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Back to back policies


fubarbloke
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Posted (edited)

I just booked a 5 night Dominican Daze and a 4 night Fire and Sunset Soirées in November as a back to back. I talked to customer service to get it sorted. They were very helpful, but only up to a point. What I learned was:

 

- They'll work with you to keep you in the same cabin for both sailings.
- You have to disembark in Miami between the sailings, but you can leave your stuff in the cabin.
- You'll be assigned the latest disembark slot and the earliest re-embark slot.
- There might be excursions available in Miami – that's TBD.
- The $300 Future Voyage Credit that comes with your first booking cannot be applied to the second booking. It doesn't say so on the website, but according to the customer service rep those credits are only good for 2022 sailings.
- If you pre-pay a $300 bar tab, you get an extra $125 added but neither the $300 payment or the $125 spiff can be carried over to the second sailing. You'll have to pre-pay another $300, even if there's money left from the first sailing.

 

Effectively, I'd have to pay $600 to get $850 worth of drinks. That's nearly $100 a day; more if you figure in three port days – Puerto Plata, Miami, Key West. I'm assuming for the moment that the drink tab is good at Bimini, but need to check that.

 

I've run up $100 bar tabs in my life, but not for nine days in a row. Even figuring it without the spiff at $600 total/$67 per day I'm likely to lose money on the deal. The drinks package does not look attractive.

Edited by fubarbloke
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@fubarbloke

 

A couple remarks to your post

1) The 2022 for the FCC was in the original posting / information

2) Not being able to carry over the tab is not unique to VV - This is true across all cruise lines as each voyage is a new "account" - the same way having to get off the ship and back on. This is common as they have to zero out the ship. 

It would not surprise me if as VV gets going they have B2B policies - most of the cruises line give you a letter explaining the procedure - typically all the B2B cruisers meet at say 10am in some lounge - they check them out and check them right back in - this also means they don't need to go through passport control etc - however if they do leave the ship they typically need to wait until boarding has started to get back on

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Thanks, yes I found the 2022 restriction in VV's blog post. For now, VV is disembarking B2B passengers in Miami, and running everyone through customs/immigration and covid checks. That seems like something that will sort out over time.

 

I don't have a problem with closing out the account for the first sailing. As you say, that's common accounting practice. But not transferring a balance over – even just the actual cash paid in – and keeping the money seems greedy to me. It should be no more difficult to transfer the balance into my account for the second sailing than it is to transfer it into a revenue account.

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@sid_9169 - LOL

 

@fubarbloke - The issue is they treat the bar tab and non-refundable - "Any unused Bar Tab credit (both purchased and bonus) will not be refunded to the Sailor at the end of the voyage."

 

So that is even more so says why they can't / won't - that being said - I agree with your point - I'm sure VV has done some pricing models to figure out the pricing / what people will spend per day. What will be interesting is how / if the bar tab changes over time. I also wondering if people will be purchasing wine towards the end of the cruise and just not opening it in order to use up the tab

 

 

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Good news: a customer service rep told me that the $425 bar tab ($300 cash + $125 seablazer spiff) can be carried over to the second sailing of a back to back. I'll have to talk to guest services once I'm onboard, but she assured me it can and will be done. We'll see.

 

I also asked about the app. It only shows your next sailing, so it's not possible to use it to book restaurants or shore excursions for the the second sailing. The rep said "it's being worked on" – I think that's safe to say about the app, full stop :-). For now, if I want to book restaurants or shore activities for the second sailing, I have to call customer service and do it over the phone.

 

No problem upgrading my cabin for both sailings from a solo inside to a solo sea view which just became available on the website. I won't have to change cabins between sailings, either. But the website is still very basic – can't do upgrades online, or pretty much anything except an initial booking.
 

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13 minutes ago, fubarbloke said:

I also asked about the app. It only shows your next sailing, so it's not possible to use it to book restaurants or shore excursions for the the second sailing. The rep said "it's being worked on" – I think that's safe to say about the app, full stop :-). For now, if I want to book restaurants or shore activities for the second sailing, I have to call customer service and do it over the phone.

 

I don't know if this works for bookings etc, but in my app I can view future voyages, albeit in a rather hidden place - if I click on the "Me" icon at the bottom, then the settings icon in the top right corner then scroll down there is a button showing "Switch Voyage". When I click on this I get taken to my other voyage and all its details (but mine is a long way in the future so nothing much loaded yet!)

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2 hours ago, CanaryWharfCruiser said:

 

I don't know if this works for bookings etc, but in my app I can view future voyages, albeit in a rather hidden place - if I click on the "Me" icon at the bottom, then the settings icon in the top right corner then scroll down there is a button showing "Switch Voyage". When I click on this I get taken to my other voyage and all its details (but mine is a long way in the future so nothing much loaded yet!)

 

Cool! That worked. Thanks for the tip.

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On 8/10/2021 at 10:09 AM, fubarbloke said:

Good news: a customer service rep told me that the $425 bar tab ($300 cash + $125 seablazer spiff) can be carried over to the second sailing of a back to back. I'll have to talk to guest services once I'm onboard, but she assured me it can and will be done. We'll see.

 

I also asked about the app. It only shows your next sailing, so it's not possible to use it to book restaurants or shore excursions for the the second sailing. The rep said "it's being worked on" – I think that's safe to say about the app, full stop :-). For now, if I want to book restaurants or shore activities for the second sailing, I have to call customer service and do it over the phone.

 

No problem upgrading my cabin for both sailings from a solo inside to a solo sea view which just became available on the website. I won't have to change cabins between sailings, either. But the website is still very basic – can't do upgrades online, or pretty much anything except an initial booking.
 

