Celebrity Cruises is Not Making Points
And a lot of others
The coronavirus (Covid-19) has made life difficult for a lot of people.
Inconvenient for us.
Catastrophic for so many more.
We most certainly do not want to make light of the deadly / catastrophic impact of this virus in China and elsewhere around the world. At the time of this writing, the stats are as follows:
- Total infections: 64179
- Last 24 hrs: 3771
- Recovered: 6788
- Recovery Rate: 10.58%
- Deaths: 1486
- Fatality Rate: 2.32%
Almost a year ago we booked our annual 2020 big trip.
We were booked on the February 15th Celebrity Millennium cruise.
It departed Hong Kong on the 15th, was to take us through Thailand and Vietnam en route to Singapore, where we would spend a few days and fly home. We scheduled our flights to get us to Hong Kong 2 days before departure so we could spend more time in one of our favorite cities. And our return flight was scheduled 3 days after arrival in Singapore to give us time to explore one of our top bucket list cities. We made numerous tour arrangements via 3rd parties and hotel arrangements in Hong Kong and Bangkok to fit with our various plans.
A total of 3 weeks in duration and the trip of a lifetime for many people.
Then Covid-19 took off with a vengeance.
We canceled the week before the cruise was canceled for the following reasons:
- The itinerary had changed and we were not interested in it. One of the highlights for us was Hong Kong. The new itinerary eliminated Hong Kong. (wisely)
- Anyplace we went in Asia was high Covid-19 risk for my wife who is highly susceptible to bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Any of our destinations would be very different experiences with lots of attractions closed and transportation complicated. And everyone wearing masks.
- We had tours, hotels and flights to completely restructure.
- We have critter sitters who live in our home when we are away. They take care of our pets and home. They need as much advance notice as possible or we have to pay them as we would have originally. This is only fair.
- Celebrity was NOT forthcoming with their plans and itinerary. It seemed like a moving target. And the coronavirus numbers continued to climb.
So we canceled.
Then Celebrity canceled the already restructured cruise.
(I would have recalled every single ship in Asia and re-positioned them when the virus first appeared in Hong Kong if it was up to me. It’s called damage control.)
My wife spent a lot of time on the phone with Celebrity and the booking company we used (Vacations To Go), trying to find out what Celebrity was going to do for us.
Other travelers have posted the emails they got, giving them a 100% refund for this trip and 50% FCC.
Others only got a 100% refund for this trip and 25% FCC.
We were told we would be only getting a 100% FCC and no other considerations.
This is completely unfair.
Everyone booked on this cruise should get the same compensation. We are all inconvenienced in the same way.
And kudos the the Park Hotel in Hong Kong which refunded our booking without question.
Shame on you Centre Point Hotel Bangkok for doing nothing for us but keep our money.
We most certainly realize the virus outbreak was unanticipated and a massive headache for cruise lines, hotels and airlines worldwide. We appreciate everything they are going through at this point. We know it is an absolute nightmare.
But it is all in how you handle a crisis that reveals your integrity.
We have traveled with Holland America on numerous occasions.
This is how Holland America is handling the situation:
Dear Valued Guest:
We are very sorry to inform you that your Westerdam cruise departing February 15, 2020 has been cancelled.
During Westerdam’s current voyage we have faced challenges in maintaining our scheduled itinerary as countries in Asia have been implementing new entry restrictions and denying cruise ship calls without advance warning. Please know that the ship is not in quarantine and we have no known cases of coronavirus on board, but given these limitations and our inability to guarantee you the cruise experience you expect we have made the very difficult decision to cancel your cruise.
Please accept our most sincere apologies. These extraordinary circumstances are beyond our control, and the decision was made with the deepest regret. We of course share your profound disappointment at this news and know you have been looking forward to your trip, and we are sorry we cannot provide the cruise vacation you expected.
All guests will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, Holland America Line Flight Ease air, pre- and post-cruise hotel packages, prepaid shore excursions and other prepaid items, and taxes, fees, and port expenses. Your refund will be processed automatically via the method of payment used to pay for your cruise.
As your cruise has been cancelled so close to departure, each guest will also receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 50% of the cruise fare paid on this voyage. The terms and conditions of this Future Cruise Credit appear below.
Are you listening?
Facebook Groups added 2-15-2020
Facebook has several Celebrity pages / groups where you can follow topics related to this issue:
Celebrity Cruises Captains Club (Private Group)
Celebrity Cruises Page (Private Group)
Celebrity Millennium (Private Group)
Celebrity Millennium Asian Cruise 2020 (Private Group)
We have also discovered that the trip insurance we invested in via is worthless. It covers none of this and was / is a complete waste of money. Their website is broken, links don’t work, the phone cue system doesn’t interpret numbers and getting a response seems to be impossible. Generali is our trip insurance. We do not recommend them for the aforementioned reasons.
February 16, 2020 Update:
To bring everyone up to speed, a couple of days ago, after a 30 minute conversation with a nice woman in Celebrity Resolutions, they agreed to give us a full refund for our cruise. We had to contact our TA to process the refund and did so yesterday. We felt this to be acceptable. Not what we personally thought was entirely equitable – but acceptable.
During this span of time I had crafted emails covering what we felt was wrong with the way Celebrity was handling all this. I sent them to the CEOs of Royal and Celebrity.
Not 15 minutes ago I received a call from Celebrity Executive branch. The very nice woman I spoke with said she was very glad we had made the decision to cancel when we did, based on our extenuating circumstances and agreed completely with our position.
To cut to the chase, Executive sweetened the deal beyond what Resolutions had agreed to previously.
In the final analysis we feel Celebrity has stepped up and taken good care of us.
I am always ready to give credit where credit is due.
Best of luck with everyone who has had their dreams sidelined by this virus.
Letters received by various guests from Celebrity:
We have received NOTHING else from Celebrity about this since January 31st.