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Old August 31st, 2006, 07:39 PM
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Default Plea for Advice >_<

Dear fellow Cruiseliners,
I have a situation which I hope some of you may give me some advice on.

I was to go on my first ever cruise with some friends. 3 rooms were reserved on RCI, through PriceLine, for a cruise that started August 21st, each room payed for by 3 different credit cards. The week before departure, some of my friends could not go and cancelled their reservation (1 of the 3 rooms). The rest of us arrived at Port Canaveral on August 21st, ready for the trip of the year. However, when checking in at the desk, the pier agent informs us that my reservation had been cancelled!! javascript:emoticon('') The occupants in that room, myself included, were not allowed to board the ship since our names were not on the ship manifest. (My friends had no problem boarding the ship.)

For the next 5 hours, I was on the phone with the travel agency, trying to find out what happened to my reservation. A PriceLine agent spoke with the RCI reservation department and gave me some interesting information. According to PriceLine's records, my friends, who had cancelled, cancelled their reservation with PriceLine, which was fine, nothing wrong there. However, when PriceLine relayed that information to Royal Caribbean International, someone got mixed up and cancelled my reservation instead!!javascript:emoticon('')

There was nothing that I could do. The three of us who were in that room had to watch as the ship left dock (it was very painful to have to watch the boat leave, while we were standing onshore waiting for someone to pick us up). javascript:emoticon('') Rather than pay a fee to change our original flight back to New York to an earlier date, we spent the next 4 days in Orlando, keeping track of our receipts and expenses, knowing that someone will have to pay for his or her mistake.
javascript:emoticon(':evil:')

The travel agency has been looking into the matter ever since. And the result? According to PriceLine's notes and records, their travel agent processed the cancellation correctly on PriceLines side. However, when working with the Royal Carribbean agent, the Royal Caribbean agent made a mistake (this is according to PriceLine). But get this, Royal Caribbean is denying any mistake on their part.

Who is suppose to reimburse us for the expenses we spent in Orlando when we should have been on a cruise?? Who is suppose to pay for our airfare that was spent to fly to Florida for the cruise?? Who will refund us the money we spent for a cruise we couldn't go on, by no fault of our own?!?! And what about the undue S T R E S S and AGGRAVATION that we had needlessly go through because of someone who didn't do his or her job correctly?!?!

Our travel agent states that it has been difficult to get through to Royal Caribbean and have them own up to any fault. Yet, Royal Carribbean is willing to refund us half of the cruise expense and PriceLine will cover the other half. That is all RCI is willing to offer. PriceLine, on the other hand, will possibly cover the expenses incurred during our stay, possibly. As of now, I am still waiting to hear from the agent. That only covers the cruise and expenses. What about paying me back the money I spent flying to Florida?? And how about totally ruining my vacation and wasting my time?! How about Royal Caribbean offering me a cruise voucher for the future for the stress and aggravation that an incompetent agent put me through?? WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?!?!
javascript:emoticon(':evil:')

That pretty much covers it. Even with only the important details, this is still lengthy; I apologize. But if anyone can help me or give me advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 08:40 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about the mix-up with your cruise, I would certainly be very upset. I think next time, look for a good travel agent, someone you can call at any time or e-mail. Things like this happen every so often, but the more people involved, I think just adds to confusion and that's exactly what happened here and no one wants to take the blame or fix it. Dealing with one travel agent, I think would avoided this whole mess. Hopefully soon, you can re-book another cruise. Another tip, would be to take out travel insurance, I wouldn't travel without it.

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Old August 31st, 2006, 09:14 PM
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We did work with one travel agent. PriceLine has been very responsive to our phonecalls and questions. It seems that it is RCI who does not want to accept any blame.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 09:40 PM
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Priceline sucks. Was it really any cheaper than the rate posted for the same cruise directly with the TA or RCI? I can't imagine it was. I have a good TA but have also booked with RCI directly. Did you have your docs with you? When I booked with RCI, I was able to talk to them directly. If with a 3rd party, they won't talk to you.

I am also sorry you missed out on the Sovereign. Great ship!
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Old August 31st, 2006, 10:43 PM
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I agree with Dave, your situation is exactly why I always book my cruises through a T.A. that I have used for years and/or directly with the cruiseline. Even when I book thru the cruiseline, I transfer my booking to my T.A. for processing. Unfortunately, some of the expenses you incurred will probably not be reimbursed by any of the parties involved. Keep following up with everyone until you have exhausted all avenues. Of course, everyone will be pointing fingers at the other participants because of the financial implications. I'm sorry everything turned into such a disaster, good luck.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 08:37 AM
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first off did you pay for your cruise with a credit card? Did RCCL credit your card for the cancelled cruise?? If you haven't received a credit then dispute the charge, you will need a letter in writing from PriceLine, doesn't sound like that would be a problem.
Did you take out trip insurance? IF so, call them and file a claim.
Keep after Priceline to keep after RCCL. That's about all you can do.
Take what they are offering you.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Someone was negligent so I would keep trying to get the facts in writing from both parties..maybe contact a consumer agency-there must be one that covers each of these companies...even just to get an apology!
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Old September 1st, 2006, 02:23 PM
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LisaK-
Yes, I used a credit card to pay for the cruise. I am waiting for my statement to see if I was charged. But since the erroneous cancellation was made less than a week before departure, I was most likely billed and not given anything back. No, I did not take out cruise insurance.

