CHOICE membership

Overbooking in the Cruise Industry


#21

A reason to post is that no-one is working, and many of those not working are trolling around on facebook :slight_smile:

That is potential exposure of the problem whilst the company sleeps. Not having a reply on the 7th would also be justification for a very public reminder. All with PR visibility.


#22

Well, a few moments ago I checked my emails and someone at princess is awake and working!
My cruise has been confirmed (although some of the details need to be ironed out) but at least I can go ahead and start confirming flights etc. I was surprised that anyone was around on New Years Eve, but there we have it.
All a bit of a pain in the neck, but at least the process seems to have re-started.


#23

Good progress @boblorel.

Having a direct connection to someone in the industry, it is worth noting that somewhere in Princess is an employee whose personal kpi’s, performance assessments and even career options are tied to problems like the one you have experienced.

As suggested by the rest of the members here the benefit of keeping the public gaze on the problem until you have the resolution you require cannot be underestimated.

True, for Princess making the problem go away by ignoring it or being difficult to communicate with is also a response but only if you accept it, which you have not.

Hope this now works out as you as intended.


#24

Not out of the woods yet! My travel agent rang them to finalise details and they wouldn’t talk to her. The claimed I hadn’t authorised the agency to act on my behalf (I did that 2 weeks ago!). Then I queried the final account and that threw the Princess person completely. Now they have to go and re-check and get back to me. Truly … they haven’t got a clue, and have no idea where to look for one!


#25

As I said before, be the squeaky wheel and keep feeding Facebook with factual information until this matter is finally resolved to your liking. Otherwise your resolution may once again slip unnoticed between the cracks.

It is important to provide positive as well as negative feedback, so when you are finally happy with the outcome, post the resolution and that you are happy with what you finally received.


#26

We had a similar offer recently on a New Zealand Cruise. We are regular Princess cruisers and will now have no hesitation in declining future offers given your experience - which no doubt is one many.

As you say, you helped them out of a jam and the payback was nothing short of disgusting.


#27

Well, the saga continues. I did receive confirmation of my replacement cruise, yet still the accounting remains totally incomprehensible. I am of the view that presenting an account should be simple, self-explanatory and easily understood by anyone. I have poured over their various accounts and have yet to find anything resembling a coherent, consistent account of what’s happened.

My calculations suggest that they are currently over charging me over $1000, but as their accounts are so impossible to decipher, who knows ? I think I might be back on Facebook shortly!


#28

This Choice Community forum is excellent. There’s another one which I’ve used as well at www.productreview.com.au . Some months ago I had an issue with a company in the finance industry which wasn’t giving me the $3000 refund I was entitled to and had been promised, so I posted to both of these forums.
What really got them motivated to do something about my complaint was when I sent them an email with links to my postings on the two forums. They gave me the refund that I was after and were then pleading, asking me to agree to get the posts taken down. Being a bit of a soft touch maybe, I did so.

It may be worth trying a similar strategy. Even the most inept organisation hates to get this sort of bad publicity spread far and wide. Once they become aware of your FB postings plus the posting to these other blogs, they’ll get to realise that you’re serious.


#29

Sounds like a good idea.

One thing that amused me was the standard link at the end of their last email which asks you if you are happy with their resolution of your problem!

I did enjoy answering that question … 8*)


#30

I believe that individuals and organisations should be praised if they do well, and called to account if they don’t.

Might I suggest that deleting your critical post was doing a disservice to other consumers who will now not know how that business actually operates, which is probably diametrically opposed to the hype they put out.

So do your fellow consumers a favour and don’t delete unfavourable reviews if they are factual and justified.


#31

My latest Facebook post … as you can see, stupidity still reigns supreme at Princess.

Princess has finally acknowledged my replacement cruise and cabin, and so I have been able to organise the peripheral flights and other associated bookings. However, I still have no resolution of the final amount due or how that amount was calculated.

Customer Solutions (Sydney) emailed me with a calculation which made absolutely no sense and contradicted previous statements. I now have a series of account statements with varying amounts, some in US dollars, some in AUD and none of which make any sense whatsoever. Some show onboard credits; some do not. Always there are figures which do not relate to anything and nothing explains the basic calculation of the final sum due. When I pointed this out to Customer Solutions, together with copies of the various conflicting accounts, no response was forthcoming.

I explained that the calculation should be simple. I have booked a 14 day cruise, Princess owes me a 7 day cruise. Therefore the account should be for a 7 day cruise (14-7) LESS the amount paid for the original cancelled cruise. Apparently this is all too hard for Princess and I am yet to receive a clear and concise explanation of their current billing notice.

