My wife & I booked our first cruise and were scheduled to leave July 14th. (I'll won't name the cruise line right now, because I'm hoping for an amicable settlement.)
We booked our airfare through the cruise line. When we got to the airport the morning of the 14th, we discovered that our flight was cancelled. We attempted to get a new flight (with any airline), but the ticket agent couldn't find anything to get us to the ship on time.
We called the cruise line and their only offer was to have us fly to Miami that day and on to the Bahamas the next day. We would end up missing a full day of the cruise, AND we would have to pay $2,600.00 for the additional airfare!! By the way, no one was paying for our hotel or meals in Miami either.
Now, the cruise line doesn't want refund our money. They say they aren't liable for the airline. The airline was it was a weather related problem, so it's not their fault either. Nonetheless, I'm out over $2,200.
What can I do to get my money back or get rebooked on the next cruise for no extra charge?
Good luck , maybe you will have some luck if in fact you booked air/cruise package from the cruise line. If you did, I don't understand the way you were treated.If you booked your own air, I'd say that without insurance you are out of luck. (is that why they wanted to charge you more for the flights?) Did you book this all yourself or did you have a TA involved?
Your situation is a tough one and points out three good rules
1) buy travel insurance
2) use a good TA
3) travel the day before the cruise to allow for transportation problems
Yes, I did book everything through Princess Cruise Lines using a local travel agent. I'm quite happy with the travel agent.
Yes, I've learned the value of travel insurance and leaving a day early - two things I'd never been informed of.
Can you tell me how I should have been treated by the cruise line and/or airline in this situation?
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: First cruise disaster [38:8720:8727]
This message was sent from: Ask CruiseMates Staff.
Good luck , maybe you will have some luck if in fact you booked air/cruise
package from the cruise line. If you did, I don't understand the way you
were treated.If you booked your own air, I'd say that without insurance you
are out of luck. (is that why they wanted to charge you more for the
flights?) Did you book this all yourself or did you have a TA involved?
Your situation is a tough one and points out three good rules
1) buy travel insurance
2) use a good TA
3) travel the day before the cruise to allow for transportation problems
Sent using Phorum software version CruiseMates Message Boards (3.4) <http://phorum.org>
Me, I would NOT be happy with that TA for NOT informing me of the benefits of travel insurance or travelling a day early.
It does add to the cost of the cruise. There would have been air deviation costs on your flight, a hotel for one night, and getting to the ship from the hotel unless the hotel offers a free shuttle to the pier.
But as you found out, a couple of hundred dollars more would have saved your cruise.
As the Auld Irish used to say, "I am sorry for your trouble." And it was a hard lesson to learn, I am sure.
Here is what I would have done/expected given your circumstances.
I would have contacted the cruise line and asked for the travel dept. I would have explained about the weather delay and expected them (since it was cruise line travel) to assist you in the rebooking of flights, get you to the ship as soon as possible and pay for any additional fares and make hotel arrangements if necessary(at cruiseline expense). If they would not help directly , I would then have expected the TA to assist/intervene to accomplish the same thing. I'm not understanding why both the cruiseline and the TA left you hanging to the point where you missed the entire cruise.
Are you positive you had air arranged 100% by the cruiseline?
By the way, where were you flying from? From NY I probably would have gone home and come back to the airport the next day. Get on an early enough flight and you can be in the Bahamas for brunch. The worst you might have missed was dinner, one night and breakfast.
You said you were still happy with your TA. I would be more unhappy with the TA than with the cruise line given your circumstances. The TA has done nothing for you from the word go here if I follow what your circumstances are. (not that I wouldn't also be livid with the cruiseline).
First of all, I am positive that the airfare was booked through Princess. We received a packet from them (through the TA) containing all our travel documents including paper airline tickets, cruise tickets, etc..
We did contact the Princess emergency assistance number because their regular travel assistance number didn't open until 7am PDT. I was in Omaha, Nebraska which is two hours earlier. The emergency assistance person told us to have the airline get us a new flight. The airline said that they were unable to find anything.
By this time, the travel assistance line was open and their "solution" was to have me pay $2,600 to fly to Miami and then the Bahamas. I didn't call my TA because their office wasn't open on Sunday.
