American Cruise Lines

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Nov 19, 2020
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American Cruise Lines steadfastly refuses to honor our purchase of their Cancel For Any Reason Protection Plan. They say that we negated that coverage by clicking an email link accepting their offer of vouchers for a later cruise. Because of our ages (84 and 82) and medical problems, we do not believe we'll be able to book another cruise, and we very carefully did not click that acceptance link. Neither the Better Business Bureau nor our state's Attorney General's office has been able to get ACL to revise their decision. Any suggestions?
 
Dec 27, 2014
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NoVA
Does ACL say when (date/time) you accepted their waiver?

It sounds like you were sent a separate email regarding the vouchers. What exactly did it say you were agreeing to, and if you did click it accidently, you likely would have received another confirmation email. Is it possible you thought you were accepting something different?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
24,744
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www.promalvacations.com
This is what they show about the notification you received:

Affected guests with a reservation at the time of suspension will receive their choice of Cruise Vouchers equal to 125% of all Amounts Paid, or a full refund of all Amounts Paid. For reservations made with Cruise Vouchers and for Cruise Voucher details, please click here.Guests are asked to make a selection within ten days of notification of the suspension. If you are booked on one of these cruises, please contact us at 800-894-8570 for assistance or to make your selection.

It sounds like there was something in the email and you may have clicked the wrong option.

We have company contacts for American:

I would give them a try. This is how you should write to them:

Tell them you didn't understand what you were clicking on when they sent the email and ask for a exception to receive a refund.
 
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Nov 19, 2020
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Does ACL say when (date/time) you accepted their waiver?

It sounds like you were sent a separate email regarding the vouchers. What exactly did it say you were agreeing to, and if you did click it accidently, you likely would have received another confirmation email. Is it possible you thought you were accepting something different?
Yes, it was a separate email that stated accepting the offer would negate the cancellation policy. That is the reason we did not click the link...and there was only one link offered (not another one to refuse the offer of vouchers). We got nothing confirming our "acceptance" and didn't know that was was what was holding up our requested cancellation refund until I called the company. I am very sure I did not accidentally click the "accept" link.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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They are saying you clicked on some type of link that was in an email they sent you - probably about the cancellation. Do you have the original email they sent you advising you of the cancellation?
Sorry. I thought I'd missed a link for posting on your site.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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This is what they show about the notification you received:

Affected guests with a reservation at the time of suspension will receive their choice of Cruise Vouchers equal to 125% of all Amounts Paid, or a full refund of all Amounts Paid. For reservations made with Cruise Vouchers and for Cruise Voucher details, please click here.Guests are asked to make a selection within ten days of notification of the suspension. If you are booked on one of these cruises, please contact us at 800-894-8570 for assistance or to make your selection.

It sounds like there was something in the email and you may have clicked the wrong option.

We have company contacts for American:

I would give them a try. This is how you should write to them:

Tell them you didn't understand what you were clicking on when they sent the email and ask for a exception to receive a refund.
Yes, of course I do have that original email. I have written and called the company (Charles Robertson, the president, who offered his phone number in a different email but was never "available")--multiple times...and have a record of those specific dates. They have responded, but never acknowledged my insistence that I did not accept the offer; they just say they cannot make any exceptions to their policy. I'm very sure I did not click that one link on the offer letter; it was a deliberate decision not to accept. There was not a link to decline the offer of vouchers.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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Thanks. I believe I've done what the article advises. I'm attaching a scan of my final email to Charles Robertson, president of ACL. I've also copied and pasted my record of the actions.

