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Crystal Refund Roll Call


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23 minutes ago, Psoque said:

I wonder Crystal is processing refunds for US departing cruises more quickly because there is better consumer protection/higher risk of litigation, etc., compared to other cruises?


Sort of, but also kind of the opposite at the same time...  Crystal indicated the refunds were made possible when they were given permission to access their Federal Maritime Commission surety funds for those sailings.  Those funds would normally only be accessible by consumers in the event that Crystal declared some form of bankruptcy (since normal legal recovery means remain valid otherwise), but it appears they got a refund of those funds once those sailing dates passed.  

 

Was your September 2020 sailing departing from a US port?

 

Vince

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1 hour ago, BWIVince said:


Sort of, but also kind of the opposite at the same time...  Crystal indicated the refunds were made possible when they were given permission to access their Federal Maritime Commission surety funds for those sailings.  Those funds would normally only be accessible by consumers in the event that Crystal declared some form of bankruptcy (since normal legal recovery means remain valid otherwise), but it appears they got a refund of those funds once those sailing dates passed.  

 

Was your September 2020 sailing departing from a US port?

 

Vince

My September 2020 cruise on Crystal Symphony was a Mediterranean cruise.

 

I guess if and when cruising resumes soon, there might be a good reason for cruise lines to set aside funds for potential refunds, even for non-US cruises.  I have no idea if the cruise lines would even want to do this voluntarily, or if the credit protection bureaus of various countries need to be involved.

 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Psoque said:

My September 2020 cruise on Crystal Symphony was a Mediterranean cruise.

 

I guess if and when cruising resumes soon, there might be a good reason for cruise lines to set aside funds for potential refunds, even for non-US cruises.  I have no idea if the cruise lines would even want to do this voluntarily, or if the credit protection bureaus of various countries need to be involved.

 

 

Personally, speaking to the US market, I don't think the problem is lack of protections as much as it is lack of vision of what the risks were.  Everything was focused on what happens when a cruise line shuts down, and no one thought the risk of the entire US cruise industry cancelling sailings for over a year was likely, so the protections were never engineered that way.

 

For cruise lines sailing from US ports with American customers paying by credit card (which is most of the US market), cruise lines already have to pay into several insurance pots -- the two biggest being the FMC's financial responsibility and their credit card processors' escrow/bonds.  I can't honestly see a third mega-fund being realistic, especially since it would likely still leave a large swath of people uncovered in some unforeseen circumstance just the way the existing ones left a lot of passengers waiting for refunds in this case. 

 

IMHO, if there is opportunity here, I think it's in getting some reform of the FMC's policies in case of cancellation (instead of carrier failure), and the credit card companies around chargebacks for merchants failing to deliver services.  While it's true that Visa and Mastercard structurally don't work like American Express or Discover, at the end of the day I feel like many of their issuers are really using that as an excuse not to stand by their cardholders, and it's lame.

 

Vince

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13 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

 

Personally, speaking to the US market, I don't think the problem is lack of protections as much as it is lack of vision of what the risks were.  Everything was focused on what happens when a cruise line shuts down, and no one thought the risk of the entire US cruise industry cancelling sailings for over a year was likely, so the protections were never engineered that way.

 

For cruise lines sailing from US ports with American customers paying by credit card (which is most of the US market), cruise lines already have to pay into several insurance pots -- the two biggest being the FMC's financial responsibility and their credit card processors' escrow/bonds.  I can't honestly see a third mega-fund being realistic, especially since it would likely still leave a large swath of people uncovered in some unforeseen circumstance just the way the existing ones left a lot of passengers waiting for refunds in this case. 

 

IMHO, if there is opportunity here, I think it's in getting some reform of the FMC's policies in case of cancellation (instead of carrier failure), and the credit card companies around chargebacks for merchants failing to deliver services.  While it's true that Visa and Mastercard structurally don't work like American Express or Discover, at the end of the day I feel like many of their issuers are really using that as an excuse not to stand by their cardholders, and it's lame.

 

Vince

Regardless of how you describe it, cruise lines, especially Crystal is either unwilling or unable to make timely refunds, and I think there should be something that needs to be done for this customer service disaster not to happen.  And meaningless finger-pointing will get us nowhere fast.

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9 minutes ago, Psoque said:

Regardless of how you describe it, cruise lines, especially Crystal is either unwilling or unable to make timely refunds, and I think there should be something that needs to be done for this customer service disaster not to happen.  And meaningless finger-pointing will get us nowhere fast.

 

...But that's what I'm trying to tell you.  The industry identified this risk decades ago and set up some requirements and protections that are in many cases not being followed according to their agreements.  No one is arguing the cruise lines are without blame here, but these protections are at an industry level and can't be company-specific.  You can dismiss their even and legal enforcement as "finger pointing" if you'd like, but we AND the cruise lines pay dearly for these services and deserve their benefits when they're called for.  Sure, the cruise line deserves blame first for creating the situation, but THEN I expect the coverage we've contracted for.

