Refund vs. future cruise credit - Regent Seven Seas

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Dec 21, 2020
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My sister and I were to have taken Seth Rudetsky's Big Fat Broadway Vacation June 14-24, 2020 aboard the Regent Seven Seas Voyager from Venice, Italy. On April 8, Judy Perl Worldwide Travel (agency for Seth Rudetsky trips) alerted us that Regent was "canceling the Seth Rudetsky Broadway programming" due to the COVID pandemic. Regent did not cancel the cruise, just this subgroup of the cruise. We were given three options:

"1. Cancel the trip, and receive your 15% deposit paid ($2,392.50) as a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) which can be applied to any RSSC cruise which embarks on or before December 31, 2021. Please note the deposit was non-refundable as of February 15, 2020. Judy Perl Worldwide Travel advocated on your behalf for your monies to be recuperated to any extent possible. Regent has made an exception to convert the non-refundable deposit into a FCC, which no other guests are eligible for except for those in Seth’s group.

2. Cancel the trip, have your 15% be penalized by RSSC, and file a claim with Allianz (with the help of our office) if you have a covered reason for cancelation.

3. Remain booked on the voyage, remit final payment on April 15, and plan to cruise on this voyage. You would receive a slight rate reduction, which will be confirmed when you advise our office you wish to make final payment and proceed this way.

o Please note under the Regent Reassurance Program, you would be permitted to cancel this voyage up until 48 hours prior to sailing, and receive 100% of monies paid in FCC.

o Please note if RSSC cancels this cruise after final payment is made you have two options:

1. Receive a full refund of all monies paid.

2. Receive FCC for at least 100% (if not more) of the monies paid (will be based upon offer in place by RSSC at the time the cruise would be cancelled)."

With tremendous disappointment we let Judy Perl Travel know that we would not make final payment for the cruise as we were unwilling to gamble on the cruise not being canceled. (Being on a cruise right after a global pandemic hardly seemed wise.) I wrote to Regent Seven Seas to ask for an exception to the future cruise credit ruling, copying Judy Perl Travel. The travel agency arranged for a conference call with Regent, in which I argued that Regent's cancelation of the Seth vacation was in essence, for us, a cancelation of the cruise. Regent Seven Seas countered that they hadn't canceled the actual cruise, only the Seth Rudetsky programming, which they likened to a shore excursion. (Not a valid analogy, as the Seth Rudetsky group was to be a cohesive unit throughout the cruise, with special programming around the clock.) Regent reiterated that they would not issue refunds. Frustrated, we took the future cruise credits.

Being past retirement age, neither my sister nor I feel comfortable considering a cruise in these times, even with a vaccine on the horizon. We of course realize how fortunate we are while others are suffering from the pandemic, but throwing away the credit truly rankles and seems unjust.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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At times in this forum, consumers question our citation of company policies. Most often this occurs when such policies work against them. But these, along with applicable government regulations, are the essential and logical starting place for any advice we may offer.

In your case, the Regent Seven Seas booking conditions are here: Booking Conditions

wherein it states:
"In the event that we have to significantly alter any of the main characteristics of your confirmed holiday arrangements or accepted special requirements before departure, we will provide you with the following information in writing as soon as possible (i) the proposed alteration(s) and any impact they have on the price of your holiday;(ii) in the event that you do not wish to accept the alteration(s), details of any substitute package we are able to offer (and of any price reduction where this is of a lower quality or cost);(iii) your entitlement to cancel your booking and receive a full refund if you do not want to accept the alteration(s) or any substitute package offered; and(iv) the period within which you must inform us of your decision and what will happen if you don‟t do so (this period will depend on how quickly we need your response).If you choose to cancel your booking, we will refund all payments you have made to us within 14 days of the date we or the travel agent through whom you made your booking receive your written cancellation notification."​
Thus it seems clear to me that they are required to offer a refund upon request for the cancellation of the Seth Rudetsky Broadway programming, which was a significant portion of the reason you booked the cruise in question.
You can appeal your case using the email addresses in this link: Regent Seven Seas Contacts
start at the lowest level, and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level

When you write, I recommend that you confine your narrative to pointing out their published policy and, if true, that you would not have booked otherwise.
 
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Neil Maley

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Did the travel agency not sell enough cabins for this cruise? This sounds more like an issue with the travel agency. They have a contract they sign with the cruise line guaranteeing a certain number of cabins will be sold for their group.

There might have been a contract with the performer (who gets paid for doing something like this) that might not have sold enough cabins for the performer to perform.

