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Voyager, Dubai to Rome.


PaulaJK

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The Saturday prior to departure we rec'd a letter from Regent/Mark Conroy via our TA. It explained Voyager's pod problem and the hope that it could/would be fully repaired in Dubai. It offered 3 options:

1.cancel now w. full refund

2.switch to Mariner's Ring of Fire in HongKong. Regent would make all of the air/hotel arrangements

3.Proceed. $00 OBC now. If Voyager had to sail w. reduced schedule, then 25% refund and 25% for a future cruise.

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I am 'timing out' so only short notes until then.

We arrived to an eerily quiet port on 4/1. A crew ember took our bags 'to sort in another room'. No bells went off.

 

We stepped on board to Welcome..You are aware of the pod problems?

 

We were escorted to the Card Room where Gundrun, HM, Jamie and Dana were circulating....a counselling session on choices outlined in the newest packet of pepers.

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Voyager had been unable to be repaired.A burnt out section of the motor had been identified, making dry dock mandatory.

 

Options 1 & 2 were as above with additional assistance w. hotels and flights due to geography. Flght schedules were tight and no one would be flying out until at least 4/3.

 

Option 3 was to stay with 50% refund of fare. The $400 OBC for sticking through no longer was mentionned nor was any future credit. Some folks had negative feelings about either one of these aspects.

 

The itinerary now is direly truncated with stops only in Fujairah,Muscat, Safaga and Aqaba. The rest are sea days. A major change is that the cruise now ends in Rome instead of Istanbul

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Debbie, One of the management [Jamie,etc] sat down with us to be certain that we understood the options. They did not pressure and emphasized that you had to choose what would work for you. No signatures were required. At the end we gave our name, city we needed to fly into and how urgent it was to be timely to Gudrun. I had rather assumed that we would simply receive notification at some point of our air booking. However, yesterday Jamie began saying that a new letter was being prepared outlining all of our choices in ports of disembarkation [!?!], hotels and air...and that we would have to fill out papers and give them the information. All a bit vague at the moment and leaving me with the sense/fear that there maybe more to come.

 

The ship seems quite quiet...perhaps about 420 pax [maitre d's estimate] but I don't have an accurate #.

 

I did speak with upper management late yesterday and they still had one staff person in Dubai "working through the night" to obtain flights for those [former] pax. The inference was that these folks may be stranded in Dubai for a few days. And actually M.Conroy had said that there wouldn't be any flight before 4/3, which is today.

 

People chat about it in the halls and elevators, usually asking whether you consider the compensation fair and how to make due. I don't sense anger or agitation. The WC are suddenly thrown into packing up and seem to be clustering together as well. Since there are few[er] newcomers, this impacts us. Frankly, it's been rather dull. I think that they are so caught up in making these arrangements, that there has been little attention to this cruise. No sail away party, no block party,etc. May suggest that they need to do more to inspire some spirit.

 

Fujairah, one of our precious 4 ports, did not take your breath away but rather made us want to take the next shuttle back. The shuttle dropped us at Lulu's Hypermarket. There didn't seem to be much else than mountains devoid of vegetation and very thirsty looking palm trees.

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You cannot even begin to imagine what a disaster this cruise is. Most of us knew, before leaving home for Dubai, that Voyager had pod problems. When boarding in Dubai we learned that they had not be able to fix these and we would have a markedly truncated itinerary and a change of disembarkation port to Rome. We were inundated with reassurances by Mark Conroy, who was on board, that we would be taken care of, flown

home compliments of Regent [in the same class we had arrived] and put up in a hotel at Regent's expense should delays be involved. OK, we stayed.

 

CD Jamie, the redundant, has been on the airways promising a letter. It arrived today 4/3 at lunch time [i think that they're trying to save $ on food as it is nauseating.] Signed by Conroy w. "We sincerely hope you will enjoy the remainder of your journey." makes me think the man lives in a bubble. So far, the cruise has been a total bust...flat, no spirit, only about 420 aboard and no one around as they probably are totally preoccupied with this mess.

 

The letter offer 3 options:

1.Disembark in Aqaba on 4/13....visit Cairo and the Pryamids, ending in Istanbul either 4/17 or 18th. You will be moving around a lot, paying for most of your own meals, all telephone calls, liquor,etc "Use your own air arrangements home."'We've seen the pyramids thanks and if we had wanted a land tour, we would have signed up for one. Plus we have already PAID for 4/13-19 on board Voyager.

