Am I being scammed by Celebrity Cruises? By Christopher Elliott | May 15, 2012 Darryl and Carolyn Sigel believe they were scammed by their cruise line. After you read about what happened to them on the Celebrity Summit, you might agree with them. Even Celebrity, it seems, sides with them, to a point: It’s offered $200 vouchers for what happened to them. Is that enough? First, though, a few important details about the Sigels. They don’t drink and Carolyn uses a wheelchair. And, like a lot of travelers, they take pictures – lots of pictures. After the Sigels returned from their Caribbean cruise in late April, they checked their credit card and found $100 in charges pending. They had no idea what they were being charged for. Darryl picks up the story. I called Celebrity. I was told I was charged $56 for two beach towels. I did not take the beach towels. When we left the cabin on Saturday to go to the last breakfast, the beach towels were still on the sofa bed. There was also a bar bill — $44 for a round of beers, Jack Daniels and an Evian. Carolyn and I do not drink. I would never pay for water or beer. But it’s Celebrity’s word against his, right? Not really. Remember, the Sigels take lots of pictures, and they had a video showing the cabin with both towels in it just before departure. Their bags are packed right next to the towels, and it looks as if you can’t fit another item in them. Think about it. What would they do with beach towels, anyway? “We don’t go to the beach,” says Darryl Sigel. “If we went to the beach, Carolyn’s wheelchair sinks into the sand and it’s a total mess.” OK, so we have proof that the Sigels didn’t take the towels, and if they don’t drink – and we’ll have to take them at their word that they don’t – then their bill is bogus. But that’s hardly a scam. That’s not all, though. Because Carolyn is in a wheelchair, space is important to the couple, and Darryl went through the trouble of measuring their quarters. On the Celebrity website, it lists all the handicapped rooms. Our room, 2022, is listed at 347 square feet. I measured the cabin and it’s approximately 164 square feet, not counting the loo. Hmm, that’s pretty suspicious. Darryl Sigel contacted Celebrity. A representative replies, acknowledging the company had “re-measured” the cabin and found that he was right – it wasn’t 347 square feet, as claimed, but 240 square feet. Oops. “Amazing,” he says. “The ship is over 10 years old and they can’t get the size of the cabin correct That’s fraud, to me.” Celebrity offered him a $200 credit for the misunderstanding. He responded by placing the $100 charge in dispute and contacting the Maritime Commission and me, which is understandable. Celebrity seems to believe that his bar tab and room bill is more or less legit and that his complaints about space are kind of frivolous. Still, in the interests of good customer service, it’s willing to offer him a credit of twice the amount he owes it. But he’ll have to book another Celebrity cruise. Did Celebrity do enough? I don’t know, if I were calling the shots at Celebrity, I might have refunded the apparently bogus bar bill, too. I would also go to great lengths to correct the website and ensure future customers that they were getting what they paid for. Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at email@example.com. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google PlusFacebookTwitterLinkedInGooglePinterestReddit Related http://twitter.com/etoile Meredith I take it they didn’t notice the $44 bar charges before disembarking. You should ALWAYS check the final bill they deliver to you the night before you leave ship. In my experience, they always immediately refund any mistakes if you approach them BEFORE leaving the ship. (I have taken seven cruises, four of them with Celebrity, including one on Summit.) As for the beach towels, being in a wheelchair is no reason they couldn’t have wanted the beach towels. I like a nice big beach towel, and I don’t go to the beach either. They’re just nice big towels. However, having pictures of them on the bed is enough reason to refund that charge, in my opinion. As for the room sizes – you don’t get to “not count the loo” when measuring, for one thing. I have done some considerable research on accessible cabins. 170 sq ft is the average interior cabin size on Summit, and deckplans clearly show that 2022 is larger and HC accessible. I can find nowhere on the Celebrity website that references a 347 sq ft cabin, only that Inside Accessible staterooms are 240 sq ft, which may or may not have been updated after the remeasuring in response to OP’s request. Quite frankly, I suspect that if it did say 347, this was a typo. The Sky Suites on Summit are 251 sq ft, and the next category up, Celebrity Suites, are 467 sq ft. It should have been plainly obvious by looking at the deck plan that a Deck 2 interior cabin – one of the very cheapest on the ship, I have sailed in them myself – would not be anywhere near the size of a Sky Suite. This seems to me like they were just overexcited and failed to think clearly about what the cabin size would really be. And 240 sq ft and fully ADA-compliant is what cabin 2022 is, so they are just upset that they didn’t notice there was a typo, IMO. sirwired Cruise passengers: just as you would at a hotel, ALWAYS go through your bill before departure. The best time to work it all out is before you leave, not after you get home. While you are still there the ship still has ready access to the bar receipts and they can find the incorrect one. That’s a lot harder (if it’s possible at all) weeks later. As far as the square footage goes: that’s just inexcusable. I can understand some “wiggle” room; “marketing