The reason I not mad at the TA is because they are trying to help me in this situation. I haven't seen any action from Princess. The TA didn't know about the situation until Monday. It would have been nice to have this scenario mentioned, but my TA says she's never seen this happen to anyone!
With the air being booked through the cruise line I'd understand that it would be their responsibility (along with the airline they chose) to get you to the ship, even if it were a day late, meeting the ship in its first port of call.
I have heard of this happening to other people before (no personal experience), so I'd like to know why it didn't in your case. That is supposed to be one of the advantages of booking your air with the cruise line, which I rarely do!
Keep pressuring Princess. Ask for a supervisor. Get names and dates of people you have spoken to. Get an attorney to write a letter for you. Be relentless (and polite).
Keep us posted on your progress.
I would agree completely with Pamda. We see lots of resistance to purchasing Insurance on these boards but, as I have said here before, it only takes needing it once to make it worthwhile over a long career of cruising. I'm not sure why the poster did not just fly down to the ship's first port of call on the next day, with the Cruise Line's Air Department smoothing things out... maybe with some kind of penalty imposed by the airline. Something doesn't quite gel here, as Kuki pointed out.
With the weather delay, it would have been the airlines' responsibility to at least get you to your origonal destination, Miami, at no further charge. Options available would be staggering, Omaha to Chicago to Miami, to NY to Miami, to Atlanta and Miami etc etc. There would have been a window of at least 24 hours (and maybe more ) to get you there with enough time to catch up to the ship in the Bahamas and there should have been no cost associated with getting you to Miami anyway. Omaha to anywhere to Miami should have had quite a few options open as I stated. From Miami all you needed was a puddle jumper to the Bahamas, they must fly 50 flights a day to the Bahamas. Can't imagine what the huge extra dollars were for.
I've encountered dozens of flight delays over the years. I have never however failed to reach my origonal destination (from Omaha almost 50 flights) within 24 hours and never have I had to pay 5 cents in additional flight costs if the delay was weather or mechanically related.
You have either been the victom of the most screwed up travel situation I have ever heard of or (sorry to speculate) there is some piece of this story that just doesn't ring true. Too many people would have had to drop the ball over a 24 hour period for you to have missed that ship in the Bahamas on Monday.
As I believe I stated originally, Princess cruise line did offer to fly me to Miami and then to the Bahamas, but I was to pay for all additional airfare (i.e. $2,600). As you can imagine, I wasn't willing to throw good money after bad, so I declined their offer.
I have the Princess rep's name, so I believe that I can prove my case. The question is, will Princess correct this situation or not.
If the TA purschased your cruise WITH AIR THROUGH the cruiseline then as far as I know they have always stated they would make sure you got to the ship and handle it. This is what I have heard of happening in the past when something alnog these lines occurs. IF you TA bought your cruise and then purschased air ANYWHERE except DIRECTLY through the cruiseline with the cruiseline making ALL the arrangements then you are SOL and your agent and the airline should be the subject of your wrath.
Community Staff Leader
I don't get why it would have cost you an additional $2600 to get to Miami ! You should have been rerouted when your original flight was cancelled, and if there was absolutely no way to get you there that day, you should have been complemented a room and meals that night by the airline (it's standard and happened to me many times) and gotten the next flight out in the morning. You paid the cruiseline to get you a flight to Miami, right? The airline was paid to get you to Miami, right? You should be delivered to Miami for no additional charge.
The only additional charge I see is a flight from Miami to Nassau, which is only $100 or so. You then could have met up with the ship and discussed a refund for the night you missed. I guess I'm just as confused as some of the others here why your only option was to shell out another $2600 bucks?
As a side note; I have a friend who was cruising out of Hawaii on a 15 day trip with an elderly aunt who happened to pass away on the first night. That was quite an ordeal for her dealing with a corpse on the open sea and the legal mine field to bring a dead body into the U.S. But through some determined persistence she was able to get the cruiseline to refund 14 days of the old lady's money.
Did you get money back? I think you should get some refund or discount from Princess.
to beat the dead horse, I was wondering; if I booked a flight and it was cancelled through no fault of mine, would not not airline owe me a refund on my paid ticket? Or do they keep my money because of the weather? Now that doesn't seem right at all to this southern woman.