Thank you hcat.
Would anyone know which consumer agency would cover these two companies, RCI and PriceLine?
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Old September 1st, 2006, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Would anyone know which consumer agency would cover these two companies, RCI and PriceLine?
There's no consumer agency that could do anything, as long as the transactions were legal. There are no regulartory bodies, other than law enforcement who's juristiction would cover these situations.

That said, it seems there's to be "something" missing in this story. If your friends had cancelled a week prior to the cruise they would have received NO refund (unless they had purchased insurance).

Also if your reservation had been cancelled in error, instead of theirs, their reservation should have still been showing in the system. Did anyone at the pier check that?

Did you have cruise documents (tickets) in hand when you arrived at the pier?

It's a lousy thing to happen showing up at the pier and being denied boarding for any reason, and I feel bad for you.

Must say though... if you'd have found CruiseMates before you booked, and researched here earlier, you'd likely have been a much more informed cruiser.... and likely have gone and enjoyed your cruise vacation.

Do hope it works out for you. Just a guess, with the little information we've been given... but I'll bet the most likely scenario is a screw up by your Priceline agent. If they cancelled a reservation with RCI, they should also be able to produce a cancellation number, which could verify which reservation had been cancelled.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 06:55 PM
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I agree with LisaK, call your credit card company today and dispute the charge. That will give you time to sort it all out. It sounds like you won't be hurt too bad if both priceline and RCCL are each willing to pay half. But like you say, you are still stuck for airfare!! This is the worst thing I could think of that could happen to a cruise . Buy travel insurance and book through RCCL, the price will be the same.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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There is a travel magazine, it might be Conde Nast Traveller, there is a monthly column called I think the travel ombudsman, people write to him about issues exactly like yours and he is able to resolve them. I think he has been doing this for a long, long time so he has connections with all the cruise lines and resorts, plus I think there is the thought from the cruise lines that they know if contacted by him they are going to end up in a national magazine so they would rather appear as the good cruise line rather than the evil one before millions of readers who are specifically interested in travel.

I would take your case to him and see if he can help you.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfinley919
There is a travel magazine, it might be Conde Nast Traveller, there is a monthly column called I think the travel ombudsman, people write to him about issues exactly like yours and he is able to resolve them. I think he has been doing this for a long, long time so he has connections with all the cruise lines and resorts, plus I think there is the thought from the cruise lines that they know if contacted by him they are going to end up in a national magazine so they would rather appear as the good cruise line rather than the evil one before millions of readers who are specifically interested in travel.

I would take your case to him and see if he can help you.
Budget Travel has a Ombudsman letter center also....

You had a terrible experience!

We always like to save money...but sometimes trying to save a penny...we throw away dollars...

That said, we've found the best way for us is to keep it simple. We book through an experienced TA and she's been great so far ...BUT we have been tempted to book directly with the cruise lines too, and we still might do that. That would cut even more the number of people involved in the transaction.

Your experience is classic of the mix-up that can occur when too many people or agencies are involved.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Whether it's the fault of Royal Caribbean or your agent, I think most of the responsibility should go to Price Line.
I have been a travel agent for many years, and really don't understand the answers they are giving you.
First of all, it is their responsibility to get confirmation of the correct cancellation. That is why, you are on your own without a travel agent that knows the business. Priceline is a warehouse operation.
They must carry insurance which is called "errors and ommissions insurance" for such an incident. They are covered for such an incident.
You booked with them, not Royal Caribbean direct.
I would stress the fact that IT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to get you reimbursed, they certainly can afford it! Tell them you are suing them for the money. You can call the IATA association, which Priceline must be part of and they can probably help you.
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Old September 8th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Default Agree with Dreamcruise...

Priceline is a website which does a fair job finding cheap hotels, but all I have seen is horror stories when they get invloved with cruise bookings. Whoever chose Priceline for a cruise made mistake #1. It will be interesting to see who received the credit card payment. I would wager the Priceline got the money which would explain why RCI knew nothing of the reservation. In addition, doesn't Priceline require payment in full at time of the booking, and offer no refunds?

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