square feet” include the balcony, the insides of walls, the bathroom, etc., but being 100 square feet off is crazy. http://www.onlinedatingranking.net/ Sonya Another reason why I have not and will never go on a cruise. jim6555 How do you know that these charges were even on their bill? The narrative suggests that they first learned of the charges when they checked their credit card account. On two occasions, after checking out of hotels and settling up my bill, I have had my credit card dinged for restaurant meals and for mini-bar usage that were not mine. In both cases, a phone call to the hotel manager resulted in an apology and the charges being removed. http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE Carver Clark Farrow II I must strongly disagree regarding the room size. A passenger shouldn’t have to do” considerable research on accessible cabins” The OP is probably correct that that the site said 347. We can inferr that from the remeasure. Had the site not stated a size, or the size was the standard 240, there wouldn’t be anything for Celebrity to concede. Typo or not, it is reasonable for the OP to rely on the stated size of the room. Using Celebrity’s numbers, the room was roughly 1/3 smaller than represented. That’s a substantial difference and a partial refund is due. emanon256 That is just wrong. Celebrity is basically saying, “We erroneously charged you, but we will make it up to you as a credit on your next cruise.” Wow! I don’t get the impression to OP is asking for compensation or the smaller than advertised room either, he is just upset about it and brought it to their attention. I would be upset about it too. I hope they win their credit card dispute. I really think in this case the OP is due a refund of the erroneous charges as well as a partial refund of something for the deceitful room size. I’m not sure what price to put on in, but if I were the OP I would be happy with $100 as a token gesture of apology. Chris, I am glad to see you have an honest case and a reasonable OP, not someone demanding a full refund. I voted No. TonyA_says I tried to follow your logic about the room sizes, and I can’t understand your comment: This seems to me like they were just overexcited and failed to think clearly about what the cabin size would really be. . How can someone who checked the website and measured the room NOT THINK CLEARLY? Seems to me anyone who goes to the extent of measuring a room is thinking very clearly since he is checking the facts as they were presented to him. DChamp56 Once again, when will they enact a law that says “If you pay in cash, any reimbursement must also be in cash, NOT credits!” I’ve had bogus bar tabs on cruises too, but always checked my bill BEFORE disembarking ship, and got things straightened out at the front desk. john4868 I’m with most people here… The cruiseline owes the couple a refund of the extra charges. When it comes to the cabin size, I would say a credit would be in order there. It seems to be a clerical error that no one caught. Yes, cruise cabins count all of the space available (some even include the veranda if you have one) so the loo does count. Interestingly, the main Summit page lists the cabin at 240 sq ft but the accessible stateroom part of the site continues to list the same cabin at 347 sq ft (http://www.celebritycruises.com/onboard/tabLanding.do?pagename=onboard_special_needs#onboard_accessible_staterooms_tab/onboard/htmlPanel.do%3Fpagename=onboard_accessible_staterooms). However, a reasonable person could infer by scrolling down that it is a mistake since it would make one of the least expensive rooms on the ship one of the largest. Not to mention that the main ship page (http://www.celebritycruises.com/explore/ships/detail.do?shipCode=SM#staterooms/explore/ships/stateroomDetails.do%3FcabinType=IW&cabincls=I&shipCode=SM) lists the room at 240 sq ft. Also, the legalese on the website allows for it to have mistakes that they correct. Since two parts of the site don’t agree, its hard to argue that there isn’t a mistake (although I’m shocked they haven’t fixed it yet). Did the OP mention the smaller cabin while on the ship so Celebrity could move them? MikeInCtown I’m shocked that at this point almost 10% voted that enough compensation was offered. They were billed mistakenly and the “refund” is not being given as a cash refund or a refund on the CC but rather in cruise line funny money. How is that appropriate under any circumstance?? BillCCC I fail to see where the ‘scam’ occurred. Taking beach towels as was alleged has nothing to do with going to the beach. I guess they did have a use for beach towels after all since they had a couple in their cabin. The towels are quite nice. A video of towel on a bed does not prove anything other than for some reason they decided to take a video of their cabin before they departed. Maybe they bought a drink for another couple while they were out one night and don’t remember. I did not read in the article where they complained about the size of the room while on the cruise. I am much more suspicious of the complaint than I am about Celebrity. Raven_Altosk Good advice, but sometimes hotels/cruise ships/car rentals will charge the card AFTER you depart. I have a suspicion that is what happened here, though I’d like some clarification from Chris or the OP. emanon256 This gave me the greatest business idea ever! I will charge people for a service I never provided, and when they ask for their money back, I will give them a credit to use for future services which I provide. I could not agree with you more, this should never be appropriate! I quite often get fake mini bar charges from hotels, I never even touch the mini bar because