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We booked a cruise in January 2020, to sail in May 2020 from Italy. By March it was clear our cruise would not be safe because of COVID-19 running rampant in Italy and Europe. The cruise was cancelled by the cruise company, Holland America. But they didn’t offer us a refund, but a cruise credit. However we had use the credit to book the cruise this year, 2020, still at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our country bans citizens from travelling overseas. This is very poor service and reflects badly on Holland America.
Another cruise credit issue this time with Holland America. My cruise on April 2020 was cancel by Holland America. They offer two options. A refund or a credit of 120% for the next trip. This week I tried to scheduled a cruise for December but I’m having issues getting the credit. I have a similar situation with MSC. I have to put additional $2,000 to reserved a cruise in March. Some cruise companies are in bankruptcy chapter 11. If they go chapter 7 I will lose all my money.
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An Alaskan Cruise was booked in early March. Travel was Cancelled due to COVID-19 on April 14. We requested a refund 3 times and were given misleading info - first we were told within 60 days. When that time passed, we were told “soon.” I contacted Washington state Attorney Generals office and filed a complaint utilizing the form on the website. I received my refund 6 days later. For those in the same position, I recommend You do the same. For future cruisers - FIND ANOTHER CRUISE LINE. THEY ARE UNETHICAL.
Paid for our May cruise to Alaska in early March and it was canceled in April due to Covid 19. We were told the refund would take between 60 to 90 days as a result of people working from home. You cannot speak to a live person to discuss your financial situation only email and here we are in mid-June still waiting and no response to my email. There are 4 families in our group and we are not sure we will rebook with Holland America in the future. Very poor customer service and I do not understand the long lead times to process a refund back to a credit card. It feels like they spent the money and are now trying to book future cruises to be able to cover the refunds.
Having done about 35 cruises, we have had been quite pleased with Holland America, overall. Yeah, it has the qwerks of the other lines, taking advantage of the vulnerable. We have always sought value, and as my feet were cold, I saw an opportunity ($353 seven day Caribbean cruise out of Ft Lauderdale) seemed a better deal than a good new pair of socks, as I hate socks. I booked Feb 28, 2020, for a March 11, 2020 sailing on the Veendam and made my travel arrangements for 2 on Spirit Airlines with one bag, less than $300 total.
We do understand the risks of travelling, as recently on the return from another 2 week Holland America (Nieuw Amsterdam) cruise we were held at gunpoint on the tarmac for 8 hours by the Broward Sheriff's Department, no food, no water, no toilet, after a sniper incident, then to be held several hours at FLL and then spent the night sleeping on the cement floor of the cruise port, just to be shuffled back to FLL the next morning, but that's another story! Safer to stay in your shell, but boring.
Having checked all the Embassy websites, as my wife has a green card, only Jamaica listed a 14 day travel restriction for mainline China. My wife had transited through Hong Kong 15 days before, so we brought that to our travel agent's (**) who brought it to Holland America Corporate's attention and we were told she was "exempted, good to go and the file has been noted". After spending days packing and trying to travel in one bag, you know struggling with the wife, trying to get another pair of stilettos's out of the bag so you can your tooth paste in and not finding yourself washing skivvies half way through the cruise. Well, wife won, as usual, and I gave up running shoes for flip flops and left the shaving cream behind. We made all the necessary arrangements to leave a business, house and two cats for a week and headed to the airport.
Yes, there is a lot of work one must do to prepare for a cruise! It is not just about just paying the cruise fare. And there is a LOT of trust in accepting the cruise contract CAVEAT EMPTOR, and yes the small print presented to you after you have paid the fare! When you accept the cruise contract, can you say CAVEAT EMPTOR, you have signed away most of your rights to arbitration thousands of miles away and hopefully with someone you TRUST! You MUST (UNDERLINE TRUST) trust the cruise line! I had no prior reason not to trust Holland America, until now!
