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terry&mike

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Everything posted by terry&mike

  1. I have successful in cancelling tours for clients that were tagged as non-refundable during the virus issue. I start the dialogue by asking them if they will make an exception based on the unusual and unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19. My original ask is for a refund. If they are unwilling to provide a refund, then I ask if the tour can be rescheduled for a date in 2021. Thus far, most tour guides/tour operators are happy to oblige, as they want to be able to return to business as well.
  2. And when you factor that in with the complete collapse of all the land bookings scheduled to travel from mid-March until XXX date, which are not commission protected, that's a pretty deep cut.
  3. In watching the changes as they roll around in regards to the big 3 airlines during COVID-19, I have seen them first adopted by Delta, with United usually following suit a couple to a few days later, and then American at some point after that. If American is not honoring what you want it to honor as of yet, hold off a bit longer, it is most likely coming down the pike.
  4. To the OP, I understand that you feel that HAL is ignoring your emails "like you don't exist", so I'd like to offer a bit of explanation, as a travel agent. You stated you are booked with a big box retailer as your travel agent. HAL would be sending emails in regards to your cruise cancellation, cancellation options, and so on to your travel agent. Your travel agent should be forwarding them on to you. As an agent who has several client bookings with HAL in similar circumstances, I have received communications from HAL in regards to these bookings. It is my responsibility to communicate these to my client, and assist my client in getting their selections processed. Also, this process may take some time as we are in an unprecedented situation, involving thousands upon thousands of bookings.
  5. Oh good, I figured you had it worked out. It'll be a good day when we get all of this behind us, and get back to traveling the world again! Cheers to you!
  6. You are in a more unique situation, in that you paid your travel agency for the cruise and taxes, rather than the cruise line directly. Generally speaking, in our industry, it is a red flag if a client is paying the travel agency for bookings, and then the travel agency is paying the travel provider. For example, any bookings that are processed by our agency, the charges on clients' credit cards are always from the travel provider directly, such as Holland America, Tauck Tours, etc, and never from our agency. Please do not misread this, as I am not saying that your travel agency did anything wrong, I am merely saying that in instances where I have seen problems arise in our industry, this has been a practice. Also, you are in Canada, so possibly things are different than in the U.S. But yes, HAL does all the refund and FCC processing and moves it along.
  7. You are welcome. I feel like if we all try to help wherever we can, we have the best chance of getting through this. I have had several clients rebook for same/similar itineraries in 2021, and put down the deposit. Once the FCC comes through, I'll post that. But I feel like everyone needs to move forward when it is comfortable for them. I understand that guests are frustrated with the time it is taking to process the refunds, FCC's, and the information being provided. All I can say, is that in talking to my connections inside the cruise lines, they are under a lot of pressure, busy beyond imagine, stressed, on the receiving end of many very unhappy phone calls, and working as fast as possible to get this right, all the while things keep changing in an issue they didn't create.
  8. Interesting. Yes, it is messy. These are untested waters and will require a bit of muddling around. I would think you could use an FCD bought on board for the deposit. Beyond that, I'm not sure how it would suss out.... I imagine some of this is still to be determined. As an agent, I am getting clarification on things from my Holland BDM (area rep) in writing through emails. As I know that things are changing often, and different programs are open to interpretation based on who is looking at them, I will be keeping a very organized paper trail. The best advice I can give during this time is to document everything - make notes as to date, time and person you spoke to, what was said. Keep a thorough paper trail. Also, if you are on the phone with a rep, I suggest that after getting a response to your questions, that you summarize your perception of the information back to them, something like, "what I understand you are saying is that if XXXX, then XXXX". And when in doubt, always practice HUCA (hang up, call again).
  9. Again, I don't know the particulars of your offer, and there are a few different offers out there, I'm not sure what your FCC will be. In using your example, you could book your cruise for $1340 ($1000 + $340) and apply your $350 credit card deposit. When your FCC comes through to you, apply the $1000 to the $990 balance due. Once that is done, I would request a $10 refund of the over payment back to your credit card. In this example, your full $1000 FCC is used to pay for cruise fare, and you have used your credit card to pay for the $340 taxes. Also, I see you are in Argentina, and things may be handled differently there; I am in U.S.
