts in regards to contract obligations.  I too have $5,000.00 tied up in deposits for a July 2021 PG sailing that we were expecting to forfeit only $200.00 by cancelling.  It is not fear of any virus or disease that lead us to request the refund - it's merely a scheduling issue with a Regent cruise that I already have $40,000.00 tied up in.  By circuitous message to PG/Ponant I would like to say "If you stay on this course you might hold on to $5K and loose $20K immediately, or you can allow clients to be served under the agreement in hand - and maybe earn far more in the years to come."

Ponant needs to realize that we are NOT isolated individuals, we're each vocal spokespersons for or against a product or service.  A negative incident like this could effect a half-dozen or more future bookings.

[Not to mention these threads on CC...]

 

Well said! Couldn't agree more. Ponant's short-sightedness could (and likely will) cost them much, much more in future revenue if they continue on their current course of ignoring the needs of their customer base in such trying times.

 

I'm curious though... you said you requested a refund from PG. Any luck with that given their current insistence on FCC only?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only has my TA not been given an answer - short of saying they're using 'New Policies and Procedures" But I still see my itinerary / booking under 'My Trip' on their website.   It's puzzling.  

One translation of one inquiry my TA had sounded like: "We'll take the $200.00 penalty for cancelling and offer you the remainder as FCC." [excuse me?]  That, as well as nothing else, has been put into writing.  

I'm an Easy Dog to hunt with, but my Loyalty comes with conditions...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Hutchinj said:
8 hours ago, FlightMedic555 said:

The other issue I see is that if you cancel with less than 30 days notice you forfeit everything.  I have a June 17 sailing booked and I was happy to wait until the week before to see what is happening.  I now have to cancel as I have no idea if flights will still be available from NY nor do I know if they will cancel the cruise.  If they do not cancel the cruise but I can't get there obviously I have an issue. 

 

I should add that the cruise fare for the June 17 sailing was highly discounted as I booked it on board my last cruise and they were have a 10th anniversary sale.  I am sure that if I move the date to the same itinerary that they will NOT honor the same fare and force me to pay the difference.

We had the same problem for our April 11th cruise since we needed to fly from Florida to get to our PG provided flight to Fiji from LAX.

We decided to wait until PG cancelled, and assumed that we would rent a car and drive to LAX if we needed to if there were no domestic flights available. But our cruise was cancelled, and we received 125 percent FCC which we will need to use for a cruise other than the one we wanted, but we can still use. Jet Blue gave us full credit into our Jet Blue account, which we hope to be able to use for our future PG cruise, or for other Jet Blue flights to other places to visit family.

It's not ideal since we can't use our FCC to take a PG cruise that we wanted to take, but any PG cruise is better than having them go out of business and losing everything that we paid.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, daetchief said:

I fully agree with all posts in regards to contract obligations.  I too have $5,000.00 tied up in deposits for a July 2021 PG sailing that we were expecting to forfeit only $200.00 by cancelling.  It is not fear of any virus or disease that lead us to request the refund - it's merely a scheduling issue with a Regent cruise that I already have $40,000.00 tied up in.

I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that you booked a PG cruise next year and paid a 5000 dollar deposit, and then booked a Regent cruise with a 40,000 deposit for the same time period? Those seem like very large deposits for cruises that are over a year away.

Booking multiple cruises that far in the future because the cancellation fee is minimal doesn't seem like a very ethical thing to do. Maybe someone really wants to go on that cruise, and has save for a long time to take it, and can't book it because you've put a 200 dollar non-refundable "hold" on it by booking 2 cruises for the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is also what we are being told for 2 bookings for September 2020: that the new penalties (no refund) apply.

 

It is completely unacceptable: the penalties indicated at time of booking were that there was only the $100 administrative fee if cancelled prior to 120 days out and now they intend to issue FCC for most of the deposit.

 

This is a sure way of guaranteeing that the travel agent partners will make sure not to do any business with them ever again! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sorry SWFLAOK for leaving crumbs that won't amount to a full cookie...  YES, I planned on a PG cruise in the summer of 2021; put down a $5K (+/-) deposit.    Regent canceled a cruise, recently, you might have heard about it, it was on Splendor leaving San Diego...  The only similar itinerary of the cruise that was cancelled is offered in the fall 2021  I had $40K (+/-) of FCC to use.   I am choosing to delay the FP cruise and go on the Panama Canal cruise.  I choose not to do both cruises.  That's my choice.  I wouldn't deny anyone, of anything, at anytime.  Aloha!