The ship disembarked from Fort Lauderdale. The airline flight out of Omaha was cancelled due to weather in Houston. The airline wasn't able to get me to Fort Lauderdale in time to meet the ship, so I called Princess for guidance.
The message I got from Princess was that I would be responsible for any additional airfare and the only option they gave me was to fly to Miami and then to Governor's Harbor the next day. As I stated before, I was to pay for the additional airfare above and beyond the cost of my original ticket.
I haven't received any refund - and I expect a full one at that!!
I'm still waiting to here back from Princess regarding the letter I sent through my TA explaining this situation. I'm requested to be rebooked (with no extra charge) on the next cruise (July 28th) or they can give me a full refund.
Normally, if your flight is cancelled by the weather, etc., the airline rebooks you on a different flight to get you to your destination as soon as possible.
In this situation, the airline was flying us to Fort Lauderdale, but where I really needed to get to was the cruise ship. The airline could have gotten my to Fort Lauderdale by 8pm, but the ship left at 5pm. What's the point in flying to Fort Lauderdale if your ship has already sailed - literally!
I've explained the situation exactly as it happened.
1. I booked the entire trip through Princess - airfare and transfers included.
2. Our flight from Omaha to Houston was cancelled due to weather problems - there was no Continental plane in Omaha.
3. I called Princess and they told me to get rebooked on another flight and let them know when I'd get there.
4. I called Continental's 800 reservation number and they told me it was an airport issue and I had to talk to an agent in the airport.
5. The airport agent I spoke with (an hour later) couldn't find another route to get us to Fort Lauderdale before 5pm. (I didn't see any reason to fly there and miss the boat and then be stuck there!)
6. I called Princess again and said "Help!". The rep told me my only option was to fly to Miami and then Governor's Harbor AND I'd be responsible for paying for the extra airfare of $2,600. I said no and my wife and I drove home.
7. On Monday, when my travel agency opened, I went there and asked how to get this whole mess fixed.
8. It's Friday now, and I'm still waiting for an answer from Princess.
I'm with Thomas and some of the others on this as far as pricing etc goes. $2,600 is an outlandish charge for airfare from Omaha to Nassau! I am willing to be that I could pull up airfare for less than 1/4th of that and I'm not a TA! Airlines WILL refund your money for the flight IF it is weather related and don't just keep your money. Airlines will also do everything in their power to make sure you have a connecting flight and get there somehow asap at all times. I would be cautious about 'demands' and any threats towards the cruiseline as I have found you will have much better luck by talking in a reasonable and calm fashion. The cruiseline does not have any obligation to refund your cruise fare if you don't show up, it is up to you and the airline to get there ontime. The cruiseline WILL pay to get you there or to the next port IF you booked through their service. If the air was purchased through the TA independant of the cruiseline to get a better price than your are really SOL. CCL's program is called "Fly-away" and Celebrities is called "Air Arrangements Program" or "Custon Air". I don't know what Princess's program is called offhand.
Community Staff Leader
Keith, I think you may have been asking the wrong questions when you were talking to the airlines. If you tell them you are on a cruise, they will try to book you on the next available flight on any airline that will get you close. While the cruise line is tehcnically not obligated to assist you (and sometimes they don't), they will usually pick up the tab if you are flying in on a cruise-air package. Problems with air are a fairly routine difficulty with cruises and as a function of customer service they will do their best to help. I know Carnival has a listing in their welcome aboard brochure on what to do if you miss the ship's sailing due to airline troubles. If a large number of people are late, they will even hold up departure of the ship until you arrive (although I have also heard stories where ships have sailed while people were sitting on the bus at the airport). I think a moral of this story is that you should always try to arrive in the home port city the day before your cruise. The extra expense of a hotel room is well worth the peace of mind.
One of things to remember is that most cruises depart on Saturdays or Sundays when one is NOT going to get anyone in authority at a cruise line or a travel agency to make things better or to intervene.
Me, I would have paid the $2,600, disputed the charge with my credit card company, and taken it up with the cruise line (and the TA, too) when I got back and not lose any sleep over it. I would also have taken a lot of names and been prepared to kick a@@.
And I would have had my cruise.
Last-minute airfare is obscene (something I still don't understand) but Keith was holding a paid-for paper ticket which is almost as good as real money. The $2,600 add-on makes NO SENSE at all. Was there a credit offerered for the amount already paid?
