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No OBC when redeeming a Future Cruise Deposit (FCD)?


frankp01
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Let me start by saying - this is for North American bookings. I realize FCDs are a sensitive issue, but I have a question on redeeming them on a US booking.

 

I have two QM2 bookings. We used Future Cruise Deposits on both. In neither case did we get any OBC. I called Cunard and they said it's due to the fare we booked. We have *always* booked a sale fare of some sort, and still received OBC. The fine print on the certificates says "not combinable with Last Minute Deals, Sailing Soon Savings and other fares offered inside final payment"  Both bookings were made far outside of the final payment. This December's trip was booked in May and June '24 was booked in July '23. Has Cunard gotten crankier about which fares an FCD will be eligible for OBC? Has anyone else encountered this?

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Interesting, I've run into the same. To the point I'm questioning the necessity of buying them. In almost every case I'd have to book a higher fare to get the OBC and the higher fare is always more than OBC given in exchange. I don't know, I have left several sitting on the shelf which I guess will age out eventually and get refunded.

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There seems to be a very good US Labor Day Sale going on right now offering decent prices and decent OBC. This is for next summer’s Alaska offerings. 
I hope there isn’t weird “catches” with these deals. 

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47 minutes ago, fourmile.ranch said:

I'm questioning the necessity of buying them.

Precisely. Are they no longer valid with any sale fare? If so, there's not a whole lot of reason to invest in them. When I'm on board in December I'll have to see if I can get clarification on just which fares they're valid.

 

Further thought: I was able to get my shareholder benefit on the December trip. But I think the only fares the shareholder benefit is not valid on is *deeply* discounted fares, like travel agent and tour conductors. I wish there were some consistency.

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48 minutes ago, frankp01 said:

Further thought: I was able to get my shareholder benefit on the December trip. But I think the only fares the shareholder benefit is not valid on is *deeply* discounted fares, like travel agent and tour conductors. I wish there were some consistency.

 

With the COVID shutdown the balance sheets of the cruise lines are frightful, loaded down with massive debt. All the lines have cutback and/or raised rates and the shareholders of the companies have taken major portfolio reductions. I'm not excusing their behavior but I understand why they're doing what they are.  https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/CCL/carnival/debt-equity-ratio

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22 minutes ago, Classiccruiser777 said:

All the lines have cutback and/or raised rates

I fully understand that. But the FCDs I've purchased recently were in January '23, and there's no mention of them not being valid on conventional sale fares. I think that's my complaint is that there's no explanation of on which fares they are, or are not, valid.

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On QV last week I purchased two FCD’s but was denied the OBC by the Future Cruise Consultants because I booked a Labor Day Sale fare for next year.

In order to get the $300 OBC I would have to have paid a $600 higher fare.

They appeared surprised after initially telling me I would get it that their computer system disallowed it.

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53 minutes ago, foodsvcmgr said:

denied the OBC

Thanks for the additional confirmation. One of our fares is a Memorial Day sale and I'm not sure what the other one is, but it was a sale. If I were a lawyer I think there'd be a suit here. There's a bit of bait and switch.

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Did you find T&C from Cunard? I searched their site and didn't find any explanation of the restrictions or limitations of FCD. I did find a site, updated this week, that discusses FCD for various lines:

https://www.travelmarketreport.com/Cruise/articles/Onboard-Future-Cruise-Booking-Policies-by-Cruise-Line

 

Their information on Cunard says:

"Other related rules: Future Cruise deposits expire four years from date of issue and are fully refundable. Not combinable with custom group quotes, Cruise Night, Net/Net Fares, Flash, Travel Advisor, Interline, Incentive, Negotiated, Friends & Family, Lowest/Value Fares, Short Sales promotions with promo RG*, Sailing Soon savings, and other fares offered inside final payment."

 

No idea what "promo RG" means, there was no footnote for the asterisk.

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I just ran into the same situation frankp01 describes;  I'm Diamond level and have always bought an FCC onboard and have had no problems using it on any type of fare.  Today, I booked a QM2 trip for March 2024 - not part of the Labor Day Sale - but my agent was told it's a deeply discounted fare so I cannot get the OBC that came with the FCC.  I do think it's a bait and switch but we seem to have no leverage over the corporate behemeth.  Although I have two FCCs, I opted not to use it for this booking since I would not receive the OBC and instead wouldn't have to pay a deposit (using the FCC as deposit).  I guess I'm hoping that somewhere along the line, they'll change their policy back to what it was or else I'll wait for them to get refunded back to me....  I've been on HAL and Cunard a lot in the past two years and have decided it's time to try Windstar or return to Azamara.  While no cruise is perfect, the negatives on HAL & Cunard are getting too large for me. Sigh...I really Cunard.

