Princess Cruises / refused to refund our deposit!
Mid 1998 I contacted a local travel agent to book a Princess cruise for 4 (my fiancé and I and my two daughters) to celebrate the Millennium -- i.e. New Years Cruise 1999. I was told that no brochures had yet been printed but that the details -- dates, ports, and so on -- were available, and that we could make a booking for a deposit of $500 per person (total $2,000 US) to hold two specific staterooms.
Booking so far in advance of travel I was concerned about cancellation policy, but my travel agent was assured by her Princess Cruises contact that the same cancellation policy would apply in December 1999 that was in place for all other Princess cruises -- that is, NO PENALTY would apply until 6 months prior to the travel date. I went ahead with the booking, paying the $2,000 to Princess, assured that our deposit was fully refundable up until June of 1999.
Early in 1999 (well in advance of the ‘6 month’ penalty date) I advised my travel agent that circumstances were such that the four of us were not able to travel together at the Millennium and that she should cancel the cruise and, of course, refund our deposit. A few days later she advised me that our booking was cancelled but that Princess had REFUSED TO REFUND OUR DEPOSIT citing a ‘new’ policy, which was added to the Millenium brochure on printing, prohibiting any and all refunds for cancellation of Millennium cruises.
Princess was adamant on the point, and refused to even negotiate. It mattered not to them that they had changed their policy AFTER we made the booking, nor that they would quite likely resell the space to other passengers.
Needless to say, many letters and phone calls were made to Princess. I told them that I was a repeat customer, a member of their Captains Circle (“where loyalty means rewards and recognition”… according to their literature) offered to allow the $2,000 to be credited towards future travel, and so on -- but nothing moved them. They simply confiscated our $2,000 which, in my opinion, was an immoral action on their part.
As you can imagine, I have not forgotten or forgiven this mistreatment by Princess and believe that the $2,000 (plus interest) is still owed to us. Of course, we would never consider doing business with Princess again.
My husband and I have been on three cruises since our unpleasant experience with Princess and I think I can fairly say that Holland America, Celebrity and Seabourn have each profited well in excess of the $2,000 Princess wrongly confiscated, and we would be delighted to travel with any one of them again.
We are often asked for cruise line recommendations -- and at every opportunity we advise potential passengers not to trust or travel with Princess.
There are many fine cruise companies who treat their passengers honestly and with respect. Unfortunately, I do not believe Princess is one of them.
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