For many years, I have used Vacations to Go to book cruises on Holland America Line.
VTG has just advised me that HAL will no longer let them book cruises for people who do not have a residential address in the USA or Canada. (I do have a holiday home in Florida, but share it with others so have nothing in my own name, such as a utility bill, to prove it.)
HAL has confirmed this policy, and says that they would stop me from boarding the ship until I paid them the balance up to the listed full fare.
Now I may only book either through a local travel agent in Bermuda or direct through HAL.
I have contacted several local travel agents by e-mail, as they do not have interactive web sites like VTG, and none has replied. This does not bode well for actually booking a cruise, if they can't even bother to respond to potential new business. Plus, because of the lack of competition locally, their pricing is going to be considerably above what I can get through VTG.
So that leaves me having to book through HAL. While I don't particularly mind doing so, I do not like the fact that VTG has worked hard over the years to build a good relationship with me, now HAL wants to jump in and steal their business.
Why would any company choose now, the biggest recession in a generation, to start upsetting its regular clients? None of the other cruise companies has this restrictive and counter-productive policy.
If any HAL person is reading this, please reconsider your policy.
After two weeks of asking HAL to send me a list of the travel agents who they deal with in Bermuda, they have finally admitted that there are none, so the only way I can book a HAL cruise is direct through HAL.
Convenient for them, perhaps, but seems to me like a monopoly and a restrictive practice.