During this process I asked my travel agent to take over the negotiations, as Princess was proving far to irritating and unresponsive. However, Princess told my agent that they could not talk to her as I had not provided authorisation for her to act as my agent. Although this authorisation had in fact already been provided 2 weeks prior I rang Princess and once again provided that authorisation. My agent then rang Princess, who acknowledged the authorisation was in place but still refused to deal with her. Why? Who knows. She has been dealing with Princess for many, many years, yet now Princess is refusing to deal with my authorized agent and remains incapable of dealing with me directly! This level of obstructionism and inefficiency is simply mind boggling.

Princess provides very pleasant cruises, but woe betide anyone who expects anything resembling co-operative, sensible or comprehensible customer service. If you ever get offered a “Move Over” deal, be very, very wary because Princess staff simply have no idea how to handle the transitional process or how to liaise with clients.


#32

… and in today’s chapter, and after significant time being devoted to getting any sort of response from Princess, finally they started to show a little bit of common sense.

It has gradually dawned on them that they basically haven’t got a clue in this sort of situation and agreed that based on the information they have sent me even they couldn’t work out where their calculations came from or how they arrived at the end result.

They have agreed to re-send a detailed analysis of how they calculated my new fare (once they work it out themselves) and they have agreed to re-engage with my travel agent. They have also agreed to re-visit the whole way they manage “Move over” cases because clearly the current system doesn’t work. This is partly due to the fact that those who actually calculate the account balances don’t actually work in the office, but work from home, having no apparent connection with the system everyone else uses!

Amazing really … Blind Freddy is really missing out on a job opportunity here!


#33

You really opened up a Pandora’s box didn’t you?

Good on you for sticking with it.

Perhaps their systems will be fixed so no-one else has to suffer the trials and tribulations that you did.

(I hope that’s not being too optimistic.)


#34

Thanks. I tend to be a bit tenacious when faced with corporate stupidity. However, I do think this will make it easier for others. I don’t think they even realised how weird their existing system was and how unintelligible the whole process was. I think it was only when they discovered that they they couldn’t follow their own calculations that a lightbulb appeared! 8*)


#35

If anyone is still tuned in to this amazing example of corporate stupidity, you may not be surprised to hear that Princess Cruises, after 2 months, is still incapable of responding to my problem in a coherent way.
I have rung them numerous times, spoken to all manner of individuals including one who is allegedly a Senior Customer Solutions Officer, and still they cannot manage to provide me with a simple statement of account.

All I want is a statement that shows me what the final amount owing on my cruise is, and how they calculated it.

In exasperation, I asked my travel agent to take over the booking, but it has taken weeks to allow that to happen. In the meantime, no-one answers my emails; no-one returns my calls and no-one finds any solutions. Emails to their complaints department disappear into cyberspace and promises to return my calls are not fulfilled.

Now they tell me that they are in the process of transferring the booking to my agent who will then be able to access my account. When asked why I couldn’t access that same information they had no answer. When asked why they themselves could not access that information, they also had no answer. It will be interesting to see what difference it makes to have my travel agent involved, when or if it happens.

I suspect that the only way I will obtain any response is to write an actual letter, address it to Carnival, and see if that obtains a response. Given my past experience, I doubt it.

When a corporation like this builds a firewall around itself, and simply refuses to engage, it does pose a huge problem for anyone wanting answers.


#36

Still tuned @boblorel. It sounds like a pretty sad state of affairs by any measure, hard to believe it has taken so long to sort out. If you reach a point where you feel it has permanantly stalled and you want to talk about next steps, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with our CHOICE Help team. Really hope this gets sorted out soon for you and thanks for the update.


#37

Well … here I am 3 months later, and still struggling to get Princess cruises to show even a modicum of common sense.

My cruise is still forging ahead, but Princess still is unable to either (a) reply to emails (b) response to 'phone calls (c) return calls or (d) resolve my questions.

I have just penned a letter to Carnival Australia, seeing that none of the normal avenues of communication work. Along the way, I asked Princess to pass the whole thing to my travel agent as I was tired of trying to get any sort of response directly. Initially, they told me this was not possible as bookings must be either made by an individual or an agent - but cannot be transferred. That was weeks ago.

Today, having given up on dealing with Princess, I received an email out of the blue telling me my cruise had been cancelled. No explanation whatsoever. This, after spending thousands of dollars on accommodation, air fares etc.

It transpires that Princess finally conceded that my agent could manage the booking, but to do so they had to close one booking and re-open it in my agents name. This generated a cancellation notice, but no explanation. Amazing.

When I asked them to send me a letter explaining this, they told me they could not, as they had no way of contacting the initiating department. In any event, now that my agent was handling the case, they can only send communications to that agent and not me. I keep believing that Princess could not get any more unbelievable, but still they plumb new depths of stupidity.

I shall await a reply from Carnival … if anyone there knows how to read.

It’s a bit surreal. All I want is a statement of account telling me how much I owe and how they calculated it. Not a big ask.

Now I’d also like to know why they have a Complaints Section that does not reply to complaints, and a “Customer Solutions” Officer who does not find solutions.