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Azamara refund problems (merged)

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All of my remaining taxes/fees and airline refunds have now appeared in my CC account, albeit in 2 strange separate credits. Whatever, I’ll take it! Having serious doubts my new booked Rio to Lisbon cruise will actually happen though.

Betsey

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Posted (edited)

I am over the moon!  we have now received our full refund.

I called Azamara on 16th June, I spoke to a nice guy, he told me that our refund had been paid back to Agency, he wouldn't tell me when the refund was paid.  

I contacted TA, asking if she has received it, no, she was still waiting to hear from wholesaler!

I did email her again on 26th June stating that  "my fellow passengers, from England  and Australia had all received theirs" yes, I know it was a little white lie

Once again she assured me she had had no word.  Then the very next morning I received an email from her stating, our refund had been paid into the wholesalers bank, we would received our money in 7 to 10 days.

When I originally asked for a full refund,  I was told we would have pay the standard cancellation charge, which was $300.00 each.  We were not charge the cancellation fee.  You can all imagine,  I am very, very happy.😊

Now,  for future booking of Cruises, I don't know who I will book with, I think here in Aus, we are in the same situation with our TA agents, as our English friends are.

I do agree  with the previous threads,  Azamara could have explained to us  all  months ago, when the refunds & credits were paid, it would have save a lot of anxiety & stress for us all.

🍾🦊🛳️

 

Edited by Foxie02

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I think Azamara is between a rock and a hard place on this UK/OZ travel agent refund problem.  Remember the history of Renaissance Cruises, which went bankrupt in 2001 when 9/11 put a sudden end to travel.  There were three reasons that have been suggested why Renaissance went bankrupt when most other cruise lines weathered the storm:  (1) they were ahead of the curve prohibiting smoking on their ships [I think that was the least of their problems, since they had been doing very well up until then]; (2) they were heavily leveraged with eight new ships just built or still under construction, all on credit – and no big corporate owner to extend credit [a biggie, but too late then to do anything about it]; and (3) they refused to pay commissions to travel agents – and therefore were unable to generate new bookings as quickly as most other cruise lines.

 

So why hasn't Azamara been transparent about when they sent refunds to travel agents?  Possibly because they know they will need those same travel agents to generate new bookings once cruising returns.

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I don't think Azamara has been transparent with many. Our cruise was cancelled May 20. No email from Azamara but I found out from Social Media. Called our TA who initiated a refund. It's now 7/1 and still no communication from Azamara or any refunds for Cruise Fare, Air@Sea airfare or Cruise Planner purchases. We're in the US so not dealing with the issues I'm reading about from UK or AU/NZ cruisers but not feeling good about any of this. Especially the lack of communication. 

 

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9 minutes ago, suzyluvs2cruise said:

not feeling good about any of this. Especially the lack of communication. 

 

I agree with the lack of communication and poor crisis management on Azamara side but if your cruise was canceled at the end of May, you may have to wait close to 90 days to receive a full refund.

 

You will see small amounts credited to your CC or bank account from time to time without explanations from Azamara and you should get  the full refund after about 12 weeks.

It is infuriating while you wait but don’t despair , there is a dim light at the end of this tunnel!

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Yes,this is an internet cruise specialist.

In fairness to them, during the drone crisis at Gatwick ,(we were sitting on the runway at the time the airport was closed),

they did get us out to Argentina in time to sail.

I will post when I hear further.

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4 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I think Azamara is between a rock and a hard place on this UK/OZ travel agent refund problem.  Remember the history of Renaissance Cruises, which went bankrupt in 2001 when 9/11 put a sudden end to travel.  There were three reasons that have been suggested why Renaissance went bankrupt when most other cruise lines weathered the storm:  (1) they were ahead of the curve prohibiting smoking on their ships [I think that was the least of their problems, since they had been doing very well up until then]; (2) they were heavily leveraged with eight new ships just built or still under construction, all on credit – and no big corporate owner to extend credit [a biggie, but too late then to do anything about it]; and (3) they refused to pay commissions to travel agents – and therefore were unable to generate new bookings as quickly as most other cruise lines.

 

So why hasn't Azamara been transparent about when they sent refunds to travel agents?  Possibly because they know they will need those same travel agents to generate new bookings once cruising returns.

They are far too much in the pockets of these so called travel agents and have lost sight of the fact that without the customers there will be no bookings travel agents or not. 

