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MY Customer Service issue


tbelian

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Ok, brace yourself. Here I go, the 'celebrity loyalist' now ready to slam Celebrity!

 

I have been unsuccessfully working 'behind the scenes' to get a coupon credit applied to our upcoming cruise on the Constellation. We bought 'higher priced' digs, and are a party of 3. There has NEVER been a problem in the past with this at all. So, apparently things are changing, and not for the better

 

Here is the (essential) text of my most recent (and probably final) correspondence with my TA, who went above and beyond to try and get those stingy so and so's at Celebrity to re-think their position (kudos to my TA for her extra effort).

 

I hope that you have not thought that I had forgotten the issues with Celebrity Cruises.

 

We had forwarded to Celebrity Customer Service and our Regional Sales Manager your correspondence and asked them to work on some type of offer to you - even something as a simple gesture of goodwill.

 

Attached is a copy of the responses that we have received from Customer Service and my Regional Sales Manager (below). I am very disappointed with the response as I hoped that they would credit you with the full value of the coupon. Therefore, I called customer service again and spoke with Kathrine and she agreed that she would talk with her Boss again. I reaffirmed your loyalty to Celebrity, the xxx dollars of revenue you have given them over the years and the fact you have 12 completed cruise, but the answer only $50.

 

Unfortunately, Celebrity will not budge on this issue. At this point there is nothing more I can do.

 

If in the future you would like to try another cruise line I will be happy to make some recommendations."

 

Needless to say, even though I may, up to this point, be a "loyalist", I might take a close look at the last line of her email when it is time to book our next cruise

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I totally understand your frustration, having dealt with Princess Cruises Customer Service to the point of crying. Even though I was treated so badly (along with the thousands of others on my Dawn Princess cruise) I wasn't ready to throw in the towel with Princess until the actual cruise. Though we had a lovely cruise, after all I was off work, with my family, on a cruise, the ship's condition was horrible, the staff insufferable and the reduced and missed ports were unacceptable. Therefore, I can't see myself ever booking a Princess cruise again.

 

On the other hand, if the condition of the ship was good, if the staff had been good, if the food was good, if the ship hadn't missed so many ports (because of engine troubles that were supposed to have been fixed at the dry dock just before our cruise), I would have been able to let my dealings with customer service slide and I probably would have a Princess cruise booked at this moment.

 

So, for me, it's a whole package. I am fully aware that customer service of every type has deteriorated these last few years. I can't remember the last time I truly felt taken care of when talking to customer service of any company I deal with. It's a sad state of affairs.

 

I hope the cruise that is causing these troubles for you washes away all the bad feelings and that you have a wonderful time.

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This...

 

It was a $125.00 Captain's Club coupon ($125 off the fare, not OBC)... of course there were the 'usual' restrictions ie; new bookings only, not valid for holidays blah blah blah... the point on that is, they NEVER refused to take the coupon before even though previous cruises had coupons applied that were not 'new bookings' (we book on board during our 'current' cruise).

 

Bottom line is: Ship is full, price has gone up (so, can't cancel and re-book) the 'revenue department' (probably, OG could answer for sure) is saying 'no no no no' .... too bad. $125.00 of ill will. Not a deal breaker, but it stinks.

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That does stink! It also speaks volumes about the inconsistency of how the rules are applied. I used a Captain's Club coupon in early July and was allowed to do so even though the coupon had technically expired. I argued that because it had taken over 2 and a half months to get a Captain's Club number I wasn't aware of the coupon until after the expiration date, so they wound up honoring it. Of course, if I had gotten a different rep or called on a different day maybe I'd be in the same situation as you. Its increasingly obvious that getting good customer service from X has more to do with luck than the attitude of the passenger, as some on these boards have suggested.

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I've been fortunate with Princess (which was my first modern/oh-wow cruise experience) and less fortunate with X (which didn't prevent me from cruising them again, the first glitch still smarts mentally)...

 

I think the whole customer service area on the big lines is pretty much 'luck of the draw'... which is hardly a great 'policy' in action. The best luck is to not have an issue or encounter a problem, luck.

