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Old March 19th, 2011, 03:39 PM
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Angry Holland America brush off


My wife and I put $1200 down in August, 2010 for an Alaska cruise in May of this year. A week or so before we were to pay the balance of the cruise, some $7K, we received some paperwork from Holland America and when I looked thru the flight schedules, I realized they had made our flights from Michigan to Vancouver with but a little over 30 minutes between two of the connections, both going and coming. We immediately contacted our travel agent who contacted HAL and they said they would change the flights but wanted $50 per person to do so. I couldn't believe they would book flights with so close departures in the first place, given the on-time rates of airlines or the fact that you usually need to go from one terminal to another in airports like Detroit, but the fact that they wanted to jab us for $100 to make the change on a computer was, to us, an inkling of what might be in store for us if we continued with HAL. We told our travel agent to cancel the whole thing and we received our $1200 deposit back, but this has left us with a sour disposition toward HAL. They apparently just tapped out the reservations without anyone actually looking at them and sent them to us with a take it or leave it attitude. That's the part that distresses us about this cruise line.
We cancelled before the 75 days prior to departure so we got our money back. A lesson to the wise: make sure you look at what the cruise line prepares for you before you pay the balance due and preferably with enough lead time so you can get it ALL back. And, the other thing is to probably think twice before you book with Holland America. Their attitude leaves alot to be desired.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 03:50 PM
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The cruise lines use the least expensive routes to get you from point A to point B,and that's the reason we always book our own air now....

Sadly, it could have been any cruise line, doing the very same thing. The timing of those makes no sense in the real world of flying today. I hope you rebook your cruise,and have a ball!
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Old March 19th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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We had this happen to us one time when we booked our flight with HAL. Although there is a direct flight to FLL from our home city, they had us on 2 connecting flights. We immediately phoned out TA who got in touch with HAL and they put us on a direct flight.

We weren't charged anything extra, but if we had been we also would have cancelled the cruise booking.

Now we always make our own flight and hotel accomodations. HAL charges "per person" for the hotels they use whereas by booking our own hotel we choose which one we want and it's "per room".

Guess you have to have it happen to you once to learn the facts.

Sorry you had to cancel - Alaska is beautiful. Why don't you try booking a cruise again but make your own flight arrangements.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 07:07 PM
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The only "good thing" about allowing a cruise company to also book your travel plans is that if, for any reason, your flight is delayed, it is the cruise company's responsibility to get you to the next port FREE of charge, whereas if you book your own travel arrangements and miss connecting flights, you have to pay to get to the ship, wherever it is, albeit that day or the next or the next...
Sorry about your disappointment and that you will not get to cruise on your planned trip, but hope you do give them a second chance (and I say that because I personally love them and despite also having problems with them for certain things, when I complain on board or write letters from home after the cruise, they usually listen and compensate us on the next cruise). If you do not plan to go on HAL, at least go on another cruise line to Alaska. You won't regret it. Good luck with your future plans.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
The cruise lines use the least expensive routes to get you from point A to point B,and that's the reason we always book our own air now....

Sadly, it could have been any cruise line, doing the very same thing. The timing of those makes no sense in the real world of flying today. I hope you rebook your cruise,and have a ball!
Agreed. Rarely is the lines air package worth it. We always book our own air. Leaving too many things to someone else and out of your own control can lead to problems like this.

Fly in day before if possible and do not book a return flight earlier than noon.

For that time frame flights from Detroit to Vancouver are running ~$700 rt. Likely to drop with a sale soon.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 04:41 PM
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We always book our own flights, especially after reading horror stories such as the one posted by joycoffey in Aug 2009. They had booked airfare through RCCL, who refused to take responsibility for a missed flight. Hope you have better luck with your next cruise, whomever it is with.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
The only "good thing" about allowing a cruise company to also book your travel plans is that if, for any reason, your flight is delayed, it is the cruise company's responsibility to get you to the next port FREE of charge
Well, that's a bit of a myth too. They do not take responsibility for faults of the airlines.

Cruise air can save you money on "open jaw flights".. where you have to return from a city different from the city which you originally flew to. (like repositioning cruises, or some European cruise itineraries, transatlantic sailings)
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Old March 20th, 2011, 06:42 PM
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Well, that's a bit of a myth too. They do not take responsibility for faults of the airlines.

