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This to the group.  For the past month or so I have been strident, and at times uncivil, in some of my interactions with people active in this forum.  That is not me and I truly regret I wasn't able to let things go.  I am a Silversea lifer, the next cruise would have been my 10th.  An inside joke is that I finally would have been able to get free laundry.  For me, in my travels, Silversea has always been the best small ship cruise line in the business.  I would not sail with any other company.  Any negativity in my exchanges here does not change that.  I have been trying to find a way to delete my posts from this period and I have not been able to.  So I ask that you allow me to hit the restart button with you and clear the slate.  There might have been too much ill will created for that to happen.  So in any event I can only apology.

 

chris   

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21 minutes ago, chrism23 said:

This to the group.  For the past month or so I have been strident, and at times uncivil, in some of my interactions with people active in this forum.  That is not me and I truly regret I wasn't able to let things go.  I am a Silversea lifer, the next cruise would have been my 10th.  An inside joke is that I finally would have been able to get free laundry.  For me, in my travels, Silversea has always been the best small ship cruise line in the business.  I would not sail with any other company.  Any negativity in my exchanges here does not change that.  I have been trying to find a way to delete my posts from this period and I have not been able to.  So I ask that you allow me to hit the restart button with you and clear the slate.  There might have been too much ill will created for that to happen.  So in any event I can only apology.  chris   

 

Don't know the exact nature/details for what was said, back and forth, but these are unusual times.  Many of these issues involve unknown questions related to our health, money and future adventures/fun!!  Much uncertainty!!   Like exploring in darkness.   People have legitimate fears, concerns, unknowns, etc.  These boards are a combination of people's opinions and their "versions" for what they believe to be true.  Or, not?   Appreciate your posting, but we all need to keep focused ahead and trying to do our best through uncharted waters.  In the words of the famed American "philosopher", Alfred E. Neuman, in Mad Magazine, he summarized "What Me Worry?".

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Wonderful scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 239,206

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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I don't think you've posted anything too toxic and possibly the only criticism is the frequency maybe. At least you don't have a history of finding anything negative about Silversea to Cruise Line bash about for several years or suggesting everyone cancels because you hope they go bust. Now that would be intolerable if you'd done that.

 

At the end of the day, you are entitled as a customer past and future to be concerned and the outcome.

 

PS, I too would be due free laundry too shortly inside bookings made.... But genuinely I'm more in hope we beat the virus and get back to cruising than I am for my investment. That despite negotiating fiercely for what I've lined up.

 

Here's to hoping Silversea survive and back better than ever soon.

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No worries.  I think everyone is just frustrated right now because of the disruption in normal life. Social isolation in an ongoing fashion is just not healthy (and I say that from my perspective as a person who is perfectly happy to be by myself working on some craft project at home). 

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Many of your comments resonated with me, and very few came across as hostile. So, no worries! But inquiring minds want to know: did you choose the refund for your cancelled cruise on the Cloud? Or did the bonus FCC and double cruise days entice you?

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I took the cash.  I am booked on a Athens to Venice Cruise in the spring next year.  The 125% cruise credit plus the $1000 credit and the $1000 in on board credits would have been very sweet but you can't use those for cruises already booked.  So we are looking at  other options.  I don't know if the deal they have up apply to 2022 cruises.  All they have up on their site for 2022 are the Galapagos cruises.  Been there.  Best cruise I have done in my life.  One caveat is that you have to be comfortable snorkeling, it makes the whole trip.  So if the current incentive deal which runs to 6/30 is still on the table when the rest of the 2022 schedule comes out I will definitely be booking something.  I definitely will be booking something in any event.  My biggest disappointment about the Cloud expedition ship being cancelled is that I spent a whole year watching TV series based on the outer islands, like Hinterland, and reading novels by folks like Peter May that are set there.  I had a whole list of nooks and crannies to explore.  

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Posted (edited)

Glad it worked out for you and I didn't see any comments that were offensive, just lively discussion with several different viewpoints.  My perception was that you were perhaps "overly anxious" about the cancellation and refund process but I wasn't bothered by the tone or content of any of your posts.  I don't see any need to apologize.

 

Please keep us posted on when the refund actually hits your credit card as I know others have expressed interest and/or concern about the timing of refunds.  And let us know if you are able to find another cruise to book, there are some really good promotions right now on Silversea for those who are willing to book now for a cruise within the next year or so.  Hopefully your "missed out" Cloud itinerary will come back around so you can book it again and enjoy the anticipation afresh and anew!

Edited by alexandria

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Here in UK I cancelled a cruise (Athens - Dubai 5 Nov 2020) on 21 March. The money hit the card last Friday. 

