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Feb 2, 2018
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#1
I am a 74 year old widow. I booked a trip on the The American Queen along with a group of senior citizens. The trip leaves from Memphis on 11-25-2018 and returns from New Orleans on 12-3-2018. I paid an extra $700. for a single cabin. I sent a deposit of $500. on 12-22-2017 using my American Express credit card.
I learned through a friend this past Monday that everyone in the group was getting a $400. group discount. I immediately called the travel agent and she informed me that I wasn't getting the discount because I booked a SINGLE cabin. So I am now paying $700. for the single cabin and not receiving the $400. discount which means I am paying $1100. more for a cabin that could not fit more than one person. My travel insurance is also $150. more.
The travel agent told me that's American Queen's policy and she could not do anything for me. I called American Queen myself. I explained the situation and said I felt it was discriminatory and unconscionable and was assured someone would get back to me.
My travel agent called to say she received an email from AQ and it said they would not return my call because they do not speak to individuals and she should inform me that I was not getting the group discount.
I told her I was canceling the trip because of the unfairness in pricing and in the way I was treated. She informed me that I would only receive half my deposit. I'd like to add that the TA never sent me a receipt or contract.
Can you help me get the entire deposit of $500. back???
Thank you
Nancy
 
#2
The American Queen appears to have eight inside single staterooms and four outside single veranda staterooms. Were you booked into one of these? Did your friends book similar cabins or was the class of their cabins higher or lower than yours?

I agree that it seems as if you're not getting all you might deserve here. If you're part of the "group" you should be getting some or all of the "group discount." I wouldn't cancel and ask for the deposit back yet because usually the 50% rule on returning deposits is carved in stone.

Some of our forum members may have had experience with American Queen and can weigh in on what your best course of action may be.
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 2, 2018
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#3
Everyone else in the group had inside double cabins. The original cost for those cabins was $1999. per passenger. But with the $400. Discount they were $1599.
My cabin was $2699. No discount
 
#4
Did you get an inside single or an outside single with a veranda?

If you want to feel a little better about it, look at it this way. They're now paying $1,599 each which is $3,198 per cabin. You're paying $2,699 for your cabin. But if airfare is factored in, then that perspective falls apart.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

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#5
What kind of cabin do you have? In inside also? You say everyone else had an inside which sounds like you don’t have one if those.

Maybe there was a price reduction by AQ for the insides to sell them.

Deposits on river cruises ate generally non refundable but your agent is supposed to send you terms and conditions AND a copy of your invoice once booked showing all this info plus your final payment date. It sounds like you have a lousy agent if you did not get any confirmation

Who charged your card? AQ or the agency?

AQ won’t speak to you because you booked with an agent. If you had booked directly they would talk to you.

Tell us what type of cabin you booked
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 2, 2018
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#6
What kind of cabin do you have? In inside also? You say everyone else had an inside which sounds like you don’t have one if those.

Maybe there was a price reduction by AQ for the insides to sell them.

Deposits on river cruises ate generally non refundable but your agent is supposed to send you terms and conditions AND a copy of your invoice once booked showing all this info plus your final payment date. It sounds like you have a lousy agent if you did not get any confirmation

Who charged your card? AQ or the agency?

AQ won’t speak to you because you booked with an agent. If you had booked directly they would talk to you.

Tell us what type of cabin you booked
I booked an inside cabin. My issue is with the discount not applying to me. It’s just wrong!
I gave the TA my AX number.
The bottom line with air, port charges and insurance is $3824. versus $2583. So instead of paying an extra $700. for a single cabin I am now paying $1241. more.
You are so right about the TA.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#7
I think I found your answer here:

When you click on the OFFER DETAILS link it says:

Terms and Conditions
Save $800 per stateroom ($400 per person) on these American Queen 2018 voyages: 03/04, 03/11, 03/18, 03/25, 11/18, 11/25, 12/02, 12/09, 12/30​
Offers not valid on categories OS, SO and SI.
Your cabin is an SI category stateroom as shown on this page:​
American Queen Accommodations
2018 Single Inside Staterooms (AQ - SI)​


So, the information you were given is correct

All that said, you can use the Company Contacts link at the top of this page to present your case to them. If you do, be sure to read and follow the instructions at the top of the initial Company Contacts page.

