Holland America Cruises Complaint - Lies and lousy service on Holland America cruise
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- H.A.L. talking points
1. Emergency (and non-emergency) phone numbers did not work on or about 6 September 2007 and on or about 12 September, or were printed incorrectly in HAL literature and prevented us from reaching HAL in Seattle or the MS Rotterdam.;
a. When we needed help with American Airlines late arrival and British Airlines baggage transfers, which HAL literature prominently promised to provide in just such a case as we faced: American Airlines arriving in London 1.5 hours late that caused us to miss the booked (and only available) connection.
b. When we tried to notify ship of above.
c. When TravelGuard doctor tried to phone back 12 Sept. after Rotterdam’s medical department declined to involve in a medical emergency. (TravelGuard has documented this to us in writing.)
2. When we reached an emergency number late that day (6 September):
a. It proved to be an Answering Service.
b. “HAL won’t provide help with luggage.”
c. “HAL won’t provide help with airline connections.”
3. When we reached a live HAL representative (Dianne) on 7 Sept., she said “Computers were out system-wide yesterday.”
a. She at least notified Rotterdam about our having to meet them in Istanbul. By then, apparently, our original cabin, 3314, had been assigned to someone else because we were placed eventually in 3328.
b. However, nobody on board Rotterdam knew of that alleged computer failure (which is now the world’s #1 excuse for bad service)! In fact, the Rotterdam’s reservation person reported having used that system on the day it was reported to us to be “out.”
4. Without divine or HAL intervention, we could not reach Athens before the Rotterdam sailed.
5. Therefore, we missed 2 days of sailing, eating, sleeping, vacationing, etc.
6. 8 Sept. 2007: Rotterdam Guest Relations Supervisor (GRS) assured us we should go on the planned day trip for which we had prepaid to Istanbul on Day 3 and she’d stay on top of the luggage problem; also that we did not have to shop Istanbul for new clothes and other belongings; she guaranteed our luggage would be on board by the time we returned. Period. No chance of a slip-up, no need for us to switch to a “Plan B.”
a. Luggage was delivered to 4 other passengers;
b. Our luggage was not delivered, and October 2, 2007 ships. was unaware of that fact until we called her attention to it! i.e. She had not stayed on top of the problem as promised.
c. When (GRS) delivered the above bad news, my wife Judi broke down with uncontrollable crying so severe that (GRS) volunteered to come to our cabin to assist. Others among the senior passenger representatives also were aware of this.
7. Judi was without clothing for approximately one week;
a. Rotterdam shops had almost nothing suitable; We found:
i. 1 pair of men’s shorts;
ii. 1 ill-fitting dress;
iii. 2 T-shirts (with HAL logos!);
iv. 1 long skirt unsuited to the above and Judi’s one jacket top that she’d carried aboard.
v. The above cost us $172.30.
b. Rotterdam’s rep suggested solution: Express Laundry (in by 9, back by 5) which would have left Judi naked most of the day, and in violation of deportment regulations!;
c. The situation was, at best, Humiliating!
i. Judi danced barefooted since her only shoes—sneakers—were utterly unsuited to dancing;
ii. She faced attending high holiday Rosh Hashanah services without proper clothes.
iii. We missed the Captain’s cocktails out of embarrassment (as per note to Captain Smit);
d. Emotionally distressing!
i. Judi consumed her maximum doses of pain killer for her spine condition during this stressful period and beyond;
ii. Rotterdam staff witnessed her breaking down into uncontrollable crying (when they reported they had not dealt properly to insure that her luggage made the ship on the day they promised) tried to offer her some of their own wardrobe, but none were nearly the right size!
iii. When lost luggage at long last arrived 12 Sept., Judi’s extra supply of essential, prescribed pain killer medication was missing from it;
iv. The Rotterdam’s medical department was unable or unwilling to assist with obtaining a new supply of her prescribed pain killer when we first asked them; later they relented (after the TravelGuard insurance doctors were unable to reach us because of HAL’s bad electronic service or improperly printed numbers), but charged for their assistance ($25).
8. Franklynn was without vital items for 7 days and subjected to extreme stress.
a. He and Judi were unable to cohabit due to the lost luggage;
b. He could not recharge his cameras’ or back-up storage system’s batteries without the missing luggage;
c. He could not wear his contact lenses;
d. He was obliged to become fulltime care-giver, because of Judi’s fragile condition brought on by the lost luggage, instead of vacationer;
e. He required medical attention upon return to the USA because of the stress;
9. We found HAL literature and web site distressingly misleading and unprofessional;
a. We say this as professional writers with 50-year backgrounds (each):
i. Newspaper columnists in 50+ newspapers reaching 2-million+ readers from 1983 until 1995 (when we dropped it to focus on a newsletter that has paid for our “retirement”);
ii. Authors of 22 trade and professional books;
iii. Designers and copyrighters of sales literature for Epic Systems (largest vendor of medical software), Deloitte Touche, Orion Systems…
iv. Freelancers of 1,000+ articles (often with photos) on science, business, consumer protection and travel that won 7 awards from American Business Press, National Press Club (2 consecutive years), Nat’l. Conf. of Christians and Jews, Best Home-Schooling Book of 2007, Oberhausen Grand Prix for documentary film on Vietnam War, etc.
b. Example: At the web site where this trip was purchased, the “fine print disclaimer” is in 5 point type (at its largest), which is well below FTC guidelines; in fact, I discovered the disclaimer only yesterday while studying documents for possible use beyond our present claim.
10. We found Shore Excursions generally very disappointing and literature about them misleading.
a. Example: Istanbul “HAL OK’d rug store” sold us a genuine Turkish carpet—later found to be probably made in China!
b. Example: Pyramids trip of 3 hours on a bus with a guide who had degrees in everything (just ask her) told us less than we learned from another group’s guide who did accompany his charges to the Pyramids, unlike our guide. She also spent 5 minutes hawking a gift shop where we’d stop. And the beggars of baksheesh, including uniformed police, were outrageously aggressive, the worst we’d encountered in any country. The camel drivers were not far behind. This should have been discussed in your literature with advice (since our guide left us at once to wander on our own): don’t make eye contact and don’t speak and the hucksters may go away.
October 2, 2007 [10/10/07] Nancy: “Don’t expect a prompt answer. We answer passenger complaints in the order we receive them, and we receive a lot.” Ext#7 handles only Rotterdam; most other extension #s handle 2 ships.