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4 hours ago, Tothesunset said:

Here in UK I cancelled a cruise (Athens - Dubai 5 Nov 2020) on 21 March. The money hit the card last Friday. 

Thanks for letting us know.

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20 hours ago, Tothesunset said:

Here in UK I cancelled a cruise (Athens - Dubai 5 Nov 2020) on 21 March. The money hit the card last Friday. 

Pleased you were reimbursed but 37 days to deal with an electronic transaction that should take twenty four hours from instruction is appalling but probably indicates a severe financial problem at SS.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, brimary said:

Pleased you were reimbursed but 37 days to deal with an electronic transaction that should take twenty four hours from instruction is appalling but probably indicates a severe financial problem at SS.

 

IMO, I'd suspect that the apparent 36 day delay is less to do with shortage of cash and more to do with shortage of personnel to initiate the transaction.

SS can't just magic up a 1000% extra staff to deal with the 1000% (or whatever) increase in claims, and most of the staff are working from home so it's even less efficient than usual.

When my TA has spoken to the Miami office they say they are processing as fast as they can but they are absolutely swamped. And exhausted.

(And, my guess would be, very upset and fearful for their jobs)

Edited by jollyjones

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Our TA's owner said almost precisely what jollyjones says above.  He told me last weekend, that Silversea normally has less than a handful of personnel that process refunds. Altho,  "SS refund desk(s) have augmented their refund staff section they are are woefully behind,"  this travel agency owner said.
 
We canceled a Silver Cloud 2021 expedition voyage (Kang to Kang (Greenland) about two weeks ago and  we continue to patiently wait our refund.  
 
chrism23, no worries, however do appreciate posting your sincere intent.

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Silversea must have staff who used to book cruises doing nothing who could assist with  refunds if they wished to.However the SS decision is to delay the obvious and to make loyal clients wait up to 90 days for refunds so as to delay the reduction in the cash in hand built up by paying well in advance for future cruises that are not going to happen!A sad scenario for Silversea and the companies loyal regular cruisers.

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I do not want to provoke however I find a lot of the posts in defence of the refund process bewildering and I think customers should really be dealt with in an honest and straightforward way. 

 

Firstly, and fairly obviously, the country and office that handles cruise bookings will also handle cancellations and refunds. You do not make a booking in Sydney and get told to call Miami if you cancel. When I make an Amazon refund request – it isn't handled in Seattle.

 

Secondly, refunds are relatively rare compared to bookings and I have never heard in the whole of my commercial career hearing of a company that has special refund specialists.  People that deal with bookings and customers also deal with cancellations except where they have "customer retention" departments intended to stop people cancelling.  But it isn;t the refund process that is the issue it is the stopping of cancellations that is the issue.

 

Thirdly, although I am not looking for a job whilst I see many jobs advertised daily in customer services and intended for those taking orders or bookings, I have never once seen a job for an experience refund service agent.

 

Fourthly, whereas making a booking might take perhaps 30 minutes or an hour -or more chatting it all through with a TA or SS agent, and perhaps a follow up call or two - a cancellation is a three minute call and a relatively uncomplicated process to calculate and make a refund.

 

Fifthly, once the calculation has been made the refund to a credit card is electronic and instant. Worldwide. The originating company may put in place authorisation delays but once the “enter” key is hit, it is virtually instant. It cannot take 90 or 60 or 45 or 30 days. Only delays by SS does that.

 

The reality is actually perfectly and easily understandable – and acceptable. Anyone who has been incvolved with corporate crisis management understand you do not BS.  Well advised corporations know this. What you do is in the times of crisis – and this is an existential crisis – you share and tell the truth. You simply say to your customers that the situation is extremely challenging financially - but cash is safe but needs to be managed - and that what is needed os to  to stagger refunds to meet the injection of funds needed and called on to make them,   When you tell the customers the truth they are much less stressed and worried and will forgive and be understanding.

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Barbara Muckermann, CMO of Silversea, posts on the Silversea Passengers Facebook group and responds to individual inquiries there.  Recently she said that "The volumes we had to process in March were almost 50% of the total volumes of a typical year but we are now finally on a roll and the refunds are now taking an average of 30 days to be posted on the customer's credit card."

 

I'd recommend that those who are having issues with refunds or who perhaps wish to call into question the integrity and/or honesty of Ms. Muckermann or other Silversea representatives post their issue on that Facebook group page so that Silversea has an opportunity to respond and address those concerns.

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30 minutes ago, alexandria said:

I'd recommend that those who  ..... perhaps wish to call into question the integrity and/or honesty of Ms. Muckermann ......

 

Steady on A ....

 

A bloke with all of your skills etc should think twice about this advice. 

