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Old September 26th, 2005, 12:24 AM
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Default Beware of pre-purchasing gift certificates

I made all the arrangements for my parents cruise. Several weeks before they departed I went to the Celebrity web site and found a link at the bottom of the home page that said "Shop Celebrity". I ended up ordering a $100 bar credit for them, as well as dinner for the two of them in the Olympic dining room ($30 per person). The woman on the phone said that the gift certificates would be in their cabin when they boarded. The $160 charge appeared on my credit card the day after the phone call. Before my parents left for the cruise, I got a funny feeling about the gift certificates so I wrote a letter to my parents stating exactly what I had purchased for them and put it in a sealed envelope and told them only to open the envelope once they were in their cabin. Well wouldn't you know it - in their cabin is a certificate for ONE person for dinner, and $100 CASINO credit. My parents don't gamble, and I would never pay for only one of them to go to dinner. Armed with the letter that I had written them, my mother went to the purser's desk to straighten the problem out. They were unco-operative and insisted that I had ordered a casino credit and dinner for one. My mother decided to let it be, and worry about it after they got home. During the cruise, they accidentally found out that they could go to the casino, get the cash from the casino credit, and just go put it on their on-board account and that is what they did. When making their reservation for the Olympic dining room they mentioned the gift certificate screw up and the person taking their reservation actually did some legwork for them and determined that I had indeed bought dinner for both of them.

When I phoned Celebrity customer service the following week, I spoke with the most unbelievably rude person. She asked if my parents ended up getting what I had paid for, and I said yes they did. She then stated that they got what I paid for, so what exactly is my problem. I was dumbfounded at her response. I am kicking myself now, but that was the end of it. I just let it go.

All I wanted was to do something nice for my Mom and Dad, but next time I will have to think of another way of doing so. Obviously I won't be relying on Celebrity to help me out.

BTW - My Mom and Dad had the time of their lives, they haven't stopped talking about it and I have booked them on another Celebrity cruise this December - a 14 night Panama Canal. Two cruises in one year - they are finally spending my inheritance!
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Old September 26th, 2005, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Beware of pre-purchasing gift certificates

Doesn't it kust make you crazy when people don't know how to say "I apologize on behalf of the company I work for?" What is it with this "it isn't my job so don't complain to me about it?" attitude that is so pervasive these days?

I agree with you, I would be VERY upset if I paid for something like that and it wasn't delivered to my guests, and I am just very happy you left your parents a note telling them about your "surprise."

I have had similar things like that happen to me. We once had a "surprise" bottle of champagne delivered to our cabin at about 2:00 am in the morning. They woke us up from a sound sleep. How stupid can you be?
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Old September 28th, 2005, 02:05 PM
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Your comment"they are finally spending MY inheritance".. spoke mountains about you.. Several years ago we decided that we had worked very hard, did not own expensive cars or a home.. and our children were in much better financial shape and had nicer homes than we have...so.... we are spending theirs. It really bothers me to see parents going without and giving so much to their children who do not appreciate what their parents had to go through. In the past twenty years we have traveled to places that many only dream about and we go two or three times a year.. Your parents are very lucky to have raised such a wise and unselfish person.
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 10:34 PM
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Such a thoughtful gift for your parents turns into a nightmare! The attitude you found from Celberity is unspeakable, considering the push that they (and several other cruise lines) make to push bon voyage gifts on their websites.

I'm glad your story had a happy ending in that your parents were able to redeem (through their own dilligence) your lovely gift. But shame on Celebrity for the shocking treatment you received in a post-cruise follow up. I would follow up that little conversation with a nice letter to the CEO that included the representative's name and a transcript of your conversation with him/her.

Sorry to hear it was Celebrity; I've had nothing but raves to say for them based on my own experience.

Another vein: You should join your parents on a cruise! I am taking my 85 yr. old mother on Constellation in a few weeks. I regret that I never did this while my dad was alive, since he was a great deal of fun. But I'm grateful I can do it for my mom, since she hasn't travelled in several years and would never do so alone.

Happy Sailing!

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Old December 4th, 2005, 02:20 AM
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Thank you for the warning, as I was going to purchase an on board package, but I don't think I will now! I have worked in a call centre before and am surprised that you were not treated with dignity and neither were your parents! We are going on our first cruise with Celebrity and expect quality from them because of the rave reviews, but I will stay away from pre board gifts! Deb
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Old December 5th, 2005, 10:41 PM
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Little Red,

The rude employee was "lucky" to have gotten you! If I had been on the receiving end of such rudeness, it would have been my personal quest to have her transferred to the restroom cleaning crew!

Just remember the magic statement "Let me speak to your supervisor", and that usually gets things taken care of....no need to lower yourself to her level, but also no need to let her get away with such a lousy attitude!

No customer deserves to be treated that way, especiallly since they got such a large chunk of your change. People who let them get away with that type of rudeness just keep on dishing it out to others who don't deserve it.

Anyway, I'm glad things worked out for your folks, and Paul, if someone had woken me up at 2a to deliver a bottle of wine, well, they would have been enjoying it themselves!
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Old December 7th, 2005, 08:37 PM
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Little Red,

I'm sorry to hear of the foul-ups, but glad to hear that your parents did recieve what you intended. Unfortunately, I have heard of others having similar problems with Celebrity's call centers.

There is one more thing that you can do if you own any stock at all in the parent company -- all it takes is ONE share. Show up at the parent company's next annual stockholders' meeting, describe the original problem and the rudeness of the individual who took your call, indicate that you have heard that your experience is not exactly unique, and ask the President what's being done (a) to correct the original problem of the gifts not getting transmitted correctly and (b) to identify and replace personnel in the company's call center who act so rudely to callers.

The annual stockholders' meeting is a unique forum. Not only are all of the company's directors and senior executives there, but the institutional stockholders with significant positions invariably send representatives. Many industry analysts and smaller investors who do not attend personally, for whatever reason, also now watch the entire meeting via webcast. Any indication that management is not addressing problems of the type that you encountered will get swift attention and follow-up, and it will be even more certain if two or three stockholders ask similar questions.

BTW, I should mention that there's a significnat bonus for those who own a round lot (100 shares) or mroe of Celebrity's parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). The parent company offers a shipboard credit that's fully combinable with all other deals, and it's applicable to as many cruises as you take. The current credit is $50 on cruises of five (5) nights or fewer, $100 on cruises of six (6) to eight (8) nights, $200 on cruises of nine (9) to thirteen (13) nights, and $250 on cruises of fourteen (14) nights or more.

Shareholder Benefit FAQ: http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_...cl/RCL_FAQ.pdf

Instructions to Obtaining the Shareholder Benefit: http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_...nefit_2005.pdf

The company first announced this offer about three years ago, but has renewed it every year so I expect that another renewal will be forthcoming before the current expiration date.

Norm.
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