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Old September 29th, 2008, 12:37 AM
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My letter to Princess Public Relations today...wish me luck getting back the $378 they have stolen from me. The time I wasted, the rudeness I endured and the vacation they ruined I will one day mentally write off.


I am writing to make you aware of the horrible treatment I received on
the Golden Princess Alaskan Cruise, which sailed on 9/20/2008. I received two tickets for the White Pass bus/rail excursion in Skagway,
Alaska, and my mother and her companion also received two tickets for
the same excursion. This was correct. My mother was charged for two
tickets, but I was charged for 4 tickets instead of two. I went to the
Purser's desk the night before we disembarked to make Princess aware of
the error. I waited in line 45 minutes for my turn, finally hitting the
desk at 11 PM.
Jamie, the purser examined my bill and my mother's bill and agreed that
my mother had been charged for two tickets and that I had been charged
for four (it should have been two each). He tried to contact the
excursion director, but they did not work that late and no one was able
to help. I was suprised that on the last night of the cruise that this
department would not be available to help. I was told to come back
early in the morning. Rather than enjoy breakfast with my family, I
went to the Purser's office at 6:30 AM to try to resolve the problem.
Unfortunately, when I got to the counter at 6:50, I was told that the
Excursion Director was not available until 7:00 AM. I was instructed to
go off to the side and wait 10 minutes, then return to the purser that
was helping me, not to get back in line.
Then the fun begins. I got to see 3 other couples, just within the 10
minutes, that had the same complaint about double charges on
excursions. They were furious and taking it out on the Purser's that
were doing their best to be pleasant. At 7:00 AM, I walked back up the
the Purser and an elderly lady pushed in front of me and told me that
"there was a line". I thanked her for that helpful information and
waited until she was done complaining about...guess what...double
charges for an excursion. After she was told that there was no one to
help her, it was my turn again. This time, I was told that the
Excursion Director would not be available until 7:30 AM. What to do?
Disembarkement for my group was at 8:15, and I had an 11:26 flight to
catch. Naively, I trusted that if I could just talk to the Excursion
Director that it would be solved quickly, so rather than upset any more
of my fellow passengers by approaching the desk, I went to the end of
the line. Why not? I had to waste another half hour anyway. At 7:35 AM, It was my turn again. Will the fourth time be a charm?
Hell no! The Purser called the elusive Excursion Director and she told
the Purser that she could not help me and to give me the number for
customer relations. I asked him to get the Director back on the phone
so that I could speak to her. He put the Director on and she was
standoffish and rude. She said that she could not help me because
Princess had already paid the excursion company for six tickets. I
asked her, "How on earth is that my problem". She repeated, "I can't
help you". I explained to her that this was not acceptable and that
many passengers were furious about our charges and were taking it out on
the Pursers. I requested that she leave her office and come down to the
desk to tell myself and the others that Princess was not going to refund
the improper charges, and not leave it to the innocent Pursers. She
declined and hung up. I was disgusted by her cowardice, rudeness, and
lack of leadership.
Off to the lounge area for disembarkment. At this point the
disembarkment process was 1-1/2 hours behind schedule, so I decided to
call the customer relations number. A customer service rep listened to
my story then said he could not help me for a week. I explained that I
was staring at a document that clearly stated that if I left the ship
without having changes made to the bill, the charges would be final.
"That's not true", he said. I asked why it was written on the bill if
it was not true. He repeated that I could contest the charges in a
week. I asked him to stop repeating this and to understand that this
contradiction in policy was not acceptable to me. He turned from snide
to rude and said that I was talking over him! God fobid that the
customer who has been inconvenienced and stolen from carry the lead in
the conversation. I asked him not to be rude to me. He continued
repeating his snide refrain and I asked to speak to his supervisor. He
refused to put his supervisor on. I asked him not to treat me in a way
that he would not treat a person if they were face to face and he said
"I do not have to take this" and hung up. Is this how you train your
customer relations employees? If the customer asks to escalate the
issue to a supervisor, to hang up on them?

