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What would you do ?


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What would you do ?


I booked a cruise for this September with Marella a few months ago. The balance is due this week and I have received an email informing me that I will need to enter my covid and travel details, questionnaires etc online before I can printout my boarding pass and luggage labels.


Three weeks ago I found I could not access my online booking, I phoned Marella who acknowledged it was a fault with there system, it’s still not fixed and my balance is due. It seems the only proof of my booking is the confirmation email I received. A week before hand I normally get a reminder email informing me that the balance is due, I have not received this either.


I could pay the balance over the phone but there seems to be no assurance that later I will be able to access my booking to enter my travel information or print out my boarding passes. Or the balance won’t disappear just like my booking, I am panicking here.


If I don’t pay the balance can they claim I have canceled the cruise and retain my deposit ??

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I have contacted the TUI store in the next town (my local store has shut) and they cant access my details either, I can pay them but they can't give me access to my account or print out boarding passes etc. I am going around in circles. They suggest I take my booking confirmation email with me to Southampton and they can printout labels there. I have to take it on trust that when I get there they will have my details.

 The email: "Thank you for booking one of our UK Coastal Cruises. As promised, I’d like to share an update with you on our testing process and proof of vaccination." ---
"checking in online for your cruise and completing your pre-cruise COVID-19 survey. You’ll need to log in and complete your travel information to release your cruise boarding pass and luggage labels.

As well as your test result and proof of vaccination, we’ll also be checking your passport, new cruise boarding pass and cruise travel insurance before you board – so please make sure you have all your documents ready for check-in."


The TUI shop insists I don't need a boarding pass because I am not flying. 



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May I suggest that you post this on the Marella forum on this website.  You might find you're not alone with the problem or that someone will be able to advise you on your course of action.

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27 minutes ago, babs135 said:

May I suggest that you post this on the Marella forum on this website.  You might find you're not alone with the problem or that someone will be able to advise you on your course of action.


He already has done





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I have posted on the Marella forum but I thought maybe I might get a wider perspective from UK Cruisers. Perhaps someone might have  had a similar experience with other cruise lines in the past.


I have contacted citizens advice and am waiting a reply. My current thoughts are that I should just let it play out, not pay the balance because I can't, let Marella take my deposit by default, and then contact my credit card company to try and get a refund. 


I already have 2 cruises in the pipeline with Marella, but getting a bit distrustful of them with other experiences so the next 2 cruises after my Marella bookings are with P&O, Arcadia and Britannia. 



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Have you considered contacting your local BBC radio station.

Our local BBC radio station has a weekly phone-in with a travel agent.  Ours is during the morning show, 10am-1pm.


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I have managed to contact Marella by phone, their response is that their systems are constantly being updated so they are having problems.


When they suggested that I could make the final payment over the phone I responded that still would leave the problem that I would not be able to enter Covid/Passport information or print out boarding passes/ luggage labels. They suggested they could print out boarding passes at Southampton port. 


This is too big a gamble for me, I might book a coach, travel to Southampton and find out they can't printout boarding passes etc. My local TUI shop also suggested just turning up with my cruise confirmation email.


I asked if I could delay final payment until I can access My Booking. They promised a 14 day extension which they would confirm by email. So far I have received no emails.


I asked if I could cancel the cruise and get a refund of my deposit because the problem is their fault. I response was it's complicated because my deposit is a cruise credit from a cruise cancelled by Marella. They then put me on another extension to refund credit, which I lost.


When I look at the cruise terms and conditions the cancellation of a cruise incurs loss of deposit if applied more than 70 days (10 weeks) before the cruise, then it ramps up. The 14 days suggested takes me up to the 10 weeks. So no real offer of an extension really.


I found out that I have legal cover on my house insurance which covers consumer issues. I will have to try that.

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Posted (edited)

We sympathise with you having five cruises cancelled/transferred one way on another during the last fifteen months it’s a very stressful time,


Regarding the boarding pass there must be people who do not have online facilities especially given the demographics, until a few years ago P&O used to only ask for passports and a credit card at Southampton. They only started asking to see boarding passes to check your check-in time when you arrived at the terminal. But you will need your passport, covid vaccination proof and acceptable insurance.


It inexcusable that a year on into the pandemic you still you can’t get through to people and when you do confirmation is not supplied as promised, although (not with Marella) it’s taken hours for extension of payment date to be received. I would be inclined to email them as there can be different recollections to phone calls. I would not hold my breath on a prompt reply. Last autumn P&O took over a month to reply to a query about a cruise that was cancelled six months prior. But at least you have a record.


If you don’t pay by agreed date their T&Cs will allow them to keep your deposit. The T&C’s are always draconic but if you phone them up they might allow you other options for instance we were in your position three months ago with two river cruises for this summer and were worried that if the boat sailed and we were not on it, government advise, fear of being stranded abroad on return or quarantine. Then we would be deemed as disinclined to travel and lose everything. We were allowed to transfer our deposits to the same cruises in 2022. Hopefully there will be less uncertainty next year


I am sorry that I can’t be more positive but reading of you plight must serve as a warning to others that:-

  1. Marella does not appear capable of dealing with problems in a professional and timely manner so does anyone wish to take a chance with them
  2. Holidays are a high stress affair at the moment despite what the trade says.
  3. Until cruises restart and reports come back is it going to be an experience that you wish to pay for, restricted activities, compulsory ships excursions etc


Best of luck with Marella/TUI keep us informed.



Edited by Bill Y
add spaces between paragraphs
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Posted (edited)

I have spoken to my legal advise helpline they have suggested that if I pay the balance over the phone I ask for written confirmation e.g. email, that they will issue a boarding pass at the boarding point in Southampton should I still be unable to access my account and print the boarding pass myself before sailing.


They suggested it might be a bit tricky trying to cancel and requesting the return of my deposit on the ground that I can't access my account, that I will just loose my deposit.


The problem with Marella is that the only way to interact with them is through my online account or via the phone. My account doesn't work and there is usually a long wait on the phone if you can get hold of the correct person. I have never been able to find any reliable email address. With P&O I can email questions, even if the reply takes a couple of days.


My legal advise helpline now have my case on file and confirm I have legal expenses cover should the worst happen.


I did receive an email in response to my request for a delay to my final payment. It was just a copy of my original cruise confirmation with the same final payment date ????? 

Edited by GOQ
Added last sentence .
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They are shambolic -  cant even  follow the CLIA rules -  Passenger Bill of Rights

"The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations."


The 0203 number they quote is not toll-free!


If you have access to F*c$ Boo&      maybe try on there - most business dont

like complaints  or problems aired on that media.


Also maybe check your account details (if you can get that far in)   P&O

went weeks/ months with an "unknown" problem and it turned out they

changed something and "lost"  date of birth on the system which

prevented full access.  

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I have been able to get some sensible help. When I asked that Marella confirm I can get my boarding pass printed out at Southampton if "My Booking" was still unavailable by departure date the lady did consult with her colleagues before sending me a confirmation email. 


She also referred me to a new, partially working, Marella website which does recognise my booking reference number. Which was a relief.   The Passport Information, Boarding Passes and Luggage Tags part of the website are labelled as "Still Building" but the Cruise Planner section is working.

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