Holland America Lines Cruise - Deposit Refund Refused

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Sep 10, 2017
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#1
I booked a cruise on August 31st on Holland America Lines (HAL) as a surprise for my wife for our 40th wedding anniversary on December 12, 2018. She has always wanted to visit Cuba, so I booked the 11-Day Cuban Explorer. The cruise is 18 months away on December 10, 2018. I told my wife of our plans the next day. She looked online at the itinerary and realized the ship spends less than one full day in Cuba; however, it is listed online as the 11-Day Cuban Explorer. All other days are in the Caribbean. We do not want a Caribbean cruise. Holland America was contacted the very next business day on September 5th, after the Labor Day weekend and we requested a refund of our deposit - $600. We were notified the deposit was non-refundable. We contested the listing was false advertising. We are out $600 for a deposit made 18 months before the cruise. I work very hard for $600, and truly hate to see it thrown away. Holland America customer service is very difficult to deal with, and are sticking with the deposit is non-refundable. If this was truly a Cuban cruise and not a Caribbean cruise, we would be on it. I need an advocate and hope you can assist.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#2
Does Holland America offer a Cuba-only cruise or another option you would be interested in? If so, request the deposit to be moved to that cruise.

Whatever your plans, please consider buying trip insurance (separate from the travel provider, i.e. cruise line, airline, etc.). It can be invaluable to cover situations we never expect.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
Does Holland America offer a Cuba-only cruise or another option you would be interested in? If so, request the deposit to be moved to that cruise.

Whatever your plans, please consider buying trip insurance (separate from the travel provider, i.e. cruise line, airline, etc.). It can be invaluable to cover situations we never expect.
I agree - your deposit can be 'saved' by moving it to another cruise. It's always a good idea to read everything about a cruise before you put up a deposit, and a better idea to use a travel agent. Please come back to us if you can't find an HAL cruise to fit your wishes.
 
Likes: Patina
Sep 10, 2017
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#4
Does Holland America offer a Cuba-only cruise or another option you would be interested in? If so, request the deposit to be moved to that cruise.

Whatever your plans, please consider buying trip insurance (separate from the travel provider, i.e. cruise line, airline, etc.). It can be invaluable to cover situations we never expect.
Holland America does not offer a Cuba-only cruise. They do offer one with more than one-day in Cuba; however, I am traveling for my 40th wedding anniversary on the date of the cruise we booked; therefore, another date will not work. The one we selected said Cuban Explorer; however, only one partial day in Cuba out of 11.
 
Jan 11, 2017
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#5
Did you make your reservation through HAL site? There is a map, and a huge 'view itinerary' button - if you check any cruise.
Nevertheless - I agree with the advocates: you might want to check another cruise.
 
Likes: Patina
Sep 10, 2017
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#6
I agree - your deposit can be 'saved' by moving it to another cruise. It's always a good idea to read everything about a cruise before you put up a deposit, and a better idea to use a travel agent. Please come back to us if you can't find an HAL cruise to fit your wishes.
We are traveling for our 40th
I agree - your deposit can be 'saved' by moving it to another cruise. It's always a good idea to read everything about a cruise before you put up a deposit, and a better idea to use a travel agent. Please come back to us if you can't find an HAL cruise to fit your wishes.
No, sorry, we can not find a cruise on the date of our anniversary other than the one we chose. To be out of a $600 deposit for changing out mind in one-day and the cruise is 18 months away. In addition to the false advertising of listing the cruise online as "Cuban Explorer".
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#7
Best bet is to write to customer service requesting an exception to their fare rules. Its best not to accuse them of false advertising but rather mention the discrepancy between the actual itinerary and name of the cruise.

If they do not respond, move to the execs (email addresses in the Company Contacts link at the top of the forum) writing to only one at a time waiting a week for a reply. Be brief, polite and professional.

Good luck and let us know how you progress!
 
Sep 10, 2017
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#8
Did you make your reservation through HAL site? There is a map, and a huge 'view itinerary' button - if you check any cruise.
Nevertheless - I agree with the advocates: you might want to check another cruise.
I made the cruise because it said "Cuba Explorer". I paid the deposit with my credit card. Once I told my wife, she checked the big Itinerary button to see out of 11 days we were spending a one partial day in Cuba.
 
