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Communicating with cruise lines

Communicating with cruise lines

Postby Dave » 03 Dec 2015 18:06

I've posted this under 'Grumbles' but praise is welcome too! ;)

I recently contacted a cruise line (CroisiEurope) with a query about the cruise we've booked with them. Their prompt and helpful reply made me think about other times I've contacted (or tried to contact) various cruise lines.

The baseline for me was Fred Olsen, with whom we did our first cruises. They provided several phone numbers on their website and I knew that if I wanted to talk to someone I could do so easily. It was simple, and the people I spoke to were pleasant and helpful. Sometimes I preferred to send emails - especially if I had a 'concern' - and I always received a personalised reply (as opposed to a standard cut-and-paste reply!). Email addresses for various departments were posted on Fred Olsen's 'Contact Us' page.

The second cruise line we tried was P&O - this was almost six years ago so I accept that things might have changed since then... Following the cruise I wanted to raise a concern. I couldn't find an email address on their website (and perhaps I missed it, but I can't see one now either), so I wrote a traditional letter. I was polite and (I think) constructive but the reply - when it eventually arrived - was unhelpful in the extreme. (I can sum it up by: "Not our problem Guv'.")

The next cruise line we booked with was Cunard. We discovered a serious problem the day before the cruise that I needed to discuss with Cunard. It was a Saturday, it was urgent, and I spent hours on the phone hoping that someone at Cunard would pick up. No one did. Later, I looked on their website for an email address but couldn't find one, so I wrote a letter instead. It was at least a couple of weeks before I received a reply - and they didn't bother to comment on my concern that I was unable to contact them by phone. (I can sum up the reply with: "Not our fault Guv'.)

Then it was Viking for the next few cruises and I was back in the land of niceness, courtesy, caring and easy contact. A wonderful cruise line that talks to and values their customers.

Of the most recent cruise lines we've booked with, I can't comment on Celebrity because I didn't need to contact them. Thomson are extremely easy to communicate with - I can phone them or go into my local High Street Thomson shop and they've always been very helpful. I've had some attempts at communicating with Costa and found it somewhat difficult - there seems to be not only a language barrier, but a reluctance to answer questions at all. In the case of Costa it's far simpler to talk to them via an agent!

And finally, there's CroisiEurope. It's early days, but they're off to a good start!

Would you care to share your experiences with communicating with cruise lines?
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Communicating with cruise lines

Postby Borneo » 03 Dec 2015 18:13

Saga are brilliant. 0800 number, very helpful people at the other end of phone. There is now an online chat link. Never had a problem with quries, always willing to chat or help with anything. One even helped me with a qurie I had with FO line and she got back to me with FO numbers and how to go about getting in touch.
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Communicating with cruise lines

Postby Skier Pete » 04 Dec 2015 00:30

The two lines I've had to contact were RCT and MSC.

RCI

In 2012 I had to complain about the pre-cruise arrangements and the disembarkation, particularly the luggage handling.

I contacted the RCI HQ , in Miami by old fashioned mail so as to be able to get all the points in writing to them. I wrote to the Vice president of customer relations, Vicky Fred, and within 7 days , which is about the time for Snail mail to get to the USA, I had a phone call from one of Ms Freed's underlings, he may have been and underling but he was still fairly high up in the company going by his job title.

He was able to assure me that action was being taken to resolve the issues, and offer a substantial OBC for any future cruise with them. AS I already had a cruise booked with them, which I mentioned to hm. About 30 minutes later I got another phone call from the same guy telling me if I cared to check my booking on line I would see the OBC applied , by him (that's what he told me), to my cruise.

I thought that was very good after cruise service. Score 9/10 (they lost a mark for not having an email address that was easy to find)

MSC

They seem to have at least 3 levels of service

A) if you book through a TA and call the MSC office , then they tell you to go via your TA. Very poor IMHO.

B) if you book direct with MSC then the service is adequate when you can get through to the office by phone, easier said than done. E mail has always been answered within 24 hours.

C) on board ship. As a Black card holder I got superb service from the dedicated MSC Club reps on both the ships I've been on recently. The best service was when the rep contacted HQ and had the laundry facility raised from I special offer package per cruise, to 1 package per week of the cruise. We were on a 3 week cruise and the offer was meant primarily for 7 night cruises.