I know a lot of them are automated. At many hotels it is often a lot of work to get them to reverse the charges, often they have to have a person verify that they items are still in the room. It’s quite annoying and quite a waste of time for me and the hotel, I guess it must be financially worth it if not enough people complain. Raven_Altosk They deserve the money back for the errors on the bill. They also deserve some consideration (not cruiseline funny money) for the wrong sized cabin. I’m not feeling the snark this morning. Perhaps it will return after a few cups of coffee. SoBeSparky A credit against a future cruise for false advertising and fraudulent on-board charges? Shame on Celebrity. If you do not treat your current customers with respect, then what can a future customer expect? http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNWGYGW4LEIVCJOAFKIIHRSZOM nicole j When dealing with a wheel chair, every inch of space is important for moving around. They have the right to the cabin promised, and if it was a third less than promised, then it should cost a third less then agreed, and it should be refunded. jrw12345 You’re assuming that the charge was on their final bill! I went on NCL and checked my final bill (no surprises), and a month later got $21 charged to the card. Since nobody could say what it was for, they refunded it, but it was annoying. Is this just standard operating procedure for cruise lines to charge someone after they leave and hope that it’s not noticed? http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly I’m surprised Celebrity isn’t backing down on the bar bill. Usually when guests complain about an error, they’re not trying to score free drinks. In the interest of good customer service, that should definitely be waived. With the beach towels as well, it’s hard to disprove a negative. If I were Celebrity, I’d probably let that one go as well. I think the crux of the room size is whether they brought it to someone’s attention on board. If the OP was meticulous enough to measure the room (!), he should’ve allowed Celebrity to re-accommodate him (which I think they should have). A lesson in making sure the info on your website is correct. However, if he waited until after he got home, I think that tacitly means he was OK with the room while on the cruise and forfeits any right to a cash refund (although a voucher would be appropriate as a gesture of thanks from the line for his catching the mistake). For me, it’s all about the timing of the complaint in this case. Chasmosaur Okay, if they were erroneously charged for goods they didn’t use, that should be a reversal of the charge, not a credit, so Celebrity needs to cough up. As for the cabins – handicapped rooms/cabins should be organized in such a way that they are a little roomier than a standard room to accommodate a wheelchair, but they don’t actually have to be bigger. They just need to be set up so someone in a wheelchair can use the room from chair level and have space to actually reach everything while in their chair (and turn the chair 180°). But it makes sense for them to be bigger, and from what I understand, many cruise lines tout the extra space within their handicapped cabins. So if it was smaller than advertised, then that is a problem. (Here’s a nice page from Disaboom that covers the basics you have to think of when cruising with someone in a wheelchair – http://www.disaboom.com/accessible-planes-trains-and-cruises/choosing-an-accessible-cruise ) But a room/cabin can be accessibile without that extra square footage. So lots of handrails in the bathroom, lower sinks, lower clothes bar in the closet, lower shelves, enough room around the bed for chair maneuvering room, things of that nature. There is nothing in the ADA that says “a wheelchair accessible room will be X square feet.” Now, do you look for a good sized room/cabin when you travel with someone in a wheelchair? Yes, because it indicates that you won’t have a problem with the chair. So cruise lines claiming to have such larger cabins should provide up to date and accurate information. It’s not about getting some sort of luxe suite, it’s about being able to get out of bed, look out a window, and take a shower. (And if the bathroom is en suite, you can’t skip that in the measurement. That is part of the measurement.) But if the Sigels are concerned about the lack of accessibility, then I’m sure there would be a video of Mrs. Sigel trying to negotiate the room unsuccessfully. But that doesn’t appear to be the case (clarify if necessary, Chris). They are just annoyed that the room was smaller than expected. For people with a wheelchair, that isn’t just a “Oh, I hope the room would be bigger” annoyance – that is a “I can turn my wheelchair around in this one spot and then back into the bathroom” issue. I’m not sure what Celebrity should have done, exactly – if the cabin was ADA compliant, it was compliant. It doesn’t mean comfortable, unfortunately. The Sigels appear to have used the cabin successfully – I think this is more a response to the erroneous charge. It doesn’t feel like a sympathy plea, so much as “The room wasn’t as advertised and they have the nerve to charge us for stuff we didn’t use?” I think if Celebrity isn’t going to give them a cash refund, maybe it should commit to a new accessibility survey of their ships and a careful review of all marketing materials (though admittedly, they did a nice job of providing a lot of info on their site – http://bit.ly/JQuxZR ). scot2512 If you have never cruised and will never cruise why comment? I agree Celebrity should have refunded the charges and should offer something for the wrongly advertised cabin. I and my husband who is