Having just finished our Millennium cruise, I would like to advise all of you to be especially careful in booking a Celebrity precruise package in regard to the hotels in the package. We were to be in a central location in Amsterdam for the 3 day package and were advised about six weeks prior that Celebrity had lost rooms at the hotel because of a soccer match in the city. We discovered that this was an untruth upon our arrival. We protested at the time and were reassured that we would be a 45 minute drive away in a town called Eindhoven. When we were met by the driver to take us to the hotel, he told us then that it would be an hour and 15 to 30 minute drive, depending on traffic. As we approached the hotel, we felt that he was trying to prepare us for something, and we discovered what. The hotel was totally under renovation...no lobby, no bellman, no food service, with construction dumpsters and debris to greet us at the front. The hotel had put all the information in this regard in literature, but it had been totally disregarded when offered to us as a substitute for our downtown Amsterdam package. The under construction lobby was a hazard with electical wires exposed and hanging from the ceiling, and temporary carpet to cover the concrete that had not been stretched, just laid down. The skeleton desk staff tried to help us as best they could and the room that we were placed in had been renovated and was acceptable. We filed a complaint with Celebrity through our travel agent who was appalled and are waiting to hear if our request for a return of our monies for this precruise package will be honored. BE AWARE. I will follow up on this when and if I hear from Celebrity in this regard. I have pictures of the hotel and other documentation and am hoping that Celebrity will reimburse us for this unbelieveable accomodation. Oh yes, we found that on one of our visits to Amsterdam while we were trying to make the best of it, it took us 3 and a half hours to return to Eindhoven from Amsterdam because of the traffic!
Sorry to hear you had such problems. I tried to do a cruise pre-package for Amsterdam, but was told by Celebrity that it was completely sold out when I booked the cruise. I was probably lucky. I got my own hotel reservation and stayed at the Schiller (not my first choice) in center city Amsterdam and had a wonderful time -- at a price less than the cost of the pre-cruise package. The problem in the city -- as you probably know by now -- was not a soccer match but the Sail 2000. Still, there were rooms in the city that could be found. In fact, I was checking for hotel availability up to the day of leaving for Amsterdam for friends and had no problem finding hotel rooms at reasonable rates. Clearly, Celebrity screwed up -- I hope they offered to refund your money when they told you that they could not provide you with the hotel you booked. All of this had made me realize that it is probably better in the future to book my own pre-cruise hotel.
Tom had a very good point about booking your own hotel space. I always do. That way I know where I am staying for certain and paying less. Unfortunately, for the cruiser, this is not the case when booking space through the cruiseline. If you read the fine print... (funny that Celebrity has not put their pre-post cruise information in their brochures) all the cruise lines retain the right to substitute hotels. Princess uses the line, "Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances we may substitute a hotel for the one advertised."
You would be very surprised how often this does occur. Keep us posted with the outcome. I think Celebrity needs a new space person.
I was also told by somebody else who had a similar experience that Celebrity provided them with an onboard credit. Hope you got one, too. I also was told that Celebrity had arranged for buses to shuttle people to and from the city throughout the day.