6/21/2019 Columbia River cruise booked (1xxxxxxx)
Cruise Cancellation Protection Purchased ($280 x 2)
$1,560 paid (Master Card)
3/8/2020 phone call with Liz regarding effects of COVID –19
was given 30-day extension for final payment
was told that vouchers were under consideration
asked specifically whether they would be transferrable
was told vouchers would not be transferrable
3/9/2020 received Cruise with Comfort email
would not be able to use, so filed without accepting
assumed that our cancellation protection was still in effect
3/9/2020 received email from Charles Robertson
contained direct phone number, invitation to call for assistance
4/20/2020 emailed cruise cancellation and request for refund
4/21/2020 received emailed cruise voucher
4/23/20 emailed second cruise cancellation and request for refund
5/15/2020 phone call with Jeffrey in Customer Service Department
questioned status of cruise cancellation
was told our acceptance of the vouchers voided that option, was
irreversible
in response to my protests that we had not accepted, was advised to
email [email protected]
sent that email
5/28/2020 called Charles Robertson’s office*
requested return call
provided specific information about reason for the call
6/5/2020 received email from Riley Stone in response to my 5/15 email
form letter denying cancellation
did not address our situation specifically
6/8/2020 sent “please reconsider” email
6/9/2020 called Charles Robertson’s office
again requested return call
again provided specific information about reason for the call
6/15/2020 called Charles Robertson’s office
talked more with receptionist
was told they have many requests; she’d put ours at the top; we’ll
receive emailed response within the week
told her email is fine if it’s approval; otherwise, I want to talk with him
6/25/2020 received similar non-specific response from Riley Stone in response to my 6/8 email
6/26/2020 called Charles Robertson’s office
told receptionist that I must have at least written acknowledgement that
someone with authority to reverse the negative decision knows
that we did not accept the voucher offer; that has never been
acknowledged
she will talk to him again
7/7/2020 called Charles Robertson’s office
told receptionist that if I didn’t hear from him in a few days, I’ll file with BBB
7/8/2020 sent final email to Charles Robertson
7/16/2020 filed complaint with BBB
7/21/2020 notified by BBB that complaint was denied
7/22/2020 filed additional information with BBB
7/31/2020 notified by BBB that complaint was denied and file was closed
8/3/2020 filed complaint with Attorney General's Advocacy and Intervention Division
(date not recorded) notified that ACL will not issue refund

Note: Edited by moderator to remove reservation number and attachment containing pii
 
Last edited by a moderator:

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,741
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the United States
This will be a lengthy post, and for that I apologize. In responding, I do so less as an advocate and more as one who cares deeply about all of the guests who come here in need to assistance.

You just stated that you "will be terribly missing my children and grandchildren next week", and I so relate. We had to cancel a Memorial Day visit with our one child and her family, which included our very adorable grandson. Moving on to Labor Day, we again canceled due to his COVID exposure, which turned out to be false, but the damage to our visit was done.

When faced with these challenges, it is important that we remain calm and respond with poise. There exists almost always a good way to express dissatisfaction with a product, person, or company. In your case, you became overwhelmed by the circumstance, which is both understandable and regrettable. When reaching out to a person whom we do not know, it is imperative that we choose our words with the utmost care and caution. These are, after all, real people with feelings and great responsibility to employees and customers alike. They deserve our respect, especially in the heat of struggle. By way of example, you stated to the CEO

"You would not want to make it easy to decline"
"Your personal total lack of response"
"The situation is setup as a scam"
"Why else would you be so inflexible and so unresponsive"
"We will file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the NM Consumer Protection Agency"
"We will spread the word about our experience with American Cruise Lines"

In this forum, and in general, these expressions run counter to the desired result - to convince them to grant your request. I so wish that you had posted here before the email was sent, so we could advise you as to the content. None of us, I suspect, would think less of you for your conclusions. You may in fact be totally correct, but your outrage (if I may call it that) will likely not achieve what you want.

For your future benefit, and perhaps the benefit of others who are reading this thread, I have taken the time to compose an example of what I might send based upon your posted timeline:
  • On June 21, 2019 we booked a Columbia River cruise
  • We purchased Cruise Cancellation Protection ($280 x 2)
  • On March 8, 2020 we were granted a 30-day extension for the final payment
  • We were advised that vouchers might be issued, which were not transferable
  • On March 9th we received a cancellation email that contained a link to accept vouchers, which we did not click
  • On April 20th and 23rd we emailed our cruise cancellation and a request for refund, but received a voucher instead
  • On June 15th, Jeffrey in Customer Service stated that "our acceptance of the vouchers voided that option (refund), and was irreversible"
  • Multiple calls to your office followed (May 28 - June 26), but I received no return call
I remain deeply concerned about the email which contained no "decline" option that may have resulted in ACL assuming that vouchers were acceptable. I would very much appreciate a reversal and a refund, as I am certain we did not click the link to accept.​
Thank you for your time and consideration​

Similar constructs are easily read by the recipient, which shows respect for their time. The facts are presented, appropriate concerns are identified, and the desired result is communicated.

