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Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

Knoxville, Tennessee
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for Pigeon Forge
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1,089 posts
61 reviews
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Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

I was patient. I called and asked for their official position on the matter. After talking with three customer service folks a supervisor told me the issue was being discussed at the highest level and a suitable resolution was being discussed. I was asked to allow them time to consider options and she would personally call me when they had a resolution.

That was last Friday. Today I did indeed receive a call from Kathy who was obviously not excited about breaking the news to me. Though professional and trying to appear sympathetic she explained that management at Princess had decided to flush passenger satisfaction and any appearance of commitment to their customers down the toilet. Sorta of a burial at sea it seems. (my words not hers).

Although the DW and I have paid in full for our voyage which was booked 7 months ago, they have made the decision not to provide one of the key amenities that was promised to us in an email sent following our booking.

Yes this issue has been discussed a great deal over the last few days on cruise forums but until this afternoon an official position which was taken by the senior management of the cruise line had not been officially released to my knowledge. Until now it was only circumstantial evidence that even fully paid customers who have paid full price for a suite would also have complimentary Internet taken away.

Eliminating an aneminity for future clients is one thing but doing so for those who have paid in full is pathetic. So is offering to waive cancellation fees to those upset with the decision when they have weeks of travel and other nonrefundable reservations in Asia after a 17 day voyage. No one on this cruise or others like it can cancel at this point of the planning without flushing several thousand $'s along with the companys commitment.

This is not a matter of the $'s we will now be required to pay in order to follow our small business and elderly family members condition while away from home but rather it's a matter of one companies disrespecting its passengers and never once offering so much as an apology.

If any one reading this believes they will not do it to any one of you! you are mistaken. This company is absolutely capable of it. If fact I now expect it from them as should you. It's been my experience that once a company becomes comfortable with putting the almighty $ above its customers for matters of service or commitment it is always just a matter if time before it spreads to cutting corners with their comfort and eventually their safety. I wish them no harm but anyone considering booking with them in the future should carefully consider alternatives.

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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14,378 posts
34 reviews
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1. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

Sorry Chris for this inconvenience regarding the internet charges. At this point though I believe that you will serve yourself and perhaps your travel companions best if you put this incident aside and try to forget about it so that it doesn't overshadow your enjoyment.

Meantime it seems that you are spending a lot of time (and if you have a business you know that time is money...actually more important than money imho) trying to find appropriate hotels, local guides, local transportation and so forth. In other words you are being your own travel agent is that right? If so you won't know it but you will not get preferred, negotiated rates and you will miss certain delights on your trip but (fortunately) you will not even know.

As for the complaint about Princess, did you know that you paid for the services of a travel agent even though you did not get them? And what would an agent have done? I can't say for certain but right up the road from you (according to google maps) in Knoxville is the largest travel agency in the US and that is AAA Travel. There are also listed other significant agencies including American Express, Pilot (AMEX rep), Carlson Wagonlit and The Travel Authority. Those are just the recognizable big names. Any of them, and surely others on the list, would have enough clout with Princess to be able to get Princess to honor whatever amenities appeared in written form. The individual simply does not have the clout that the major clients (the travel agents) do.

I'm not a travel agent but I know some good ones and it is really a shame that the public thinks they can do a better job than someone who is so knowledgable and so dedicated to customer service and books travel day in and day out.

It certainly sounds like you have a wonderful travel adventure ahead of you and hopefully you can focus on enjoying it all.

Knoxville, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Pigeon Forge
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1,089 posts
61 reviews
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2. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

After reading so much about this info late last week I called Princess on Friday and spoke with more than one customer service person. After getting the same story as others here I was eventually promised senior management was reviewing the policy as it applies to passengers like us who had suites paid in full and got a commitment to call me with a decision I agreed to wait. Yesterday I received the answer but not the one I wanted to hear. They were not grandfathering us. After work I proceeded to join the bashing of Princess here and other sites for not fulfilling their commitment to those who booked before the change in policy.

Then today I received a voicemail from Kathy in customer service at Princess stating they had reconsidered the decision and WHERE indeed going to grandfather us.

I'd like to thank Princess for listening, albeit a bit late, to their passengers and am very pleased they are doing what they said they would do when we booked the suite. I strongly believe it was the right thing to do and also believe it will serve you better in the eyes of potential customers and certainly does with current ones. Thanks Princess.

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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14,378 posts
34 reviews
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3. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

Wanna bet that was because the travel agents who had clients in this situation would not stand for that? And you benefited too. After all they made more profit on your since they didn't have to pay out the travel agent commission on your booking. Glad it worked out for you so that you can now fully enjoy the great adventure you've got coming up. Have a wonderful experience

Knoxville, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Pigeon Forge
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1,089 posts
61 reviews
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4. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

Look it's not that I don't appreciate advice on this board. That's why I often use tripadvisor and also try to help others venturing into places I happen to know a little something about. That said for someone who "is not a travel agent" you sure are working hard to steer people to them.

Perhaps it seems foreign to some but I thoroughly enjoy researching destinations before traveling there almost as much as the actual trip itself.