 

You do know that she is married to Silversea Cruises' CEO Roberto Martinoli.  🙂

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Really?!  Good for him, she has been quite responsive to posters there.  I know if I was experiencing an issue like others have reported, I'd appreciate having someone with some level of authority be aware of it and hopefully be able to assist with a resolution.

 

And it looks like she may have more authority than I realized. 😲

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, alexandria said:

Really?!  Good for him, she has been quite responsive to posters there.  I know if I was experiencing an issue like others have reported, I'd appreciate having someone with some level of authority be aware of it and hopefully be able to assist with a resolution.

 

And it looks like she may have more authority than I realized. 😲

 

Yes Really.  No reasearch then!! 🙂

 

One shouldn't firefight serious issues through social media by responding to the minority to manage reputation ... because it simply favours the squeeky wheels with more oil and disadvantages the majority who do not know.

 

Perfectly understand ... but that not knowing of this relationship does colour/change perception doesn't it.  And I have (better) first hand knowledge of that influence and authority one has by having a different name to the artiste/talent.

 

In the 60's and early 70's I was a well known (in my mind ... anyway ... ) broadcasting DJ using a made-up stage name having broadcast on pirate ships, the BBC and for some bizarre reason I still do not fully understand in Asia and Africa. I was managed by a really great manager and UK licensed agent – or to be more precise and accurate - ME – under my real name.

 

I have to say that as a DJ my manger was a wonderful and sensitive and really great and first class manager, selling me very well and finding me loads of really profitable work at really great cash.  Although I didn't like his percentage.  He was however always honest when selling me about my incredible crowd and audience pulling skills. 

 

However as a manager I have to say the DJ was untalented and unreliable and not worth the cash I got for him

 

In hindisght I try to work out which view is the right one but now I'm in two minds. 

 

And to the point!  Perhaps Ms Muckermann and Mr Martinoli have similar debates.  They should simply explain the challenges honestly and clearly.  Don't manage the issue through social media but be honest with all customers. Be consistant.  Not instant refunds., 30 day refunds, 45 day refunds, 60 day refunds or 90 day refunds.  Say what it wil be.

 

People WILL understand and even be loyal🙂

Edited by UKCruiseJeff

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3 hours ago, WesW said:
We canceled a Silver Cloud 2021 expedition voyage (Kang to Kang (Greenland) about two weeks ago...

 

Dang, I think your voyage is the farthest out I've seen anyone cancel that I know.

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1 hour ago, UKCruiseJeff said:

...whereas making a booking might take perhaps 30 minutes or an hour -or more chatting it all through with a TA or SS agent, and perhaps a follow up call or two - a cancellation is a three minute call and a relatively uncomplicated process to calculate and make a refund.

 

Fifthly, once the calculation has been made the refund to a credit card is electronic and instant. Worldwide.

 

On the board of another luxury line, BWIVince, a member with long experience in the travel/event planning industry, made the following points regarding refunds for cancelled cruises in a post a month or so ago:

 

The 90 day limit isn’t something most passengers will experience, but it’s a worst case scenario that many in the travel industry are now (as of mid-week) setting as a standard to cover themselves in case the volume increases (or stays this high for a prolonged period).  My clients started with 30 days, then went to 60 as they got overwhelmed, and are now talking about all switching to 90 since they’re already 60 days behind.

 

There are several factors that impact the processing time:

 

  • Refunds have to batched, and credit card processors have a limit on each batch.  Companies have processing capacity to match their normal volume — to say everyone is exceeding their normal processing volume of refunds is an understatement.  I’ve never seen anything like this in my 25 years in the industry — it makes 9/11 look like an average Sunday, even here in the Northeast.
  • Money has to be freed up in the company and moved into the processing account for EACH batch prior to being processed.  The processing account is sort of like a checking account — it’s only for money coming in or out, it’s not where you aggregate funds.
  • This is a manual process, being processed by staff that never had to handle this volume of processing before (everywhere).  There’s no money to hire more staff (anywhere) and they won’t be needed much longer anyway so no one would take that job.
  • Each transaction requires closer auditing and controls now, since this is a PRIME time for fraud, both by credit card scammers and internal wrongdoers.  Everyone is capitalizing on the chaos.

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Brian, we learned about a week ago from Conrad SS’s Expedition EVP that SS will offer the Wind or Cloud as a North West Passage NWP voyage (bookable in June)in late summer 2022.  Our TA let me know we could not roll over our Kang to Kang $$ to the 2022 NWP; thus canx’d this Aug 2021 voyage.  Moreover,  DW, Ida had no interest in just Greenland but wants to do the NWP.

Edited by WesW

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2 hours ago, UKCruiseJeff said:

I do not want to provoke

Really?