Bulleted summaries and a polite recounting of the facts are a staple of the advice offered not only in the forum, but by Christopher Elliott. I am truly sorry for your dilemma, and wish you well. Going forward, perhaps you can come back and seek advice before reaching out to companies and/or regulatory agencies.


VoR61
 
Last edited:

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
10,446
11,734
113
San Francisco
American Cruise Lines is a very difficult cruise operator to deal with. They don't know how to run cruises either. I still shudder when I think of the money we wasted a couple of Christmases ago ... a large amount of money for an absolutely horrible cruise. I think they'll just continue to stonewall you. So your job is to be patient and persistent. The situation is simple: they offered you a future credit, you did not accept it. Now they're just being obstinate. And they're probably running low on money.

VoR has outlined the kind of communication that will be most effective. Based on my experience with ACL, you need to keep your communication very concise. You want the person reading it to want to help you. They need to understand your message with one read-through. I will try to come back to you in the morning with what I would consider a good letter based on your facts.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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I appreciate your lengthy response, VoR61, although I have no idea where you got your second paragraph. I agree that your suggestions are appropriate for initial attempts to solve a problem . In fact, that's the tone of the approach I took in my multiple initial contacts, in which I was matter-of-fact rather than confrontational, truly expecting their correction of an error. You only saw those contacts listed on the timeline of contacts, not in their detail. But I believe that the tone of my statements in the final email to Mr. Robertson was appropriate, given the length of time this situation had gone on and the multiple unsuccessful previous contacts. It seemed time to move past the unproductive hopeful contacts, and I felt Mr. Robertson now had the right to know where I intended to go from there, and why.
This will be a lengthy post, and for that I apologize. In responding, I do so less as an advocate and more as one who cares deeply about all of the guests who come here in need to assistance.

You just stated that you "will be terribly missing my children and grandchildren next week", and I so relate. We had to cancel a Memorial Day visit with our one child and her family, which included our very adorable grandson. Moving on to Labor Day, we again canceled due to his COVID exposure, which turned out to be false, but the damage to our visit was done.

When faced with these challenges, it is important that we remain calm and respond with poise. There exists almost always a good way to express dissatisfaction with a product, person, or company. In your case, you became overwhelmed by the circumstance, which is both understandable and regrettable. When reaching out to a person whom we do not know, it is imperative that we choose our words with the utmost care and caution. These are, after all, real people with feelings and great responsibility to employees and customers alike. They deserve our respect, especially in the heat of struggle. By way of example, you stated to the CEO

"You would not want to make it easy to decline"
"Your personal total lack of response"
"The situation is setup as a scam"
"Why else would you be so inflexible and so unresponsive"
"We will file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the NM Consumer Protection Agency"
"We will spread the word about our experience with American Cruise Lines"

In this forum, and in general, these expressions run counter to the desired result - to convince them to grant your request. I so wish that you had posted here before the email was sent, so we could advise you as to the content. None of us, I suspect, would think less of you for your conclusions. You may in fact be totally correct, but your outrage (if I may call it that) will likely not achieve what you want.

For your future benefit, and perhaps the benefit of others who are reading this thread, I have taken the time to compose an example of what I might send based upon your posted timeline:
  • On June 21, 2019 we booked a Columbia River cruise
  • We purchased Cruise Cancellation Protection ($280 x 2)
  • On March 8, 2020 we were granted a 30-day extension for the final payment
  • We were advised that vouchers might be issued, which were not transferable
  • On March 9th we received a cancellation email that contained a link to accept vouchers, which we did not click
  • On April 20th and 23rd we emailed our cruise cancellation and a request for refund, but received a voucher instead
  • On June 15th, Jeffrey in Customer Service stated that "our acceptance of the vouchers voided that option (refund), and was irreversible"
  • Multiple calls to your office followed (May 28 - June 26), but I received no return call
I remain deeply concerned about the email which contained no "decline" option that may have resulted in ACL assuming that vouchers were acceptable. I would very much appreciate a reversal and a refund, as I am certain we did not click the link to accept.​
Thank you for your time and consideration​

Similar constructs are easily read by the recipient, which shows respect for their time. The facts are presented, appropriate concerns are identified, and the desired result is communicated.

