For anyone that has been on a cruise vacation, there is little doubt in my mind that you have experienced the highest level of customer service from the time of booking until getting off the ship. That is if you book your cruise directly with the cruise line because they will be responsible for every point of contact with you from start to finish. But what happens if you happen to start things off with a travel agency that is not focused on customer service?
A year ago I learned that a group of singers that I really like were trying to broaden out from concerts, CDs and DVDs to promote their music and were thinking about a cruise where they would be the main entertainment. I was interested so I put my name on the follow-up list.
This past week I was alerted to the date, cruise line and ship name they would be sailing on, and to be ready in another week to book our cabins at a “special rate”. Having sailed on this particular cruise line many times I called my personal cruise consultant and she said there was nothing in the record of this travel company having chartered the ship, so maybe they were just hosting the event and selling cabins too. So I decided to book the cruise. Since this is for November of 2013 I was able to purchase two balcony rooms for four people at a great price. When I booked the cruise with the cruise line, they took great pains to verify if the ship had been chartered and nothing was on their records. They noted that a charter is never announced to potential clients before a ship is chartered and that this particular cruise had been selling for months now even though it was a year away.
Today I received another email from the travel agency noting that they were now accepting reservations and included a price list that was 3.7 times higher than I paid. On just the two rooms I booked, the cost was $4600 more! I was informed that my reservation with the cruise line would be null and void and that I would have to pay the new rates to take this special cruise.
The travel agent then told me that “they will have no trouble selling out this 3000 passenger ship and that if I didn’t pay the higher rate it was not going to bother them in the least.” She then added, “We know our rates are high, but we are not ashamed of making a little money.”
This is what a lack of empathy looks like. This is what I now have coined “Arrogant Customer Service.” Not only do they represent themselves, they represent the cruise line and the performers that have attached their names to this event.
I don’t have a bad taste in my mouth for cruising or this cruise line. I do feel like these performers are screwing their fans for the privilege to meet them, and I know for a certainty that I will never recommend this arrogant travel agency to anyone. In fact, someday I might even tell you who you too should avoid.