Cruise air can save you money on "open jaw flights".. where you have to return from a city different from the city which you originally flew to. (like repositioning cruises, or some European cruise itineraries, transatlantic sailings)
Kuki:

This is our problem currently. We are booked on a TA from Venice to FLL in October on HAL. We haven't booked air yet but find the fares extremely expensive on a one-way flight. Any suggestions? We are booked for the cruise thru HAL without a personal Travel Agent. Thanks.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 06:51 PM
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I had an airline flight booked through an agency as part of an overnight package in a hotel in Seattle, to "sightsee", then on to Vancouver the next day to catch the ship. By the time we got there, waited for our transport (also part of the package) it was 8:45 p.m., checked in quickly, got to the only restaurant, they informed our tour that they were closing. That was our night sightseeing in Seattle. Next morning we had to wait for our bus to Vancouver, we all stood in a parking lot at 6 a.m., it was an hour late. So, I would book things on my own next time. This was not Holland America booking so the promotion was another cruiseline.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 07:01 PM
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Back in th 90's, I had booked a flight down a day early, so we could sightsee before we cruised. I was sneaky,and with a story that I wanted to meet up with friends, I called all the air lines I thought they would book us on...voila, I hit pay dirt, to find we were booked to land at 6:30. The entire day shot...

This boo boo, in my opinion, had a 3 way call going between, RCI, my Ta, and me discussing wy they hyped a pre cruise in Fll, when only a few hrs could be enjoyed...end of story, they gave us an early flight out.

Considering chnages in security, and, regulations, this would not happen now. A good thing!
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Old March 20th, 2011, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
Well, that's a bit of a myth too. They do not take responsibility for faults of the airlines.

Cruise air can save you money on "open jaw flights".. where you have to return from a city different from the city which you originally flew to. (like repositioning cruises, or some European cruise itineraries, transatlantic sailings)
Princess sells airfare with next port guaranteed. I found a flight that worked for me, but was not listed in their package, and they honored it.

Do your homework and pick what you like. Or, go with a good Travel Agent.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 08:02 PM
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If you use "Choice Air" with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity then the cruise line will do what most people believe they do on all cruise air flights. Get you to the next port or assist you with problems.

The cruise lines only act as agents for the airlines and take no responsibility for aircraft delays, weather, missed flights or canceled flights. If this happens to you with standard cruise air you will get little or no help from the cruise line.

Princess' guaranteed next port air will only be used if:

There are no visas required for the next port.

It does violate the passenger services act. This is the biggest problem.

The next port's airport can handle a flight on a major airline.

Comparability of cost, flight connections, and travel time required (note, any refund due on the unused air ticket must be used to offset the cost of the new air ticket)

Where in the original itinerary the next port is.

Basically they have more loopholes than the U.S. tax code.

My advice is to book your own air if it is a domestic cruise.

Take care,
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Old March 20th, 2011, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipper's Mom View Post
Kuki:

This is our problem currently. We are booked on a TA from Venice to FLL in October on HAL. We haven't booked air yet but find the fares extremely expensive on a one-way flight. Any suggestions? We are booked for the cruise thru HAL without a personal Travel Agent. Thanks.
Find and Book Cheap International flight deals | Vayama.com has TPA to VCE one way for $660 with 1 stop.

Don't know exact dates but that was mid-October. Is this the range of fares you are finding?
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Old March 20th, 2011, 08:24 PM
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Kuki:

This is our problem currently. We are booked on a TA from Venice to FLL in October on HAL. We haven't booked air yet but find the fares extremely expensive on a one-way flight. Any suggestions? We are booked for the cruise thru HAL without a personal Travel Agent. Thanks.
I would think there's still time to transfer your booking to a travel agent, and let them deal with the hassles.

But... if for some reason you don't want to do that, you can call HAL and ask them for their price on air for that cruise. Don't just book it, without knowing the price first!
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Old March 20th, 2011, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
If you use "Choice Air" with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity then the cruise line will do what most people believe they do on all cruise air flights. Get you to the next port or assist you with problems.

The cruise lines only act as agents for the airlines and take no responsibility for aircraft delays, weather, missed flights or canceled flights. If this happens to you with standard cruise air you will get little or no help from the cruise line.