  10. As I don't have a client with this particular offer, and have not seen it, I am unfamiliar with it. Also, as I don't know the exact wording or fine print of this particular offer, I can only make assumptions. If it is truly 100% refund of the original cruise, and 100% of base fare as FCC, in using the example someone posted above of $2967 cruise fare + $410 taxes/fees, then you would receive a credit card refund of $3377x2=$6754, and you would receive $2967x2=$5934 FCC. I doubt you would receive anything on the taxes and fees on portion 2, as these are refundable items that have been refunded to you, not cruise fare (kind of like pre-paid gratuities). Again, these are only assumptions as I don't have information on the particular offer you have referenced.
  11. Taxes and port fees are refundable items when a cruise is cancelled, so yes, they are refunded to the credit card used to pay for them.
  12. In SilvertoGold's example, if they qualified for the 125% FCC, they should receive $3708.75 per person FCC, and they should receive $410 pp refunded to their credit card.
  13. Base fare is the amount of your cruise, such as $2699 per person for a balcony cabin. Taxes and Fees are the same as Taxes and port fees, these are fees that are refunded to your credit card.
  14. If they really need your "ticket number" this is a much longer number, usually around 13 numbers or so. You can often find this on your online receipt, or further down in your booking information.
  15. We still have a Scenic south of France booked for July 2020, and am hopeful it will go forward. Just lost a land trip to Kenya in May, that the tour provider cancelled, but am considering re-booking for September 2020. As soon as travel resumes, I will resume traveling.
  16. I have 4 clients who had their early May 2020 Greek Odyssey cruise cancelled by HAL. They rebooked the same cruise immediately for May 2021. With the 125% FCC, and just a little more of their own money, they were able to go from Ocean View cabins to Balcony cabins, and with the current "Have It All" promotion, get beverage packages, dining packages and pre-paid gratuities. They are happy and focused on their new trip.
  17. This is a charter group. In this case, these passengers have a booking, and a contract, with a company that chartered the sailing. That company has a contract with Royal. The passengers issue is actually with the company they booked through. The same is happening with a Dave Koz cruise in May, but it's not making news as it is a group of Jazz lovers, rather than medical personnel.
  18. I agree with Bgwest, I have found Steve to go above and beyond with providing answers and advice. He is an incredibly valuable resource.
  19. I find that the international airfares offered by cruise lines tend to be very competitive. And if you choose the Flexible fares option, also give you lots of leeway in changes, cancelling, etc.
  20. I received an FCC for a client yesterday, it did not include port fees/taxes. It also did not include their cruise line insurance. They did not pre-pay gratuities, so nothing there. Here is how it was calculated - Cost paid for cruise, less Casino Credits, less taxes and port fees, less cruise insurance; with refund divided exactly in half for each of the 2 people booked in the cabin.
  21. Hello to the OP, and others who may face this problem, I am a travel agent. Please call Royal and explain the situation, and have them take over the booking, and work directly with them on your cruise. I disagree with the writing of a strongly worded letter, and other actions that have a negative connotation. I am certain that this travel agent had no intention of being without a job this week, and could possibly be in an uncomfortable financial position. I am certain that this travel agency had no intention of shutting their doors this week, and may possibly never recover from this. I truly feel for people in the travel industry right now. Being a travel agent is not a job that pays a lot of money to begin with, most people are attracted to it because they love what they do, they love helping people plan amazing trips and create great memories through travel. I am in a fortunate position in that I mostly work from home to begin with, so it is easy to continue to work from home full time. I am considered an independent contractor at my agency, which means I am paid commission only. Luckily, I am retired from the field of real estate, and this is my "happy job" to give me something to do that I love. (DH is also fully retired, but his personality doesn't need to be as busy as mine does, so he enjoys the relaxing life!) I am not financially dependent on it. I can say that not everyone who works at my office is in this same position, and I know they must be under great stress right now. I also wonder how long the owners of the agency will be able to pay rent on our storefront and so on. Currently, I am spending a lot of time cancelling trips that I previously spent a lot of time putting together, and each day that I work I am reducing my income. That can be difficult to process and depressing at times. If you were to add to that the stress of someone who had bills to pay, children to feed, etc, I can imagine it would be a very tough time. I think we'll get through this and come out the other side, and travel will begin to strengthen and grow again. But it will require patience.