a paraplegic have sailed Celebrity many times and found their balcony accessible cabins to be as large as the Sky suites. sirwired They charge after you depart, but you receive a copy of your bill prior to disembarkation. http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Gold/1015584383 Aaron Gold Vouchers are ridiculous — as if the Siegels are going to cruise with Celebrity again! They should refund the $100 in bogus charges and issue an apology. http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LKHWSI5H6XYINENJT6DJ2UX7E4 Wrona Having a couple of beach towels in their cabin doesn’t mean they used them since they are automatically provided in your cabin by Celebrity. emanon256 This made me think of a horrible experience I had with a hotel last year. My wife and I checked our bill, everything as right, and we left. A few weeks later I was charged $96, so I called the hotel and they said it was mini bar charges. I explained I didn’t use the mini bar and they stated that I did, and they could not adjust it. I wrote an e-mail to the corporate office, and got a letter back from some rep at the hotel addressing the corporate office which included the following narrative, “Mr. and Mrs. Emanon had a fun night out, after which they retired to their room and consumed a bottle of vodka, a bag of pretzels, and a canister of mixed nuts. With the amount they drank, it is not surprising that they forgot raiding the mini bar. This happens quite frequently, but we assure you the Emanons did use the mini bar, and the charges are valid.” I was livid as we did not use the mini bar, in fact Mrs. Emanon was/is pregnant and couldn’t drink and I had not drank anything that night myself; the manager was making up a completely bogus story about us. Fortunately I used a technique in the book Scammed, found the hotel CIOs contact info through Linked In, and contacted him directly. He had his staff member apologize and reversed the mini bar charges completely, and gave me a credit for a future stay my trouble. As I got the refund, I thought the credit as additional compensation was fair. http://twitter.com/etoile Meredith The link you gave for the accessible stateroom info isn’t working unfortunately. But yes, I agree that a reasonable person would infer that it’s a mistake, how could one of the cheapest rooms be so big? That’s what I tried to convey above, but I evidently wasn’t clear enough. You said it much better. IGoEverywhere On a Celebrity cruise, you have to sign the bar tabs, which makes that easy to prove. I suspect that the towels were stolen after their departure. Most people leave their doors open when they leave for home and the stewards are cleaning 2,3,4, rooms at once leaving easy access to those towels. Celebrity is being an ass about this. I would further say that they purchased an oversized room for a handicapped person. They should be additionally disputing the full charge though the cruise line organization, CLIA. Cruising is at the low for customer service; it may be fun, but the cruise lines want $600.00 more per person once you are aboard. After 40 years on the high seas I will not get on a common cruise ship! They don’t know how to treat their loyal customers. $16635417 I was overcharged in the grocery store the other day. That’s it… I’m done buying groceries. mszabo On the flipside, Just because a couple of towels went missing in Celebrity’s inventory doesn’t prove the Sigel’s took them. Sure a picture doesn’t really provide any proof but it is more proof than Celebrity offered that they were stolen. So seems like it would be back on the cruise line to come up with more evidence. emanon256 I interpreted it as the charge being for taking the towels. As in, you keep them, they charge you for them. He mentioned there was no room in his packed suitcase when he left the final day and the towels were sitting in the room. Joe_D_Messina How’s the job at Celebrity treating you, Meredith? Because you either work for them or somebody close to you does. S363 I’ve never cruised (except for bareboat charters) and will never cruise (ditto) and I’ve commented similarly. I have opinions on lots of things I’ve never done. In this day it’s possible to be knowledgeable about things without actually doing them – one can have the benefit of others’ experience. It’s not because of this one bad outcome but from reading Mr. Elliot, and others, regularly for some time. At least grocery stores are governed by their state’s laws – cruise lines don’t seem to be governed much at all. If cruise passengers keep cruising as the lines continue to treat them worse and worse, nothing will change. I feel bad for those cheated, and I hope Chris can and will help them, but to some extent customers of this industry have themselves to blame when they continue to give it their money and are then treated badly. BillCCC The beach towels are provided by the pool. You have to show your card to get beach towels. Joe_D_Messina Bill, what exactly would these people have needed to do to deserve the benefit of the doubt regarding these towels? You brush off photos of their bags packed and the towels still being in the room as “not proving anything.” And I can’t figure out what you’re talking about when you say “I guess they did have a use for beach towels after all…” They never claimed they never had towels…they just didn’t steal them. Or do you think the charge for using the towels on the cruise is $56? BillCCC Chris mentioned that it appeared they could not put not anything else in their suitcases. I am not accusing them of stealing towels, I was only pointing out that a video of a towel on a bed is meaningless for this issue. john4868 Meredith… I double checked it… appears