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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:24 AM
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Default Don't Book Future Cruises while on the Ship! It's a Ripoff!

We recently took a cruise on the Westerdam. While onboard the ship, we put down a $200 deposit on a future cruise. We reconsidered this booking (we were being overcharged compared to booking it online) and canceled it once we got home. I asked my agent at Cruise.com about getting our $200 back, and this was her response:

"I spoke with Holland America's accounting / refunds department today; (January 2), to inquire about a issuing a refund back to your credit card ($200) that you had made your deposit with. Unfortunately, the agent explained that when booking a reservation on board, that the deposit made is non-refundable, even if cancellation fees do not apply. The future credit is applied to your next Holland America reservation booked; which stays on your Mariner number until it is used. The credit is valid for up to 4 years and they are not able to make an exception."

Why does Holland America get to keep our money for up to 4 years (earning interest on it all the time), while we get no interest on what amounts to an enforced savings account with Holland America? A reasonable and consumer-friendly business practice regarding onboard bookings would be to allow a no-questions-asked refund within a certain amount of time (say within a week or two after the current cruise ends.) Do other cruise lines do what HA does?

We were booking a cruise for a year from now, after all! Would it kill HA to allow us to cancel the reservation a YEAR IN ADVANCE without penalty? And sorry, but locking up $200 of our money for up to 4 years is most definitely a penalty! As we understand it, the only way we'll ever see our money again is to book a future HA cruise, at which time HA will magnanimously give us our $200 back (in the form of a credit, of course.)

This last cruise was our third with Holland America. Up until now, we have had no complaints. But this no-refund policy on onboard bookings is, in our view, predatory. Even though the dollar amount is low, it is the principle of the thing-- HA should not have the right to keep someone's money locked up for years without interest, nor should they basically force them to book again with HA or lose their money.

Dan & Betty
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Not sure if this is the policy for all lines, but we have already booked for 2009 and put down a $500.00 deposit.
We understood that we would be locking up this money, but we wanted a certain ship, a certain itinerary, a certain cabin.
That's just what we had to do to get what we wanted.

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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:24 PM
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I did this recently on a HAL ship. We placed the deposit without booking a cruise and have no idea WHEN we will book the next cruise, but knew we would within the 4 year's time allowed. We also knew the money was non-refundable. The advantage to this is that when you DO book a cruise, they have only $200 of your money tied up interest free instead of up to HALF the cost of the cruise, which your normal deposit could be. I think it's a great deal.

Princess offers the same program, but they do allow you to get your deposit back if you do not use it within the 4 years (as long as you request it PRIOR to the 4-year deadline).
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Old January 4th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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By placing your deposit, you agreed to their what I consider to be very reasonable terms.

While you wish to cancel, they were willing to let you tie up a cabin that there was a small chance you might actually cruise in for only $100 pp. The number of folks who cancel those bookings is very large. As long as your very small deposit of $100 remains on that cabin, HAL cannot sell it. You can wait until final payment to let them know you aren't going.

By the way, are you aware the price you are quoted on the ship is not the price you must pay. You only hold the cabin for that rate. Your TA should be able to beat it and you would pay the best price you can get.

You could have left the booking with HAL and not named any TA. Then, when you researched and got the best price possible, could have moved the booking to any TA you wish.

Seeing as you named a TA, Or by default they used the TA that had booked the cruise you were on because you did not name another, you have to get his/her permission to transfer it elsewhere.

Obviously, moving the booking is not the issue. You cancelled.

I do not think you were harmed in any way.
I am amazed HAL permits this ridicuously low deposit that prevents other people who really want to sail to be able to make a sincere booking they have a higher expectation of actually using.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Don't Book Future Cruises while on the Ship! It's a Ripo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel1953
As we understand it, the only way we'll ever see our money again is to book a future HA cruise, at which time HA will magnanimously give us our $200 back (in the form of a credit, of course.)

This last cruise was our third with Holland America. Up until now, we have had no complaints. But this no-refund policy on onboard bookings is, in our view, predatory.


...........

Even though the dollar amount is low, it is the principle of the thing-- HA should not have the right to keep someone's money locked up for years without interest, nor should they basically force them to book again with HA or lose their money.

Dan & Betty

IMO, They have every right to hold that money. You agreed to the terms. I think they are generous to permit four years to use it.

If you didn't REALLY intend to sail HAL again, you should not have put down any of your money.

If this is preventing you from sailing HAL again, I wonder how firm your intention really was?

JMHO......

Something to think about.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 04:26 PM
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We put down a deposit for many of the very reasons mentioned here.

Also, it kinda makes me feel like we have a cruise scheduled. I know, not really but still feel a connect until I can post the cruise in my signature.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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This no refund policy is well known. The reasoning behind it is valid. Many of us like being able to put $100.00 down and pick our cruise dates later. The fact that they will hold it for four years to apply at your request is great. Sorry you did not understand this prior to your cancellations.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Don't Book Future Cruises while on the Ship! It's a Ripo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel1953
Why does Holland America get to keep our money for up to 4 years (earning interest on it all the time), while we get no interest on what amounts to an enforced savings account with Holland America? A reasonable and consumer-friendly business practice regarding onboard bookings would be to allow a no-questions-asked refund within a certain amount of time (say within a week or two after the current cruise ends.) Do other cruise lines do what HA does?
I have two open bookings sitting on Princess that I really now have no desire to use, but will have to by next year if I don't want to lose the money. Unfortunately, that's how these open bookings work. They are non-refundable, but you do have four years to use them.

I guess it's a trade-off. You get to reserve a booking with only $100 deposit per person, and not have to pay the balance until the final payment is due ... a great bennie. But then you can't get the money refunded either. That's HAL's bennie. And, yes, I believe all the cruise lines in the Carnival family offer this "deal."

And, let's be realistic here. Just how much interest per year are you losing on $200? About ten dollars tops? Now how much "interest" is HAL losing when you secure a booking with only a $100 deposit per person, and do not have to put another dime down until final payment day?

If you think about it, it's actually a better deal from the passenger's standpoint than HAL's.

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--rita
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Old January 5th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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Don't you get OBC's also? One could look at that as interest on your money. We booked a recent cruise with an on line TA great price but nothing else. Oh wait, we did get a form e-mail saying "have a nice trip".
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Old January 6th, 2008, 01:51 PM
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Yes...... There are OnBoardCredits for bookings made while on board.

For a voyage of 7 - 11 days:

Inside cabin = $25 pp
Outside cabin = $25 pp
VA/A-VF/BC = $35 pp
PS - S -SY = $50 pp



For Voyage of 12+ days:

Inside cabin = $50 pp
Outside cabin = $50 pp
VA/A-VF/BC = $75 pp
PS - S -SY = $100 pp
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Rita,

You mentioned that you did not really want to use your Princess bookings. Unless the policy has changed very recently, you can actually have those refunded if you do so PRIOR to the 4 year deadline. I confirmed this on the phone with Princess recently as I was unsure whether I'd be able to use mine. The policy on HAL is not the same, obviously, as that is the topic of this post. But give Princess a call and check it out.

lak1
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Old January 10th, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Default business is business

Know before you go...what bargains you might get elsewhere.
Sometimes on board booking CAN beat other quotes, I've heard tell.
Read the fine print, ask about refunds. Amazing how many people, cruisers and other travellers get peeved because what they ASSUMED did not happen. I think it's generous that Holland America allows the deposit to be credited to another cruise; you could have lost it all!
Sorry, sometimes learning is costly.
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