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2 hours ago, Queenvee said:

I just ran into the same situation frankp01 describes;  I'm Diamond level and have always bought an FCC onboard and have had no problems using it on any type of fare.  Today, I booked a QM2 trip for March 2024 - not part of the Labor Day Sale - but my agent was told it's a deeply discounted fare so I cannot get the OBC that came with the FCC.  I do think it's a bait and switch but we seem to have no leverage over the corporate behemeth.  Although I have two FCCs, I opted not to use it for this booking since I would not receive the OBC and instead wouldn't have to pay a deposit (using the FCC as deposit).  I guess I'm hoping that somewhere along the line, they'll change their policy back to what it was or else I'll wait for them to get refunded back to me....  I've been on HAL and Cunard a lot in the past two years and have decided it's time to try Windstar or return to Azamara.  While no cruise is perfect, the negatives on HAL & Cunard are getting too large for me. Sigh...I really Cunard.

 

Looking at the confirmation I received for the FCD we purchased on the QE in June, the exclusions at the bottom of the page say: "The Future Cruise Deposit is not combinable with Last Minute Deals, Sailing  Soon Savings and other fares offered inside final payment." It seems a bit cheeky of Cunard to deny the use of the FCD so far in advance.

 

As I said earlier I have  used this FCD for a voyage in Sept. 2024. It was a discounted fare under the current Summer Savings Event. Perhaps that is not considered a "deeply discounted fare" as mentioned in the posting by  Queenvee.

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Sadly after one week and two emails I have yet to hear explanation of this from Cunard in the US.

A shame that this pettiness casts a pall on an otherwise outstanding cruise experience last week on QV.

That being said, in all honesty the fare booked aboard for next year IS so low that there is nothing gained by my being spiteful and cancelling.

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I did see the caveat at the bottom of the FCC letter (the one i received when I purchased the FCC) but I didn't think that booking a cruise literally more than six months before sailing date would be considered "Last Minute Deals, Sailing  Soon Savings and other fares offered inside final payment".  I will contact the Diamond World Club desk (more to voice my unhappiness than to expect that the FCC will suddenly be granted) and I have just submitted my shareholder benefit request for my Nov 2023 QM2 crossing and my March 2024 QE voyage.  I'll report back on the results of both!

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5 hours ago, Queenvee said:

I did see the caveat at the bottom of the FCC letter (the one i received when I purchased the FCC) but I didn't think that booking a cruise literally more than six months before sailing date would be considered "Last Minute Deals, Sailing  Soon Savings and other fares offered inside final payment".  I will contact the Diamond World Club desk (more to voice my unhappiness than to expect that the FCC will suddenly be granted) and I have just submitted my shareholder benefit request for my Nov 2023 QM2 crossing and my March 2024 QE voyage.  I'll report back on the results of both!

 

Indeed, a reasonable inference from the wording is that only reduced fares offered after final payment will not qualify. I have used FCDs many times and never been refused even when fares are reduced from the original so-called brochure fares. I suppose I have never booked at what is considered a deep discounted fare.  Although it will be a year before I will be able to buy future deposits on board I will do so with the hope it will be beneficial. On each of two  QE Alaska cruises we got $800 OBC from the deposits - plus other credit for booking early -  which were the best we have had. 

 

I'm not normally a suspicious person, but I wonder if Cunard is trying to get people fed up with the FCDs so they can be discontinued (as they have in other countries other than the US and Canada) with minimal complaints.

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So I wanted to circle around to this again as I just booked over the weekend. My voyage had two promotions - 'Sailing Soon' for $1599pp OR 'Summer Savings Event' for $1699pp with $100pp OBC. Now think about that. They are essentially the same price.

 

OBC from Future Cruise Deposit not eligible on 'Sailing Soon' but had no issues applying it to 'Summer Savings Event' rate and getting the additional OBC. When both rates are the same. Makes zero sense.

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3 hours ago, MCC retired said:

Sounds like it is a before vs after Final payment Date that allows the FCD OBC or not?

 

That appears to be one factor in some cases, but if both are before final payment (as fourmile.ranch indicated), I assume it is the difference in fare designation as discussed further upthread.

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Update regarding @frankp01's comment about whether shareholder benefit OBC would still be granted for "discounted" fares, I submitted my request for shareholder benefit OBC for the 3/10/24 QE voyage and already received acknowledgement from Cunard that the OBC has been applied to my accounts.  Glad that having a discounted fare doesn't prevent shareholder benefits from being used.

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