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Crystal Refund Roll Call


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9 hours 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

If I understand your request, I am already trying to do that going forward.  If there is a number in both "Days Since Request" and "Days to Receive Refund" that means a partial refund.  There may be some earlier ones that do not follow that, but that is what I have been doing recently and will continue with new information.  People don't always provide all the data, though.  I think a few have said they got their refund and later it becomes apparent that they only got part of it.  

 

Corrections are always welcome if any of the specific data are wrong or incomplete. 

 

I have thought about expanding the "Notes" to more columns to show when disputed and which credit card, but many didn't include those details.   I think it is reasonable to assume that Amex is the star in successful disputes, but there have been many on other cards as well.

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There are a lot of new requirements like mandatory vaccinations together with covid-19 tests which have false positives.

It might be too early to ask, but I am a planner 🙂. I booked over a year ago and have to watch Visa dispute time expiration. 

 

If mandatory vaccinations are not available for the booked passengers (children too) at the time of their cruise, would Crystal still charge admin fees for a cancellation for this reason?

I called Crystal twice but could not get a straight answer.

Thanks!

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11 hours ago, Sdancer said:

There are a lot of new requirements like mandatory vaccinations together with covid-19 tests which have false positives.

It might be too early to ask, but I am a planner 🙂. I booked over a year ago and have to watch Visa dispute time expiration. 

 

If mandatory vaccinations are not available for the booked passengers (children too) at the time of their cruise, would Crystal still charge admin fees for a cancellation for this reason?

I called Crystal twice but could not get a straight answer.

Thanks!

Thanks for asking this question. We will be interested to know this too. But I am afraid only Crystal can answer it.

Ivi

Edited by travelberlin
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22 hours ago, Sdancer said:

If mandatory vaccinations are not available for the booked passengers (children too) at the time of their cruise, would Crystal still charge admin fees for a cancellation for this reason?

I called Crystal twice but could not get a straight answer.

The question is a lot bigger than the admin fee.  Once you are past the final payment date, much larger penalties start to apply.  So it is not a matter of the vaccine being available at the time of your cruise, it would need to be available (and at least scheduled?) by the time your final payment is due.

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12 hours ago, travelberlin said:

Thanks for asking this question. We will be interested to know this too. But I am afraid only Crystal can answer it.

Ivi

I called Crystal for the third time and spoke with the reservation department employee.

She refused to give her name, refused to answer my question and sent me to my travel agent.

She even offered to provide me the contact number for my TA!!?? 

I assured her that I know who my travel agent is 🙂 and repeated my question  if the admin fees waiver was in place if I had to cancel for a lack of vaccine for young children.

When I insisted that Crystal should be the primary source about the admin fees, not my already hard-working travel agent, she put me on hold and disconnected after 20 minutes. 

This is how Crystal treats their paying guests. 

**********************************************************

Follow up:  I called for the 4th time after the disconnect.

This time I was connected to Virginia, a very nice lady at the reservation department. I explained that I am writing a post about my experience with the previous call and decided to try one more time.

She put me on a brief hold and escalated my waiver question to her manager.

She hopes that Crystal will have an answer for me in a week or so.

When I asked if I get the answer in writing, she replied that I will not get a reply from Crystal, my TA will.

 

If Crystal does not allow children though vaccinations are not available and Crystal is not transparent about refunds for these situations, I am going to file a dispute with my cc requesting a full refund.

I am keeping track of contact dates, names and Crystal replies (or a lack of it).

 

BYW, did you see on Crystal FAQ that cruisers who develop covid-19 like symptoms at the time of an embarkation, are not given refunds? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sdancer
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1 hour ago, SusieQft said:

The question is a lot bigger than the admin fee.  Once you are past the final payment date, much larger penalties start to apply.  So it is not a matter of the vaccine being available at the time of your cruise, it would need to be available (and at least scheduled?) by the time your final payment is due.

Thank you, you are absolutely correct and I am aware of huge penalties.

Yes, the vaccine should be available before my final payment and I do not see it happening.

 

Here is what being done about vaccines for younger children:

Published Feb. 12, 2021Updated Feb. 18, 2021

"Moving below 12 years of age will require a new study and potentially a modified formulation or dosing schedule,” Ms. Ghazvini said. Those trials will most likely start later in the year, but the plans will be made final after the company has data from older children, she added."

 

Given the low risk of Covid-19 in children, some parents might be skeptical of the urgency to inoculate their children with a brand-new jab, Dr. Offit said. “For that reason, the vaccine would have to be held to a very high standard of safety,” he said.