Sep 10, 2017
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#9
Best bet is to write to customer service requesting an exception to their fare rules. Its best not to accuse them of false advertising but rather mention the discrepancy between the actual itinerary and name of the cruise.

If they do not respond, move to the execs (email addresses in the Company Contacts link at the top of the forum) writing to only one at a time waiting a week for a reply. Be brief, polite and professional.

Good luck and let us know how you progress!
Thank you, certainly good advice. We spoke to customer service and they were not very nice. They said there was nothing they could do and we can write a letter if we liked.
 
Jul 16, 2016
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#10
Hmmm- maybe I am missing something but I thought cruise deposits were refundable up until a fixed number of days prior to the cruise (usually 3-4 months away). So why wouldn't a deposit made for a Dec 2018 cruise be refundable? I know Holland America is generally refundable for the cruise portion (don't know about airfare as I never use theirs) because I had to cancel my first attempt at Alaska. Did they say why it was not refundable?
(but really- who plunks down money on a cruise without even looking at the nice picture they show you of where the cruise goes even before you click the show itinerary button?)
 
Likes: Nancy
Jul 16, 2016
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#11
Did you leave something out in your explanation? Because I went through the booking process for an 11 day cuban explorer (cruise only) for Dec 10 2018, deposit is nonrefundable as of Sept 2018, but should be refundable prior to that.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
Was this a special discounted cruise fare that had a strict cancelation policy?

I do not think it is a good tactic to claim false advertising or complain about the name of the cruise when it is very easy to find the itinerary of the cruise on the website. If a person is acting as their own travel agent they have to take the responsibility to review the information.

I think it would be better to say the cruise was booked as a surprise and the person does not want to travel then, and that you are requesting a refund as it is over 14 months until the sailing date.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#13
Can you post a copy of the confirmation you have for the cruise? There are some specially priced itineraries that have non refundable deposits and these not only have to be explained by the cruise counselor, it should be listed on your confirmation.

Didn't the cruise consultant go over the itinerary and pricing before you booked it? I have never seen a cruise consultant on the ships not go over the entire cruise. They didn't sit with you and did you sign anything?

With special pricing, you cant even transfer the deposit to another cruise so you might have to go whether you like it or not or risk losing the deposit.

From
The website:

If you have purchased a specially priced promotion that is 100% non-refundable from the point of payment, you are not entitled to any refund, payment, compensation or credit whatsoever of your gross fare if you cancel your booking.

You can try writing to our company contacts, but if they will not refund- you might just need to grin and bear it and have a nice anniversary cruise regardless. It has a nice itinerary.
 
Likes: Patina
Nov 20, 2015
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#18
(but really- who plunks down money on a cruise without even looking at the nice picture they show you of where the cruise goes even before you click the show itinerary button?)
Mr. Peterson,
Please don't let this comment discourage you. At best it seems an attempt to belittle you; at worst it seems to accuse you of lying. Either way, it's not nice.

Almost everyone posting on this forum really does it to help people. If you could post a copy of your confirmation as Neil suggested, he may be able to help you figure this out.
 
Nov 14, 2016
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#19
It seems HAL fairly recently started offering their non-refundable deposit fares as the standard fares on their website. I don't know if this is one of them but there have been a few threads about this on Cruise Critic. It appears that HAL has been hiding these non-refundable cruises in plain sight. Needless to say, the forums on Cruise Critic have not been kind to HAL on this issue and rightfully so.

Now it's literally impossible to go to HALs website and not see the itinerary before booking the cruise. To accuse HAL of "false advertising" is patently absurd and doesn't help the case in the least. I can understand an agent being not accommodating if someone unjustly accused their company of (clearly false) misdeeds. The nicer we are to them, the more sympathetic an agent will be to us.

Neil's spot on here. The confirmation would be helpful because then we'd know if (a) you're asking HAL for a favor to transfer/refund the deposit or (b) HAL isn't following their own policies on refunding deposits for cruises at regular pricing. That dictates the approach used and the options that are open.
 
Likes: krisseye

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,707
11,305
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
Almost every cruise line is now offering their lowest prices with non refundable deposits. Royal Caribbean is doing it too and we are educating customers that are now starting to book these fares. Sometimes these fares are substantial savings- I have seen
$1,000 differences between refundable and non refundable.

I am 99% sure that if booked on the ship, this was explained. They cannot book this rate without advising you and the confirmation most likely states it.