We arrived at the cruise port, yes the taxi tried to cheat us, as the meter said $9 but the window said minimum $12 and he wanted $18, but that's another story. Well, he wanted $18 and the window said $12 and I offered him $12 or nothing, he refused and I got cruise port official in between, offered him $12 or nothing, he held out and we walked, he got nothing except an ear from a man in uniform. It is one thing when you sign up to be cheated, but being cheated for the sake of someone who just wants to cheat you, is wrong, way wrong! Shame on them! Somehow I see it as my civic duty, and at an incredibly burden, to leave this a better world then I found it. I had no idea what I was walking into, that the battle had just begun!
When we got into the cruise terminal, we were asked to complete the "Traveller's(sic) Health Declaration", as attached. My wife and I filled out the form, and she had traveled through Hong Kong within 42 days or 20 days, so she had a "yes" on line 1 & 5. Nowhere on any official site or any information provided by Holland America was there a "20 Day" travel restriction through Hong Kong. My wife did not transit through mainland China within the past 20 days, so what was their point? We were placed outside the queue and held for almost 4 hours, without food or beverage or water, until we were informed that we were denied embarkation. I asked why, and was told "out of an abundance of caution" by the ship's Physician, who had the final word. We were told we would be refunded the total cruise fare amount plus our expenses and in fact could arrange to stay in Ft Lauderdale over night and would be reimbursed an additional $200.
I insisted that this be put in writing, because why would I trust Holland America, as attached. Twenty hours wasted just to backtrack the day, but promised a full refund plus reasonable expenses, refunded within 4-6 weeks. Yes, a disappointment! Why didn't they notify us earlier, if even the night before? No refund within 7 weeks, I contacted Holland America and the written full refund with reasonable expenses, after I submitted the claim, went to NO REFUND! Back and forth, like a good game of PING PONG gone horribly wrong, I wrested with Holland America Corporate. One can write the most concise, clear, factual letters, with exhibits, sent certified return receipt, and they go unread with the same boilerplate lame responses time and time again! DEPRESSING!!! Not, one, Not two, Not three! Promises made are promises unkept, broken! Corporate greed? Why? Perhaps because they CAN? But, I am a man of persistence!
Hours on hold, line dropped and hours again time and time again, with a follow up response... NO REFUND! Is anyone reading my letters? Certified Return Receipt and emailed and they can't keep track of them... lost, denied, promises unkept! But for the fact, that the Veendam Ship's physician choose to deny my wife and I embarkation out of his "abundance of caution" on the day of sailing and the promises made, we would not be where we are today! We went peacefully! He had the final word! AFTER TWO MONTHS OF PING PONG... HOURS... DAYS... WEEKS SPENT...
"To begin with, I'm afraid we owe you a sincere apology.. please disregard our prior communications to the contrary... I can certainly understand your frustration with our response to date. Your complaint has merit now, and has had merit all along, and I personally apologize for not seeing the errors in your file to begin with. Although I cannot take back the hours you've invested petitioning us to fix our mistake... using the blunt tools at my disposal, I HAVE ADDED PINNACLE GRILL dinners for yourself and, in hopes that the stars align to where Holland America can add a good memory to go along with the bad. I appreciate that it's probably a little late in the day for some of these gestures, and can but hope that you accept them in the spirit intended."
OH BOY, TWO FREE STEAK DINNERS!!!! YIPPEE!!!! Oh WAIT, Lord, so I have to book another cruise with Holland America so I can get our free steak dinners? FAT CHANCE!!! I can make my own steak dinner and be much happier! HOW ABOUT A FREE SEVEN DAY CRUISE TO MAKE UP FOR YOUR SINCERITY! DAY 74, no refund, no reasonable expenses, still twiddling my thumbs and my mouth is not watering for a full refund, reasonable expenses, 100% future cruise credit and Pinnacle Grill dinners for me and my wife. The small print on these Future Cruise Credits, but I have yet to see mine, are they must be used within a year... see any bargains out there? No, well if 15% off brochure is a bargain! We don't book a cruise till it's 70% off brochure, but prefer 80% or better! HOLLAND AMERICA = FAIL. CAVEAT EMPTOR!!! *I apologize for not being able to post correspondence, as it violates the rules of this site.