The secret is to breathe deeply, ask for the most senior person around, and explain the situation. Resolution is usually quick to come.
Consider this. One plane does NOT leave from Omaha. People WILL be compensated (maybe, if they decide to bail out) or put on other flights. The cost of an overnight in Florida and a jump to the Bahamas is NOTHING compared to the money you might get back.
It's wasn't what you wanted, not what you were counting on.
You just have to put your priorities in order. What REALLY matters ???
Wouldn't you rather be on a cruise rather than sitting around at home stewing?
I have to compliment Keith for the amazing patience he sounds like he has had throughout this whole ordeal- and then yet to have his story doubted by some here. Just wishing you the very best and lots of admiration. I don't see you sitting at home 'stewing', but calmly handling a disasterous outcome to his vacation with grace and resolve. Hope some day to get to your level of handling life on life's terms Keith. And a fair resolution to all this.
Thanks and take care.
This is what we did, also on a princess cruise. We were sailing from Dover, England for a Scandanavia/Baltic cruise. I wanted to go over a day early but my friend was adamant that we fly out the night before the cruise. So I insisted we get the air from Princess and also the Princess insurance. Our flight was cancelled, so we were going to miss the first day or the cruise. I called my travel agent first thing in the morning. She contacted Princess immediately. They got us on a flight to Amsterdam, which is where our ship would be the next day. We got to Amsterdam and grabbed a cab to the ship. When we arrived onboard we were 1. epected and 2. refunded our taxi money and our lost first day. The remainder of the cruise was wonderful. Your travel agent was remiss in not telling you what to do.
I have to compliment Keith for the amazing patience he sounds like he has had throughout this whole ordeal- and then yet to have his story doubted by some here
I think the only reason anyone "questioned his story" is in everyone's experience, when the air is booked through the cruise line and there is a delay, the cruise line will work with the airline to get the passenger to the port.. or the first available port of call.
And everyone wonders why that didn't happen in this case. Think we're all likely curious to know who dropped the ball here. The TA, the cruise line rep, or the airline.
I don't believe anyone was questioning anythink else that Keith posted.
It seems to me that Pamda's comment is right on. I'm not sure why Keith did not fly, at no extra charge, either to Miami or Fort Lauderdale... overnight there and continue the next morning over to Nassau to meet the ship. There would certainly be nothing like $2600 involved. After the cruise I'd have dispute charges, as Pamda suggests.
Pamda... on a different subject, the airlines' bread and butter is not the cruise passenger who can book a ticket way in advance, stay over at least one Saturday night, and travel at a highly discounted rate. The New York business man who finds out on Monday that he needs to see the Sears buyer in Chicago at noon on Tuesday and must be back in New York for a Wednesday morning meeting... that is their classic revenue earner... full fare economy... no advance purchase, no Saturday night stay... competely changeable and refundable with no penalty... (change the flight back if the meeting lasts longer that one thought), and so on. Those fares, paid day in and day out by business travelers are the "real" fares between points. Unfortunately, from time to time, a leisure traveler gets caught up in that and it can be a rude awakening. (No cause for that in Keith's case, though.).
Best way to avoid this situation is by flying or arriving a day early for your cruise. It really puts your mind at ease and allows you to "wind down" before vacation. I would much rather pay a 1 night hotel stay than go through this kind of hell. Best of luck on getting a refund.
"You have either been the victom of the most screwed up travel situation I have ever heard of or (sorry to speculate) there is some piece of this story that just doesn't ring true." Bill 7/18/02
I am beating a dead horse here, but I took this to mean that maybe something about Keith's story 'doesn't ring true'. I may have just 'overinterpreted' Bill's comment but I thought he meant that Keith was maybe leaving out a crucial piece of info. Sorry, just the way I read it. Felt that it was putting Keith on the defensive when he was looking for support. But I HAVE been known to misread, misinterpret, be OVERSENSITIVE more than a few times!
Did not mean to offend anyone- jeez! Just impressed at the cool way he handled his frustration.
I agree with Kuki too. Old antlerhead is wise beyond his wobbly legs and long snout. <g>
We are amazed, befuddled, and perplexed at the situation Keith described. Can't understand the heavy handediness the cruiseline/airline was imposing. I wish I was the offended party, the fireworks would be a-flying!!