Bulleted summaries and a polite recounting of the facts are a staple of the advice offered not only in the forum, but by Christopher Elliott. I am truly sorry for your dilemma, and wish you well. Going forward, perhaps you can come back and seek advice before reaching out to companies and/or regulatory agencies.


VoR61
 
Nov 19, 2020
12
0
1
82
American Cruise Lines is a very difficult cruise operator to deal with. They don't know how to run cruises either. I still shudder when I think of the money we wasted a couple of Christmases ago ... a large amount of money for an absolutely horrible cruise. I think they'll just continue to stonewall you. So your job is to be patient and persistent. The situation is simple: they offered you a future credit, you did not accept it. Now they're just being obstinate. And they're probably running low on money.

VoR has outlined the kind of communication that will be most effective. Based on my experience with ACL, you need to keep your communication very concise. You want the person reading it to want to help you. They need to understand your message with one read-through. I will try to come back to you in the morning with what I would consider a good letter based on your facts.
Please see my reply to VoR. I believe I've done what you suggest, and it had no positive effect.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
10,446
11,734
113
San Francisco
We advise handling complaints like yours be done in writing. As you have observed, phone calls are not very helpful. Complaining to the BBB is useless. The Attorney General's office may be able to help, but they want to see a paper trail with all the details.

If you do decide to pursue the refund, it's important that whomever reads your letter at ACL understands your situation immediately and can act on it. In our experience, a lengthy communication is often "set aside" to deal with later. Offering all the details upon request is more effective. This is the kind of letter you may wish to compose:

RES DETAILS name, res #, sail date, incl insurance purchased.
This cruise was cancelled on 0000.
Did ACL cancel or did you contact them to cancel?
Because of our ages and medical issues, we cannot book another cruise.
We received an email from you on 00000 offering us a voucher toward a future cruise.
We did not accept that offer, we are formally requesting a refund.
At what point were you offered the choice of a refund or a voucher? How was the offer made email, phone, letter?
I have retained all documentation and complete notes. Please let me know if you would like me to send you a summary.
Your name and contact details

We received many requests for help regarding Grand Circle in Boston offering, then rescinding, a refund. Some of our OPs were successful obtaining refunds by contacting the Attorney General's office. But the OPs had followed our advice on submitting their written request to Customer Service and then working up the executive ladder.
 
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Nov 19, 2020
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Thank you for your advice, Neil. I believe I have done pretty much all you are advising. My complaints were made both in emails and in phone calls requesting the assistance from the president, Charles Robertson, who sent an email dated March 9 stating "You may also contact me directly at 1-203-453-7304 if I may be of assistance." I made the mistake of thinking that was a sincere offer. Without that offer, I would not have called. In addition, please see my response to VoR61.

We were never given a choice of a refund or a voucher; the refund was denied because they claim we had accepted the voucher offer. At the time the voucher offer was made, it was our understanding that the cruise was still scheduled. Since we had the cancellation coverage, we felt we had time to make a decision. When we made the decision that the cruise would not be wise, it had not been cancelled (at least, to our knowledge).

I contacted you because of an article in last Sunday's Albuquerque Journal that featured Christopher Elliott's successful intervention in a travel dispute. I hoped that his intervention might also be effective with ACL. Is there any way to initiate that event?
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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This forum provides consumers the tools they need to self advocate. The method consists of writing to the company contacts as noted by Neil in post#6, starting with the first contact and waiting one week before moving on to the next contact. After you have written all of the contacts using this method and if the problem isn't resolved, you can request that the advocates evaluate your paper trail to see if they can further assist. If you read through many posts on this forum you will find that the method really does work and in fact, many of us regular posters have personal experience that it does.