 

2.For those who wish to continue on with their own plans post Istanbul....they'll fly you from Rome to Istanbul

 

3.For those who want to disembark in Rome...now Sunday OR Monday, supply them with your original flight details and they'll cancel them [HUH?]. "RSSC will not cover additional expenses or private arrangements if you are staying longer in Rome or Europe." HUH? We WORK...fee for service....and are losing income with all of these arrangements....let alone losing our annual vacation.

 

Let me remind you, we are not fully refunded.

We are not being taken care of.

Conroy made promises and broke them.

Please don't lecture me on how Regent makes you whole!!!!

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Paula,

 

I am so sorry for what you are going through. From what I have read, it sounds that those like you ,that boarded in Dubai, got the short end of the stick.

 

I find outrageous that in the new "option" they are offering for land travel for 4/13-4/17 or 18, the passenger has to pay for their own meals and drinks! So what happens to what they already paid for those days aboard Voyager? It goes down a black hole??

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Paula,

 

I respect and admire your moxy and candor in providing a very clear report on what is happening.

 

I am terribly sorry that you are caught in the crossfire of this latest Regent disaster. From your report, it sounds as if the "Regent Experience" is anything but.

 

Here's hoping there is an immediate turn-around and appropriate resolution.

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Paula, you are doing all of us a great service by posting with candor. Please keep us fully informed. I am one of those who commented that Regent's record is good in the area of making one whole in circumstances like these. Clearly not in your case. A pyramids tour that is not all inclusive? That's nuts since it is a substitute for on board all inclusive service. I can understand why Regent would want to book your flight from Rome to home since they purchase air at a discount. But they should let you request a return date and pay for Rome accommodations for a reasonable period of time. And most important, they should communicate with you clearly, consistently, and candidly. Doesn't sound like that is happening. Regent had an awful situation last year on the Navigator in Cozumel. A great deal of the hyper-dissonance that occurred aboard the ship was attributable to a lack of prompt, clear, consistent information. I thought Regent had learned from that temporary disaster. Apparently not. Pat

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Regent is probably constrained in this mess by 1) what the insurance will pay toward making affected passengers "whole" 2) by the company's own cash-flow issues and the cost of going beyond what the insurance will provide and 3) creating costly and unsustainable expectations among future passengers if Voyager dry dock must be extended further or a similar problem happens in the future.

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Hi Paula,

 

I am so sorry to read of this debacle, after you endured the baggage problem/late disembarkation on the Panama Canal cruise in January it seemed that this cruise should have been an improvement. Regent did not handle that situation well as we both know and now it looks like they are really struggling again to do the right thing. I do hope the food and staff improve so you can have some degree of enjoyment from a less than stellar experience so far. Please keep us in the loop as to the luxury cruise you should be enjoying.

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Regent is probably constrained in this mess by 1) what the insurance will pay toward making affected passengers "whole" 2) by the company's own cash-flow issues and the cost of going beyond what the insurance will provide and 3) creating costly and unsustainable expectations among future passengers if Voyager dry dock must be extended further or a similar problem happens in the future.

 

You brought up a really good point regarding those passengers with insurance. This makes the accounting even more complex. Hopefully the accounting department is better than the group responsible for the computer transition.

 

There is also the issue of commission paid to TA's -- especially on the World Cruise. I wonder if the TA's will have to return a portion of what they have received back to Regent? This is so difficult for so many people.

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Yes, insurance, both the passengers' trip interruption insurance policies as well as the cruise line's own liability policies, will come into play. Theoretically, no one should be allowed to "double dip" and I suspect the travel insurance companies will be reviewing the claims closely.

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Am I being naive....this trip has not been interrupted. The ship sails....although not to ports and eventually into Rome. And wasn't the poster referring to Regent's insurance?

 

But I agree re; the double dipping...and considering human nature, there probably are people who are trying to make a profit in this deal. We simply

want to get home on the day we debark.

 

I think what really offended me is that Mark Conroy is calling the Aqaba option a $2000 gift. Perhaps I am being dense but havng to remain the night in Amman because hotels in Petra are booked, is not a tour of Jordan [a phrase he uses]. You do indeed see parts of Egypt but are constantly on the move, good for some, not for others. You pick up the vast majority of your own meals, having already paid for those 7 days on board. Then you fly to Istanbul and utilize your own ticket home, so no air expenses for Regent. Perhaps I've just gotten too, too grumpy with all of this.

