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Old May 7th, 2001, 09:31 PM
Tom Tom is offline
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Default air deviations -- millennium beware

Hello,

I booked a promotional fare a couple of months ago on Celebirty's Millennium this summer in Meditteranean and requested an air deviation. Just found out today they would not approve deviation and I would be required to use a charter. (Moreover, the people at the air/sea desk were incredibly rude.) After some gnashing of teeth, I decided to skip the promo and do my own air on the same cruise. I actually did the whole thing (rebooked cruise and made my own air) and it only cost me $150 more for the same category. So, the lesson is be careful when you are booking a promo fare that includes air. And also be sure you have an aggressive agent and that you follow up with the agent. Celebrity caused me a lot of grief today that was unnecessary -- they could have done the same thing I did and charged me an additional $150 which would have been just fine with me.

I am beginning to realize that Celebrity is a very consumer-unfriendly cruiseline these days.

tom
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Old May 7th, 2001, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

Don't let dealing with the "Miami people" at Celebrity ruin your cruise. Have been a TA for 7 years and have always felt RCI were the worst people to deal with. Fortunately the ship personnel go to a different school. Now that Celebrity and RCI have merged we have the same group of people to deal with for two lines. I once told Richard Fain (ceo - RCI) that his Miami people needed to work on the ships for 6 months and learn how to treat people. Have a great cruise, the cruise staff are very different than the office staff.
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Old May 8th, 2001, 07:50 AM
Mary Lou
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

Very good point!
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Old May 8th, 2001, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

when are you sailing?
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Old May 8th, 2001, 12:27 PM
slavearlen
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

Customer Service is a difficult business but I do want to add my experience with Celebrity to this board:

Two days ago I booked 03/29/01 on the Summit. I am traveling with a lady that is not as financially capable as I so I tried to book a Cat.8 with any upgrade possible. The girl I was dealing with booked my Cat 8 and upgraded me to a Cat 6 at the same price. Her comment to me was this: "I deal with so many unpleasant customers all day but you have been so nice, I will do what I can for you." And she did.

My only point being that sometimes the way you address a situation and the attitude that is perceived on the other end has alot to do with you resuts.

Sometimes, unknowingly, we come off as being rude when our intentions are quite the opposite.

My experiences with Celebrity remain good and I am definitely a satisfied customer.

Happy Cruising!
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Old May 8th, 2001, 04:51 PM
BillG
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

You make a good point. For every customer service representative who treats a customer poorly, I suspect there are as many or more customers who are rude and demanding when they deal with the representatives. When we encounter someone who goes out of the way to help us with our problem, we should be as quick to write his or her employer and report positively on his or her performance, as we are to write and complain when we feel we have been mistreated.
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Old May 8th, 2001, 07:02 PM
Tom Tom is offline
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

Just a response to some of the posts responding to my original message.

I have been on 23 cruises now -- and I am sure there are folks out there who have been on far more than that. I have always been impressed with the staff on board the Celebrity ships. However, increasingly, the folks in Miami at the headquarters are unresponsive. Unfortunately, many of the people we talk to on the phone are just following orders they are being given by their superiors. Yet, people in customer-service businesses -- whether any of us like it or not -- are supposed to be prepared for dealing with unruly people and with difficult situations. The Celebrity folks have a unique approach, though -- they go out of their way to provoke anger.

As somebody who always believes in giving somebody the benefit of the doubt, I was appalled at the treatment I received from Celebrity's Sea and Air department -- in particularl from Ms. Cassandra Guillen. I was put on the phone by my travel agent because he couldn't understand what she was talking about and couldn't explain it to me. Believe me, given everything else I needed to do yesterday, the last thing I wanted to do was talk with somebody from Celebrity about a cruise in late August. After talking with Ms. Guillen, I could understand why he couldn't understand her -- because she was consistently inconsistent in her explanations -- some might say she was caught in a series of lies. Others would say she was just making stories up as she was going along.

