Princess Cruises Complaint - Took $27,000 From Seniors And Gave Them Nothing
SAN CLARITA, OHIO -- Recently, our group of 20 friends booked a cruise that was scheduled to depart on 2 March from Valparaiso, Chile, to Rio De Janiero, Brazil. After months of careful planning and work to coordinate flights, visas ($5000 in fees and postage), calendars, immunizations, and other related logistics; an unexpected event occurred at our port of departure. An earthquake hit Chile, causing significant damage to major cities and ports. Star Princess’ response to this disaster was slow and calculated. They delayed making any decision to cancel the cruise, and selectively communicated to us whether they were going to leave or not.
At the 11th hour, Star Princess decided to proceed with their scheduled departure from Chile. Then they announced rescheduling the departure twice and did not depart until 9:00pm March 4th. The obvious problem was getting to the port, which was physically impossible for all of us. Princess failed to disclose the following: a. prior to March 3, closing of the airport to all but military and emergency operations; b. the implementation of Phase I (March 3-5) and Phase II (March 6) restoration of the domestic and international flight services into Santiago Chile. American Airlines informed us that they could not fly us in until 7 March. Despite warnings from the United States government to avoid traveling to Chile, Star Princess informed its clients that they needed to be present either at Valparaiso, or the cruise’s first scheduled stop at Punta Arenas (which would have cost an extra $85,000 to have us all fly there). We even tried to fly in from Rio De Janiero to the next port Ushuaia, because the last minute Princess cancelled Punta Arenas, and this domestic fare would require another $21,000 and an additional 11 hours of flying. The message from Star Princess was show up and board or forfeit the payment we made to them. There would be no refunds.
Interestingly, American Airline and Delta Airline graciously refunded our money, and even the mom and pop tourist companies based in Chile, and other Latin American countries gave our money back. Star Princess took $26,000 from us. We have nothing to show for either our money spent, or the time we invested into getting together for one of our dream trips among close friends. We implore Star Princess to do the right and conscionable thing, which is to schedule our group on another cruise or refund our money. To date, we’ve gotten nothing except bureaucratic responses and excuses. For the time being, I ask you to not do business with Star Princess, unless you want to risk paying something for nothing.