Edited by daetchief

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is from a French Travel Website, I assume it is, or was accurate French Law. If so, Ponant and Paul Gauguin seem to be in violation of French law, unless the French Government has enacted new laws that would allow them to break contracts that were already in place.

 

The French Tourism Code - Law


"Travellers may cancel the contract without having to pay cancellation fees, but receiving a full refund of all monies paid, if a significant change is made to an essential component of the contract, other than price. If the professional responsible for the service cancels it before it begins, travellers are entitled to a refund and to compensation, if applicable.

Travellers may cancel the contract without having to pay cancellation fees before the service begins and under exceptional circumstances, e.g. if there are serious safety issues at the destination which could affect the journey.

Furthermore, travelers may cancel the contract at any time prior to the start of the journey, subject to the payment of appropriate and justifiable cancellation fees."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, daetchief said:

Sorry SWFLAOK for leaving crumbs that won't amount to a full cookie...  YES, I planned on a PG cruise in 2021; put down a $5K (+/-) deposit.    Regent canceled a cruise, recently, you might have heard about it, it was on Splendor leaving San Diego...  The only similar itinerary of the cruise that was cancelled is offered in the fall 2021  I had $40K (+/-) of FCC to use.   I am choosing to delay the FP cruise and go on the Panama Canal cruise.  I choose not to do both cruises.  That's my choice. 

So Regent is also only giving a FCC for cruises that they cancel? If that's the case we need to see if we can cancel ours Regent cruise for late next year and get our deposit back. Who knows when we can or cannot cruise in the future, and apparently only cruises booked from now on have their new Regent Assurance policy that they are currently advertising in their weekly brouchures.

We cancelled our Silversea Panama Canal cruise for next January since Silversea offered us a full refund a few months ago. I was already doubting whether I wanted to do that cruise based on similar cruises that I was following on cruisecritic this year. Easter Island in February no longer seemed like a good idea, and the Caribbean can be pretty rough in January/February as well. I hate it when ports are cancelled, but going to Easter Island and not stopping there would be too disappointing for me. We did receive a full refund from them on our credit card, and then waited over 2 weeks for a check in the mail from our credit card company, and another week for the bank to clear the check from the credit card company.

We also were allowed to reschedule a Viking River cruise from this year to next year at no additional cost. We had purchased their insurance, and they made the offer to reschedule before we felt very pressured to do so. That reschedule has gone smoothly so far, and I hope that continues.

We respect both Silversea and Viking for their efforts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have our bookings for  the Jan 2021 reunion which we still hope to enjoy. Almost booked the cruise before as a b2b just two months ago but time got away from us and then our stream of consciousness was taken over by Covid and its effect on a scheduled Regent cruise. 

 

Life after Covid will not be the same nor will the PG after the recent retirement/departure of it’s President of over 9 years , Diane Moore. When the ship moved from Regent to PGC it was clear that the new owner wanted to maintain the status quo providing the same service, ambiance and quality. Ponant culture is totally different so their policies would be expected to be different. It is a pity that they lack the graciousness and client centric policies of PGC when run by Ms.Moore.

 

While I don't like to be held hostage by a cruiseline it is ultimately only money ... the value you personally ascribe to it. In these very uncertain and scary times we could all be in a worse position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MrRandal said:

This is from a French Travel Website, I assume it is, or was accurate French Law. If so, Ponant and Paul Gauguin seem to be in violation of French law, unless the French Government has enacted new laws that would allow them to break contracts that were already in place.

 

The French Tourism Code - Law


"Travellers may cancel the contract without having to pay cancellation fees, but receiving a full refund of all monies paid, if a significant change is made to an essential component of the contract, other than price. If the professional responsible for the service cancels it before it begins, travellers are entitled to a refund and to compensation, if applicable.

Travellers may cancel the contract without having to pay cancellation fees before the service begins and under exceptional circumstances, e.g. if there are serious safety issues at the destination which could affect the journey.

Furthermore, travelers may cancel the contract at any time prior to the start of the journey, subject to the payment of appropriate and justifiable cancellation fees."