 

Vince

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2 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 

...But that's what I'm trying to tell you.  The industry identified this risk decades ago and set up some requirements and protections that are in many cases not being followed according to their agreements.  No one is arguing the cruise lines are without blame here, but these protections are at an industry level and can't be company-specific.  You can dismiss their even and legal enforcement as "finger pointing" if you'd like, but we AND the cruise lines pay dearly for these services and deserve their benefits when they're called for.  Sure, the cruise line deserves blame first for creating the situation, but THEN I expect the coverage we've contracted for.

 

Vince

Well, regardless of how it is done, there should be the same level of consumer financial protection for those who buy non-US cruises that US cruises have had.  It’s not about blame really.  It’s just that the industry as a whole needs to be better prepared, and also prepared to do the right thing when what they’ve prepared for ends up occurring.  None of that happened well, if at all, during this outbreak.  So, I think it is reasonable for the industry as whole, as well as individual companies within the industry, should volunteer to be part of the solution, as we all prepare for the resumption of leisure travel.  And if any member of the industry decides to not follow the best practices already agreed upon, there should be some consequences of that.

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22 minutes ago, Psoque said:

Well, regardless of how it is done, there should be the same level of consumer financial protection for those who buy non-US cruises that US cruises have had.  It’s not about blame really.  It’s just that the industry as a whole needs to be better prepared, and also prepared to do the right thing when what they’ve prepared for ends up occurring.  None of that happened well, if at all, during this outbreak.  So, I think it is reasonable for the industry as whole, as well as individual companies within the industry, should volunteer to be part of the solution, as we all prepare for the resumption of leisure travel.  And if any member of the industry decides to not follow the best practices already agreed upon, there should be some consequences of that.

 

Totally agree.

 

Vince

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Can someone explain how Crystal can keep the $500 pp administration fee, yet not live up to their contract to refund monies in 90 days? I’m not planning another cruise with them until I’m assured of their viability.  I’ve been waiting for $14,000 since May 2020, (282 days), when I canceled the cruise I booked for March 2021, sailing from Tokyo. I paid the deposit in 2018, so it was too late to dispute it with my credit card company. I will never book that far in advance again. So disappointed in Crystal. Just praying they eventually will refund my money and not declare bankruptcy. 

Edited by gunna9
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3 hours ago, gunna9 said:

Can someone explain how Crystal can keep the $500 pp administration fee, yet not live up to their contract to refund monies in 90 days?

I assume this is a rhetorical question, but obviously because they are in possession of the money (at least nominally), and possession is 90% of the law.

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Crystal announced that the Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required across all ships, and all brands including CHILDREN

There is no covid-19 vaccine available for children younger that 16.

I have called Crystal and was told that If a vaccine for children would not be available by the time of my final payment, I would just have to cancel and wait for my deposit refund (some indefinite time in a future...) minus admin fee for 5 people. 

They have a nerve to charge admin fees though it was because of their insane requirement for children would cause me to cancel. 

 

At the same time they do not require vaccinations from their crew if a vaccine is not available in their countries or not available yet based on their younger age.  Their crew requires only a negative test, but not our children (grandchild in my case). How it is safer to have a crew not having to have a vaccination?

 

Crystal Cruises just keep disappointing more and more. 

Edited by Sdancer
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I suspect we’re going to hear more about crew vaccinations in the coming months.  As it stands right now though, even US companies that desperately want to require employee vaccinations are waiting for other companies to force the issue (*cough* United Airlines).  Cruise lines have more legal leeway with their contract-based crews and foreign staffing bureaus, but there is still a lot to navigate with the limited supply.  By the time Crystal finally restarts, however, a lot of these bridges should be crossed and we should start seeing the pieces fall into place months ahead of that.

 

Vince

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6 hours ago, BWIVince said:

I suspect we’re going to hear more about crew vaccinations in the coming months.  As it stands right now though, even US companies that desperately want to require employee vaccinations are waiting for other companies to force the issue (*cough* United Airlines).  Cruise lines have more legal leeway with their contract-based crews and foreign staffing bureaus, but there is still a lot to navigate with the limited supply.  By the time Crystal finally restarts, however, a lot of these bridges should be crossed and we should start seeing the pieces fall into place months ahead of that.

 

Vince

Unless Crystal is not planning on coming back anytime soon, I do not see it happening. I would not be so sure that it will work out in the coming months. Crystal is not sure either - that is why Crystal does not require crew to be vaccinated. 

Some crew members are from the countries were vaccinations are not available and many crew are too young to be in line to be vaccinated for a long time.

Maybe wearing masks would be required even after everyone is vaccinated.  

In that case it would be not be the same cruise experience we enjoy.