Princess' guaranteed next port air will only be used if:

There are no visas required for the next port.

It does violate the passenger services act. This is the biggest problem.

The next port's airport can handle a flight on a major airline.

Comparability of cost, flight connections, and travel time required (note, any refund due on the unused air ticket must be used to offset the cost of the new air ticket)

Where in the original itinerary the next port is.

Basically they have more loopholes than the U.S. tax code.

My advice is to book your own air if it is a domestic cruise.

Take care,
Mike
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Passengers who book air travel through Princess Cruises will be automatically enrolled in the Princess next port protection program. If passengers miss or will miss their original port of embarkation due to airline delay or an airline service disruption, such as flight cancelation or flight re-routes, Princess will work with the airlines to find a reasonable alternative to provide flights to the next appropriate* port at no additional air cost to the passenger.

Factors taken into account in determining the appropriateness of a port of call include, but are not limited to:

  • visas and other legal documentation that may be required
  • application of the Passenger Services Act to the new itinerary
  • airport/port infrastructure
  • comparability of cost, flight connections, and travel time required (note, any refund due on the unused air ticket must be used to offset the cost of the new air ticket)
  • where in the original itinerary this port is located
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Old March 20th, 2011, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil&Liz View Post
Find and Book Cheap International flight deals | Vayama.com has TPA to VCE one way for $660 with 1 stop.

Don't know exact dates but that was mid-October. Is this the range of fares you are finding?
Thanks, I'll take this up with HAL. Found a flight from Fort Myers/Philadelphia/Venice. Let's see what they can do for me. Will advise.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:23 PM
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Only Southwest airlines does reasonable one ways. It's been typical for a few decades that if you check the R/T price, it's usually cheaper than one way. Then, just don't use the return of course. It's absurd.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:22 PM
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What is right or wrong is not always an easy answer . There are those who proclaim "NEVER use cruise air !" . The thing is I've used ship's air in the past and was very pleased.
One problem I did encounter was flying in the same day. I can give this advice...the bus WILL leave you at the airport, if your flight is delayed. ....even with ship air.
For next month's cruise, I've elected to take HAL's flight/hotel package.
The flights selected are just about ideal. Leave airport at 10 AM and be in Montreal the day before cruise. The cruiseline is suppose to take care of everything....we will see.
In the past I've done my own hotels and was not happy. In 2006 I was at a dump where they didn't care. Transportation to the ship was an issue. There are those who proclaim"always book your own hotel !"{ Sorry but that doesn't always work.
For September I am doing my own air and hotel in Charleston, but I'll be one block from the ship. Of course I'll be getting a taxi from the airport to the ship.
It isn't always easy knowing what is best.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipper's Mom View Post
Kuki:

This is our problem currently. We are booked on a TA from Venice to FLL in October on HAL. We haven't booked air yet but find the fares extremely expensive on a one-way flight. Any suggestions? We are booked for the cruise thru HAL without a personal Travel Agent. Thanks.
We ended up cancelling our trans atlantic this year due to the flight costs. Even our TA wasn't able to get anything satisfactory.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 09:32 PM
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We ended up cancelling our trans atlantic this year due to the flight costs. Even our TA wasn't able to get anything satisfactory.
Really? I have to wonder what makes a fair satisfactory. With layovers, under $550. Certainly you can do a hotel/air package with n/s flights at roughly the same cost.

What costs were you looking to obtain?
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Old April 12th, 2011, 11:32 AM
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I'm in Vancouver, $1,200 was about as low as we could find for a one way home. Plus the one way down to Ft. Lauderdale was putting air at $1,500 pp. We switched to the Panama Canal instead. No flight home as we disembark in Vancouver

$550 I wouldn't have even sneezed at.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
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I'm in Vancouver, $1,200 was about as low as we could find for a one way home. Plus the one way down to Ft. Lauderdale was putting air at $1,500 pp. We switched to the Panama Canal instead. No flight home as we disembark in Vancouver

$550 I wouldn't have even sneezed at.
. Of course, I thought repositioning meant from Europe to the US. So ... Van -->FLL one way?