I prefer to do my own research and not turn over my trip to someone who has a vested interest in some destinations, accommodations, carriers or service providers. I've worked with several travel agents and have had two close friends who were worked in the industry.. I understand how they stay in business.

Don't get me wrong, they do provide a valuable service especially for those who don't wish to or can't research on their own but I fall int neither category.

Now, for your information as you can see if you visit this thread at cruisecritic.com :

boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php…

there were over 24,000 readers who read the over 500 posts posted by people frustrated or at least interested in this disasterous decision by Princess. What's important for you to understand not one of the posters here had a travel agent who even knew anything about the policy change which was made in late June. In fact dozens of the posters contacted their TA ans when asked about the problem, we're not even aware of it. No, it's not completely their fault. But IMO travelers should be involved in their own planning and research the details themselves. And no it wasnt travel agents who forced this change in policy, it was the thousands of readers and posters online who followed up themselves and contacted Princess in mass. Here is a good read on the matter:

www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=4902

As I said I prefer to research and plan my own travel details and I have almost never gotten a deal through a travel agent that I felt I could not get on my own. The only exception is perks or extras such as onboard shop credits. In fact on many occassion I got better deals than my TA was offering. The Internet has changed this industry and a determined independent researcher can often find deals or at least arrangements own their own that suit them better than a TA can.

Now for your repeated suggestions that a TA is the only way to go........is it your parents who own the business? Sister? Brother? Maybe you travel with someone's groups as a chaperone? Which is it?

As a "destination expert" here on trip advisor of all places you should understand people wanting to research their own travel plans and make their own arrangements. What gives? There has to be a story........

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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14,378 posts
34 reviews
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5. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

Nope, no relatives of mine own a travel agency I just have folks I consider to be friends who are agents. Yes, they have a tough job and the best do it extremely well. I just went to a travel presentation done by AAA Travel two nights ago. Their expertise, commitment to quality and working only with stable, well funded travel suppliers was on full display. Do you realize that they can call their contacts at hotels (general managers) and confirm things important to clients? They know the names of the executives at Princess Cruises and they can call them too. You and many folks do not know that you may actually pay a higher price since travel suppliers cater to travel agents for their business and that includes providing them with lower prices than the public sees or perks (like free internet?) that are important to people. Travel agencies and travel agency groups have significant negotiating power.

There's no reason that you still can't research your own trips. I think agents would love you because without them spending a bunch of time qualifying what you think you'd like you will have it all laid out for them.

But there are certainly folks out there who travel agents can't help. I think you are probably one of them. Happy trails.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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6. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

My goodness! There are lots of folks on these boards who don't use travel agents for simple bookings!

BTW Carnival Corp. does NOT allow agents to offer lower prices than the ones they offer themselves! It is true that they may throw in some extra perks but for the price of the cabin you do NOT get a lower one if you use an agent.

I have a niece who is an agent for a large travel company and the only reason we use her to book cruises is because we want to give her the commission!

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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14,378 posts
34 reviews
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7. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

Hi Riff, that may be the case for the cheaper cruises and packages but not for the more complicated and upscale travel options.

Recently I directed a relative to an agent to book one of the cheap Caribbean cruises and they managed to send him a check post cruise. I was pretty surprised at that since those commissions are so small.

Congratulations to you Riff for supporting your local economy. I am really tuned into that in this horrible economy too. After all, if you didn't do that the cruise line wouldn't give that $$$ to you. And then the travel agent will probably spend those commission dollars somewhere in your local economy, maybe at the new restaurant that your son opened (if that were only true about the new business in your family). Well you get it.

Oh, btw, the OP does not have a simple cruise but is also booking hotels, local transportation and guides according to his other posts. That's what makes it complicated.

Edited: 14 July 2012, 03:58
Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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14,378 posts
34 reviews
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8. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

I forgot the most important part....not only did my relative receive a small check but the TA saved him all of his vacation time and money. Why? He had it in his mind to book the least attractive (imho) itinerary existing. He had called the cruise line that I suggested and almost booked on the spot. instead he remembered to call the TA and she talked him into a different course booking probably the best Caribbean itinerary with the same cruise line. He followed her suggestions on cabin selection (again, what I would have chosen too), as well as hotel and flight arrangements. It all worked out beautifully and I believe that they got their best possible cruise holiday due to following the advice of the travel agent. Of course, had he just made his own arrangements he probably would have had a nice time but could easily have returned thinking that cruising was not right for them.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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9. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

@CapeCodCharlie,

I am glad that you have found helpful advice from a local TA!!

I am sure there are some knowledgeable people in the industry.

In my experience from answering questions here on Trip Advisor and in dealing with travel agents myself, FEW have real knowledge of many of the places where they send clients!! Many people get some very bad advice and then are stuck!! Large travel companies hire folks to sell travel and there is no guarantee that the person you speak with has been to the location or really knows anything about the cruise ship or hotels that are involved!

I suppose it is like interviewing a lawyer or a financial advisor. You need to find the "good one" or you may be unhappy with the advice!

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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34 reviews
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10. Re: Beware of Princess Cruise Lines

But finding that good one will bring great rewards as you go out and experience the world, I agree.

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