 

Looks like it would take a very long time for younger children to get a vaccine approved by FDA then it takes time to actually get vaccinated.

I am not going to wait too long to cancel and will file a dispute.

Thanks again for your input!

 

 

Edited by Sdancer
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1 hour ago, Sdancer said:

I called Crystal for the third time and spoke with the reservation department employee.

She refused to give her name, refused to answer my question and sent me to my travel agent.

She even offered to provide me the contact number for my TA!!?? 

I assured her that I know who my travel agent is 🙂 and repeated my question  if the admin fees waiver was in place if I had to cancel for a lack of vaccine for young children.

When I insisted that Crystal should be the primary source about the admin fees, not my already hard-working travel agent, she put me on hold and disconnected after 20 minutes. 

This is how Crystal treats their paying guests. 

**********************************************************

Follow up:  I called for the 4th time after the disconnect.

This time I was connected to Virginia, a very nice lady at the reservation department. I explained that I am writing a post about my experience with the previous call and decided to try one more time.

She put me on a brief hold and escalated my waiver question to her manager.

She hopes that Crystal will have an answer for me in a week or so.

When I asked if I get the answer in writing, she replied that I will not get a reply from Crystal, my TA will.

 

If Crystal does not allow children though vaccinations are not available and Crystal is not transparent about refunds for these situations, I am going to file a dispute with my cc requesting a full refund.

I am keeping track of contact dates, names and Crystal replies (or a lack of it).

 

BYW, did you see on Crystal FAQ that cruisers who develop covid-19 like symptoms at the time of an embarkation, are not given refunds? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand your frustration, but this is not unique to Crystal. Bookings made through a TA "belong" to the TA, and as a general rule, no line will discuss anything pertaining to an individual booking with anyone but the TA. Avoids mixed, or contradictory, messages.

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29 minutes ago, Roland4 said:

I understand your frustration, but this is not unique to Crystal. Bookings made through a TA "belong" to the TA, and as a general rule, no line will discuss anything pertaining to an individual booking with anyone but the TA. Avoids mixed, or contradictory, messages.

My TA emailed my question to Crystal but did not get a straight answer either:

"We understand inquiry. Crystal Cruises couldn’t address this scenario, because future information is constantly changing, but they are willing to review.

Crystal Cruises suggested to wait until closer to the trip, but they will continue to monitor travel requirements and will provide updates as they learn more."

 

That was the reason why I have called directly to Crystal on my own.

 

It is not that difficult for Crystal to decide how to handle refunds if young children cannot travel, especially for bookings which were booked with a paid deposit before this new vaccination requirement.

 

It seems that keeping the money no matter what is more important to Crystal than clear, transparent and fair refund policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sdancer
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Perhaps Crystal intends to offer a full refund (or more likely FCC) in the event they end up actually denying passage to a child, but they don't want to tell you now because the mandatory vaccine policy might be relaxed in which case they will not have to issue the refund.

 

Your admin penalty will be a FCP, not refundable in cash but it can be applied as a "payment" on another cruise booked within a year of cancellation.  This could be another reason to wait until just before final payment to cancel, to maximize the life of your FCP/admin penalty.

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1 hour ago, SusieQft said:

Perhaps Crystal intends to offer a full refund (or more likely FCC) in the event they end up actually denying passage to a child, but they don't want to tell you now because the mandatory vaccine policy might be relaxed in which case they will not have to issue the refund.

 

Your admin penalty will be a FCP, not refundable in cash but it can be applied as a "payment" on another cruise booked within a year of cancellation.  This could be another reason to wait until just before final payment to cancel, to maximize the life of your FCP/admin penalty.

Good to know! Thank you!

I will wait then and cancel close to my final payment.

 

Since Crystal sails Alaska cruises from Canada, it could be another problem related to the Canadian ban through Feb. 28, 2021 which effects Alaska sailings for Crystal.

It would be better for Crystal to sail from the US port, Seattle, with a stop in Victoria to satisfy a foreign/Canadian port stop requirement and keep everyone on board in Victoria to satisfy the Canadian ban on cruises. It would still leave the same 3 major Alaska ports to visit as if sailing from Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Sdancer said:

Since Crystal sails Alaska cruises from Canada, it could be another problem related to the Canadian ban through Feb. 28, 2021 which effects Alaska sailings for Crystal.

