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YoungDubFan
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I received an e-mail from Crystal overnight that my April 2021 has been cancelled. The e-mail is offering 115% future cruise credit but does not state that a refund is an option. This cruise was a rebook from my May 2020 cruise. I am concerned about Crystal’s ability to continue to operate and would prefer a refund vs a FCC. I have my travel agent looking into options. I know there is a long line of people waiting for refunds. We do have a travel insurance policy so I’m hoping that may be an option to file a claim against that. 

 

I’ll keep people posted as to what I find out. Not good news that the cruise was cancelled but also not surprising. I did not feel comfortable cruising until I am able to get a COVID vaccine. 

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2 hours ago, YoungDubFan said:

I received an e-mail from Crystal overnight that my April 2021 has been cancelled. The e-mail is offering 115% future cruise credit but does not state that a refund is an option. This cruise was a rebook from my May 2020 cruise. I am concerned about Crystal’s ability to continue to operate and would prefer a refund vs a FCC. I have my travel agent looking into options. I know there is a long line of people waiting for refunds. We do have a travel insurance policy so I’m hoping that may be an option to file a claim against that. 

 

I’ll keep people posted as to what I find out. Not good news that the cruise was cancelled but also not surprising. I did not feel comfortable cruising until I am able to get a COVID vaccine. 


A refund is a legally-required option of carriers in the US when they cancel the booking.  When they process the refund is a whole different story, and there are a lot of good reasons not to make it the default, but they can’t make you take a credit.  Please let us know if your agent gets any pushback on that, and wishing you a speedy and easy process.  🤞

 

Vince

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Thanks Vince. I agree that we want a refund. Crystal may try to claim that the April 2021 cruise was booked using credits, but these credits were because they cancelled the May 2020 cruise. I was willing to push the cruise out to 2021 but I’m not willing to book another cruise until they have actually resumed sailing. I’ll keep everyone posted as to any updates I receive. 

 

It sounds like all Symphony sailings may be cancelled through April 2021. 

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3 hours ago, YoungDubFan said:

I received an e-mail from Crystal overnight that my April 2021 has been cancelled. The e-mail is offering 115% future cruise credit but does not state that a refund is an option. This cruise was a rebook from my May 2020 cruise. I am concerned about Crystal’s ability to continue to operate and would prefer a refund vs a FCC. I have my travel agent looking into options. I know there is a long line of people waiting for refunds. We do have a travel insurance policy so I’m hoping that may be an option to file a claim against that. 

 

I’ll keep people posted as to what I find out. Not good news that the cruise was cancelled but also not surprising. I did not feel comfortable cruising until I am able to get a COVID vaccine. 

My email had the refund option right at the bottom in the fine print. Check your email again to see if it is there? I am currently communicating with them over the 25% penalty they claim they are entitled to even though this cancellation is unilateral. It is all rather frustrating at this time. 

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17 minutes ago, YoungDubFan said:

Thanks Vince. I agree that we want a refund. Crystal may try to claim that the April 2021 cruise was booked using credits, but these credits were because they cancelled the May 2020 cruise. I was willing to push the cruise out to 2021 but I’m not willing to book another cruise until they have actually resumed sailing. I’ll keep everyone posted as to any updates I receive. 

 

It sounds like all Symphony sailings may be cancelled through April 2021. 


Thanks for keeping us in the loop — that sounds like a good plan.  By the rules, you should be due a refund of any money you put in to that sailing, minus any deducted fees previously turned into courtesy credits or money they put in as credits.  It does get more complex when the sailing is paid for from credits from a previous cancellation, but the money you paid should still be on the books.

 

Vince

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1 hour ago, BWIVince said:


Thanks for keeping us in the loop — that sounds like a good plan.  By the rules, you should be due a refund of any money you put in to that sailing, minus any deducted fees previously turned into courtesy credits or money they put in as credits.  It does get more complex when the sailing is paid for from credits from a previous cancellation, but the money you paid should still be on the books.

 

Vince

 

Once an FCC with a refund option is applied as an FCC it usually cannot be later redeemed for a cash refund. Any amount paid as an FCC from a previous cruise will in all likelihood be re-issued as an FCC with a new expiry date.

Edited by Roland4
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Just now, Roland4 said:

 

Once an FCC with a refund option is applied as an FCC it cannot be later redeemed for a cash refund. Any amount paid as an FCC from a previous cruise will in all likelihood be re-issued as an FCC with a new expiry date.

 

That's where I was going with "it gets more complex"...  Do they specifically call out that the original customer balance becomes nonrefundable when rebooked?  If so, has anyone challenged that in court or with a chargeback?  If a cruise line cancels a booking, then cancels the customer's rebooking, and isn't currently operating anything at all, then the FCC's created from the customer's original booking should be retrievable based on the line's failure to deliver contracted services and current nonoperating status.  That's more complicated if they call out they're claiming the money on rebooking, but it doesn't erase their responsibility. 

