This letter is asking for advice & give a heads up to those planning a cruise with this company.
We are incensed that MSC appears to think that they can behave in this manner with impunity.
This was a cruise we’d saved & planned for our later life. We can’t afford to try again. The whole experience has devastated us.
We booked & paid a deposit on November 1, 2005 & paid in full on March 13, 2006.
6 weeks before we were to leave for my mother’s 85th birthday prior to the cruise we were told we had been BUMPED OFF due to a group booking.
The June 3rd sailing was the pivotal point of our trip: The hours of planning a family reunion for our 85 year old mother, and trips round the rest of Scandinavia all hinged on the cruise dates. Relatives & friends were inconvenienced because dates had to be fixed to the cruise departure date. Hotels, trains, planes etc. had been booked well in advance to get the best prices & confirmed bookings.
We never got the tickets from MSC & never got a brochure so small print doesn’t come into the equation.
We are furious that this has happened. We had a contract. While we got reimbursed for the cost of the cruise, we had also:
1)spent a lot more money than we needed to in order to coordinate everything with the cruise.
2) had to spend much more money than anticipated in order to fill in the lost cruise week.
If we’d known this sort of business practice was likely to happen we would have done things very differently & saved ourselves at least $4,000.
No one cares about the extra expenses that were incurred, the immense aggravation & total disappointment, time & effort, mailings & telephone to sort out this mess etc.
Letters & phone calls to MSC have been fruitless in this regard. An offer of 25% off our next cruise is useless to us: Who would trust them again? The price would no doubt be higher & the room unavailable. We can’t afford to go through flight costs to Copenhagen again & all the planning that entails.
We need your advice on how we can get recompense. We also hope to warn others.
Thanks for your time in reading this,
OP, this is the pitts I know, but let me tell you, it does happen, not just on MSC, but on all lines. It is a rarity, and yes, extremely dissappointing. You said you never got a brochure and I can beleive this: did it enter your mind to pop into a local travel agency and pick one up. Did it occur to you, seeing this was a family reunion to use a TA in the first place?
I am sure there is nothing you can do: the fact that you didn't have a brochure to read the small print is neither here nor there. What is the old saying "ignorance is no excuse"?
I do think it would have been a good PR move to offer you a discount on another cruise; any monetory compensation just would never happen. NMnita
You said you never got a brochure and I can beleive this: did it enter your mind to pop into a local travel agency and pick one up. Did it occur to you, seeing this was a family reunion to use a TA in the first place?
We used a TA for the very reason we didn't want anything to go wrong!
The brochure had not been issued at the time of our booking & I was led to believe by someone working in the industry it wasn't issued until after the new year anyway!
As to progress. We wrote to every agency to do with cruising:
Federal Maritime Commission Washington
American Society of Travel Agents
Florida Cruise Assoc.
BBB of Fort Lauderdale
our members of government
and many other agencies
Nothing, and I mean nothing. So we phoned. They showed sympathy, either passed us onto another agency or we never heard from them again.
Anita Dunham-Potter of MSNBC, & TRIPSO was the only one to attack the situation head-on. She phoned the CEO of MSC Cruises Rick Sasso, and she shared the results in her article. There is a link on my website: http://www.cruisebumping.ca
There is also a good discussion going on the TRIPSO forum about cruise bumping (see my website for link)
spencer, thanks for replying: I am sorry if it sounded like I was attacking you, but I am surprised about the brochures. Normally they are printed months if not a year or more in advance. It may have helped if you had checked with your agent to make sure you did get one when they arrived. As for bumping, this is becoming a more common complaint by the day; either bumping or changing someones already paid for cabin. Now changing a cabin may not seem like a big deal, but if there are children involved or elderly parents it can be a majoy concern. BTW, all lines are doing this. I hope your efforts pay off but don't hold your breath. How did your TA re-act when all this happened? Was there any other options for another cruise leaving the same time from the same port or a near by port? Again, when I said I couldn't believe you didn't get a brochure, I should have stated it: I can't believe this as in a shock, not questioning you. NMnita 8)
I hope your efforts pay off but don't hold your breath. How did your TA re-act when all this happened? Was there any other options for another cruise leaving the same time from the same port or a near by port? NMnita 8)
Thanks nmnita. I think you are right. I won't hold my breath. Just want to give others the benefit of our experience. Some recommendations from those experienced in the industry is what I hope this forum will bring out.
If I take a cruise in the future it will be a stand alone holiday. In other words it won't include extended tours - before or after the cruise. That way if something happens (whether being bumped or getting ill etc.) There will only be the one item to lose.
Insuring against bumping is apparently not available by the way. Other forums are discussing the fact that one should take out insurance when travelling - agreed - we did that. But as far as we know it doesn't cover bumping & insurance companies don't offer specific coverage for bumping.
As to the TA doing her job. She is shocked & stunned. She felt so bad for us. She could do nothing. MSC told them to tell us & that's all she could do. No other date was offered. No upgrade was offered. MSC gave us our money back & offered 25% of another cruise. You can imagine our response to that! I tried explaining to MSC why it wouldn't help, that the extra planning was already in place & family/friends had been adjusted to suit etc. They couldn't see my point.
even though this has happened more than once and on almost all cruise lines please do not let it totally sour you on cruising. It probably doesn't happen more than 1 in a thousand cruises, but when you are traveling with family for a special event even that seems to be too often. Maybe a word of advise: don't book too far out. Large groups do not book a month or two out but maybe more like a year.