It would be better for Crystal to sail from the US port, Seattle, with a stop in Victoria to satisfy a foreign/Canadian port stop requirement and keep everyone on board in Victoria to satisfy the Canadian ban on cruises. It would still leave the same 3 major Alaska ports to visit as if sailing from Canada.

 

That was one of the first workarounds the cruise lines tried, and so far the Canadian government has said "no" to the technical stops sadly.  We'll see if they change their position eventually, but so far that option is out.  🙁

 

Vince

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46 minutes ago, Sdancer said:

Good to know! Thank you!

I will wait then and cancel close to my final payment.

 

Since Crystal sails Alaska cruises from Canada, it could be another problem related to the Canadian ban through Feb. 28, 2021 which effects Alaska sailings for Crystal.

It would be better for Crystal to sail from the US port, Seattle, with a stop in Victoria to satisfy a foreign/Canadian port stop requirement and keep everyone on board in Victoria to satisfy the Canadian ban on cruises. It would still leave the same 3 major Alaska ports to visit as if sailing from Canada.

 

 The ban applies to all Canadian waters, not just the ports, and applies until February 2022. As Vince noted, technical stops are not permitted, so the only possible workaround to save the 2021 season, barring our government having a change of heart, would be a temporary relaxation/suspension of the PVSA rules.

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We purchased travel insurance and filed a claim based on Financial Default.  We made a claim in December and yesterday the insurance company sent us an email stating that "We cannot reimburse you if Crystal Cruises is confirming you are being refunded.."   I feel like the dog chasing its tail:  Crystal acknowledges  they owe us the money but won't (or can't)  pay and insurance won't pay because Crystal says its going to pay.

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53 minutes ago, Roger88 said:

I wonder how do refunds work these days. I remember at the very begining of the Pandemic there were problems with it. It shoould have already been fixed by now 

 

I think we can safely say that refunds from Crystal AREN'T working these days. It seems that many of those who used American Express to make payments have been refunded. Several people who had small refunds (under $1000) have gotten money back. I've been waiting for my refund since April 28, 2020, and 10 months later, nada!

 

Patty

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1 hour ago, Roland4 said:

 The ban applies to all Canadian waters, not just the ports, and applies until February 2022. As Vince noted, technical stops are not permitted, so the only possible workaround to save the 2021 season, barring our government having a change of heart, would be a temporary relaxation/suspension of the PVSA rules.

A couple of additions to Roland and Vince's replies

   - Canada claims a 12-mile offshore limit.  So the cruise ban applies to cruising through the Inside Passage, which is a popular scenic route on Alaska cruises

   - In addition to Crystal, Holland America, Seaborn, and Princess have all announced cancellations of Alaska cruises.  Even if negotiations are still underway, I can't see any cruise line re-instating cancelled cruises for 2021.  The wheels are underway to advise affected pax, to action refunds, and to cancel the multitude of behind-the-scenes arrangements that we often do not appreciate.

 

Edit to add - ban includes Canada's east coast cruises and Arctic cruises.

Edited by crickette
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4 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 The ban applies to all Canadian waters, not just the ports, and applies until February 2022. As Vince noted, technical stops are not permitted, so the only possible workaround to save the 2021 season, barring our government having a change of heart, would be a temporary relaxation/suspension of the PVSA rules.

Sorry, year 2021 was my misprint. The ban until Feb, 28, 2021 was first announced in March 2020.

Then it was extended to expire on February 28, 2022. There is no guaranty that the ban would not be extended again.

February 28, 2022 ihappens to be a few days after the final payment due for the first 2022 Crystal Alaska cruise on June 23, 2022.

 

 

 

Edited by Sdancer
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2 hours ago, crickette said:

   - Canada claims a 12-mile offshore limit.  So the cruise ban applies to cruising through the Inside Passage, which is a popular scenic route on Alaska cruises

 

The original Ministerial Order included a carve-out for vessels to transit the Inside Passage.  Cruise ships could "expeditiously" sail those waters enroute to Alaska from Seattle, but they would still be bound by the PVSA requirement to stop at a foreign port.  That's the real sticking point.

Foreign vessels in certain waters

(2) Despite section 3, a foreign vessel may, in the Great Lakes, the Inside Passage, the St. Lawrence River, the Gulf of St. Lawrence or the St. Lawrence Seaway

  • (a) navigate, if passage is expeditious; and
  • (b) moor, berth or anchor if those activities are incidental to the passage.
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7 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 The ban applies to all Canadian waters, not just the ports, and applies until February 2022. As Vince noted, technical stops are not permitted, so the only possible workaround to save the 2021 season, barring our government having a change of heart, would be a temporary relaxation/suspension of the PVSA rules.