  22. Great news! Thanks for an awesome read, and allowing us to follow along.
  23. Great to hear these good reports. We have a port stop in Oman in March, 2021 and will certainly book with this company.
  24. I look on this Asia board every day. I don't expect to see any posts, but I still look. I still want to think about travel, read about travel, dream about travel. It's so nice to see something. I was so very fortunate to spend 4 weeks in Asia in January. We started in Bali for a few days. Then we flew to Singapore for a couple of days, and boarded the Diamond Princess on January 6 for 14 days (we were the sailing before the quarantined sailing). We had an amazing trip, sailing from Singapore to 3 ports in Vietnam, Hong Kong for 2 days, Taiwan, a couple of ports in Japan, and ending in Tokyo, where we stayed a few more days. What an awesome Asian adventure! We have a few more trips planned for this year, some of them are unraveling now. But we are scheduled to be back in Asia in March, 2021, and have a 28 day cruise booked on the Grand Princess, leaving from Singapore! I think we'll fly in a couple of weeks early and visit Thailand and Cambodia by land. I will be excited to be back to planning and researching ports and things to do. Looking forward to reading posts on the Asia board from my fellow travelers.
  25. Hello from Louisiana, U.S. We had been requested to stay in and practice social distancing, etc for the past week, but yesterday our state went into mandatory lockdown. We are over 800 positive cases, which is a lot for our population size. The extra measure of lockdown was probably needed - many people born and raised in Louisiana have faced hurricanes and flooding often, and have a bit of a "carry on and survive" mentality. All non-essential businesses are ordered closed, and you should not leave your home except for food, medicine, or to care for a person or pet, or exercise. My hairdresser sent a text yesterday saying my hair appointment for this Thursday is cancelled, so I guess the world is about to find out that rather than being a redhead, I'm totally gray haired! DH and I have been staying to ourselves for a week now. We take a long walk every day at a local park, and notice that each day more people are there getting exercise and fresh air. Other than that, we have ventured out a few times for groceries or take out food. Meat has been very scarce at the grocery store, and Friday I came home with a turkey, an unusual choice for us, but it was there and is something fun and different. We have cocktails on our back porch in the evening and yesterday I said, "I like this bar a lot, the drink prices are very good and they know how to make a great martini. Problem is, the same people are here every day." We have watched a lot of TV shows and movies, and currently are obsessed with the docu-series "Tiger King", it's TV gold. Everything seems so small and quiet. I am a travel agent, and can easily work from home. I am spending lots of hours cancelling trips that I spent lots of hours putting together. I feel like I go to work every day to reduce my income, it's an odd feeling. Some days I get down and have to pull myself out of this. I'm watching my personal trips start to unravel as well. We were scheduled to fly to Virginia to visit my 80-year-old Mom this past weekend, but cancelled out of worry of what we could bring to her in way of germs. We have a trip to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate a friends' birthday in April, and I have a feeling that won't occur. I was booked for 11 days in Kenya in May, but the provider cancelled a few days ago. I'm booked for a river cruise in the South of France for July and am hoping with all hope that things come together. I haven't started to worry about trips for Fall and beyond yet. I can say we were fortunate to have spent 4 weeks in Asia in January, traveling from Bali to Japan with lots of places in between, and I'm so happy that we had that opportunity. I saw an interesting post yesterday from a local Assisted Living Center for senior citizens. As they cannot have visitors, the staff were making an appeal to the public to send letters and cards to the residents there, not particular residents just in general to the facility, so that the staff could keep them engaged with the outside world. I thought that was a nice idea. I'll be happy when this is all in our rear view mirror, and we can get back to enjoying life and planning great adventures. Cheers to you all!
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