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Volendam Cancellation


CoryG413
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My mother is 90, is a 5 star Mariner and has spent more than 4 years of her life aboard Holland American cruise ships.  She has gone on 6 world cruises and too many other cruises to count.  She has greatly desired to go on one more HAL cruise before it is too hard to go.  We scheduled one cruise two years ago and that was cancelled by HAL due to Covid.  We tried to schedule another cruise, also cancelled due to Covid.  In February, we were scheduled to go but my mother was worried about traveling in the middle of omicron (especially with the reports coming out of this forum about HAL’s treatment of passengers in quarantine).  In March, we tried again, booking the Northern Capitals tour on the Volendam.  We were a little concerned – there were no excursions attached to the tour – how could one plan to use the Have it All feature with no excursions???  But we were so excited to be able to cruise again with all of us triple vaccinated.  And we had a group going – my mother, her cousin, my husband, our daughter, our niece and myself.  6 passengers, 3 cabins, and in the group we had two 5 star Mariners, two 4 star Mariners, one 3 star Mariner and one new cruiser.

In the months that followed, we received no news from Holland America about the possibility that the ship would not be sailing.  When we asked about the excursions we were told that it was just an error and they would be posting excursions shortly.  We believed them.  It is clear now that HAL never intended to prepare excursions because it never intended this ship would sail.  They collected our money and basically lied to us about the sailing.  So for months, they held our money.  They let us make plane reservations.  They let us book private tours (which we had to do since there were no excursions).  They let us make the final payment for the cruise.  And they let us waste our time, money and my mother’s precious opportunity to sail again, on a trip that they knew would never happen.

Last Friday, they sent us a form email.  And it said too bad, we aren’t sailing.  We will rebook you on this cruise with entirely different ports (all in Norway, never thinking that with all that is happening between Russia and Norway that we wouldn’t be delighted to be sailing in that direction) (I also note that all of these substitute ports are almost certainly cheaper that the ports in the UK and France on our original sailing).  Or you can send us a form email indicating that you don’t want the inferior Norway sailing and you can wait TWO WEEKS for us to get back to you.  And maybe we will have an option for you and maybe we will not.

My mother is devastated.  When we tried to talk to a person to book an alternate cruise, we were told that the only way to get a new booking was through the "process" -- i.e., submitting the online form and waiting for a response.  In the meantime, we are unable to make any plans, unable to book airfare (and the airfare prices are going up every day) unable to make alternate plans.  All we can do is wait.  And did I mention that my mother is 90??!!

Holland America is simply using us, and all the other cancelled travelers, to fill up their empty ships.  Take a bunch of reservations for terrific itineraries when they knew the ship was going to be chartered by the government, cancel those cruises with a minimum of notice to the travelers and then shove those cruisers onto less attractive cruises which the travelers will accept simply because HAL is not giving them any time to have another choice.  And make them wait WEEKS to even hear what HAL is willing to let us do with the thousands that we have paid for this trip.

This is not the way you treat loyal customers.  Not if you ever want to see them again.

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So, here we are, several days later.  Still nothing from Holland America about either rebooking the cruise or getting a refund.  We completed their form about the rebooking, sent multiple emails and our travel agent has been calling every day.  And all that she has been told by HAL is that we have to wait.  Meanwhile any ability to make plans for the summer are ticking by.  And presumably HAL keeps taking reservations on the ships that the cancelled travelers wish to rebook.

 

I am glad that the refugees are being helped.  But that help is coming from the government, not HAL.  Holland America is not donating the Volendam, they are renting it under a contract with the government.  And that contract had AT LEAST ONE option to extend, which was exercised.  I would not feel comfortable if I had a Volendam booking in the fall -- it is likely that the same thing will happen to those cruisers.  Again, HAL knew that we would not be sailing, but kept taking reservations, holding our money and allowing us to make ancillary travel arrangements.  And now they are simply not responding to requests for rebooking or refund.

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Honestly, take this as a blessing in disguise. Friends of ours contracted Covid on a HAL ship last month and we're forced into quarantine rooms with NO ROOM key. They were at the mercy of short staffed room service and at times waited 8 hours between meals. Absolute nightmare. No one picking up room service calls, no one picking up at the front desk, no visit from anyone in medical. Prisoners in a cabin they didn't choose, paying for a nightmare. We are also 5 star mariners and won't be booking with HAL again. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

HAL has extended their Worry-Free Promise through December.  It states that passengers can cancel and rebook for any reason.  The program covers any cruise booked by September 30, sailing through December 31, 2022.  Under the promise’s Flexible Cancellation Plan, guests who make a new booking can cancel for any reason up to 30 days before departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit. In addition, should a booked guest test positive leading up to the voyage, they will also be covered.  This is certainly something to bring your hopes up and keep on reaching out for that phone to HAL, or maybe your agent to call HAL.

https://www.cruisehive.com/holland-americas-worry-free-promise-extended-through-december/72652

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/18/2022 at 12:23 PM, CoryG413 said:

So, here we are, several days later.  Still nothing from Holland America about either rebooking the cruise or getting a refund.  We completed their form about the rebooking, sent multiple emails and our travel agent has been calling every day.  And all that she has been told by HAL is that we have to wait.  Meanwhile any ability to make plans for the summer are ticking by.  And presumably HAL keeps taking reservations on the ships that the cancelled travelers wish to rebook.

 

I am glad that the refugees are being helped.  But that help is coming from the government, not HAL.  Holland America is not donating the Volendam, they are renting it under a contract with the government.  And that contract had AT LEAST ONE option to extend, which was exercised.  I would not feel comfortable if I had a Volendam booking in the fall -- it is likely that the same thing will happen to those cruisers.  Again, HAL knew that we would not be sailing, but kept taking reservations, holding our money and allowing us to make ancillary travel arrangements.  And now they are simply not responding to requests for rebooking or refund.

HAL’s cancellation in favor of a charter for compensation is reprehensible arbitrary capricious and unreasonable.  Previous Covid cancellations for five of my bookings are arguably understandable.  Those cancellations however included a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) on a 2019 booking.  

This current cancellation continues to hold this FCC in my account.  This action is inequitable tortuous and a contractual breach  by HAL.

I received back all monies paid for this cruise except for the FCC.  

I am in the process of sending a demand to liquidate the FCC.   This demand is being sent to the President and Group Operation Officers in Seattle Washington, HAL’s corporate headquarters.

if anyone else is similarly positioned I would suggest you do the same.  This conduct has to have consequences… after all they did charter the vessel.  

 

 


 

 


 

 

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