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Culinary Arts Kitchen Classes - CC Charged In Full


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Booked our first Regent cruise (March 3, 2022).  So far so good until today. 

 

For onboard activities I booked 6 Culinary Arts Kitchen Classes for my wife (it's what she likes to do as an onboard activity). I was shocked to find that Regent actually charged my CC in full for the classes.  When I gave my CC I was expecting it to be held as a guarantee - which is acceptable.  I called Regent and the answer I got was that this was their business practice.  I said that this particular practice is a bad practice because it is reasonable to take a  guarantee but not reasonable to fully charge 10 months out. I will have about $1100 in OBCs.   The customer representative informed me that I would get a refund to my CC if I elected to use OBCs at the final accounting of the cruise.  I am fuming not at the amount - but rather - at the practice - of having my money for 10 months for something that should be a guarantee.  If I don't show up or miss the cancelation deadlines - fine, charge me then - that’s what a guarantee is for.  

 

Anyone else run across this?  Also I asked for - where is the disclosure for this? - I could not find it - neither could the representative who promised to send it to me.

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Posted (edited)

This is the way it has always worked.  Culinary Kitchen spaces are limited and, unlike an excursion, they can't add another "bus.". Your OBCs must be from a third party (TA?)...if they were Regent or partnered OBCs, they could have been used for the classes without providing new money.

 

If you want to compare policies, Viking wanted payment in full for one of their new Mississippi River cruises 33 months out!  For a ship that hasn't been built.

Edited by Portolan
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2 minutes ago, Dwtlion said:

How is this different than paying well in advance for shore excursions? I just paid for April shore excursions on a Splendor  '22 cruise.

Its not - I imagine if I was electing to use - Regent Choice excursions instead of their "free" excursions - then I would be saying the same thing.  A guarantee CC serves the purpose of reserving - with appropriate parameters to active the charge.  The only time a full charge should be utilized is when an item is non-refundable - then I agree with the full charge.  I don't know about the paid out of pocket excursions but the culinary classes can be cancel 36 hours prior.  

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2 minutes ago, Portolan said:

This is the way it has always worked.  Culinary Kitchen spaces are limited and, unlike an excursion, they can't add another "bus.". Your OBCs must be from a third party (TA?)...if they were Regent or partnered OBCs, they could have been used for the classes without providing new money.

 

If you want to compare policies, Viking wanted payment in full for one of their new Mississippi River cruises 33 months out!  For a ship that hasn't been built.

Does not mean the practice is a practical one - for the customer.  As I said in a previous - a CC guarantee serves the same purpose, especially since these could be cancelled 36 hours prior anyway.  At hour 37 prior I can say no - and the outcome is the same - I have my money back or I am not charged.  Taking the money ahead serves one purpose - multiplied out and you have a free loan at my expense.  Its not the amount its the practice that is irking me.

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Something seems odd to me.  Some larger ticket add-ons to cruises just get added to your invoice, so that you pay for them with final payment--this is true for land extensions, for instance.  Then again, excursions used to be charged to your CC when you booked them, but now I believe that your OBC can be used to offset that payment.  So I don't get that part.

 

I know the culinary classes may be special--in the "old days" we did a couple of Cordon Bleu courses onboard Voyager and it was paid for in advance, but that was way before OBC's could be used in that way. And as you say, there's no reason why a CC could not hold such a reservation, with appropriate deadlines of course.

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12 minutes ago, Wendy The Wanderer said:

Something seems odd to me.  Some larger ticket add-ons to cruises just get added to your invoice, so that you pay for them with final payment--this is true for land extensions, for instance.  Then again, excursions used to be charged to your CC when you booked them, but now I believe that your OBC can be used to offset that payment.  So I don't get that part.

 

I know the culinary classes may be special--in the "old days" we did a couple of Cordon Bleu courses onboard Voyager and it was paid for in advance, but that was way before OBC's could be used in that way. And as you say, there's no reason why a CC could not hold such a reservation, with appropriate deadlines of course.

Exactly - it makes no sense to me - of course it makes perfect sense to the accountant coming up with it.  Until proven otherwise I see it as an unnecessary practice that just generates a small - several million dollar - free loan for Regent at the customers expense.  (assume a small number - 50 passengers per cruise - book extras - at an average of $500 x 259 available cruises - that's total of $6.5 million in paid ahead revenue (not all at once of course) for no reason - since it is refundable or convertible).  Anyway its the practice that is bothering me and the non-answer-answer I received.  

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2 hours ago, Yankeeclipper1 said:

Exactly - it makes no sense to me - of course it makes perfect sense to the accountant coming up with it.  Until proven otherwise I see it as an unnecessary practice that just generates a small - several million dollar - free loan for Regent at the customers expense.  (assume a small number - 50 passengers per cruise - book extras - at an average of $500 x 259 available cruises - that's total of $6.5 million in paid ahead revenue (not all at once of course) for no reason - since it is refundable or convertible).  Anyway its the practice that is bothering me and the non-answer-answer I received.  

I think most people would agree with, that said it’s been this way for sometime.  The fact is they charge you-and yes it does benefit the cruise lines.  It’s a choice one has to make, book it and pay, or take your chances and book on the ship.  Keep in mind this is a very popular class and if you like to cook it’s well worth it.

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Drib articulated my point better than I did.  Since there is no limit on the number of Culinary Kitchen classes you can register for, if they didn't require something more than "I'll make my decision 36 hours out,"  a single suite's couple could tie up more than 10% of all the available slots.  Despite the fact that you could still cancel and get your payment back, I think the act of paying in advance deters this kind of abuse of the system. 

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As someone who handles events for a local group, having some money in the game is much more of a  commitment than just a CC guarantee.  Yes, they will get a refund if they have to back out, but it still is more of a commitment than just a sign up.

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4 hours ago, Portolan said:

Drib articulated my point better than I did.  Since there is no limit on the number of Culinary Kitchen classes you can register for, if they didn't require something more than "I'll make my decision 36 hours out,"  a single suite's couple could tie up more than 10% of all the available slots.  Despite the fact that you could still cancel and get your payment back, I think the act of paying in advance deters this kind of abuse of the system. 

100% right on, I wish they made people give bigger deposits when booking a cruise with a portion non-refundable to stop people from booking just to hold space…this would free up suites that people really want them.

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1 hour ago, ronrick1943 said:

100% right on, I wish they made people give bigger deposits when booking a cruise with a portion non-refundable to stop people from booking just to hold space…this would free up suites that people really want them.

I agree and disagree - my point was taking - a payment in full - (not a deposit) - that can be returned 36 hours before the event serves no purpose to me.  I would rather have them say its non-refundable (with the usual caveats -- like your cruise fare paid in advance etc.) - that would meet the goal of stopping people from just holding space.  So far most of the justifications I see above do not meet that goal or say that's the way its been.    

 

Anyway - its a minor amount in the scheme of things - just torqued me to see a charge I was not expecting - therefore the venting conversation. 

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36 minutes ago, Yankeeclipper1 said:

I agree and disagree - my point was taking - a payment in full - (not a deposit) - that can be returned 36 hours before the event serves no purpose to me.  I would rather have them say its non-refundable (with the usual caveats -- like your cruise fare paid in advance etc.) - that would meet the goal of stopping people from just holding space.  So far most of the justifications I see above do not meet that goal or say that's the way its been.    

 

Anyway - its a minor amount in the scheme of things - just torqued me to see a charge I was not expecting - therefore the venting conversation. 

I agree, the first time I got the charge back on “O” cruises it was a why did they do that non far ahead.  It’s the way it is and you just get use to it.

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