that the heart of the page is something that doesn’t link well. Just click on the Accessible Stateroom tab and change the drop down to “Summit”. I’d post a screen shot if I could figure out how to do it. BillCCC Beach towels are signed out using your room card. When you return them they are taken off your card. LeeAnneClark Not always. I’ve received charges on my credit card from a cruise after disembarkation, that did NOT appear on my final bill when I disembarked. When I called to find out what was going on, they said they sometimes discover charges that hadn’t been added to the final bill. In my case it was a valid charge, so I paid it. It sounds to me that like that may be what happened here. Few people will walk off the ship without at least looking at their final bill…plus, all of the charges will be lumped together in one number on your credit card. The article specifically states they saw these extra charges on their credit card, which says to me they were charged after-the-fact, as happened to me. Joe_D_Messina I think with the photos, they’re on stronger ground with their towel claim than the bar bill. Celebrity is being extremely unreasonable…to the point I wonder if anybody even bothered closely reading the complaint or looking at the photos. LeeAnneClark Great way to “assume”, Meredith. It is not uncommon for cruise lines to find additional charges after you’ve disembarked that didn’t appear on your final bill, and charge your credit card. It happened to me. In my case it was a valid charge – a bar bill – so I paid it. I called the cruise line and asked why this charge wasn’t on my final bill, and they said that sometimes charges don’t make it onto the bill before the end of the cruise, so they add them to your credit card later. Sounds to me like that’s exactly what happened here. I agree with all of the other replies to you as well. LeeAnneClark That’s great – when the charges APPEAR on your final bill. But sometimes they don’t. Sounds like that’s what happened here – the charges appeared on their credit card separately, not lumped together with their final bill. BillCCC I was only pointing out that a picture or a video of a towel proves nothing. You will really have to convince me that a picture of a towel proves something one way or another. “Think about it. What would they do with beach towels, anyway?” That was a quote from Chris, implying that they couldn’t possibly be responsible for the beach towels. I just mentioned that I guess they did have a use for the towels. The best way for this to be solved would be for the couple to provide the bill that every cabin receives the night before they leave the ship. That would show all charges that are associated with their cabin. Rebecca FYI – To take a screen shot, use “Ctrl + Print Screen.” Then just paste like you normally would. cjr001 Vouchers are worthless, and less than worthless in this case since they are unlikely to take another cruise with this company. And for those charges, Celebrity better be able to prove that they are correct. cjr001 “You should ALWAYS check the final bill they deliver to you the night before you leave ship.” Of course, the major flaw in this logic is that it’s the NIGHT BEFORE, where as you can still charge things between that time and when you disembark – which is usually 12 hours, give or take. SooZeeeQ Vouchers are only good IF the traveler ever uses the carrier again. Sounds like they did not raise the roof over the smaller room when they boarded, which I would have with a wheelchair, and the least Celebrity could do is refund the bogus charges. scot2512 You understand you are basing your opinion on the whole cruise industry because of a website that only lists complaints? It’s not an informed opinion when you only look at the negative reviews. If you wish the benefit of others’ experience I suggest you weigh how many people actually cruise against how many have complaints. john4868 Rebecca… The issue is the site wont let me post it Joe_D_Messina The towels sitting in their room and their bags packed proves “nothing”? Not even a tiny bit of cirumstancial evidence supporting their claim? And the bill from the night before would be pointless if these charges were applied after the fact, which is pretty common for stuff like missing items. Linda You could say the same for the airlines, car rental agencies, & sometimes hotels. BillCCC Really, it does not prove anything. The bill would show what they had signed for. These are not room towels, they are beach towels. Linda I voted that Celebrity did not do enough, although I do not think they were ‘scammed.’ I’ve cruised on Celebrity many times and am surprised by their response. Once, I had a bogus liquor charge on my bill, but I found that well before departure. It was investigated and proven that it wasn’t my charge. Easily resolved. I always check my bill on the tv on a daily basis. Having received the charge after departure makes it harder to investigate. However, I think they need to take the Sigel’s word on that. As for the towels, I think that’s a no brainer considering the photos. I’m not sure what to say about the room size. It does appear to be an error on the web site, where it’s correct in one place and not in another. If they had looked at the deck plan, even if only Deck 2, it would be obvious that the cabin wasn’t twice the size of the other inside cabins. As others have asked, did they bring up the size of the cabin while on board? I think “X” should refund the towel & liquor charge. A future credit would be a nice gesture. emanon256 A quick web search reveals that Celebrity Cruise lines provides one beach towel per passenger in their room upon arrival, and that there is a fee