Rightly or wrongly the reputation of the industry is rock bottom (I believe wrongly but there’s a UK TV documentary tonight that isn’t going to help their cause).  
They need to wake up to the damage the agents are adding to the pile and start thinking where if anywhere their future business might come from. 


And start with effective well written communication to their current customer base. Their approach here has been woeful and is getting no better and some might think worse. 

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We understand the frustration of guest refunds and FCC delays, and are working around the clock to address every guest and their travel agents. We have added resources and continue to develop processes to improve the turnaround time.  There are several good questions that have been posed by our Cruise Critic followers and we have addressed the most frequent below.  Thank you for your questions, we hope this helps clarify.

 

Several factors in each booking affect how refunds or certificates are issued and contribute to the time each takes. Some of these factors include the date in which the refund or FCC request was made, complexity of a booking (whether other components were added, such as air or land programs), the original form of payment, if it was part of a group or individual booking, etc.  By the same token, since there are multiple components in certain bookings, that also means some guests may receive their refunds in multiple parts.  This is not straightforward, we understand and do not intend to make this process confusing, our systems are trying to maintain proper accounting for the different components and that is why this is happening.  We also know some refunds have taken longer than 45 days for some guests and thank you for your continued patience as we continue to work through pending requests. 

 

Regarding Future Cruise Certificates (FCC), the full cruise fare is returned in the FCC, with port taxes and feels refunded to the original form of payment.  For our UK guests who have opted to receive a Future Cruise Certificate, we recommend using your FCC on a new booking to ensure that it is ABTA/ATOL protected. As it stands now, ABTA/ATOL do not protect FCCs when they are not applied to a booking. 

 

For guests who booked onboard, we stand behind our promise that booking onboard will provide the most options and great value.  With that in mind, we are pleased to confirm the onboard loyalty offer will be honored on any future Azamara voyage as long as you re-book a new cruise by December 31, 2021 for sailings departing on or before April 30th, 2022. Please note, this offer only applies to Future Cruise Credit (FCC) holders; if you choose a full refund, the booking is cancelled which means you would not qualify for this benefit.

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2 hours ago, Azamara Team said:

We understand the frustration of guest refunds and FCC delays, and are working around the clock to address every guest and their travel agents. We have added resources and continue to develop processes to improve the turnaround time.  There are several good questions that have been posed by our Cruise Critic followers and we have addressed the most frequent below.  Thank you for your questions, we hope this helps clarify.

 

Several factors in each booking affect how refunds or certificates are issued and contribute to the time each takes. Some of these factors include the date in which the refund or FCC request was made, complexity of a booking (whether other components were added, such as air or land programs), the original form of payment, if it was part of a group or individual booking, etc.  By the same token, since there are multiple components in certain bookings, that also means some guests may receive their refunds in multiple parts.  This is not straightforward, we understand and do not intend to make this process confusing, our systems are trying to maintain proper accounting for the different components and that is why this is happening.  We also know some refunds have taken longer than 45 days for some guests and thank you for your continued patience as we continue to work through pending requests. 

 

Regarding Future Cruise Certificates (FCC), the full cruise fare is returned in the FCC, with port taxes and feels refunded to the original form of payment.  For our UK guests who have opted to receive a Future Cruise Certificate, we recommend using your FCC on a new booking to ensure that it is ABTA/ATOL protected. As it stands now, ABTA/ATOL do not protect FCCs when they are not applied to a booking. 

 

For guests who booked onboard, we stand behind our promise that booking onboard will provide the most options and great value.  With that in mind, we are pleased to confirm the onboard loyalty offer will be honored on any future Azamara voyage as long as you re-book a new cruise by December 31, 2021 for sailings departing on or before April 30th, 2022. Please note, this offer only applies to Future Cruise Credit (FCC) holders; if you choose a full refund, the booking is cancelled which means you would not qualify for this benefit.

Thank you for this communication.

I hope others can get useful information from it.

For me, it further confirms my suspicion about misinformation from my travel agent

Heaven forbid you are ever in this situation again Azamara but if you were, please get your own communication explaining the process out quickly.

We all have lessons learned during this crisis!

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What I do not understand is why Azamara cannot tell me what refunds have been made to my TA and on what date ?  Why is this a secret?

 

The phone message I have heard on their telephone line says if you are enquiring about refunds, please send us an email.  I have done this several times but the only response has been a referral back to "your travel agent to go over the payments".  My TA has tried to get the complete refund information, but cannot get details.  I am still waiting for £517.

