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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 26th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3
Default Bad Holland America Customer Service

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?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old October 26th, 2009, 03:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 1,273

I think you got your answer from posters on that other board you posted on.

It's not HAL'S fault. You booked with an agent and therefore HAL cannot speak to you. It's the same with all other lines - they have to refer you back to your agent.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old October 26th, 2009, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3
Default Holland America has a choice

Sorry, that's not completely accurate.

Pushing problems back to the travel agent is a policy choice Holland America has made, not a legal or contractual requirement.

Most airlines, hotels, rent a car companies, and top cruise lines have similar contracts and don't act this way.

And, companies that hope to survive beyond 2010 ought to take head.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: the Netherlands
Posts: 59
Default Re: Holland America has a choice

Originally Posted by dmprof

Pushing problems back to the travel agent is a policy choice Holland America has made, not a legal or contractual requirement.
You obviously arent a very well travelled person. Whether you go to HAL, Hilton, Marriott, Hertz, etc, etc. etc. It doesn't matter: When you book through a travel agent you will always have to deal with the travel agent, not with the company directly. It's not specifically HAL, its everywhere.

Sorry to hear you made a bad choice in TA and it's costing you money. Get the TA to compensate you, don't try putting this on HAL.

Good luck

Past Cruises:
February 2008: HAL Zuiderdam: Eastern Caribbean
November 2009: HAL Noordam: Caribbean Wayfarer
November 2010: Norwegian Jade: Western Mediterranean
January 2012: HAL Eurodam: Eastern Caribbean
May 2012 HAL: Noordam: Transatlantic Riviera

HAL Westerdam: Panama Canal
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old October 28th, 2009, 11:00 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 915

As the others have said, you pikced a bad TA. Hope you finally get him to contact you and you can work it out.

HAL is not at fault here. They cannot work directly with you unless your TA releases the booking. You have spent so much energy running around the internet trying to blame HAL, perhaps you might consider using that energy to go visit your TA in person. You can't seem to reach him by phone, fax or e-mail.

Good luck.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 1,109

We just booked a cruise through an agent on RCCL...she misspelled our name in the booking and the misspelled names didn't match our passports which meant that we couldn't finish our on line registration, excursions, etc....We called RCCL and even though they were very very nice, they couldn't help us...since we had book through an independent travel agent, she HAD to correct HER errors.

Our agent was no where near as bad as dmprof...we were able to reach her quickly and she corrected the errors...but my experience with RCCL just confirms what other posters have said on this thread, if you book through an agent, they have to correct any errors they've made.
Cruiser since 2000
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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:16 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1

if you buy a car from a local dealership and have a mechanical problem with it would you drive it to detroit where it was built or back to where you purchased it?
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