Tuesday, November 24, 2015

About that Cruise

Our children bought us a cruise through Travelocity on Carnival for Michael's retirement. They were super-saver tickets. When insurance was offered it was made to sound like insurance for luggage etc and our son, knowing we could care less if we lose our luggage, declined it.

Our doctor informed us October 30th he did not think it wise for us to travel. He didn't want us driving down the highway, let alone to the Bahamas.  We contacted Travelocity and followed their instructions.

We heard nothing - until 12 Nov - 13 days later.  At that point they changed their instructions. We needed to CANCEL the reservation before Carnival would review it. AND now we were within the window where we would be penalized 75% if we cancelled the ticket. If I waited until the 13th we would be penalized 100%. Nifty how they managed to contact me on the very last day to get any refund?

I realize some have had GREAT experiences with Travelocity. This is not the first time I've had trouble with them. While in Japan I was scheduled to fly when a typhoon hit. I couldn't fly. Travelocity wouldn't refund.

Nonetheless, I called Travelocity and attempted to beg for a bit of compassion.

They would not let me travel with another person.

They would not let me give the tickets to two other people.

My choices were 1. lose 75% ("and tomorrow it will be 100%") or 2. take the cruise alone.  I was NOT talking to the call center by the time I was done. I had "escalated" the call 3 levels.... "You have reached the escalation center."  OK - "WHO IS ABOVE YOU?" Finally, the cream of their crop was talking to me and gave me these two options.

I reminded her the doctor didn't want Michael to travel as he was on a new drug which may have complications. I asked her what in the world I would do if I were in the Bahamas and he had a heart attack or such. Her response - from the top level supervisor of Travelocity -  "That sounds like a family issue to me." OY vey! I was DONE! She began to read her script again about how they can't help us, how this was a super-saver ticket and insurance wasn't purchased... and I actually interrupted and told her not to read the script again. I understood what she was saying. Policy did say we should lose 75% of the tickets, and I couldn't change the names. I had just hoped for a bit of compassion.  I told her to cancel the cruise. They kept 75% of the price and refunded the rest to Josiah.

I decided to write to Carnival again now that the cruise was cancelled. On 12 Nov I re-sent all the email traffic between their company and me and the doctor's letter.  I explained what Travelocity had concluded and I asked if they would show a bit more compassion and consider the situation. I NEVER asked anyone for a refund - I just asked to be able to reschedule or to change the names on the tickets.

We waited. We prayed.  Josiah is a rock! We all felt terrible about this.

We received an email from Carnival. " You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve made a one-time exception to our policy.  Given the circumstances, we’d like to extend a  $$$$ discount towards a future Carnival cruise." The discount and the $300 and change Travelocity refunded totals the cost of the cruise. We have two years to book the cruise and they will apply the discount. We will not book through Travelocity. I understand that the amount they refunded was probably their "cut" from the tickets and Carnival had been given the 75%.....however, their LEADERSHIP'S flippant lack of compassion "Sounds like a family issue...." well that's what lost them my business forever.  

So, we are going to go on the cruise - just not now.  We are not doing business with Travelocity ever again - no "super saver" deal can make up for this total lack of compassion or customer care.  We are humbled by Carnival's willingness to extend grace in our time of need.


Linda said...

We found this same problem using hotels.com. Glad Carnival stepped up to the plate!

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

I often find it is just as cheap to call an airline direct rather than book through the cheap sites....and if it's one where I may have problems - winter travel, overseas travel - after a couple of experiences of fighting with travelocity and another - I've learned to just book direct. LOL So relieved they will honor the money paid to them.

Anonymous said...

Wow! So glad carnival is making good: )
Bee D