 

I would add that I waited for more than 30 minutes on the Azamara line to enquire about a new booking so goodness knows how long the wait is if the enquiry was about refunds.

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To the Azamara Team, I’m not sure who wrote this latest post, but it is much the best that has been offered so far and the English actually makes sense.  Thank you.

 

Phil

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Azamara Team said:

For guests who booked onboard, we stand behind our promise that booking onboard will provide the most options and great value.  With that in mind, we are pleased to confirm the onboard loyalty offer will be honored on any future Azamara voyage as long as you re-book a new cruise by December 31, 2021 for sailings departing on or before April 30th, 2022. Please note, this offer only applies to Future Cruise Credit (FCC) holders; if you choose a full refund, the booking is cancelled which means you would not qualify for this benefit.

 

Thank you for your answers to questions which have remained unanswered for several months.

 

We were interested to read the last section of your response, but I guess by now we may have "missed the boat" as far as retaining the OBC for booking on board?

 

We booked 28 March 2020 Dubai to Athens on Quest while on board in 2019.

After that was cancelled we requested FCC and lost a large amount of OBC, part of which was the booking on board benefit.

 

Subsequently we booked 24 October 2020 Athens to Dubai on Pursuit.

It is now highly unlikely we will be able to leave Australia this year.

 

So we have lifted and shifted 24 October 2020 to 2 November 2021 Athens to Dubai on Journey.

The OBC we picked up as part of a promotion for 24 October cruise moved with the lift & shift, but of course no booking on board benefit, as that disappeared back in March.

Edited by Baynanno1

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Posted (edited)

It has been suggested since I posted that the on board booking benefit from the cancelled cruise might not be applied to the new cruise until the FCC has been applied. We have not yet applied the FCC.

Edited by Baynanno1

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Posted (edited)

While the post from the Azamara Team finally answers several of the many questions that have been asked I find the explanation in how the refunds are processed still to be lacking. I'm in the US. Booked with a US TA with 1 small Cruise Planner purchase and Air2Sea flights. Not in a group either. Cruise cancelled by Azamara on 5/20 and refund requested the same day and confirmed as "in process by Azamara. It's now beyond 45 days. When I called on Tuesday I was told to expect to receive it by 60 days. Another US cruiser on our Roll Call was told 120 days. Which is it 45, 60 or 120 days? Yet another US cruiser on our Roll Call asked for a refund to his CC on 5/20 and was refunded in 2 payment on 5/29 and 5/31. 

 

We've known that refunds may come in different amounts as taxes/fees...in the US....are always refunded separately and has nothing to do with Multiple Components. 

 

This cancelled cruise was our most expensive ever as we were booked in the CWO suite with Business Class air. So a total of over US $22,000. I'm wondering if they hold the larger refunds and process the smaller amounts first. If there was any rhyme or reason as to how refunds are processed it might be easier to us to understand and be patient about.....but, sadly, there isn't.

Edited by suzyluvs2cruise

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31 minutes ago, suzyluvs2cruise said:

While the post from the Azamara Team finally answers several of the many questions that have been asked I find the explanation in how the refunds are processed still to be lacking. I'm in the US. Booked with a US TA with 1 small Cruise Planner purchase and Air2Sea flights. Not in a group either. Cruise cancelled by Azamara on 5/20 and refund requested the same day and confirmed as "in process by Azamara. It's now beyond 45 days. When I called on Tuesday I was told to expect to receive it by 60 days. Another US cruiser on our Roll Call was told 120 days. Which is it 45, 60 or 120 days? Yet another US cruiser on our Roll Call asked for a refund to his CC on 5/20 and was refunded in 2 payment on 5/29 and 5/31. 

 

We've known that refunds may come in different amounts as taxes/fees...in the US....are always refunded separately and has nothing to do with Multiple Components. 

 

This cancelled cruise was our most expensive ever as we were booked in the CWO suite with Business Class air. So a total of over US $22,000. I'm wondering if they hold the larger refunds and process the smaller amounts first. If there was any rhyme or reason as to how refunds are processed it might be easier to us to understand and be patient about.....but, sadly, there isn't.

Just to let you know, that we are in UK, and not waiting on a very large amount, as it was a very short cruise, but we are now approaching the 120 days since cancellation and no indication of when this refund will be processed. I did read somewhere on these posts, that some travel agents have already been issued with the cash and that the problem / wait may not actually be with Azamara.