 

 

 

Edited by Sdancer
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18 minutes ago, Sdancer said:

Unless Crystal is not planning on coming back anytime soon, I do not see it happening. I would not be so sure that it will work out in the coming months. Crystal is not sure either - that is why Crystal does not require crew to be vaccinated. 

Some crew members are from the countries were vaccinations are not available and many crew are too young to be in line to be vaccinated for a long time.

Maybe wearing masks would be required even after everyone is vaccinated.  

In that case it would be not be the same cruise experience we enjoy.

 

 

 

  • New for 4.0: Crew members will be expected to be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine (both doses if recommended by manufacturer) as soon as it is an available option in their home countries. When vaccines are widely available, they will be a requirement of employment at least 14 days prior to service
  • All crew will be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving their home location to join the ship and must receive a negative result; they also will take a COVID-19 test at embarkation, quarantine for seven days upon arrival, and take a test at the end of that seven-day period and receive a negative result, before beginning their duties
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3 minutes ago, TER777 said:
  • New for 4.0: Crew members will be expected to be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine (both doses if recommended by manufacturer) as soon as it is an available option in their home countries. When vaccines are widely available, they will be a requirement of employment at least 14 days prior to service
  • All crew will be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving their home location to join the ship and must receive a negative result; they also will take a COVID-19 test at embarkation, quarantine for seven days upon arrival, and take a test at the end of that seven-day period and receive a negative result, before beginning their duties

I just got the email from Crystal with that info plus a requirement for wearing masks and keeping social distancing. 

I do not understand why Crystal does not have the same requirements based on availability of a vaccine for children as Crystal has for a crew? I booked Alaska for my grandchild to see Alaska and because Crystal assured me that there was a program for children on the ship. 

After I paid the deposit, I found out that the program for children is provided only if there are at least 10 children on board. It was bad enough before a new impossible requirement for a mandatory vaccination.

Crystal management finds more and more ways to disappoint it's loyal customers.

 

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Hello Sdancer. It is very likely that Alaska cruising won't happen before the 2022 season, by which time vaccines for children (if authorized by government agencies) and crew should be available.  Also, on the two Crystal Alaska cruises I have taken the kids seemed to have a great time!  

 

There will undoubtedly be many more changes to rules for travel in the coming months/years so I don't get too worried about any I don't like.  If the experience isn't what I want when the time comes and cruising actually has started then I just won't go.

 

~Nancy

Edited by oakridger
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1 hour ago, Sdancer said:

Unless Crystal is not planning on coming back anytime soon, I do not see it happening. I would not be so sure that it will work out in the coming months. Crystal is not sure either - that is why Crystal does not require crew to be vaccinated. 

Some crew members are from the countries were vaccinations are not available and many crew are too young to be in line to be vaccinated for a long time.

Maybe wearing masks would be required even after everyone is vaccinated.  

In that case it would be not be the same cruise experience we enjoy.

 

 

 


This is completely a guess on my part based on what I’m seeing, but I respectfully disagree.

 

Assuming we’re talking about a restart in the fall, then I fully expect corporate vaccine availability to be broadly available.  Of course no US-based company is making commitments to that today, but we’re weeks away from companies like AA here starting to offer prioritized workers optional COVID vaccinations through corporate wellness partners (I understand a few have already started on smaller scale), and my travel-industry company is expecting to begin offering ours through our wellness program this summer based on current availability projections.  
 

Based on that, I could see some kind of onboard vaccination program through Crystal’s US-based medical vendor by fall.  Obviously there are a lot of details to work out, and that wouldn’t be as tight as no one being able to board without full vaccinations, but it would greatly close the crew gap IMHO.


Like everything in the travel industry these days, everything is in flux and will change greatly as it evolves.  I find it hard to get worked up about anything months in advance, since I know full well it will change repeatedly before any of this gets fully implemented.

 

Vince

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8 hours ago, oakridger said:

Hello Sdancer. It is very likely that Alaska cruising won't happen before the 2022 season, by which time vaccines for children (if authorized by government agencies) and crew should be available.  Also, on the two Crystal Alaska cruises I have taken the kids seemed to have a great time!  

 

There will undoubtedly be many more changes to rules for travel in the coming months/years so I don't get too worried about any I don't like.  If the experience isn't what I want when the time comes and cruising actually has started then I just won't go.

 

~Nancy

Nancy,

Thank you so much! I am glad to hear that children liked Alaska on Crystal - one less thing for me to worry about.  

I am adapting your plan. 

Thanks again!

Edited by Sdancer
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1 hour ago, mrlevin said:

Karen, any way to redo spreadsheet just to show those that have not received total refunds?  Maybe show non-null in days since request; would that work?

 

Marc

You could also do what I did.  I copied the data into an Excel spreadsheet, then sorted by the columns that interested me.  It was quick and easy.

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