Holland America Cruises Complaint - Poor customer service
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- To: CEO Holland America
Mr. Stein Kruse 12-28-2010
From: Frank V. Troha M. D
Dear Mr. Kruse,
As I type this letter to you I am still in disbelief of what has happened with our family and your cruise line in the past 48 hours. The story begins this past summer when my wife and I decided to take our family on a cruise after Christmas for my youngest daughter’s birthday (Dec. 29th) and for all the kids as their only Christmas present. We chose your cruise line because of its reputation for customer service. My children live in Florida so we decided to have them drive to Tampa on Dec. 23rd. Even though it was a 3 hour drive, when they flew to our home in Ohio their cars would be in Tampa when we got back to drive over to the ship. (Delta flights during Christmas were $3000). On December 26th, we were getting ready to drive to the Cincinnati airport for an 11:15 A.M. flight to Tampa. We received an automated call from Delta stating our flight was going to be delayed to a 1:50 P.M. departure. I tried to call Delta to check on other flights but was unable to get through. I then called the Holland America emergency line (206-301-5293) and explained our situation. I was told that “due to high winds the ship might be delayed on its departure” and we should come down. We arrived at Tampa airport at 4:30 P.M. and called the emergency line again. We were directed to talk to the Holland America agents who were waiting in the baggage claim area for other customers that were on our plane. When we found the Holland America agents they said, “the ship has left and if we wanted to meet it in Key West the next day we could board there“. We checked for flights with no luck, so we decided to rent two cars ($520) because it was all we could find to transport 5 adults and 7 pieces of luggage to Key West for a one way car rental. We would leave our cars at the long term car paring near the ship in preparation for our return ($30/day). My daughter Alexis spoke with an agent Margaret (1-800-628-4771) Sunday evening to confirm our rental cars and venture to Key West and gave her cell phone number. The agent, Margaret, was instructed to contact us if anything changed.
We decided to drive to our home in Marco Island Sunday, spent the night, and then left the next morning. We called Holland America Monday morning around 7:30 A.M. and spoke to a Caroline at 206-286-3230 and Margaret from the day before, who told us that the ship would be at Key West in between 1 P.M. and 6 P.M. and we should proceed down there to board the ship. We again gave both agents our cell numbers to update us if there were any changes and they said they would call us. The agents also said that they would e-mail or notify the ship that we would be boarding in Key West. About 1 hour later Caroline called us on our cell to tell us that the ship was going to dock at the Navy Mole Pier instead of its usual location. Feeling confident that we were being watched over by your cruise line agents, we embarked on a 5.5 hour drive with both cars (by the way my older daughter is 10 weeks pregnant). When we arrived at the Dollar car rental store located at the Key West Airport we turned in our cars and rented a Taxi Van($100) to take us to the pier. It took us a while to get there because New Years draws about 70,000 people in Key West. When we arrived at the pier we saw the worst possible sight: there was a Carnival cruise ship that had come in at 1 P.M. but no Holland America. My heart sunk into my stomach. We immediately called our contacts at Holland America to ask what happened to the ship. They told us the ship decided not to stop at Key West because of weather (it was flat as a pancake and there were plenty of ships and boats in the water). When we asked them what we were supposed to do and why didn’t they call us on the long drive down, we were put on hold and transferred to another person over and over again. At that point I realized that the cruise was over and we were just another insignificant group of people to your company. I have never felt so small or been treated so poorly in my life. We then had the Taxi drive us back to the car rentals. There was no car left that could get us all back to Marco Island for a one way drop-off. My Crohn’s disease was now acting up and my pregnant daughter did not want to do the long drive back along with the rest of us. All the hotels were booked because of New Year’s so we chartered a private plane ($1300) to fly us back to Marco. I obviously cancelled my trip with your company, and the gentleman I spoke with was quite rude and short with me and said I would still have to pay the 10% since I had the insurance and the cost of the insurance which added up to around $1600 and that he would not be responsible for any of the other costs I incurred. All I could say was, yes sir! Today, Tuesday December 28th, I had to get my cars in Tampa and rather than drive 3 hours each way I spent $1200 to fly two of us up there and drive the cars back.
Mr. Kruse I am exhausted and I feel sick. I am a medical doctor and specialize in plastic surgery. I know that customer satisfaction is as important as performing well during a procedure. Your cruise line dropped the ball on us when they did not update us on our drive down to Key West. I spoke with Ben McAuley our personal cruise consultant today and he was the first pleasant person that I have spoken to. He agreed that it was terrible and would look into getting a full refund from the cruise and anything he could do to help us. It was a small token but at least it was something for the cost, and physical and psychological damage my family has incurred. I feel I should be fully reimbursed and your company should cover all my costs I have incurred(I have all the receipts). Once again, if your agents would have given us a simple call like they said they would, we could have turned our cars around and went back to Marco and not wasted the time or money that we did.
After receiving this letter they only offered us a discount if we returned on their ship for another cruise!
Frank V. Troha M. D.