I am getting a (sea)sick sinking feeling

Jan 15th, 2009, 06:40 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,986
I am getting a (sea)sick sinking feeling

I booked The Diamond Princess 15 months in advance and prepaid the whole cruise through ecruise store. I won't elaborate now on the double charging to my credit card, that seems to be common with this agency. (That did get resolved) The 75 days prior final payment date has passed, and Princess shows no receipt of the final payment. In fact the Princess rep found I think a whole group of us in the same situation. I did call the cruise agancy and got a very quick curt answer. She does not work that, another department does, (I think it's outsourced). She had not finished everything on my booking yet, ie: OBC and wine. She says It takes at least 72 hours to process all this and you should be able to print out your boarding pass 14 days in advance. The ecruise agent is very quick and curt with me. I have been hearing of cruise agencies going under and leaving passengers stranded without their final payment made. Is this typically the way cruise agencies do business these days and things have just changed? Should I be worried? I am not feeling good about this at all.
hpeabody is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 01:02 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,240
You can take this up with your creidt card company - put the charge in dispute and they will ask you for other info and attempt to resolve it on your behalf (we had to do this once with a rug shipped from Turkey and were pleasantly surprised to see it got resolved).

When we used an on-line travel agent for an Alaska cruise last summer our payments posted on the Princess site within 24 hours - so I would be worried.

I am curious, though, about what Princess said about "a whole group of us in the same situation" - if it is a number of people from this cruise travel agency, then I would be really worried and pursue this thru credit card company. However, if it is people thru many agencies, then I would believe the problem is internal to Princess posting payments.

The way I figure, worst possible outcome is that you pay Princess directly and get charge removed from your credit card to the other agency. You will have to argue a bit with Princess since they do not want to talk to you if you are under the umbrella of a travel agency (we had a minor problem about transfers and they directed us back to travel agent), but it is possible - ask to talk to a supervisor.
gail is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 10:12 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,163
I'd be concerned at this point, but it's good that you're on top of things and have time to get this resolved. I don't know the standard practice among online travel agencies, but it seems unusual to me that they would withhold payment to the cruise line unless they were having cash-flow problems.

Do check with the Better Busienss Bureau in Florida, where the online agency is headquartered.

If you aren't getting the answers you need, check with CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) or the IATA (International Association of Travel Agents) to make sure they are still in good standing

You can also try to dispute the charge with your credit card, but I'm not sure they have broken any rules at this point.

One very viable option may be to cancel and simply do the rebooking yourself with Princess.
doug_stallings is online now  
Jan 16th, 2009, 02:33 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,164
We used the same agency on our last cruise in October. Same thing happened to us. Our agent said she did not handle "the money part" only the booking. We paid our final with our credit card on time, but our credit card statement showed that the agency charged it, not the cruise line. It was a European cruise and I was leaving 10 days prior to sailing. I called customer service almost daily. After talking with the cruise line (showing no final payment 30 days prior) I was crying. Finally got a nice customer service rep at the cruise/travel agency. He stated that I was part of a "group" (even though I booked the cruise myself on another cruise). The agency was waiting for several "late payers" before finalizing the group and sending a bank transfer for the group final. To make a long story short, I received my docs about a week before I left and the OBC the agency promised did appear on my folio on the ship. Would I use them again? No, made me way to nervous
BarbAnn is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 06:37 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 67
We have had so many problems with incompetent and uncaring agents that we are now looking at holidays where we can book direct ourselves. Our last local tour was with Virgin Blue, did everything on the Internet, instant confirmations and everything that was promised happened, it was so nice to be stress free.
NigelWaring is offline  
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