if the towel is not in the room when they leave. Joe_D_Messina You’re totally missing the point. They never claimed they’d never used a beach towel on the ship, they’re just denying stealing them. And they’ve got video of the towels still in the room while all their other stuff is packed. emanon256 A quick web search reveals that Celebrity Cruise lines provides one beach towel per passenger in their room upon arrival, and that there is a fee if the towel is not in the room when they leave. lorcha Did the grocery store try to give you “funny money” credits that could only be used on a future shopping trip of $1000 or more instead of refunding the incorrect charge? Of course not. No grocery store would try to correct a billing error with store credit that you’d have to spend a ton of money to even use. They’d refund the charge and apologize at least a half dozen times. Which, incidentally, is what the cruise should have done. You don’t resolve a bogus charge with basically unusable credits. You resolve it with an immediate and profusely apologetic refund. Lindabator Because the bill is delivered to your stateroom the night before, and is comprehensive. After all, many folks still pay in cash, and they can’t be calling them when they get home for more moolah. PLUS – they can always see the folio charges throughout the cruise, so not too sorry for them on that count. (I mean, it only takes a moment to spot a bogus charge – and if you appraoch immediately onboard, they’ll remove it – I know, it’s happened once or twice to me as well). Lindabator Not at all. Since they still have people paying with cash, they’re always finalized the eveing before. Sounds like they were trying to snag a transfer from you – glad they refunded the mistake. Lindabator pretty unlikely, though, as some folks STILL pay with cash – they may not actully run the charge till after, but the bill is given the evening before – I’ve caught one or two goofs, and very easy to remove while onboard. Just sorry they didn’t check this. Hate when things like this happen to folks. Charles B If you say so. On the cruises I’ve traveled, the final statement usually arrives after the bars have closed for the night. About the only thing still open the next morning is the photo gallery. Much more likely explanation for the bar bill is that someone had a round of drinks and gave this couple’s room number. Cruises get lazy about checking room cards, and pax know it. Lindabator :) Lindabator But this WASN’T a refund for their charges, it was Celebrity saying they were sorry for the misunderstanding of the room size. So I do think credits are doable, as he never bothered to even complain about it while onboard, where they may have been able to do something for him. As to the charges, check your bill before leavng, but still be firm about the charges, although nice, and try again – he’s also be likely to get farther if he went through his travel agent or even online travel agent if possible (unless he booked directly, in which case, no advocate) Lindabator But again – this wasn’t a refund, this was a mea culpa for the cabin size, and lets be honest – if it really was such a problem, maybe he should have brought it to someone’s attention while on board instead of waiting until AFTER the cruise. (That plan NEVER works) Lindabator NO – they are at the pool, NOT in your stateroom. Lindabator But you sign them out, and have to sign them back in – so they are responsible in that case. Lindabator Actually, it DOES prove nothing. After all, they could have taken the picture and THEN packed them in their luggage. No way to prove that one way or the other. Not saying that’s what happened here, but a picture is NOT proof in this case. Lindabator Well, then drink up! You are far more entertaining with your snark on! :) Lindabator I know – he tells us what the charges are for and then tells us he didn’t take towels and didn’t drink. But did he argue those points with them? Doesn’t really sound like it. Then he tells us he measured the cabin, and complained after the cruise, when he SHOULD have complained while onboard. Under these circumstances, I agree that a voucher for the mea culpa on the room size is enough. What he should be doing is more forcefully arguing the charges – I’ve never seen Celebrity dig in its heels like that, so I wonder if he just complained to us and not enough to them? Lindabator Actually, he didn’t seem to really argue against his beach towel/bar bill charges to Celebrity forcefully enough – he says he called and asked what the charges were for, but doesn’t clarify what happened next – he just explains to us it was bogus. THEN he tells us he measured the room size, and contacts them AFTER the cruise to let them know, which is why they gave the credit voucher (which in this case would be sufficient, since he DIDN’T complain while onbaord it seems like). Seems like he didn’t chek his bill, didn’t do anything about the room while onboard, and then didn’t complain about the charges to the correct people. So what precisely should Chris be doing for him? emanon256 I think they were just griping about the cabin size, not asking for money. They probably wouldn’t have said a thing if they were never charged the bogus charges. I took it as a, “we want these bogus charges refunded, and, oh, by the way, as long as I am complaining, you lied about the cabin size.” MikeInCtown Well now that I read the wording of the story again, I do see that the credit was for the “misunderstanding”. So they were still being charged and on the hook for the $100 bill. So I still think the company didn’t offer enough because they didn’t give the refund. emanon256 Oh, I see what you are saying. They gave him the