 

Then again, I'm kind of a hard*** with that stuff when it comes to vendor failures.

 

Vince

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41 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

If a cruise line cancels a booking, then cancels the customer's rebooking, and isn't currently operating anything at all, then the FCC's created from the customer's original booking should be retrievable based on the line's failure to deliver contracted services and current nonoperating status.

I thought it was a pretty hard and fast rule that you cannot turn an FCC back into a cash refund.  I have seen a lot of people complaining that they could not do it, but I have not heard of it actually happening.  If anyone has successfully gotten a cash refund after first accepting an FCC, I'm sure we would all love to hear about it.

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59 minutes ago, SusieQft said:

I thought it was a pretty hard and fast rule that you cannot turn an FCC back into a cash refund.  I have seen a lot of people complaining that they could not do it, but I have not heard of it actually happening.  If anyone has successfully gotten a cash refund after first accepting an FCC, I'm sure we would all love to hear about it.

 

This might be an interesting assertion to escalate legally...

 

If the passenger was trying to cancel a booking with an FCC, or if the second booking was created with a voluntary FCC then absolutely it should be nonrefundable, but I think they would have had to agree to some clearly strong verbiage that they waive their rights to their deposit if they accept rebooking from an involuntary cancellation.  (They may, I didn't take an FCC switch, so I haven't read it myself.)  

 

Normally, if all the cancellations were involuntary, then the line has failed to deliver the services contracted (at all/multiple opportunities).  That's a pretty big breach usually -- the problem is a contract of carriage is pretty specific .  You agree to pay a fare for transportation on X dates between ABC and DEF.  If the line fails to execute that service, the alternatives may not suit the customer the way an alternate product does in retail sales.  The new dates may not be relevant to the customer's travel needs, same with region, same with duration, etc. -- these are distinctively different and not considered interchangeable.  They can say they're compensating you for that compromise by giving you X% more, and that X% is always their money, but the original funds should still be accountable if the customer caused neither failure.

 

This is why when an airline cancels a flight for weather (which isn't even their responsibility) on which you have a nonrefundable ticket, they must offer you a refund option if they can't replace it with something nearly identical.  

 

Here's where I say it gets complex -- they'll argue that they are refunding the original form of payment, and the form of payment was technically a credit, so the credit prevails...  But the credit was only conveyed because of a service failure on their part, that wasn't really the original form of payment here.

 

This is where I'm unfortunately used to working things at a different level -- when I argue these points with vendors it's over contracts of hundreds of thousands of dollars and between companies with legal departments to argue our assertions.  Unfortunately I realize there's no real way to push this as a passenger dealing with an individual cruise ticket, other than through your travel agent which Crystal is hardly responding to.  That doesn't mean they'd win a challenge though.

 

Have the chargebacks on these double-involuntary cancellations been declined by AmEx, just out of curiosity?  Or have the two cancellations spaced the time out too far from the original payment to usually qualify even for an AmEx dispute?  (Sorry I've been so disengaged from this battle to this point!)

 

Vince

Edited by BWIVince
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Just a quick note on how Crystal seems to be applying FCCs, at least in our case.  As you probably know, when Crystal applies a FCC to a cruise they issue a new cruise fare calculation.  In our case, we applied the FCC to the 2022 world cruise and while it shows the fare and all discounts for Crystal Society, back to back etc., the last deduction on what we owe is listed as "Voucher" so they come up with a determination of a "Cruise Fare After Discounts".  So oddly they seem to treat the FCC as a "discount" and not some kind of payment.  I continue to have concerns that if this trip does not go and their is some kind of financial default or bankruptcy, the travel insurance gurus will say that they don't cover "discounts" as opposed to money actually paid.  I guess that their is not much to do really but to ride this out a bit to see what happens.  But I don't know if the accounting treatment of "discounts" reducing the "cruise fare" will play a role.  I am sure that Crystal did it this way for some legally or accounting researched reason which I cant imagine will inure to the benefit of its customers.

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12 minutes ago, H2O Polo Willie said:

Just a quick note on how Crystal seems to be applying FCCs, at least in our case.  As you probably know, when Crystal applies a FCC to a cruise they issue a new cruise fare calculation.  In our case, we applied the FCC to the 2022 world cruise and while it shows the fare and all discounts for Crystal Society, back to back etc., the last deduction on what we owe is listed as "Voucher" so they come up with a determination of a "Cruise Fare After Discounts".  So oddly they seem to treat the FCC as a "discount" and not some kind of payment.  I continue to have concerns that if this trip does not go and their is some kind of financial default or bankruptcy, the travel insurance gurus will say that they don't cover "discounts" as opposed to money actually paid.  I guess that their is not much to do really but to ride this out a bit to see what happens.  But I don't know if the accounting treatment of "discounts" reducing the "cruise fare" will play a role.  I am sure that Crystal did it this way for some legally or accounting researched reason which I cant imagine will inure to the benefit of its customers.

