I booked a 15 night Asian Cruise on Holland America with a travel agent that went AWOL for months. I couldn't get a response by phone or email. I gather that he has had some personal issues. We are traveling with friends that recommended the agent. My friends admitted that his behavior seemed pretty lax and unusual over the last 6 months.
Even when he was on his game, he was none too careful. He booked my wife using an incorrect first name.
When I couldn't reach him, I contacted Holland America customer service. Each time they told me that because I had booked through an agent, I had to speak with the agent. They refused to help, even with my wife's name correction.
After a few more calls to Holland America, an HA phone rep suggested that I try to call the agent one more time, and if I didn't reach him, to call back Holland America and ask for a supervisor.
I followed that advice, when I didn't raise the agent. The Holland America supervisor also would not help, and started quoting from their policy manual. This is the kind of thing that turns customers into real detractors.
I finally got the agent's attention after my credit card was charged for airfare that I had not planned to purchase. I simply called and left a message to cancel the reservation, which did get his attention.
He has helped to get the reservation straight now. But, Holland America is levying penalties for changes, which have substantially increased the cost of this cruise. And, of course, because I booked through an agent, they simply have ignored my requests for help, and refer me back to the agent. I have never been so rudely or poorly treated by a travel company.
The problem started with the agent. I am not defending the agent, but the issues could have been resolved months ago if Holland America had spent a moment speaking with me. Typically, cruise lines try to help their customers. It is Holland America's reputation, not the travel agent's that is tarnished.
This is not my first cruise. I have sailed on Windstar, Celebrity and other lines. It is my first time on Holland America. And, it is the first time that I have had cruise line nightmare, even before I have boarded the ship.
Any ideas on how I might get through to someone at Holland America that cares about their customers? Do they have a customer Ombudsman? Or, is Holland America a cruise line that I should stay away from, one that doesn't care about their customer experience?