voucher for the room size. But they still won’t do anything about the charges. I don’t think these charges were on their bill before they left. Especially since the website says that beach towels are in the rooms, and they will be charge if the towels are not in the rooms after they leave. Lindabator Since you show your Sign & Sail card, and sign the bar bill, not usually too difficult to prove. BUT the voucher was for the apology for the room size, NOT a refund for the onboard charges – which I wonder why he didn’t dispute more forcefully. judyserienagy Before I read the rest of this interesting story, let me compliment you, Chris, on telling us that Carolyn USES a wheelchair, that’s what people with certain disabilities use for mobility. They are NOT confined to wheelchairs. Thank you for getting it right! Lindabator Right, and since the voucher was for an apology for the room size misunderstanding it works for me. I just wonder how forcefully he complained about the charges (Celebrity is usually not such a stickler, and is willing to refund erroneous charges) MikeInCtown ADA rooms would typically be larger because of the wheelchair access. You would either have less amenities in the room or a larger room to accomodate all the items and have room for handicapped access. handicapped rooms typically aren’t more expensive because of this and sometimes can actually be cheaper since most items are different than what you would normally find and work surfaces are at different heights. Lindabator That’s why I’m wondering if he complained about the charges as “forcefully” as he did the room size. I don’t think he did – he never actally says anyone disputed them, just told him what they are for, and he tells us that’s a no go. BUT – did he actually tell THEM? Sometimes a firm NO is what is called for – and Celebrity is pretty flexible on things like this, so I think he should go to them and dispute these charges once and for all. Lindabator Yep – and I think he should have handled it like the 2 situations it really was – you can’t expect sustomer service to take care of accounting – and that’s who he needed to talk about those charges with. I hope he does soon, and is clear about the case. Then I don’t see a problem with his getting this refunded – Celebrity is preety flexible. TonyA_says Hi Linda, but how or why does this happen at all? I understand that most ships will use the room key/charge card unless there is another way to pay for drinks (e.g. cash). Can the bartender or server simply key in a room number without any paperwork (like a receipt)? I’m confused where spurious drink tabs can come from. TonyA_says Never mind, we trust you. Your point is well taken. The OP was not wrong to expect the room to be bigger than what he got. Good research on your part.Thanks. BillCCC I stand corrected. What is the link to this information? From everything that I have read that is no longer done on Celebrity. john4868 @MikeInCtown:disqus If you can get the link to work, you’ll see that on the same ship the two bottom classes are listed as bigger than any thing but an accessible suite (all accessible rooms so its apples to apples). The accessible inside rooms are 70 sq ft bigger than a standard rooms which is reasonable. Twice the size and larger than a deluxe ocean view room (all right on the exact same chart)? I wouldn’t think so. TonyA_says Here for those who doubt John Baker. Of course John is right! TonyA_says So you now have to take pictures of your beach towels beside packed bags just to prove they are in your cabin after your pack your suitcases? What is this, a car rental return procedure? Why not just sign in and sign out the beach towels? Why is this so complicated? Lindabator But if they wrote the wrong drinks on the wrong slip (which I have seen happen), the charges can be incorrect. Or if when the personnel onboard are loading those charges to the cabin, they may put the wrong room number in (I’ve also seen that – had a group, and they turned a couple numbers around, so each cabin got the others bill for that day). BUT – very easily fixed, which is why i wonder if he didn’t actually dispute the charge, or if he just grumbled to us about it. HMM….. emanon256 When I search there are many forum posts I am finding on it all saying the same thing. This one seems to sum it up the best: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=22735237&postcount=9 Also the chat feature on the website confirmed there is a $28 charge per towel if they are not in the room after the guest leaves, and the room descriptions on the website state they include towels. Here is one of the many, http://www.celebritycruises.com/explore/ships/detail.do?shipCode=SL&tab=staterooms%2Fexplore%2Fships%2FstateroomDetails.do%3FcabinType%3DAW%26cabincls%3DB%26shipCode%3DSL emanon256 The mini bar is always open, and those charges show up after you leave if you use it after you get the final bill. TonyA_says Most beach resort hotels have a similar policy. I leave my DRIED beach towel right on top of the bed or a WET beach towel hanging conspicuously on a towel rack to improve my chances of not getting incorrectly charged. I’m not sure you can always get housekeeping to verify that for you when everyone is trying to leave or check out at the same time. I’m not sure how else you can prove you returned the towels. scapel 347 sq ft minus 240 sq ft= 107 sq.ft – 107dividec by 347= 30% so give a refund of 30% of the cost of the cabin plus the $100 OB charge if Celebrity could not produce a signed receipt. Joe_D_Messina When was he supposed to argue it with them? The charges appeared on his credit card after the trip was over. Clearly, he did contact them then because that’s where