 

I guess with lines putting thousands of animals into each ark daily, we ought to resign ourselves to being treated like cattle (still lovin' every minute of it).

 

Here's hoping that the smaller, high quality competitors, thrive and survive independently to keep the pressure on the RCI and Carny 'brands' (don't 'ya hate that phrase) where it counts - service/product, service/product, service-service... both onboard and ashore. After all, it really is one of the key reasons for the industry's success. Let's hope they don't forget it in the drive to be 'industrial'.

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I totally understand your frustration, having dealt with Princess Cruises Customer Service to the point of crying. Even though I was treated so badly (along with the thousands of others on my Dawn Princess cruise) I wasn't ready to throw in the towel with Princess until the actual cruise. Though we had a lovely cruise, after all I was off work, with my family, on a cruise, the ship's condition was horrible, the staff insufferable and the reduced and missed ports were unacceptable. Therefore, I can't see myself ever booking a Princess cruise again.

 

 

Desertbelle, You must have misunderstood? I believe Tbelian was talking about Celebrity in his OP!

 

Tbelian, Yes it is amazing how Celebrity would take such a view, especially with good and loyal customers. When I say that I can relate to your frustration in dealing with a "stone wall", I am sure you know that is true.

It is almost like Celebrity is tired of all those passengers constantly filling up their ships. Celebrity's attitude may well have a huge impact in the future. Since you have read and even commented on some of my posts you have probably seen my comments that, Celebrity does indeed seem to shoot from the hip in their decision making process. With the service and entertainment so good, it is indeed a shame how badly so many other things are handled.

 

As far as "we ought to resign ourselves to being treated like cattle"; (mentioned above)

now I have been told to lower my standards and expectations, by many on this Celebrity board, but I am not sure I am willing to lower my standards quite that much! As some of you may have figured out, I am not one to lay back and just accept that kind of treatment and would not be lovin every minute of it.

 

Have a great cruise Tbelian.

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Ok, brace yourself. Here I go, the 'celebrity loyalist' now ready to slam Celebrity!

 

I'm glad to see the light finally came on. You will find it amazing how much clearer you will start seeing things that others have recently spoke of.

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Hi Tbelian !

 

I do understand your frustration. As most of us regulars know, Celebrity used to accept just about every coupon all the time, even though the restrictions were (and still are) clearly printed on the coupons.

 

I have found a complete turnaround over the past 9 months or so, where they accept every coupon to the letter, without exception. The moment you do not meet one of the requirements, you are out of luck.

 

I feel this is a wrong attitude to take, when passengers have many other Cruise Line choices out there. Celebrity should do what it can to maintain loyalty.

 

On the flipside, perhaps we were spoiled when Celebrity used to be VERY lenient with the coupons. If it were my call, I would accept the coupons when asked, and keep the customer happy.

 

If the Cruise industry ever slows down, Celebrity will regret some of the current decisions they are making, as the people they are disappointing, will not forget these decisions.

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Did the coupon you attempted to use conform with the rules? That is, date of sailing and booking window?

 

The one caveat on the back of the coupon, is "offer may be withdrawn at any time".

 

When I receive CC coupons I immediately enter them in CruisingPower and then check about a week later to see if they have been applied.

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Bottom line is: Ship is full, price has gone up (so, can't cancel and re-book) the 'revenue department' (probably, OG could answer for sure) is saying 'no no no no' .... too bad. $125.00 of ill will. Not a deal breaker, but it stinks.

 

You sort of answered your own question. The ships seem to be sailing full these days so they don't really care if they lose customers. The old concept of establishing a customer base and then working to maintain it seems to be a thing of the past.