There is no justification for the way Celebrity is handling the air arrangements for this particular cruise. This is the first and last time I book air with Celebrity. I actually cancelled my reservation and rebooked so that I could get my own air. I simply asked Celebrity to do an air deviation -- but after more than a month, they refused the deviation and told me I must fly a World Airways Charter. I am a very prudent flier -- even more so, when I'm travelling outside the U.S. There is no way that I am willing to fly a charter from Istanbul -- let alone a World Airways charter. (If you know anything of the charter airline business -- and this airline in particular, you might feel the same way.) In the course of a 1-hour conversation with Ms. Guillen -- with my agent on the phone -- I was given three different conflicting reasons why my deviation request could not be processed. (Ironically, I was prepared to pay whatever it cost to get my air deviation.)

Celebrity goes out of its way -- as Ms. Guillen did -- to point out the limits of Celebrity's responsibilities to its customers. That's really too bad. Ms. Guillen went out of her way to be rude in the conversation and to use language that was intended to provoke instead of solve a problem.

There are many people in customer service businesses who are wonderful -- and they get rewarded. But, there are some that aren't so good, too -- for whatever reason -- maybe, they're nice people, but the dog bit them that day. As consumers, we should not rush to be rude -- in fact we should not be rude at all -- but we should demand what we purchased -- or what a cruise line or any business commits to provide. But, as consumers, we should not rush to judgment that people are treated rudely by a business because they present themselves rudely. That's just not a very constructive use of these boards.

Let's face it. Celebrity is changing -- and not for the better. It has been a gradual change. I love the line. I love the ship. But, I am tired of the hassles from the Miami office. I recall last year how they misinformed people about visas for Russia. They are doing the same for people on ships to and from Istanbul this year. Either they truly are incompetent -- or they just don't care. It seems to me they need to implement some internal training or incentive programs. All of this reflects very bad management. Hopefully, it won't effect the cruise experience. But, the headquarters office needs help.

tom
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Old May 9th, 2001, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

She wasn't doing you a favor, two days ago they had a special, book least inside cabin get upgrade to best available oceanview cabin. She was just doing her job.
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Old May 9th, 2001, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

I once had the District Sales Manager from RCI tell me "our job is to get them there, it doesn't matter how". This was after they booked a group (52) on air from Cincinnati to San Juan via Chicago with a 5 hour layover both ways. Needless to say none of these people have sailed RCI again and that was six years ago, they left their homes at 6am and arrived on the ship at 12:30am!!!
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Old May 10th, 2001, 12:30 AM
danerd
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

Hi slavearlen-

First of all--congrats on your great upgrade. But your story brings up perhaps a dumb question on my part and I hope you won't mind helping me out. After taking 2 Celebrity cruises (Mercury/Jan'00 and Millennium/Jan '01) my friend and I both joined Captains Club. The most recent cruise was booked over the internet at a discounted rate. We are now looking to book on the Summit next January or February and have gotten a fair quote from the same site. It sounds like you booked directly with Celebrity, perhaps the Captains Club Desk. ?? My question is this...with the discounts out there, what are the advantages to booking through the Captains Club Desk/Celebrity directly? Are there any disadvantages besides price difference? My question most stems from uncertainty about the actual "perks" that my Captains Club membership brings. One poster stated recently that unless you book directly with the Captains Club Desk, your status will be basically unknown even at embarkation. Any comments, suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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Old May 10th, 2001, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

we are going on a med cruise out of barcelona on july 6th and returning from istanbul on july 18th we purchased air with the cruise my understanding is it is charter air but i don't know any more than that. what is the problem with charter air and particularly world airways? is it unsafe?
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Old May 11th, 2001, 10:57 AM
Kerry Jo
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Default Re: air deviations -- millennium beware

Linda,
I think the issue is more about being able to choose your own path (choose your own seat, choose to have no connections, choose what time you want to get there and leave). It's not unsafe

KJ
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