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58 minutes ago, Lookyboy said:

Just to let you know, that we are in UK, and not waiting on a very large amount, as it was a very short cruise, but we are now approaching the 120 days since cancellation and no indication of when this refund will be processed. I did read somewhere on these posts, that some travel agents have already been issued with the cash and that the problem / wait may not actually be with Azamara.

 

Many instances unfortunately of travel agents holding on to cash for at least as long as 6 weeks!

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1 hour ago, Lookyboy said:

Just to let you know, that we are in UK, and not waiting on a very large amount, as it was a very short cruise, but we are now approaching the 120 days since cancellation and no indication of when this refund will be processed. I did read somewhere on these posts, that some travel agents have already been issued with the cash and that the problem / wait may not actually be with Azamara.

 

Our payments went directly to Azamara. That's typically how it's done in the US. Hope we both get our refunds soon. 

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As previously posted, Azamara returned all monies to my TA for an April cancelled cruise on the 1 June.  Despite ringing and emailing the TA last week, still no sign of the money.  I have the option of putting in a section 75 credit card claim but willing to give TA a further week to do the right thing.  
 

Sad to see the industry which has given us so much pleasure in such a pickle.  Thoughts  especially to those wonderful and gracious crew.

 

Regards
 

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UPDATE.......Today....at the 50 day mark....we rec'd a refund for Cruise Fare, Air2Sea and Cruise Planner purchases. Surprised, but happy, it came in one amount. Yeah!

Now waiting for deposit refund.....which was charged on a different credit card. 

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Hi

Today I received an email from my TA following following me notify them that I intend to place a section 75 credit card claim in an attempt to receive my monies from an April cancelled cruise which Azamara refunded to the TA on the 1 June.  
Moving forward it would appear that by booking direct using a credit card is the best way to have an extra layer of protection.

 

Regards

 

If I may kindly explain We are not the supplier of the services in question – we act as a retail agent on behalf of the supplier. Therefore, we are not responsible for the provision (or non-provision) of the services – it is the supplier’s responsibility and the supplier’s breach of contract. All payments we collect from our customers are done so in our capacity as a retail agent, and are forwarded on to the supplier – we do not hold on to customer funds. 

We would also like to refer to s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1975 which makes it clear that for a transaction to fall within the scope of s.75, it needs to involve the customer, the credit card company and the supplier of the services purchased by the customer – and we are not the supplier. In any event, a chargeback should not be imposed against a merchant who is not the supplier of the services purchased. We do of course understand your frustration and As i advised in my original email that we would arrange refunds back to your account upon receipt of them being returned to us. 

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Is your TA ATOL/ABTA bonded and did you buy the cruise from them as part of a package? If so that might be one route to try. Otherwise you could try the small claims court route, or at least the threat of the small claims court. Presumably your credit card charge is against your TA, not against Azamara?

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10 minutes ago, Grandma Cruising said:

Is your TA ATOL/ABTA bonded and did you buy the cruise from them as part of a package? If so that might be one route to try. Otherwise you could try the small claims court route, or at least the threat of the small claims court. Presumably your credit card charge is against your TA, not against Azamara?

Yes, ATOL/ABTA, Yes, certificate issued with the booking confirmation, Yes packaged and yes the section 75 was against the TA.  As above they state “we do not hold the customer funds”, they have ours since the 1 June (which I have pointed out to them).


I suspect this TA is used by other posters who sail with the “boutique” and 5* star lines and just wanted to make fellow cruises aware that Credit Card protection is not always a given when using certain TA’s/ Cruise Specialists.

 

Regards


 

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1 hour ago, royallondon said:

Yes, ATOL/ABTA, Yes, certificate issued with the booking confirmation, Yes packaged and yes the section 75 was against the TA.  As above they state “we do not hold the customer funds”, they have ours since the 1 June (which I have pointed out to them).


I suspect this TA is used by other posters who sail with the “boutique” and 5* star lines and just wanted to make fellow cruises aware that Credit Card protection is not always a given when using certain TA’s/ Cruise Specialists.

 

Regards


 

I would just raise a section 75 claim with your credit card, regardless of what the TA says.  I did it against Aegean airlines, very easy to do. Amex suggested I did both a chargeback claim and a Section 75 claim. For the Section 75 claim I had to send evidence such as the invoice and the cancellation notice. 

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I did raise a section 75 claim Grandma Cruising and copied the TA in on the email to the credit card provider, hence the response I received.

 

Regards

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