If the travel agency didn’t do what they were supposed to do as part of their contract, the cruise would be canceled.

I think you need to find out why this was canceled and also what your contract with the travel agency says about the chance of cancelling on the part of the agent. Your issue could be with the agency, not the cruise line.

You can use our company contacts page and write to the cruise line and ask got an exception but if they don’t grant it, it’s because they are hearing the same thing from hundreds of others who canceled too soon.

Please read number 5 in this story:

 
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Our OP has a contract with the cruise line for a specific cruise. Even if the travel agent (who is likely OP’s agent, and not the cruise line’s agent) has a contract with OP, the cruise line recognizes that the cruise line is unable to perform a potion of the cruise contract, and per the contractual language VOR61 located, in that event, the cruise line agreed to make refunds. Our OP should continue to press the cruise line And request that the agent do so on OP’s behalf.
 
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Neil Maley

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Our OP has a contract with the cruise line for a specific cruise. Even if the travel agent (who is likely OP’s agent, and not the cruise line’s agent) has a contract with OP, the cruise line recognizes that the cruise line is unable to perform a potion of the cruise contract, and per the contractual language VOR61 located, in that event, the cruise line agreed to make refunds. Our OP should continue to press the cruise line And request that the agent do so on OP’s behalf.
The cruise line agreed to refunds when they canceled the cruise. The OP opted to cancel before the cruise line canceled. Thus the cancellation penalties in effect when the OP canceled are what they contracted and agreed to when they cancelled.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for an exception. The worst they can say is no. The best is yes.

Please read the article on the website we published above.
 
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Dec 21, 2020
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The cruise line agreed to refunds when they canceled the cruise. The OP opted to cancel before the cruise line canceled. Thus the cancellation penalties in effect when the OO canceled are what they contracted and agreed to when they cancelled.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for an exception. The worst they can say is no. The best is yes.

Please read the article on the website we published above.
Thank you so much. What is OP, please?
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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Our OP has a contract with the cruise line for a specific cruise. Even if the travel agent (who is likely OP’s agent, and not the cruise line’s agent) has a contract with OP, the cruise line recognizes that the cruise line is unable to perform a potion of the cruise contract, and per the contractual language VOR61 located, in that event, the cruise line agreed to make refunds. Our OP should continue to press the cruise line And request that the agent do so on OP’s behalf.

From what I can see, "Seth Rudetsky's Big Fat Broadway Vacation" is an event put together by Judy Perl Worldwide Travel. It's not clear that Regent has anything to do with it (other than selling berths to Judy Perl). If this is the case since Regent hasn't cancelled the cruise, their normal terms would apply.

CBroner, did Judy Perl Travel give you a contract/terms for this event?
 
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Neither my sister nor I have anything resembling a contract or terms from Judy Perl Travel. It sounds like our best bet is to go back to Regent Seven Seas as suggested above, citing the Regent Seven Seas booking conditions...?
 

Neil Maley

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Neither my sister nor I have anything resembling a contract or terms from Judy Perl Travel. It sounds like our best bet is to go back to Regent Seven Seas as suggested above, citing the Regent Seven Seas booking conditions...?
The cancellation conditions were what you agreed to when you canceled. You didn’t opt to make final payment and see if they canceled so you would receive a full refund.

You can write and ask for an exception but you were given the options and you chose the one you wanted so you aren’t due refund.

I feel for you because we were in the same position with a transatlantic cruise- we had to decide to either make final payment and hope the cruise line canceled, or losing our nonrefundable deposit by canceling before making final. We opted to make final and hope it was canceled and it was, three day’s after we paid.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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Connecting the dots, so to speak:

You purchased a cruise that included Seth Rudetsky Broadway programming​
Regent canceled that programming​
Regent then provided you with options in writing, none of which followed their own Booking Conditions statement​

Thus my contention that they should provide a refund. Speaking for myself, I do not think your cancellation is a factor. Had they advised you properly of their own terms-and-conditions the result would have been a refund and a cancellation (by them).
 
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smd

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Neither my sister nor I have anything resembling a contract or terms from Judy Perl Travel. It sounds like our best bet is to go back to Regent Seven Seas as suggested above, citing the Regent Seven Seas booking conditions...?
How exactly was this trip structured? Did Judy Perl split it into 2 components: one for the cruise and another for the program? Or did they sell it as a single product? Did you make the payment to Judy Perl or Regent?

It's hard to tell from the information you've provided whether the Regent booking conditions will be relevant. This event appears to have been completely created and sold by Judy Perl Travel, in which case the program may not be considered a "main characteristic" of the cruise by Regent.
 