Nonetheless ... in either Miami or FLL I found departures, from Vancouver to FL with a hotel for around $860 per person. These were departing the left coast on a Thursday, returning on a flight on Sunday. (naturally, you won't be on the plane on Sunday).

Departing Vancouver on a Friday was only a little less expensive. That was Thanksgiving weekend; but flights for the previous week were no worse/better.

I suppose the $600 difference isn't unlike saving $30000 on a car that still costs you $90000. You still prolly wouldn't have made the trip.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 01:04 AM
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Wouldnt your trip insurance cover you if you missed your flight?
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Old April 13th, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Askabry View Post
. Of course, I thought repositioning meant from Europe to the US. So ... Van -->FLL one way?

Nonetheless ... in either Miami or FLL I found departures, from Vancouver to FL with a hotel for around $860 per person. These were departing the left coast on a Thursday, returning on a flight on Sunday. (naturally, you won't be on the plane on Sunday).

Departing Vancouver on a Friday was only a little less expensive. That was Thanksgiving weekend; but flights for the previous week were no worse/better.

I suppose the $600 difference isn't unlike saving $30000 on a car that still costs you $90000. You still prolly wouldn't have made the trip.
Yeah, the one way to Florida wasn't the problem. We booked for $570 for two of us for our upcoming Panama Canal Cruise. It was the Barcelona to Vancouver one way that was the killer.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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that's some trip you took.

I'll be looking forward to hearing how you make out with Oceania. I'm big on food too (big from food? ). I almost went that route for 2012; but instead it looks like my wife and I and another couple will be booking the Silhouette out of Rome on a transatlantic, Dec 1.

Helluva itinerary.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 12:37 PM
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No matter how much you plan, stuff happens. We always leave for a cruise the day BEFORE, just in case. About 2 years ago we booked a 11 day Alaskan cruise...and the deportation port was only about a two hour drive from our home...but since we're in the habit of leaving a day early, we decided to spend the extra day playing tourist in the Port city....we're so glad we did. The morning we were set to leave we packed up the car and barely got out of the drive-way...our car totally broke down! We had to have the car towed to the repair shop and then scramble to find a rental car in our small town. We still managed to make it to the city for a nice afternoon and evening...but we could just image our panic if we had waited to leave the morning of the cruise! No...we like hedging our bets no matter if driving or flying to the cruise port.:-D
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Old May 1st, 2011, 05:46 PM
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Last month my wife and I went on our first cruise 14 days to Hawaii. Booked our own air. We were to fly out the same day from PDX to L.A. Well that was the same day that Alaska airlines computers deceided that they would crash. Long story short missed the flight and missed the ship.But Alaska airlines steped up put My wife and I on a flight to Kona Hawaii put us up in a Resort hotel for 4 days until we could catch the ship in Hilo.Also when we got on the ship we found out that Princces Cruise line had given us a $1400 credit for the time we had missed Oh Alaska also gave us $400 in credit for future flights.In my opion thats the way to treat your customers and Alaska airlines and Princces will both be seeing are business again
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Unhappy That old PSA again

Quote:
Originally Posted by worthew8 View Post
Air Transportation: Princess Cruises

Factors taken into account in determining the appropriateness of a port of call include, but are not limited to:

  • visas and other legal documentation that may be required
  • application of the Passenger Services Act to the new itinerary
  • airport/port infrastructure
  • comparability of cost, flight connections, and travel time required (note, any refund due on the unused air ticket must be used to offset the cost of the new air ticket)
  • where in the original itinerary this port is located
Well, there is that old Passenger Service Act again. What that means is that, for example, if you are cruising Vancouver to Anchorage you are simply out of luck if you miss embarkation at Vancouver, as the PSA prohibits you joining the ship at any port in Alaska.

Bottom line -- book your own air with a travel agent and go in the day before, at least.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 01:13 PM
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I leave this week for Canada/New England and I took HAL's package, so I will have to return here and give my feedback.
They are suppose to take care of everything. At least on paper, their arrangments look great. Leave at 10 Am and change once, arrive in Montreal and stay at the Hyatt. Ship leaves the next day.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 04:57 PM
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The airlines specify the minimum time to make connects.They (airlines) are responsible
for getting you to Vancouver or any port . If you miss the sailing due to timing the cruise line is resposible to get you to the next port.
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