EDITED: As I understand it, your companions are paying $3200 (combined, including the $800 discount) for their rooms, so another way of looking at this is that your Single room is $500 less than that. Still, I think they could have offered you a $200 discount ...
 
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Feb 2, 2018
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#8
Yes. I now know after the fact. Doesn’t make the policy any less fair. I still believe it discriminates against singles who at my age are usually widows.
 

Neil Maley

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#9
Yes. I now know after the fact. Doesn’t make the policy any less fair. I still believe it discriminates against singles who at my age are usually widows.
The reasoning is that these single cabins are already discounted. Usually with a single cabin you pay for 2 full people in the cabin if you are sailing alone. The single cabins are discounted so you aren’t paying 200% more for being alone in the cabin. So you could ask to be moved from the discounted single cabin you have for $2699 to a regular cabin that you would be paying the full 200% single supplement and pay $3200 for it.

Unfortunately, almost every cruise and hotel room charges a single supplement. Why? Because the cabins are designed for two people and they want full revenue for the cabin. It has nothing to do with you being your age or a widow. There are some river cruise lines that have sales and waive the single supplement - you might want to check those out.?

Also you can’t say “with port charges, insurance and air you are paying thousands more than your companions traveling- they are also paying the air, port fees and insurance. You aren’t paying thousands more than they are when they are also paying for those three things.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#11
I wish that there were a way to offer some practical words of comfort here, especially in terms of a financial solution, but your logic has merit and resonates with me more than you might think.

When I was single and wanted to cruise, the costs seemed unfair to me also. Of course the ships I looked at had no single cabins, so I immediately understood their lost revenue in selling me a double-occupancy room at a reduced price. I avoided cruising as the cost was more than I wanted to pay.

But in your situation, they offer a single cabin, which in my mind equates to a "private room" (thinking hospital here). When I try to compare the cost in a way that makes sense to me, I envision two single cabins side-by-side. In a space that roughly compares to the space for a double-occupancy cabin, I can then see that the cruise line has incurred twice the cost for everything except perhaps the beds. That also means twice the maintenance and cleaning as well.

Does that mean the fare they charge for my "privacy" is reasonable or fair to passengers? The honest answer is that it would depend on how much difference is in play. In your case, this is a river cruise, and those tend to be on the expensive side, at least in my opinion. We caught a cruise on the Delta Queen (same timeframe as yours, but N.O. to Baton Rouge) shortly before it was retired and had a marvelous time for a reasonable cost. Since then I have found the fares on American Cruise lines prohibitive for us. About the only way I can see to experience some savings is waiting to book until the fare sales come into play.

All that said, I will add to the really good links that Neil provided. I particularly liked the first one ...
http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2011/10/12/options-for-solo-cruisers.html
https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=419
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/us-news-travel/cruising-solo-what-to-kno_b_7080864.html

And I do want to encourage you to focus on enjoying the cruise. It should be wonderful ...
 
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Likes: Neil Maley
Feb 2, 2018
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#12
The reasoning is that these single cabins are already discounted. Usually with a single cabin you pay for 2 full people in the cabin if you are sailing alone. The single cabins are discounted so you aren’t paying 200% more for being alone in the cabin. So you could ask to be moved from the discounted single cabin you have for $2699 to a regular cabin that you would be paying the full 200% single supplement and pay $3200 for it.

Unfortunately, almost every cruise and hotel room charges a single supplement. Why? Because the cabins are designed for two people and they want full revenue for the cabin. It has nothing to do with you being your age or a widow. There are some river cruise lines that have sales and waive the single supplement - you might want to check those out.?

Also you can’t say “with port charges, insurance and air you are paying thousands more than your companions traveling- they are also paying the air, port fees and insurance. You aren’t paying thousands more than they are when they are also paying for those three things.
I always get a single room when I travel. I expect to pay extra. I expect fairness. I expect to receive the same discount as my fellow travelers. End of story.
 

Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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#13
@nancy lynn unfortunately the discount is not offered for your category. I cruise frequently as a solo cruiser on NCL. I book studios on there. NCL generally has promos and based on my cabin category, I am only eligible for one offer. Balcony's and above get two offers and suite guests get all four. Those are the terms of the deal that you made. I agree that it's not fair that it's not offered for your category.
 
