I recently returned from an Alaska Cruise on the Celebrity Infinity, booked through Cruise.com. We used this cruise site because it advertised "pre-paid" gratuities as part of the price for the cruise.
Midway through the cruise, I asked at the guest relations desk on board if the ship had record that our tips had been paid for by cruise.com as advertised. I was informed the ship had no record of this, so I called Cruise.com to inquire about the failure. I was told they had no record that my tips were to be prepaid, but when I informed them I had a receipt from Cruise.com showing the tips were, in fact, included in our payment to them, I was then told they made a mistake, but would not reimburse me for the cash tips I ended up having to pay since Cruise.com did not.
Their customer service has been terrible in resolving the problem, telling me I needed to get them a receipt that I paid the tips, even though they acknowledge they should have paid them for me as advertised. How can one get a receipt for cash tips paid in the envelopes the cruise line provided? I was unable to charge them to my on board account since it was only after ths ships' cutoff time to do that when we learned the tips had not been paid. We had no other choice than to pay them in cash.
What can I do to get Cruise.com to accept their responsibility and pay our tips as they advertised?
Eh that whole scenario, is both atrocious and confusing, but take this as another experience, they may have done the wrong thing, but so did you. But keep reading its not all bad news 8)
What triggered in your head that made you ask at the desk, "are my tips included" and midway through the cruise, just curious.
"I was unable to charge them to my on board account since it was only after the ships' cutoff time to do that when we learned the tips had not been paid."
See, that don’t make sense to me bud, so that’s my confusion, you find out midway and that was also the cut-off time to move to credit card?..mmm, but no matter regarding my real point.
As, I also see you trying to do the right thing here, and tip staff in cash and in doing so, no receipt to back it up. The bottom line in that scenario is cruise.com will always win, you have no evidence to back up your claim, no chance of a refund.
Now my real post
The tact I would personally take with them on this scenario is....this.
If I had a receipt in my hand that said I had already paid the "expected" amount of tips per day for my cruise and that did not happen, then I would be presenting a copy of that receipt to them asking that they refund the amount of money per day that covered those "expected tips" in the ships brochure.
Question: How much did the ships brochure say per day was expected for cabin and dining room etc tipping?
There is your refund, by showing on a receipt it was already included, you paid that money up front in your cruise price.
But the key to all my scenario is, that you do have a receipt that says the ships expected “tips” are included, And if true, change your tack, and forget the money placed in the envelopes, but try to recoup what you paid up front for those "expected ships tips" and hopefully that is what is stated on that receipt.
See where I am trying to take you, best of luck
Oh, and I will note that one for the future, cruise.com..mmmm. Thanks for the customer experience.
In hindsight, I should have checked before Wednesday, the day Celebrity allowed us to charge the tips to our cabin. I only did it then because while surfing the ships TV channels, I hit the "on board statement" and didn't see any credit. I thought that was odd, since I expected to see a credit. When I didn't see the credit, I then asked, unfortunately after noon on Wednesday when they no longer would allow me to pay them. I also held out hope a simple phone call to Cruise.com would fix it since I held a paper receipt showing they were "prepaid".
My brother in law, who also sailed with us on that cruise had the same thing happen to him. I wonder how many other people Cruise.com did this to?
We have been on over 25 cruises, so I shouldn't have been so naive thinking Cruise.com would actually do what they said they would do. They advertise they are one of the largest cruise sites on the internet, but then had to admit their online site made the mistake, yet still didn't make it right.
I like the approach that the "pre-paid" tips were in the original cruise amount. Hadn't thought about doing that.
Thank you for your comments. They have been very helpful!
I have also written Cruise Critic and Cruisemates and Conde Nast editors, who have agreed to intervene for us. If they are successful, I will let you know.
While I am not one to blast anyone or any company since no one is prefect consistently, this is so blatant, it drives me just for the principle. Cruise,com acknowledges the error, but won't do anything about it. People need to know the risks they take when dealing with companies like this.
I contacted my credit card company, who said that since the charge was paid 3 months before the cruise, they can't do anything about it now. Another blow......
I liked the idea of sending them a copy of my total cost which included the tips. I will try that today.
Thanks everyone for their kind suggestions. It truly is nice to have support from so many who have cruised before.