The US government might also need to have a change of heart, and issue workable guidelines to comply with the current CDC order, or revoke at least some of the terms of the order that is in effect

until November.  So far I have not heard of any cruise lines starting up their trial voyages in order to qualify for provisional permission to sail up to a maximum of 7 days (it does not say 7 nights).

 

Canada and the US would both have to lighten up in order for any 2021 Alaska cruises to happen.

2 hours ago, MightyQuinn said:

(b) moor, berth or anchor if those activities are incidental to the passage.

Could that be construed as a technical stop???

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8 hours ago, Sdancer said:

Good to know! Thank you!

I will wait then and cancel close to my final payment.

Just to be clear -- I really don't know what Crystal plans to do on this.  But they do seem to delay any announcements that would be favorable to the passenger.

 

I feel I was "burned" by cancelling our April 2020 voyage myself before Crystal got around to cancelling it themselves a week later.  I ended up with a 25% penalty as FCC and missed out on the choice of 100% refund vs 125% FCC.

 

At least the second time I cancelled I had my eyes wide open and the penalty was minimal.  I was able to successfully get the refundable portion (including the 75% "cash" refund that I had rolled over from April) back via a credit card dispute, with only the admin penalty that is now FCP.

 

In your case, there is the added complication that Crystal might cancel your child's passage but not the cruise, and not knowing how they would handle that.  The down side of waiting is that more time will pass and you might lose out on the ability to successfully dispute your refund on your credit card.  Other than that (which could be a major consideration, as it was for me), it seems that waiting until just before final payment would improve your odds of a favorable outcome.

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4 hours ago, SusieQft said:

Could that be construed as a technical stop???

 

No, I don't think so.  The key for a vessel to be allowed to moor, berth or anchor during free navigational passage is that those activities must be incidental to the passage.  In other words, an unforeseen event or an emergency.  Any planned anchoring for "technical stops" would be intentional, not incidental, and hence not permitted. 

It's also my understanding that "technical stops" are no longer permitted since 2007 when the CBP ruled they did not meet the definition, nor the intent, of a foreign port call under the PVSA and disallowed them. 

And to keep this on topic ... thanks SusieQft for continuing to maintain this Refund Roll Call.

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DEPOSIT REMAINS AT BOTTOM OF THE QUEUE, WITH NO STATUS UPDATES

Today's Refund Tracker indicates my OBD was cancelled 339 days ago.  I’ve made several attempts to obtain information regarding this extremely delayed refund.  Recently, I wrote to the Crystal’s President Jack Anderson.  His assistant provided the following response on Feb 23:

 

Good afternoon and thank you for your email to the Office of the President, Mr. Jack Anderson, in regards to your refund request. We appreciate your feedback and how disappointing it is to await the pending refund. Regrettably, we show it is in the queue with no material update at the moment.

At this time, the company cannot give a specific date when some refunds will be issued but please be assured that Crystal remains committed to honoring our contractual obligations with our guests, including the processing of refunds. We know that the refund process is causing frustration and angst with those affected and we recognize and apologize that we have fallen short of our service standard. We will update our guests and travel partners as soon as additional information becomes available.

Edited by Jim9310
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On 2/28/2021 at 12:14 PM, Jim9310 said:

... Recently, I wrote to Crystal’s President Jack Anderson.  His assistant provided the following response on Feb 23:

... We know that the refund process is causing frustration and angst with those affected and we recognize and apologize that we have fallen short of our service standard.  We will update our guests and travel partners as soon as additional information becomes available.

 

The assistant's statement really raises the question: What exactly is Crystal's service standard nowadays? Last fall they acknowledged that they had fallen short of their “6-star service" standard. That was six months ago.  Many might argue that the customer service and refund departments have dropped the standard to one or two stars. 

 

Obviously, Crystal recognizes now that it has a serious problem.  But apologizing at this point does little to raise the service standard.  Neither does promising an update "as soon as additional information become available."   It's been almost a year now.  What additional info is the assistant talking about?

 

Here's an idea: Try being a little more open and honest to try to earn back a few of those stars.

 

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Realistically, what is Crystal supposed to say?  They’re waiting for funding that is going to come anytime in the next 1-12 months, pending their parent’s restructuring.  That funding has been trickling in as the restructuring progresses, but until the next infusion arrives there is no update.  That’s poor service, sure, but when you have no possible timeline, it doesn’t help to make up dates.

 

Vince

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