 

Also, Voyager does not have day programs that will sustain for this many days....an afternoon popcorn movie is not cutting it.

 

A friend has sent me a note about a CruiseCritic write up where a 50% advance credit has been described. This has NOT been announced to us...and I can't think of a good reason for not doing so if it applies.

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Well, yes, your trip has been interrupted (it's not the one you paid for) but you flew to Dubai knowing that might be the case. Having been forewarned, PaulaJK, I'm not sure I understand your distress although I fully understand that of the full WC pax.

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It sounds as if the frustration is from Regent (and Mark Conroy's) mixed messages, changing their minds in terms of the options given to the passengers and poor/slow communication. While this situation is unusual, a back-up plan should always been in place in cases such as this.

 

I believe that Paula and other passengers on this segment were encouraged to fly to Dubai to join the cruise. Regent was aware of the worst case scenario prior to reaching Dubai. They obviously believed that they could continue the cruise beyond Dubai or they would have ended it there. It may have been in everyone's best interest to have ended it. Regent could have arranged for return airfare for the arriving passengers. Although extremely disappointing, these passengers would probably have been better off. JMHO

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Regent was aware of the worst case scenario prior to reaching Dubai. They obviously believed that they could continue the cruise beyond Dubai or they would have ended it there.

 

I keep thinking that we read Marc Conroy would be there several days before they got to Dubai. The cynic in me I thought then, and still thinks now: would they have flown him there just to thank passengers for bearing with them during the previous segment if they were able to repair the pod there and continue the cruise as planned? Or did they know in advance -- before segment cruisers even left to fly to Dubai -- that they needed him there because they'd be announcing the end of the WC? Did they not end it in Dubai because they knew they'd need to go to Italy to find an available drydock?

 

-- Eric

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I keep thinking that we read Marc Conroy would be there several days before they got to Dubai. The cynic in me I thought then, and still thinks now: would they have flown him there just to thank passengers for bearing with them during the previous segment if they were able to repair the pod there and continue the cruise as planned? Or did they know in advance -- before segment cruisers even left to fly to Dubai -- that they needed him there because they'd be announcing the end of the WC? Did they not end it in Dubai because they knew they'd need to go to Italy to find an available drydock?

 

-- Eric

 

You bring up some good questions (as usual). It's hard to tell what they knew in advance. They almost definitely knew that they could not do dry dock in Dubai and would have to go to Italy (not only because they had an available drydock, but because most ships are built there and they really know what they are doing). It sounds like it would have been better if Mark Conroy stayed home.

 

Their poor performance has us paying a lot of attention to what is going on. If, for some reason, they cannot fix the electrical system in the pod, the Voyager could remain out of commission (not likely, but possible). We're coming up on the 120 day mark for our September cruise. . . . this is one cruise I am really looking forward to. . . but, we will cancel if the Voyager is not out of drydock as the "powers that be" says it will be.

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--I have read the above comments with interest.

--Like many of you I suspect that Regent more than entertained the idea that the pod might not be able to be repaired in Dubai. Mark Conroy remains on board for a while as we have just begun 7 days at sea.

--Like Travelcat, I suspect that the change to Rome as the port of disembarkation had more to do with their dry dock than our air schedules.

While I recognize that Regent has to fly out its WC pax, all of us scheduled to fly out of IST had our tickets. Now we don't.

--By today the crew is beginning to quietly express their discontent. Apparently [crew tales] they have also been given 3 options. Not certain what these are but 1 is to go home without pay, and 1 is to stay at minimum pay scale [less than their usual salary] and do any job assigned. Have no clue as to the 3rd option. A few crew known to us from previous travels have expressed dissatisfaction with how they are being treated by the current company.

--Travelcat, don't worry about September. Even if you reach your payent date, any failure to sail would be refunded by Regent.

--The really sad result of this will be IF Regent falls below the levels we have all come to anticipate and respect. Hopefully that won"t happen.

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I would be very concerned about making final payment on Regent until this mess is cleared up. I'm sure that Regent will refund your money if they can't sail, but will the company be able to refund anything if they lose one of their three ships for an extended period of time.

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I thought in Dubai Regent offered three options: Return directly home, change to the Mariner or stay onboard to Rome (with limited port stops).

 

Now Regent has decided to offer some additional options (probably in response to passenger desires?). So I don't see how people can complain too much about the details of the options. If they aren't better than the original chosedn option of sailing to Rome, why complain?

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