All in all, a miserable experience.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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Apart from the obvious need for better training within the customer relation staff at Princess, we would like to advise you that when we have had discrepancies in accounting with not only Princess but other lines as well, we have always resolved them to our satisfaction in written format. We realize that this takes additional time and effort but without exception we have always won our point. One can easily make oneself ill in trying to deal with personnel who have neither the proper training nor the slightest interest in resolving complaints.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 04:49 AM
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Clearly, they made a mistake. This is why I always use my credit card to make purchases such as this. I can dispute the bill and not pay 'false' charges.

While I understand your frustration, my approach would have been a calmer one. Sticking to the facts and controlling my temper (hard to do), seems to get a more positive outcome with any customer service rep.

I hope you get restitution.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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Let us know if you contact them in a week, what their response is?? You can always dispute the charge on your credit card, because even if you do talk to them and they reverse 2 of the prices of the tickets, it will, most likly take a billing cycle or two before you see any credit. Why is it that when we pay for things, we get charged right away, but when there is a problem, it takes months??

Best of luck and let us know what their reply is..
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Old September 29th, 2008, 07:01 PM
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Ah, that explains the really crabby people waiting outside the Explorers Lounge!
We kinda wondered why there was a couple of snippy people telling others off! One of the people near us was snapped at to "get to the back of the line"... well, fine, if they were trying to be in the line, but they weren't, they were going into the Lounge to wait!

As far as late disembarkment... we were off the ship before 10am, which is exactly what our schedule told us we would be. Thought it all went really smoothly.

As far as dealing with excursion charges, I visited the Purser's desk three times during the cruise, to check on things while they could still be easily dealt with. Fortunately, nothing was amiss on our bill, and the two times we couldn't figure out something, they were quick to pull up the actual receipts, so we could go "ah, yes, that one"...

I found the Golden Princess staff to all be very helpful.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaeVynn
Ah, that explains the really crabby people waiting outside the Explorers Lounge!
.
Yes, poor service and indfference will do that. But for you all was well and for that you must be very appreciative. But for others, those perhaps not stockholders in the game, there were real problems and frustrating problems and the line did not know how to deal with these problems. Consider yourself fortunate that all went well for YOU but obviously not for the origianl poster.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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On any of the cruises I have been on, you can go to the Purser's desk on any day of the cruise and request a copy of the charges on your account. This way you can "reconcile" your account 2 or 3 times (if on a long itinerary) before disembarking. This way you have more time to get things straightened out before EVERYONE else is in line on the last evening.

I do this on every cruise, and I have only had one incident halfway thru my trip that needed attention, and it was handled very efficiently.

Just a thought that may help you on future trips.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Don't interject logic here! These "hit and run," one-time posters don't want to hear it, Robbie

;>)
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Old September 30th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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Was this meant for me?
I actually do appreciate the "logic", but I could have brought the problem to their attention a couple days earlier, and still nothing would have been done. That is really my issue, that and the rudeness of those in power that hide behind the phone while their employees get beat on. (not by me)
I have contested the bill with credit card company, send Princess a "toned down" email, and have been informed they will get back to me in a month.
Again, I appreciate the kind words and empathy from the majority here. On another board I was given a hard time by almost all for having the gaul to say that I was dissatisfied.

A lighter note...a question for those who cruise more than I... Do you think this being the last cruise of the season had anything to do with the bad experience? The food was sub par (and that has been a common theme on reviews of the specific cruise I have read), the activities really cheesy and everything seemed to fall apart on the final morning in terms of organization and helpfulness.

To end on a positive note...the "working" folks on the cruise were outstanding! It was great to be around young people from so many different countries that worked so hard and were so pleasant.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbie H
Don't interject logic here! These "hit and run," one-time posters don't want to hear it, Robbie

;>)
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Old October 1st, 2008, 12:26 PM
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I'm not sure the "logic" jab at the original poster was necessary. Folks come to this board from some others for the very reason that they can't post any complaint there without being sniped at. I hope this board does not head that way as well.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 05:08 PM
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We wonder at times why it is that passengers from all the various line boards, when reading a negative report, immediately detail the wonderful cruise they had with the same line. Folks, we are happy for you for that is the way it is suppose to be, wonderful.

