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Old 09-28-2008, 09:29 PM
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My first Cruise with Princess will be my last. I hope none of you on this forum have been treated the way I was on my Alaskan Cruise. In addition to the rudeness and abuse, they have stolen $378 from me, and refuse to give it back.
Read on:

I am writing to make you aware of the horrible treatment I received on the Golden Princess Alaskan Cruise, which sailed on 9/20/2008. I received two tickets for the White Pass bus/rail excursion in Skagway,
Alaska, and my mother and her companion also received two tickets for
the same excursion. This was correct. My mother was charged for two
tickets, but I was charged for 4 tickets instead of two. I went to the
Purser's desk the night before we disembarked to make Princess aware of
the error. I waited in line 45 minutes for my turn, finally hitting the
desk at 11 PM.
Jamie, the purser examined my bill and my mother's bill and agreed that
my mother had been charged for two tickets and that I had been charged
for four (it should have been two each). He tried to contact the
excursion director, but they did not work that late and no one was able
to help. I was suprised that on the last night of the cruise that this
department would not be available to help. I was told to come back
early in the morning. Rather than enjoy breakfast with my family, I
went to the Purser's office at 6:30 AM to try to resolve the problem.
Unfortunately, when I got to the counter at 6:50, I was told that the
Excursion Director was not available until 7:00 AM. I was instructed to
go off to the side and wait 10 minutes, then return to the purser that
was helping me, not to get back in line.
Then the fun begins. I got to see 3 other couples, just within the 10
minutes, that had the same complaint about double charges on
excursions. They were furious and taking it out on the Purser's that
were doing their best to be pleasant. At 7:00 AM, I walked back up the
the Purser and an elderly lady pushed in front of me and told me that
"there was a line". I thanked her for that helpful information and
waited until she was done complaining about...guess what...double
charges for an excursion. After she was told that there was no one to
help her, it was my turn again. This time, I was told that the
Excursion Director would not be available until 7:30 AM. What to do?
Disembarkement for my group was at 8:15, and I had an 11:26 flight to
catch. Naively, I trusted that if I could just talk to the Excursion
Director that it would be solved quickly, so rather than upset any more
of my fellow passengers by approaching the desk, I went to the end of
the line. Why not? I had to waste another half hour anyway. At 7:35 AM, It was my turn again. Will the fourth time be a charm?
Hell no! The Purser called the elusive Excursion Director and she told
the Purser that she could not help me and to give me the number for
customer relations. I asked him to get the Director back on the phone
so that I could speak to her. He put the Director on and she was
standoffish and rude. She said that she could not help me because
Princess had already paid the excursion company for six tickets. I
asked her, "How on earth is that my problem". "Why did I only recieve two tickets if you paid for six?" She repeated, "I can't
help you". I explained to her that this was not acceptable and that
many passengers were furious about our charges and were taking it out on
the Pursers. I requested that she leave her office and come down to the
desk to tell myself and the others that Princess was not going to refund
the improper charges, and not leave it to the innocent Pursers. She
declined and hung up. I was disgusted by her cowardice, rudeness, and
lack of leadership.
Off to the lunge area for disembarkment. At this point the
disembarkment process was 1-1/2 hours behind schedule, so I decided to
call the customer relations number. A customer service rep listened to
my story then said he could not help me for a week. I explained that I
was staring at a document that clearly stated that if I left the ship
without having changes made to the bill, the charges would be final.
"That's not true", he said. I asked why it was written on the bill if
it was not true. He repeated that I could contest the charges in a
week. I asked him to stop repeating this and to understand that this
contradiction in policy was not acceptable to me. He turned from snide
to rude and said that I was talking over him! God fobid that the
customer who has been inconvenienced and stolen from carry the lead in
the conversation. I asked him not to be rude to me. He continued
repeating his snide refrain and I asked to speak to his supervisor. He
refused to put his supervisor on. I asked him not to treat me in a way
that he would not treat a person if they were face to face and he said
"I do not have to take this" and hung up. Is this how you train your
customer relations employees? If the customer asks to escalate the issue to a supervisor, to hang up on them?

A shame ... please think twice before booking with Princess.
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-28-2008, 11:28 PM
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 09-29-2008, 05:38 AM
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Instead of ranting one day after your cruise, sit down and write a civil letter to Customer Service. I'm sure a smart person such as yourself got all the names of those you spoke to right? Also be sure in your civil letter to get your facts straight. In one part of your post you said you were charged for "six" tickets.

I don't know what the exact wording is on the document you were looking at. But issues can be refunded once off the ship. The important thing is to have them "addressed" before you get off the ship, which you did. Since there were so many reporting the same problem, I am sure Princess will be reviewing all the over charged accounts.