This was my first cruise. It was for my 45th birthday. I called our cruise agent and she recommended that we go on this one. Now here’s what you need to understand. I’m single and my friend who is also single went on this cruise with me. All the commercials I see on TV or people partying on boats and having a great time. Sadly, this was not the case on my cruise with Holland America. While the food is amazing, five stars, this is not a cruise line for anyone under the age of 65. It would’ve helped if we do ahead of time what we were in store for us. When we did find out about this prior to our cruise, we asked if we can switch to another cruise line under the same umbrella and were told no. So it’s either go on the cruise or lose my money. In the future they should be full disclosure about the clientele on boats. I’m not saying you need to discriminate, but you do need to make it known what to expect aboard certain cruise lines.
I've taken many cruises including 3 in the last year. So what may impress a new cruiser is kind of old hat to me. The other difference is these cruises were chartered music cruises which are a bit different as well. So, I can't judge the on-board entertainment as we had our own. The excursions are mostly touristy stuff that one might find entertaining, but it is usually pricier than it should be. But there are exceptions, you just have to do the research which is a lot easier now than it was pre-Internet. The food and food service isn't as good as it once was, but there is no shortage of it.
With the current virus situation it will be a while before cruising comes back, I think. I can say that when I cruise I take Airborne or Emergen C from 2 days before to 2 days after and I still always come back with a bit of 'the crud'. Before I started doing this, I'd come back feeling bad, or start feeling bad even before I got back. The ships are a bit of a petri dish no matter how hard they try. Even without the virus, one needs to wash their hands often and use the sanitizer. Two cruises ago, the ship I was on was VERY good in having hand sanitizer stations located in the hallways so as you walked by it was easy to grab a shot. The last cruise I was on also had a sink as you came into the eating area which everyone was encouraged to use to wash their hands before eating and after.
Only had 2 hours in Cabo because they didn't have enough tenders. Very poor communications. Not much to do while at sea. Food was poor and after 8 pm everything was closed. If you wanted to walk and get some dessert you were out of luck.
Outstanding service, a beautiful ship, lots of great food choices and good entertainment. Everything was spotless. We went through the glaciers and had a fantastic naturalist describe what we were seeing. It was a wonderful trip!
I sailed on the Statendam and had a corner Neptune Suite in the aft. The wrap around balcony on the 4th deck was exceptionally large and the room was very spacious with lots of storage. The room attendants are always exceptionally amazing. They are always accommodating to every wish. I've sailed on many other cruise lines and HAL is consistently excellent. The food on my last HAL cruise was the best Ive had. I ate at the new Club Orange restaurant most of the time. The staff always had the same table I liked for me and always remembered my groups names. I really like the sense of family on HAL ships because they aren't too large and not too small. Everything about HAL is classy and their employees are dedicated. Great food and spacious accommodations are my top priorities and HAL always exceeds in these.
Holland America Cruises author review by ConsumerAffairs
The Holland America Line has been transporting guests to exotic destinations for over 140 years and is known for its five-star service and excellent cuisine.
Ballroom dancing: Guests can take complimentary "Dancing With the Stars" dance lessons from professional dancers, and they can then compete for the title of Cruise Champion and more.
Excursions included: All shore excursions are included in the package price for Holland America Cruises.
Dining variety: Guests have the option to dine as they wish; they can take a seat in the main dining hall, or they can visit the grill or pizza restaurant on the ship.
Cancellation Protection Plan: Guests can purchase cancellation protection, giving them peace mind and a refund should anything come up to prevent them from sailing as planned.
Gifts and indulgences: Holland America offers a program that lets guests and family members send gifts such as spa treatments and flowers to create extra special moments while cruising.
Holland America Cruises Company Information
- Company Name:
- Holland America Cruises
- Year Founded:
- 300 Elliott Avenue West
- Postal Code:
- United States
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