 

There are different tax implications between credits provided by the line and money paid by a customer, so it's important those are kept separate.  This impacts taxing of the fare by different authorities, as well as how the revenue is reported by Crystal.  FCC's are sort of both, so they look kind of funny sometimes.  How they recorded the revenue and  taxes from the original booking drives how that money carries forward if needed, usually.

 

I would keep all your paperwork showing the payment trail on how that final voyage got paid for.  That's not a guarantee the insurance company would pay that claim, but they can at least see in detail how you settled that balance and exactly how much of that was your cash out of pocket at some point.

 

Vince

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I have excerpted the email message that I received from our TA last month concerning the cancellation of the 2021 World Cruise. This may (or may not) clarify (or muddy) the conversation. I have redacted the actual $ amounts.

 

"I am writing in follow up to the cancellation of your 2021 World Cruise segments and the “Credits” that now reside in your Crystal Profile.

Definitions – I find these helpful as the “Credits” have different rules associated….. so it can get tricky:

Future Cruise Payment (FCP) 

  • $xxxxx total / $xxxxx per person - this is the actual dollar amount that was paid on your booking
  • This FCP amount currently resides in your Crystal account profile
  • These FCP funds can be used as “cash” and applied to any future booking or “bookings” to satisfy any payments or partial payment

Future Cruise Credits (FCC) – these are “discount funds” that can be applied to your booking only as a “discount”

Limited to one FCC per person / per booking

You have FCC’s residing in your Crystal account profile as follow:

  • San Diego to Hong Kong / Departed January 13, 2020 / 40% = $xxxxx total / $xxxxx per person
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo / Was scheduled to sail January 21 – March 13, 2021 / 25% = $xxxxx total / $xxxxx per person

I understand we can apply these “credits” at any time."

 

Rob

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I have discussed the issue of insurance for amounts I originally paid but are now FCCs at length with Steve at tripinsurancestore.com and Travelex.  I have been assured and reassured that as long as I purchase sufficient insurance to cover the FCC amount that the insurance will reimburse me if I cancel for a covered reason.  Mine was before they coined the "FCP" terminology, but meets that definition and is reflected as a "Voucher" on my new booking.  They say the criteria for insurability is the original source of the payment -- if I initially paid cash, I can insure it.  If the cruise line gave me a 25% (or whatever %) goodwill bonus FCC, I cannot insure that.  The insurance also covers "default" by Crystal according to the terms of my policy as I understand it. 

 

Sometimes things written in insurance policies do not necessarily translate into English as one might expect, so I remain a bit dubious on the default issue, and on the FCC issue as well.  But I did purchase insurance with Travelex to cover the full amount including the FCCs.  Hopefully I will never have to put these questions to the test.

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1 hour ago, ryndam said:

I have excerpted the email message that I received from our TA last month concerning the cancellation of the 2021 World Cruise. This may (or may not) clarify (or muddy) the conversation. I have redacted the actual $ amounts.

 

"I am writing in follow up to the cancellation of your 2021 World Cruise segments and the “Credits” that now reside in your Crystal Profile.

Definitions – I find these helpful as the “Credits” have different rules associated….. so it can get tricky:

Future Cruise Payment (FCP) 

  • $xxxxx total / $xxxxx per person - this is the actual dollar amount that was paid on your booking
  • This FCP amount currently resides in your Crystal account profile
  • These FCP funds can be used as “cash” and applied to any future booking or “bookings” to satisfy any payments or partial payment

Future Cruise Credits (FCC) – these are “discount funds” that can be applied to your booking only as a “discount”

Limited to one FCC per person / per booking

You have FCC’s residing in your Crystal account profile as follow:

  • San Diego to Hong Kong / Departed January 13, 2020 / 40% = $xxxxx total / $xxxxx per person
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo / Was scheduled to sail January 21 – March 13, 2021 / 25% = $xxxxx total / $xxxxx per person

I understand we can apply these “credits” at any time."

 

Rob

 

I did post this some time ago on some other thread;

 

FCP - this is YOUR money. Money that would normally have been refunded to you outside of any cancellation penalties or admin fees.

 

FCC - this is Crystal's money. Money that would have normally been owed to Crystal as cancellation penalties, admin fees, or the 25% "Cancellation bonus".

 

An FCP CAN be used to pay the deposit on a new cruise, or as a payment on a new/existing booking. An FCC CANNOT be used for a deposit, but is otherwise the same as an FCP I confirmed this distinction with Crystal last week.