 

Apparently the French have enacted new Tourism laws:

 

From a friend:

 

The French Government enacted new provisions to the French Tourism Code on March 25th. Originally Article L211-14 of the tourism code required that customers receive refunds if the travel is cancelled by the travel company. The new provisions concern cancellations between March 1 and Sept 15 and allow them to offer credit valid for 18 months instead of a refund. At the end of the 18 month period, if the credit has not been used or only partially used by the customer, the customer will be entitled to demand reimbursement.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That figures. The French changed horses (refund rules) mid-stream. Seems like Ponant learned from the very best... we don’t care what our contract with you said, here’s our new terms and conditions. If you don’t like it, tough luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just confirmed that PG doesn't give a cr@p about us.  Changing our cruise from June of 2020 to April of 2021.  Same itinerary, same cabin.  $1000 more per person.  Why they just won't allow the change without charging more is crazy.  This will be our 8th cruise on the PG and possibly our last.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well what's incredible to me, on top of the French changing laws to the detriment of consumers, thus voiding contracts already agreed to, is the fact that Ponant/Paul Gauguin has gone a step further. This change in the Tourism law states that it effects cancellations made by the Travel Provider between March 1, 2020 and Sept 15, 2020. I have a cruise booked in Sept of 2021, and they have a $3600 deposit that when I paid it, and agreed to their contract, I could cancel with a $100 pp cancellation fee. Now, according to their " Current Reservations Policies"

"For bookings scheduled to travel in 2021:
Our standard cancellation policy applies. Future cruise credit will be issued in lieu of a refund"

They have changed the terms of the contract that we both agreed to when we booked our cruise beyond what the new French law allows them. According to their new policy, if I wanted to cancel today, I would get no refund, and a $3400 FCC. I booked my cruise through Paul Gauguin Cruises, in Bellevue, WA, USA, and nothing on my cruise documents states it is governed by French law. Unfortunately my cruise documents don't have any information about cancellation fees either. I haven't decided for certain to cancel this cruise, but I am certain that AMEX would go to the mat with these guys, if I decide to cancel before they become insolvent or file for BK. We loved the Paul Gauguin, this would be our 3rd cruise in 4 years, but we hate what Ponant has done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That does it. Should they cancel my 4 July cruise, I am definitely going to fight them for a refund via lawsuit and/or credit card chargeback. We'll see how well those French laws hold up. At this point, I don't want to cruise with a company that treats their customers like this. If they fight my attempts at a refund, which I fully expect, I will make it my life's work to destroy their reputation via every social media outlet I can get access to. I encourage all others to do the same.

 

If FP opens up to tourism in time and PG does NOT cancel the cruise prior to the >31 day deadline for no penalty cancellations, I'm not certain what we will do. Our health is obviously important but I can't afford to risk about $14K either. Breaks my heart given how much we were looking forward to this trip and how many people here have loved the PG in the past.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pulled this up and took a screenshot from web.archive.org. It's pretty simple to do, easier than I thought. You can go to the above referenced website, put in pgcruises.com, go to the date you booked your cruise, and this info can be found under FAQ.

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 8.41.11 AM.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Passenger Contract, Section 9 (b)

 

Company may for any reason whatsoever cancel any sailing or terminate the Ticket/Contract at any time before departure of the Ship, and in such event, Company’s only liability will be to refund to the Passenger the amount it has received for the Ticket/Contract. Any such changes are for Passenger’s safety and beyond Company’s control. 

Edited by MrRandal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Passenger Contract, Section 18 (b)

 

Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this Ticket/Contract shall be litigated and determined, if at all, before a court of competent jurisdiction in FRENCH POLYNESIA to the exclusion of the courts of any other city, state or country.  All such claims arising shall be decided according to the Convention and the applicable general maritime laws of France, with reference to which this Ticket/Contract is made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I cancelled on March 23, 2019 a trip leaving August 2021.

 

I called PG a week ago and they confirmed my booking is cancelled.

My TA confirmed today my booking is cancelled and the refund will take up to 90 days. No mention of no refund.

 

So I am confused and Horrified to read this thread.  I cancelled under the $100 pp administration fee structure.

 

What gives?

 

Thanks for your assistance.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think for a 2021 sailing the old rules apply (100 pp fee) but haven’t checked the PG site in a while. Also, that assumes they do not BK or ‘reorganize’ before they get that money back to you. I know a lot of cruise lines are quoting 90 days for refunds so maybe okay.... it’s just that Ponant seems to have kept PG at a distance and that troubles me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...