Reading negative reports is not a reflection on your sailing preferences, it is an occurrence that needs airing for all our benefit in making choices, for these things just may one day happen to us.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Crunchsite,

I had a similar experience with Princess staff regarding overcharges on my bill which were brought to their attention mid-way through the cruise so there is no excuse for it not being resolved quickly. It took two phone calls and 3 or 4 visits to guest services to get it resolved. What surprised me most was a staff member lying to me about her manager not being on duty when, unknown to her, the manager had just called my cabin and asked me to come down not 5 minutes earlier. Love the ships and itineraries but IMO their service is the worst.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 07:50 PM
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If your account was settled by credit card you can immediately put some pressure on Princess by disputing the charge with your credit card company. They'll carry the ball forward to the cruise line.

Also... have your travel agent represent your case to their district manager for immediate remedy. That's part of what they get paid for, not just booking your cruise.

It does sound as though the problem should have been easily corrected, so should have been.

I actually advise checking your account the 2nd to last day of a cruise, so errors can be picked up and dealt with before the long lines that can happen on the last day.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 11:44 PM
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Details that come to mind:

When you arrived onboard, were there the correct number of excursion tickets in your cabin?

When you booked the excursion, did you use the cruise personalizer on princess.com? if so, did you book 1 excursion for 2 people, or 2 excursions for 1 person? it's possible that if you booked 1 excursion for each person in the personalizer, it may have inadvertently gotten double-booked.

This is in no way criticism, but for future cruisers, these are things to pay attention to, as is the onboard account. As I mentioned before, we checked ours after our port days, to make sure our excursions were charged correctly, and to keep tabs on our tab.

As far as people lying about their manager being on duty, I used to manage a hotel. Often, the front desk people do not know if the manager is in the back office, calling guests to correct issues. I would hesitate to describe incorrect information as "lying".
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 12:20 PM
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The complaint with the handling of the charge issue was on her and she was trying to discard the situation as she had already done before. She didn't know the manager called me but, as confirmed by the manager when I finally got to speak with her, the rep did know she was on duty and in the office (which is so small it would be hard not to know) and apologized profusely. I'm not making an accusation but stating a fact.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaeVynn
Details that come to mind:

This is in no way criticism, but for future cruisers, these are things to pay attention to, as is the onboard account. As I mentioned before, we checked ours after our port days, to make sure our excursions were charged correctly, and to keep tabs on our tab.
Are you now able to check your account through the TV in your room, or must you go to Guest Relations. I seem to recall on our 1st Princess cruise in 2006, that you could not check your balance through the TV, but had to go in person to do so, which seems kind of old fashioned with todays computers.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richsea
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaeVynn
Details that come to mind:

This is in no way criticism, but for future cruisers, these are things to pay attention to, as is the onboard account. As I mentioned before, we checked ours after our port days, to make sure our excursions were charged correctly, and to keep tabs on our tab.
Are you now able to check your account through the TV in your room, or must you go to Guest Relations. I seem to recall on our 1st Princess cruise in 2006, that you could not check your balance through the TV, but had to go in person to do so, which seems kind of old fashioned with todays computers.
No you cannot check it on the TV. Yes, you have to go to the Purser's Desk and get a printout to review.

Really dumb.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 07:53 PM
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I don't understand why Princess can't get the passenger's account to come up on the TV?? Royal Caribbean has had that for years. I think it saves a lot of time waiting in line to have them print out your account. With Royal Caribbean you can check your balance daily and spot any errors. I've been lucky, its always been acurate. Once I bought a drink and went back to the cabin to check the account, it was already on there, so its done very quickly.
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