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I don't feel that the decision to accept or refuse coupons should be arbitrary depending on how loyal a customer is, how often Celebrity has bent the rules for a customer in the past, or how hard one 'presses their case'. It seems as if Celebrity has tightened up their rules regarding coupons, and if that's the case, it means equal treatment for all and perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

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We are Elite members on Celebrity but sadly for many reasons we have switched to Princess

 

Customer service is a problem on all large cruise lines and lately Celebrity seem to have pulled the plug on even the tiniest morsel of customer service or loyalty recognition

 

They have removed even the "priveledge" of 10 minutes of free internet to Elite passengers so that along with a lack of decent itineries has pulled the plug for us

 

We get unlimited free internet on Princess and a huge variety of itineries

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I'll be sailing on Celebrity for the sixth time next July. I don't care about any perks that might be available now or in the future. I use the internet and get a package deal available to all. I don't want nor care for any afternoon snacks brought to the cabin. I never attend the Captain's cocktail party, nor would I attend a Captain's Club social. All cruise lines offer good deals off season to the general public- so all these supposed "perks" for past passengers are lost on me.

Just cruise because Celebrity is better than the other lines. In fact, I have had my own customer relations nightmares with Princess, which are two long to go into here.

I will let everyone know if I do experience a problem with Celebrity but for now they are my absolute favorite- in all respects.

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Years and years ago, my dh and I were in a resort town, and we had a Dairy Queen coupon, not limited to any specific store. So we tried to use it, and the cashier looked at it and said they couldn't accept it. We asked why, since the fine print was fine. But the phrase "participating" makes all the difference in the world! They said they weren't participating!!! :eek:

 

We've had to deal with customer service on another cruise line, Carnival, and it was as harrowing an experience as you are going through now. In the end, we were not satisfied. And, like you, it's not the money, it's the principle! In the end, we decided to boycott Carnival.

 

Friends called us last night and said they could get on a particular Carnival cruise for 220.00 for a seven-day cruise ocean view. How can you beat that? How can you compete???

 

Carnival just blew us off, as it seems Celebrity is doing you. They'll fill the spot with someone else.

 

Is it a losing battle? It sure seems like it. And it's not just the cruise lines that are turning into megacompanies. Banks, hotels, autos, etc. The consumer has less and less to say anymore.

 

My two cents,

 

Shay

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Hi tbelian,

I am so glad that you consider yourself a 'Celebrity loyalist' and at the first response from them that did not satisfy you......you are ready to follow your TA's recommendations to look / try "another cruise line"......is that what 'loyalty ' is ?

 

I'm might have several responses today, please bear with me.

 

As for the above, the 'celebrity loyalist' label is not one I am attaching to myself. It's something that has been 'accused' by many other celebrity naysayers (along with cheerleader, sunshine gang member, and so on). Even though I have previously indicated that when the product, or company fails to deliver I would consider another product.

 

I also know the coupon didn't meet the exact rules and regulations, but that is not my point. The point is, in the past they accepted coupons that did not meet the rules and regs, and now they don't. That is the primary beef.

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I also know the coupon didn't meet the exact rules and regulations, but that is not my point. The point is, in the past they accepted coupons that did not meet the rules and regs, and now they don't. That is the primary beef.

 

I understand your frustration - I really do. Celebrity set an expectation when they allowed coupons to be used in violation of their own rules and regulations. The piece I don't quite understand is why you would be upset that they had finally decided to start enforcing their rules and regulations. The rules and regulations are there for a reason (they are trying to use them to get new bookings), the fact that they are actually enforcing them should be considered good customer service as it is no longer arbitrary but is fair for all. After all, I'm not mad at the officer who writes me a speeding ticket on a road I've been speeding on for years - just because now they are going to enforce it. :D I also think the $50 was an attempt on their side to show good faith to a loyal customer even though they couldn't honor the original coupon. The only thing that Celebrity has done wrong IMO is allowing the coupons, in the past, to be used outside their rules and regulations as it sets an expectation in their clients, which then made you feel bad/frustrated when they finally started operating correctly.

 

As I stated earlier - I do understand your frustration - but it's their past actions that have you set you up to feel this way. Hopefully, you can try and look at it a different way and feel a bit better.

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The piece I don't quite understand is why you would be upset that they had finally decided to start enforcing their rules and regulations.