Likes: VoR61

Neil Maley

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#14
I always get a single room when I travel. I expect to pay extra. I expect fairness. I expect to receive the same discount as my fellow travelers. End of story.
If you want that, you could ask to be rebooked in the double cabin that your friends are booked in.

Then you would get the discount. But it would cost you more money than you are paying for your single cabin.

I understand your frustration. NCL started the trend of single cabins years ago and they were such a hit that it started the trend for other ships as well. These single cabins are specifically made so you are not paying for a cabin that you would be charged 2x as much for. If you look at my example I gave above- that cabin would cost you nearly $3200 if they didn’t have single cabins available.
 
Dec 27, 2014
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#15
I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, this is trying to compare apples (double occupancy) and oranges (single occupancy). These are different categories and different prices ranges. Discounts will always apply differently.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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St Louis
#16
NCL started the trend of single cabins years ago and they were such a hit that it started the trend for other ships as well. These single cabins are specifically made so you are not paying for a cabin that you would be charged 2x as much for.
I'm on one of those studios next Saturday for a week. I love the idea. There's a studio lounge that has snacks and coffee and a solo coordinator to set up dinners and shows if you're interested. The room itself is very compact but it's perfect for one person.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jan 6, 2015
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#17
Some additional information for Nancy from Cruise Critic:

There are 222 cabins in all, of which 55 are inside cabins with double occupancy but only 5 are "single" inside cabins.
So the discounts are likely what I would call "an inventory sell-off" ...
 
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Neil Maley

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#18
I'm on one of those studios next Saturday for a week. I love the idea. There's a studio lounge that has snacks and coffee and a solo coordinator to set up dinners and shows if you're interested. The room itself is very compact but it's perfect for one person.
I’ve been in the ships and see the same regulars that book together and continue to cruise together after meeting on the ship. You never have to eat or go to shows or in excursions alone. I was actually surprised at the demographics that book those cabins. I thought it would all be people in their 20’s- not so. Most are 40’s abs older. NCL is often the first line that tries something and others follow. Remember they started the “anytime dining” program and I still remember at a travel agent class asking an Executive from Royal Caribbean why they didn’t offer it and back then (at least 15 years ago) was told “We’ll never offer that. Our consumers want fixed dining times”.

So much for never.
 
Feb 13, 2018
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#19
Think of this in different terms. When you book a hotel room, generally the hotel quotes the room price. The room costs the same, whether occupied by one person or two. In the cruise industry, rather than quote a room price, the cruise line always quotes "per person, based on double occupancy ". Why? It's a physiological marketing approach. Couples perceive that their vacation is less. Then along comes a single person. If occupying a cabin meant for two, it is often the same price as the couple is paying, unless there are discounted cabins for singles. Why, you may ask? I don't eat twice as much? But then you don't spend twice as much onboard, making for decreased onboard revenue. So don't look at it as though you are being cheated because you are only one person, but rather that this cruise line chose to offer discounted rooms for singles. And since your cabin is already less than the cabin for two, they may not offer the same promotions. I am single. I for one, am more than grateful when there is a discounted single cabin available, as often there is not. Enjoy your cruise , I have been on the American Queen before and it is fabulous.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,260
12,443
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
Think of this in different terms. When you book a hotel room, generally the hotel quotes the room price. The room costs the same, whether occupied by one person or two. In the cruise industry, rather than quote a room price, the cruise line always quotes "per person, based on double occupancy ". Why? It's a physiological marketing approach. Couples perceive that their vacation is less. Then along comes a single person. If occupying a cabin meant for two, it is often the same price as the couple is paying, unless there are discounted cabins for singles. Why, you may ask? I don't eat twice as much? But then you don't spend twice as much onboard, making for decreased onboard revenue. So don't look at it as though you are being cheated because you are only one person, but rather that this cruise line chose to offer discounted rooms for singles. And since your cabin is already less than the cabin for two, they may not offer the same promotions. I am single. I for one, am more than grateful when there is a discounted single cabin available, as often there is not. Enjoy your cruise , I have been on the American Queen before and it is fabulous.
What a great response - and you are absolutely correct in how you described this.