For all of you who have also experienced less than mediocre customer service from MSC for your pre-cruise interactions, I hear ya! Unfortunately, I'm quickly realizing that booking our first MSC cruise will likely be our last as well.
I have literally spent over 8 hours on hold waiting for the phone to be answered by them on various dates over the last couple of weeks, with the quickest answer time being 47 minutes today. Not even exaggerating! The Canadian website is atrociously flawed, with no ability to book any extra dining or excursions, etc. The ONLY thing visible is the itinerary. I can't review any of my booking details, and have been told repeatedly that I have to phone them directly if I need ANYTHING done. Well there's valuable time out of my life that I'll never get back.
This morning I noticed that there was a price drop on the cruise we have booked for next May, and I tried to phone them to have my cruise re-fared. When I FINALLY got through after 47 minutes, the agent I spoke with was able to see the price reduction, but then went on to say she couldn't make any changes to my existing booking, including the re-fare. She said the only way to apply the lower price is to completely cancel my booking, then "rebook you at the lower price, and I will try to get the same cabin, but I'm not sure I can". WHAT?! We are booked with friends, and we have side by side balcony cabins... and there appear to be only a couple of balcony cabins left on that sailing. She said "It's possible that when I cancel your booking, someone else might book it... I can't assure you that you will get the same cabin, but you should be able to at least get a balcony." ???? Are you freaking kidding me?! I've NEVER heard of such an asinine process... EVER! We've cruised on various different cruiselines almost 40 times over the last 12 years, and have often called for price drops prior to final payment - but have NEVER encountered anything like this. This is just plain stupid!
So I told her do NOT cancel my booking, instead, let me speak with your manager. Her response? "Well he's gone for lunch now, and he couldn't make this change either anyway." (Count to ten and breathe, Celine... just breathe) "Regardless of whether or not he can make these changes, I want to speak with him anyway. Please have him call me" ... and then she says "Well I can't assure you he'll call you back because he might not because he can't make the changes either." Just wow. WOW!! I reminded her that these calls are recorded, and that I'm specifically stating that I want the manager to phone me back as soon as possible. I also advised her that MSC currently has what is probably the worst reputation in the North American market for administrative service. Just abysmal. And my experience with her is exactly why they have that bad reputation, and that I sure hope my on-board experience is significantly better than my pre-cruise experience. She simply repeated that she doubts he'll call me back because she knows he can't make the changes without canceling my booking first and starting again too. Just wow. Even when I asked for her name, it was a dodgy exchange...
Her: "My name is Nan...(mumbling something unintelligible)"
Her: "Nan.. (again, mumbling) is my name"
Me: "Can you please spell that?"
Her: "N-A-N-D-I-E... no... I mean N-A-N-D-Y"
Me: "Are you sure that's how it's spelled?"
Her: "Yes, and my manager might not call you back because he can only do what I can do"
Me: "Ya... I got that the first several times you mentioned it, and I say again, I want to speak with him regardless of what process you have in place for honouring, or not honouring, price reductions prior to final payment."
Then I Gave her my contact numbers and full name again, since she seems to have a problem with memory retention. Will I hear back from him? Doubt it. Will I have any success in seeing my cruise re-fared without the risk of losing my present cabin? Doubt that too. Will I do everything I possibly can to keep climbing the MSC ladder until I find someone in a position to actually listen to how utterly ridiculous my experience has been thus far with MSC? Yup... I'm retired with a lot of time on my hands, and I'm nothing if not resolute and determined when something like this gets on my nerves. You can bet I'm now going to dedicate my immediate future to making MSC feel as frustrated with me as I am with them. Will it mean they improve the way they interact with their customers? Probably not. Will it solve anything for me? That's not likely either. Will it keep my mind sharp and give me a reason to use wine to wet my whistle while speaking with them? Sure... not that I need a reason to pour an occasional glass of wine. Will it allow me to keep my fingers nimble thanks to the emails and correspondence that I'll be engaged in? Yup.
Stay tuned... this should prove to be interesting... certainly more so than watching bad day-time TV anyway.