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Neil Maley

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How exactly was this trip structured? Did Judy Perl split it into 2 components: one for the cruise and another for the program? Or did they sell it as a single product? Did you make the payment to Judy Perl or Regent?

It's hard to tell from the information you've provided whether the Regent booking conditions will be relevant. This event appears to have been completely created and sold by Judy Perl Travel, in which case the program may not be considered a "main characteristic" of the cruise by Regent.
If the cruise was still going out, it may have simply been booked as a group and not an entire ship charter. If it was booked that way, it is usually subject to the cruise line cancellation policy.

I still think the travel agency bears responsibility for this and I’m a little surprised there were no terms and conditions from agency that stated what would happen if the entertainment they were to provide went bust.
 
Dec 21, 2020
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It definitely was a small group within the larger cruise. Among the FAQs sent to us from Seth Rudetsky:
Q: Does everyone on the ship attend the shows and events?
A: N-O! Many of the events are just for the Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Cruise passengers. We’re in a private area and have exclusive shows, Broadway games etc. On the final night, we have a variety that the Broadway stars perform in..but so do the Broadway passengers. In order to assure we have an audience during the time that everyone on the Broadway cruise is performing, passengers can invite non-Broadway passengers to see the show!
Q: Do I have a scheduled meal time with pre-picked passengers?
A: No! We reserve a section of the main restaurant on some evenings of the cruise just for Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Cruise group. You can switch tables nightly and chat with your new-found friends…or avoid us every meal if you want!

Judy Perl Travel contacted us to say that Regent had canceled the Seth programming and that they had negotiated hard for our group, and they were pleased to say they managed to get the future cruise credit for Seth's vacationers while others on the cruise did not have that option--they simply lost their deposits if they chose not to make the payment in full. (We were told that if we chose to pay in full we would receive a full refund if Regent cancelled the cruise.) When I balked at the future cruise credit vs refund of deposit, the agent set up a phone call with Regent, during which they discussed specific numbers of Seth vacationers. I was surprised to learn that Seth's group was much smaller than my sister and I had imagined.

The trip was sold as one cruise--a cruise within a cruise. Having attended many of Seth's concerts, I get his emails, which promote his concerts, cruises, books, etc. We called for info and that was our first connection with Judy Perl Travel.

My credit card statement shows the deposit as made to Regent Seven Seas. The guest registration form sent to us by Judy Perl Travel/Seth Rudetsky's Big Fat etc. says:
I______, hereby authorize Seth's Big Fat Broadway Vacations to make charges for travel arrangements as specified
below, to the credit card listed. It then says:
I authorize Regent Seven Seas Cruises to automatically charge my credit card for the final payment scheduled on
March 16, 2020.

Nothing sent to us discusses anything about cancelation except on OUR end--that is, the penalties if we were to cancel at various times approaching departure date. I am happy to share any documents that would be helpful.

Thank you for your help!
 
Dec 21, 2020
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If helpful, this is the wording of the email from Judy Perl Travel that alerted us to the cancelation. I note that they did not say anything about COVID. The "economically viable" makes me wonder if Judy Perl/Seth truly didn't sell enough berths.

As promised, we are writing with an update on the June 14-24, 2020 cruise with Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Vacations. As of today, Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has not cancelled the sailing, nor have they made official itinerary changes (yet). They did, however, request to pull the Broadway programming off this voyage because the production costs were no longer economically viable. Seth & the Broadway performers will no longer be sailing on board.

It goes on to say:

Regent has made an exception to convert the non-refundable deposit into a FCC, which no other guests are eligible for except for those in Seth’s group.
 

Neil Maley

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In other words- not enough cabins were sold to offset the costs of the event. Just as I suspected.

There still should have been some kind of terms in this cruise before you booked that detailed what the responsibility of the travel agency if they didn’t sell enough cabins.
 
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in the travel agency’s email the first “they” refers to the cruise line. The second “they” may refer again to the cruise line or it may refer to the promoter of this tour. I agree that it appears the travel agent organized the tour, but that makes the use of the second “they” imprecise. If, indeed, Regent is the cause of the cancellation , a different result might follow.

I’m just suggesting we do not know who cancelled the Broadway show tour.
 
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Neil Maley

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That’s correct. We used to do these type of groups with a featured speaker or exercise guru, which is why I’m suggesting there is more to it than just the cruise line canceling. We knew his many cabins had to be sold and our terms with the consumer stated what would happen if enough cabins weren’t sold and the cruise had to be canceled.