 

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I paid with Am Ex on the original cruise that generated the FCC and have all the original paperwork so I am OK on that front.  As with Susie Q, our travel insurance agent has indicated that the FCC is insurable and we have paid the premiums for coverage on that so we do have our fingers crossed.  I guess I am a bit puzzled about Roland's indication that a FCC is "Crystal's money"  The FCC was provided for a cancelled cruise so how do they claim they earned or are entitled to the money even though they failed to provided the service?

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1 hour ago, ryndam said:

I understand we can apply these “credits” at any time."

I think some of the early FCCs had to be applied by 12/31/20 to a cruise departing somewhat later (maybe 12/31/22?).  The deadlines have evolved over time, but your deadline is almost certainly still what they should have told you initially.  So if you have not applied yours yet, you might want to double check how long you have.  It is not just "at any time," there is a deadline to use them.

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14 hours ago, H2O Polo Willie said:

I paid with Am Ex on the original cruise that generated the FCC and have all the original paperwork so I am OK on that front.  As with Susie Q, our travel insurance agent has indicated that the FCC is insurable and we have paid the premiums for coverage on that so we do have our fingers crossed.  I guess I am a bit puzzled about Roland's indication that a FCC is "Crystal's money"  The FCC was provided for a cancelled cruise so how do they claim they earned or are entitled to the money even though they failed to provided the service?

 

It is "Crystal's money" in the sense that it is money you would not have gotten back if you had cancelled under "normal" circumstances, like cancellation fees. As far as I know, Crystal is the only line that differentiates between FCP and FCC, so this is intended as a thumbnail explanation.

 

Keep in mind, that using FCCs for entire cruise fares was pretty much unheard of prior to COVID, As a result of this, different lines use the term FCC to mean different things, and they all have different terms and conditions. To add to the confusion, the terms and conditions change from one batch of cancellations to the next!

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When my fully paid cruise was cancelled by Crystal, I have used the money to book another cruise. The new cruise came with a discount (25% of my total paid cruise). The money I have paid for the cancelled cruise was credited to the new cruise at the discounted price. If I would, for some reason cancel the new cruise, I would only have my paid money refunded. I find this OK. 
Now if Crystal cancels the new cruise, I guess I will get whatever Crystal offers at the time of cancellation if I rebook. If I do not rebook, I will get only the money I have paid.
Ivi

Edited by travelberlin
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I would pursue action thru your credit card sooner rather than later.  Don't wait until it's too late. You may not get any of the extra "kickers" back but you should get the actual cash fare including taxes that you paid.  Other cruise lines - e.g. Princess - are differentiating between "refundable" cash fare paid [even after choosing the bonus/goodwill option] and "nonrefundable" bonus/goodwill credits.  

 

I don't know anything about the contractual legalese or administrative/penalty fees  but I do know that Crystal has been the worse cruise line to deal with out of the 6 - Azamara, Princess, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Oceania - that cancelled our cruises.  Crystal was the only line that we initiated a chargeback on and that was for only $400 in deposits.

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New today on Crystal website: "...it is with deep regret that we have had to cancel all voyages aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony with departures through May 4, 2021."

 

Not surprising but it still hurts every time I see the timeline extending. Let's hope that successful vaccination programs around the world will get rid of this horrible virus and get us closer to cruising again.

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22 minutes ago, claudiaYVR said:

New today on Crystal website: "...it is with deep regret that we have had to cancel all voyages aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony with departures through May 4, 2021."

 

Not surprising but it still hurts every time I see the timeline extending. Let's hope that successful vaccination programs around the world will get rid of this horrible virus and get us closer to cruising again.


Clarification: May 1 departure of Symphony is not listed (yet) as cancelled. May 4 departure of Serenity is. Thus currently both ships are scheduled to start from Rome, Symphony on May 1 and Serenity on May 12. 

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42 minutes ago, TER777 said:


Clarification: May 1 departure of Symphony is not listed (yet) as cancelled. May 4 departure of Serenity is. Thus currently both ships are scheduled to start from Rome, Symphony on May 1 and Serenity on May 12. 

Sadly, I wouldn't hold my breath on either one of those actually happening! The EU does not start its vaccination programme until Dec 27 and that is only in Germany, and who knows if the borders will even be open to travel from North America by then.

Edited by Roland4
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1 hour ago, Roland4 said:

Sadly, I wouldn't hold my breath on either one of those actually happening! The EU does not start its vaccination programme until Dec 27 and that is only in Germany, and who knows if the borders will even be open to travel from North America by then.

As far as I understand several European countries will start simultaneously. I think this is something that Europe is trying to achieve. Today I have read at a Spanish newspaper that Spain will  also start vaccinating before the end of this month. 
However there are not enough vaccines for all those willing to be vaccinated. For this reason, April and May seem too early to start cruising again if vaccines are going to be required.

I assume that in USA and Canada the situation is similar.

Ivi

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