Well darn. Seems like Virgin is the same as other lines. I called this morning to discuss the Bar Tab and the B2B that I have booked and was told no it won't carry over even if I were to go to the guest services. So maybe if more folks call they might get the hint that a carry over on a B2B would be a good idea. I even explained that I'm a travel agent and that didn't seem to escalate the help. The person I spoke with was very pleasant and apologetic though.

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1 hour ago, Biker19 said:

Then why would you think they'll change?

Hmm - maybe because they are a new line and seem to be working very hard to make sure things are going right. But here you have two different responses to the same question. Which is pretty typical of the other lines.

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On 8/17/2021 at 6:28 AM, Wildcatllamas said:

I called this morning to discuss the Bar Tab and the B2B that I have booked and was told no it won't carry over even if I were to go to the guest services.

 

Thank you for pursuing that. I called this morning to double check, and the customer service rep (a different one) told me the same thing you were told: the bar tab can't be carried over. She put me on hold while she "triple checked" and confirmed that the policy is no carry over.

 

However, she also said that if the previous rep promised me something, they would honor it. So she said a manager would listen to the recording of the call and would get back to me next week. The previous rep was very clear – when I questioned her, she repeated it and emphasised that the call was being recorded. There shouldn't be any dispute. I'll let you know what they say.

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20 hours ago, fubarbloke said:

 

Thank you for pursuing that. I called this morning to double check, and the customer service rep (a different one) told me the same thing you were told: the bar tab can't be carried over. She put me on hold while she "triple checked" and confirmed that the policy is no carry over.

 

However, she also said that if the previous rep promised me something, they would honor it. So she said a manager would listen to the recording of the call and would get back to me next week. The previous rep was very clear – when I questioned her, she repeated it and emphasised that the call was being recorded. There shouldn't be any dispute. I'll let you know what they say.

That would be great if they do honor it for you. Of course since the one I spoke with said no it just means I won't be dropping $300 just have it evaporate at the end of the 4th day. It would be great if they had smaller increments.

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Posted (edited)

It took a bit of a push, but Virgin made good – and then some – on their original promise to me.

 

I received a boiler plate email this morning, which was a simple statement of the Bar Tab policy: no carry overs from one sailing to the next. Which was non-responsive. The question was whether they were going to honor what the customer service rep who sold me the Bar Tab told me.

 

So I called customer service and reached another rep. After reiterating the policy, she told me that there was nothing customer service could do about it and I would have to talk to sailor services once I was onboard. But she didn't know whether sailor services could or would do anything about it. I said that wasn't satisfactory because it wasn't in line with what the previous two reps told me – the first saying that it would be done, the second saying that what the first said would be honored.

 

The rep then said she would check further and put me on hold for about an hour (she checked in with me from time to time to tell me they were still working on it). I'm guessing someone finally listened to the recordings of the calls – there was no note in my account that indicated someone had done so previously.

 

The final answer was that sailor services cannot carry accounts over either – the rep said they called the ship to confirm. But as a "one time exception" because I was "wrongly advised", they would add a second, complimentary $425 Bar Tab to my second sailing.

 

I'm happy with the result. I wish it hadn't taken as much persistence as it did, but their solution is above and beyond their obligation to me.

Edited by fubarbloke
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18 hours ago, fubarbloke said:

It took a bit of a push, but Virgin made good – and then some – on their original promise to me.

 

I received a boiler plate email this morning, which was a simple statement of the Bar Tab policy: no carry overs from one sailing to the next. Which was non-responsive. The question was whether they were going to honor what the customer service rep who sold me the Bar Tab told me.

 

So I called customer service and reached another rep. After reiterating the policy, she told me that there was nothing customer service could do about it and I would have to talk to sailor services once I was onboard. But she didn't know whether sailor services could or would do anything about it. I said that wasn't satisfactory because it wasn't in line with what the previous two reps told me – the first saying that it would be done, the second saying that what the first said would be honored.

 

The rep then said she would check further and put me on hold for about an hour (she checked in with me from time to time to tell me they were still working on it). I'm guessing someone finally listened to the recordings of the calls – there was no note in my account that indicated someone had done so previously.

 

The final answer was that sailor services cannot carry accounts over either – the rep said they called the ship to confirm. But as a "one time exception" because I was "wrongly advised", they would add a second, complimentary $425 Bar Tab to my second sailing.

 

I'm happy with the result. I wish it hadn't taken as much persistence as it did, but their solution is above and beyond their obligation to me.

Glad that you did get some resolution to this. That is nice that they did up it for you that way.

 

I really think Virgin needs to look at having smaller bar tab options if they are going to make them non-refundable. I sure don't want to throw away that kind of money. So I will just not be buying into their Bar tab option. Instead I will apply money to my account in the amount I think I will drink. I'm going to check and see if I purchase an onboard credit what are my refund options.

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Likely no refund for pre-purchasing onboard credit.  Why not just charge drinks to your room as you go like any other ship without a beverage package if you are worried about not spending the full amount.  On the other hand, if you have $100+ left on the last night just get a nice bottle of wine at dinner.

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I don't see any reason to go the extra step and buy credit. As drewdawg said just charge to your cabin. No fee to do that. Check your balance and pay it down a couple of times during your cruise. Easy to do. 

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17 hours ago, twodjs said:

I don't see any reason to go the extra step and buy credit. As drewdawg said just charge to your cabin. No fee to do that. Check your balance and pay it down a couple of times during your cruise. Easy to do. 

I usually add OBC for any of my cruises but it looks like it isn't even easy to do that with Virgin. On the other lines if I have anything left over it is returned as a check on the morning of disembarkation. I have also used any left over in the casino the night before. Just kind of a control issue thing but you are right. Just pay the account periodically during the cruise and be done with it.

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