Your letting the last hours of your cruise ruin what otherwise was a wonderful cruise. I went on the Golden Princess in January and it was a fabulous cruise.
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:48 AM
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This is a good reason to check your bill daily on the TV. There is a channel that will show your charges and total.
Call Your CC company and have the charges reviewed, write a letter to customer service, but do not let it ruin a vacation.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:17 AM
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Welcome to cruise-chat.

Working oneself into apoplexy over this overcharge serves no purpose. Posting a rambling narrative doesn't achieve any tangible result either. Given this seems to have happened to others, I'd suspect it was an innocent mistake - perhaps a keystroke error.

I'd send a simple letter to them. It needn't be longer than a few sentences. Just say I was on X cruise, cabin #1234, reservation #xxxx. We purchased four tickets for XYZ tour. However we were charged for six tickets. I have attached a copy of my onboard charges. I am asking that you refund the erroneous charges.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:11 AM
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Hi crunchsite, welcome to Cruise-Chat. So sorry to hear of your problems, but I sure wouldn't let it ruin my vacation. I do hope other than being charged erroneously that the rest of the cruise was great. I hope that Princess fulfilled your Alaskan dreams. I also hope that you won't let one incident deter you from cruising with Princess again. If it does, there are plenty of other lines out there. We have found Princess to be our favorite line, so far, but still want to experience others as well. I understand your frustration, but I'm sure it can be resolved to your satisfaction. I'm also sorry it had to happen at the end of the cruise. Hope to see you on the board again, under much better circumstances. Best wishes.
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:30 AM
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On last October on the Carnival Spirit there was some problems with excursion billing. do to a storm they said we were cancelling one port and doing another. The people who had already booked excursions were to rebook for the new port. The next morning the weather had cleared and we were headed for our original port of call. The problem was that once the ports had been changed those of us who had pre booked (and paid) on the net were issued refunds. Since the ports were switched back again we needed to pay again. while it did not bother us it took about a month for the credit to show up. The ones who it really hurt were those who had a limited credit line, or were using debit cards. I never did understand why they didn't just credit our onboard account, then bill the new excursion. it caused a pretty bill line up on the last day. We had already asked about our account as we saw the odd bill on the TV.
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:58 AM
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gdjoslin,
I believe that would be because they have separate accounting systems for each ship, and Headquarters. Each ship accounts for onboard spending for that particular cruise. If you booked shore excursions prior to your cruise they would have been processed through headquarters accounting. It may all ultimately end back at headquarters, but if the ship had refunded what you pre-booked, you would have put their accounting in a tizzy. This is the same logic used in pre-paying gratuities prior to the cruise. You can't remove them from your account. Yet, the onboard gratuities added to your account on your sailing, can be adjusted or removed.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:12 PM
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Tough crowd!
I do appreciate those who posted some suggestions and showed empathy. I certainly enjoyed my vacation and have more or less put this behind me. (though the month I was today told that it will take Princess to answer my concerns keeps it alive to some extent)
I do believe though, that it does good to make one's feelings known, both to a business that has mistreated you and to the general public. (Keep in mind, I spoke to four different levels of Princess employees before making this public)
Best case scenario, the business provides better service to the next customer. Worse case - the public has been warned that they may want to consider a different cruise line if they expect polite and speedy resolution.
-Now if I go on to learn that all Cruise lines treat customers this way, then I will have to deal with it or take the bus.
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:44 PM
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Yes, we are a tough crowd. When someone comes into this forum and makes the remarks you did about their favorite cruise lines, the shields definitely go up.

We all understand we need to check our accounts throughout the cruise. Had you checked yours before the excursion day or even after you booked it, they could have taken care of it without a fuss. But you didn't know to do that.

You have to understand that on cruises with 2500 people, there are always people trying to complain with the expectation that doing so will get them some kind of refund. I'm not saying you did or didn't deserve one, but on the last day of a cruise, getting refunds for things is difficult at best unless you can show receipts or other proof of the error. In this case the funds were probably already paid to the excursion company (in the port). So now your refund has to come from the corporate office. Those don't happen quickly (does anyone know a corporate accounting office that works the accounts payable quickly?)

Also understand that you are not the first person to drop into this forum, hit us with a "I've been done wrong by the cruise line" rant, and expect sympathy. On the contrary it tends to get the reaction your post did. Also understand that if we took your "warning" to heart as well as the warnings from other about other cruise lines, there wouldn't be a cruise line worthy of sailing one because they all have had a complaint at some point.

If you stayed around to read this post, then I invite you to please stay. You can learn a lot from the people here. Then when or if you should give cruising another shot, you will be better prepared for it.
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