Spoken in jest?

I bow down to the Provoker-in-Chief.

 

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17 minutes ago, Observer said:

 

On the board of another luxury line, BWIVince, a member with long experience in the travel/event planning industry, made the following points regarding refunds for cancelled cruises in a post a month or so ago:

 

The 90 day limit isn’t something most passengers will experience, but it’s a worst case scenario that many in the travel industry are now (as of mid-week) setting as a standard to cover themselves in case the volume increases (or stays this high for a prolonged period).  My clients started with 30 days, then went to 60 as they got overwhelmed, and are now talking about all switching to 90 since they’re already 60 days behind.

 

There are several factors that impact the processing time:

 

  • Refunds have to batched, and credit card processors have a limit on each batch.  Companies have processing capacity to match their normal volume — to say everyone is exceeding their normal processing volume of refunds is an understatement.  I’ve never seen anything like this in my 25 years in the industry — it makes 9/11 look like an average Sunday, even here in the Northeast.
  • Money has to be freed up in the company and moved into the processing account for EACH batch prior to being processed.  The processing account is sort of like a checking account — it’s only for money coming in or out, it’s not where you aggregate funds.
  • This is a manual process, being processed by staff that never had to handle this volume of processing before (everywhere).  There’s no money to hire more staff (anywhere) and they won’t be needed much longer anyway so no one would take that job.
  • Each transaction requires closer auditing and controls now, since this is a PRIME time for fraud, both by credit card scammers and internal wrongdoers.  Everyone is capitalizing on the chaos.

 

 

 

Hi, 

 

I do not wish to argue with you or your source. Some use fudge to make the simple more complex to buy time. 

 

Almost all of these refunds are proecessed via the Visa and Mastercard automated processes.  This is quite easy to understand.  There are two issues - as you state.  The first is that they need to be satisfied that the refund comes from the organisation you believe to be the organisation requesting the refund.  The second is that the organisation can finance the refund.  There are no other issues with respect to the Visa MC systems.  That is my very point. There is no issue from Visa or MC that SS are who they say they are.   It is the financing issue that is the issue.  Not the admin issue fo requesting the refunds. 

 

There is NO limit to the number of refunds per day or month.  We need to use our common sense.  Visa and MC do not limit Amazon to a certain number of "batches" a month.  Once they know the request is from them and then that can finance it, it is automated and they pay instantly in real time.

 

The general issue of fraud is for SS to quickly agree and authroise a refund and for Visa and MC to be satisfied that the refund has come from SS ie isn't a fraid and they have the funds to stand behind the refund.

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2 minutes ago, Silver Spectre said:

Really?

Spoken in jest?

I bow down to the Provoker-in-Chief.

 

 

Ok bunnykins.  What did I say to provoke you?

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, UKCruiseJeff said:

Hi, 

 

I do not wish to argue with you or your source. Some use fudge to make the simple more complex to buy time. 

 

The general issue of fraud is for SS to quickly agree and authroise a refund and for Visa and MC to be satisfied that the refund has come from SS ie isn't a fraid and they have the funds to stand behind the refund.

 

I'm hesitant to wade in too deep again into this morass, and I don't wish to speak on behalf of Observer, but I suspect the fraud concern mentioned by Observer involves the need for strong internal controls by Silversea to prevent possible fraud by employees. 

 

In my legal career, I had quite a few occasions to handle cases where "trusted" employees took advantage of less than tight financial controls to embezzle funds.  Sometimes it occurred at a time in the employee's life where they were facing their own financial difficulties and saw the theft as a way to resolve them.  An employee with access to customer records and the ability to initiate and process a refund can, without appropriate controls including the requirement of approval of a higher level accounting employee, alter or create a customer purchase record and then send a refund to the employee or to an accomplice of the employee.  Ideally, a company would have one employee actually create the refund and then submit it to an accounting employee who would review the supporting documentation, verify the amounts and destination(s) of the refund, and approve and submit it.  That oversight provides a basic level of protection, but it also adds time and complexity to the process.

 

Every single employee embezzlement case I handled involved a firm without that second layer of financial control.  And even in a small business, the losses can be large.  In one case, a very small local credit union manager altered records of dividends to customers to steal over $500,000 in just two months.  It was only caught when she stepped out of her office to use the restroom and left a "before" and "after" printout on her desk (with penciled entries on the "before" copy showing what entries she was going to make to cover up the theft).  Another employee came in to drop off something on her desk, saw the printouts and reported her suspicions.

 

I obviously have no idea if those types of internal controls are in place during this process, but if they are, that would necessarily result in a significant increase in the amount of time that each refund takes.

 

Edited by alexandria

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