 

A couple weeks back there was a very active discussion regarding the 'new' alcohol policy that Celebrity had publicized. Actually it wasn't a 'new' policy per se, they alway prohibited 'BYOB', but, this new information said they were now going to actually enforce the policy a bit more stringently. Look at the uproar that ensued over that! ... :D

 

I'm not really upset by the policy. I'm going on my cruise, paying what I expected to pay, and will enjoy every minute of it. I simply wanted to point this out for informational purposes, to other cruisers. Take it for what you want, and use the information or not.

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I feel your pain - we've attempted to take advantage of Celebrity "coupons" on several different occasions and have met with similar frustration.

 

One time we received the Captain's Club newsletter three days after we booked a cruise. There was a $75 off coupon in the newsletter that applied to our cruise, however, X wouldn't accept it because it was for new bookings only and we had booked three days prior! Our TA tried everything but to no avail.

 

Another time X accepted a birthday coupon I submitted to our TA and when final payment was due, they added the value of the coupon back into the balance due, claiming the coupon was submitted after we had booked, thus it was invalid and never should have been accepted in the first place. What really ticked me off was that so many people on Cruise Critic were congratulating themselves on being able to use their birthday/anniversary coupons even after they had already booked.

 

On the one hand, as loyal X cruisers (25 cruises with four more already booked) I'm bothered by our coupon fiascos; on the other hand, I guess you really can't fault X for finally deciding to adhere to their own rules - I just hope from now on they're consistent and do so across the board.

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This...

 

It was a $125.00 Captain's Club coupon ($125 off the fare, not OBC)... of course there were the 'usual' restrictions ie; new bookings only, not valid for holidays blah blah blah... the point on that is, they NEVER refused to take the coupon before even though previous cruises had coupons applied that were not 'new bookings' (we book on board during our 'current' cruise).

 

Bottom line is: Ship is full, price has gone up (so, can't cancel and re-book) the 'revenue department' (probably, OG could answer for sure) is saying 'no no no no' .... too bad. $125.00 of ill will. Not a deal breaker, but it stinks.

 

Hi Tbelian :)

 

I understand how you feel because it has happened to me several times. Five years ago when people were afraid to travel because of 9/11, Celebrity was very flexible about accepting coupons. However, on several occasions within the past few years they would not accept mine either for a cruise that was already booked. The problem is that by the time I receive a coupon, the price increase from the time I booked the cruise is usually significantly greater than what I would have saved by using a coupon, so it doesn't pay for me to wait until I receive them.

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I feel your pain - we've attempted to take advantage of Celebrity "coupons" on several different occasions and have met with similar frustration.

 

One time we received the Captain's Club newsletter three days after we booked a cruise. There was a $75 off coupon in the newsletter that applied to our cruise, however, X wouldn't accept it because it was for new bookings only and we had booked three days prior! Our TA tried everything but to no avail.

 

Another time X accepted a birthday coupon I submitted to our TA and when final payment was due, they added the value of the coupon back into the balance due, claiming the coupon was submitted after we had booked, thus it was invalid and never should have been accepted in the first place. What really ticked me off was that so many people on Cruise Critic were congratulating themselves on being able to use their birthday/anniversary coupons even after they had already booked.

 

On the one hand, as loyal X cruisers (25 cruises with four more already booked) I'm bothered by our coupon fiascos; on the other hand, I guess you really can't fault X for finally deciding to adhere to their own rules - I just hope from now on they're consistent and do so across the board.

 

Lysolqn, I think you have hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that Celebrity needs to be "consistent". I think this applies to many of decisions that come from the corporate office. Many posters have reported having the same issue resolved by customer service with totally different outcomes. This kind of "shooting from the hip" will always lead to customer dissastafaction.

 

SkySuite, I am probably one of the few on these boards who really doubts that raising prices on cruises before the coupon is mailed is just a coincidence. We have been in the Captain's club about five years and have probably received maybe a total of three or four newletters. I called customer service a few years ago and they were going to check into it. This year we made the "five cruise level" whatever that is called, and we still have not seen a newsletter this year. For myself the only true discounts are the happy hour specials that Celebrity offers. Next year, based on the way things have gone I would think there will be lots of them.

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