So over all MSC are just about a Score of 5/10. room for big improvement. It would have been 2/10 had it not been for the on board reps.
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Re: Communicating with cruise lines

Postby tomvet » 04 Dec 2015 06:20

MSC shore side are appalling and only slightly better on board. I still have not figured out whether they just don't know how to offer good customer service or don't care.
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Communicating with cruise lines

Postby JollyJill » 04 Dec 2015 10:19

I have had communication with several cruise lines when needing answers to queries.

The only problem I've encountered is with P & O who couldn't/wouldn't answer my questions regarding how long we would be in each port. A standard half day/full day is all they could/would tell me.

Fred Olsen had a big problem with their website until recently. It now seems to have been sorted.
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Re: Communicating with cruise lines

Postby khkate » 04 Dec 2015 16:36

Like Borneo, Saga are very good. They provide an ofter-sales number (0800) and with your final documents and tickets, you also get the contact details for the Duty Officer if any problem crops up on day of departure, plus another number if there is a problem with your transport. We have used both numbers a couple of times and it has always been answered promptly - the Duty Officer being a little more helpful than the car services one, but both are still very good.

Also, Customer Relations staff are very good at responding to correspondence - usually get a standard letter to say they will respond within 26 days and that response is usually within the time limit - and these days often done by phone, which is even better as you can then discuss the responses. If I do have an issue post-cruise these days, I write a letter but send it as an attachment on email - and after our last cruise, I got a response the day after my letter was received.

On board the ship, they do the best they can and are very approachable. They usually do a mini survey mid-cruise, so if you have any issues, it can be raised then and is often responded to very rapidly - or of course you can go to Reception. Again, we have never had any problem with getting things sorted out on board.

I know many people do get disgruntled on board when they are given their disembarkation times - and this is probably one of the weknesses of Saga as the logic there doesn't always seem to work. Britannia Club members of Gold level and above are supposed to get priority disembarkation where possible, but I know that sometimes, this has gone pear-shaped. Also, one would think that those people who have long transfers would be disembarked first, and that is the issue that does raise the most gripes and could be handled better, but apart from that, their customer services/relations both on board and land-based is pretty good.
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Communicating with cruise lines

Postby avidcruiser » 04 Dec 2015 17:52

I have needed to contact P&O twice.

After speaking to my TA they suggested I go straight to Christopher Edgington, which I did.

I received a reply almost immediately,(once was on a Saturday night), and a promise that one of his staff would contact me shortly. They did and an agreeable outcome ensued. :)

However, when I contacted Celebrity after my Husband suffered an accident on board due to glass doors which had no safety markings on them, they were most unhelpful and dismissive. :roll:
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Re: Communicating with cruise lines

Postby Carwalsick » 05 Dec 2015 16:56

khkate wrote:Like Borneo, Saga are very good. They provide an ofter-sales number (0800) and with your final documents and tickets, you also get the contact details for the Duty Officer if any problem crops up on day of departure, plus another number if there is a problem with your transport. We have used both numbers a couple of times and it has always been answered promptly - the Duty Officer being a little more helpful than the car services one, but both are still very good.

Also, Customer Relations staff are very good at responding to correspondence - usually get a standard letter to say they will respond within 26 days and that response is usually within the time limit - and these days often done by phone, which is even better as you can then discuss the responses. If I do have an issue post-cruise these days, I write a letter but send it as an attachment on email - and after our last cruise, I got a response the day after my letter was received.

On board the ship, they do the best they can and are very approachable. They usually do a mini survey mid-cruise, so if you have any issues, it can be raised then and is often responded to very rapidly - or of course you can go to Reception. Again, we have never had any problem with getting things sorted out on board.

I know many people do get disgruntled on board when they are given their disembarkation times - and this is probably one of the weknesses of Saga as the logic there doesn't always seem to work. Britannia Club members of Gold level and above are supposed to get priority disembarkation where possible, but I know that sometimes, this has gone pear-shaped. Also, one would think that those people who have long transfers would be disembarked first, and that is the issue that does raise the most gripes and could be handled better, but apart from that, their customer services/relations both on board and land-based is pretty good.

I totally agree about Saga. I did have one significant complaint whilst on board which involved Purser's and cruise director's departments on the evening when the interim survey arrived. I went to town with steam still coming out of my ears. By the following afternoon I had been contacted personally by both senior officers.

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