the credit offer came in. And he disputed the charge and contacted the Maritime Commission, so I’m guessing he must also have tried pretty hard to get his point across to Celebrity. My impression is the cabin size issue was just an oddity they’d noticed that didn’t come into play until they’d been accused of stealing towels and charged for booze when they don’t even drink. Michael__K In my experience, one of the first questions you are asked if you dispute a credit card charge is: “Have you contacted the merchant and tried to resolve the issue directly with them?” If you answer “no”, then you are asked to do this *first* before you can place the charge in dispute. The fact that the OP has placed the charge in dispute suggests that he answered “yes.” How “forceful” he was should be irrelevant. If he contacted the merchant to resolve the issue then the onus is on the merchant to resolve it (or not). http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE Carver Clark Farrow II Well, to be more precise. It doesn’t provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt, however, it is certainly sufficient to make the prima facie case that the OP didn’t take the towels, such that the onus is on Carnival to prove that they did. The alternative is that the OP wanted to steal the towels, purposely took photos of the towels next to the bulging luggage in the cabin on the last day, then stole the towels, i.e. effectively planting exculpatory evidence That scenario seems highly unlikely over used towels. mbods Why in the world would they want to take another cruise with Celebrity? This has happen to us before, not with a cruise line but at an all inclusive resort in Mexico. They tried to charge us for massages we didn’t have. Luckily, we caught this before we left and demanded it be taken off our bill. Imagine if they had offered us a $200 credit instead??? NO way! jim6555 In this case, the charges appeared on a credit card account. The Sigels did not pay cash. As others have stated, the Sigels probably will never go on a Celebrity cruise again. Celebrity could have avoided all of the negative publicity that appears here just by doing the right thing and posting a $100 refund to the Sigels’ credit card account. $16635417 Nope…nothing. Not even an “We’re sorry”. I would have even taken a store credit. Bill Armstrong If they were incorrectly charged on the credit card, they should be refunded immediately. Do they have signatures to back up their credit card charges? Doubt it. No one likes to be charged for something they didn’t pay for. As for the room size, they should take the percentage discrepancy, double it and refund that portion of the cruise – as damages.. As an alternative, if Celebrity doesn’t do this, then they should be taken to court and forced to pay damages to all of the passengers they misrepresented the room size to. The cruise industry seems to be the new used car salesmen. Rebecca Oh sorry, I trust you too. sharpasice First checking the Celebrity website the room size states 270 sq ft. NOT 347! In all honesty, I do not know if Celebrity includes the bathroom in their room dementions, I beleive they do..so did he measure the bath too? AND who carries a tape measure on their cruise??? Makes me think they started out to make this complaint even before cruising. Second, just because the towels are next to their luggage doesn’t mean they didn’t stick them into the bags after the picture was taken ,usually the bags are put outside your strm door the night BEFORE leaving the ship & another bag is kept in which to place all remaining items..so towels could have gone in that suitcase. Also, they don’t need to live around a beach to use these towels. They are bigger than the normal towel..maybe they just liked the size and took them home..In addition, everyone should check their bill before leaving the ship. They didn’t do that? I always get a last day copy just so this sort of thing doesn’t happen. Celebrity is very good at refunding charges BEFORE you leave the ship. I think the OP just had a not so exciting cruise and is trying to get his money back. AND by the way, the price of that inside cabin is VERY low..so that $200 credit is probably 1/3 of the cost they paid. More than enough. TonyA_says Wouldn’t you say that someone who goes to the length of measuring a room is a very meticulous person? That said, wouldn’t that kind of a person examine his bill, too, before leaving the ship? And based on what I read, he did not complain until he saw his credit card bill. That does not sound like a man with a mission to malign the cruise line. Seems to me the additional credit card charges was the straw that broke the camel’s back. sharpasice Really? Meticulous?? Come on..WHY would a person carry a tape measure on a cruise unless it’s to find fault? Jeanne_in_NE To see if the wheelchair will fit in a certain space. Mike T The guy does deserve a refund, in cash, to his credit card. Anyone who’s pushed the case this far will likely never shut up. But, from Celebrity’s perspective, do they really care about this guy taking off for another line? Is someone who books the cheapest insides and “would never pay for water or beer” really a customer that a cruise line cares about making happy? We don’t know enough information to be certain, but I think I have seen these folks on cruises before. They’re first in line for the buffet, happily sitting at their table for hours in spite of people looking for a place to eat, all the while with a flipflop and a ten year old paperback “saving” poolside loungers. After baking for a bit, it’s off to the purser’s desk to complain about how only eight bath towels were provided, and they SPECIFICALLY asked their stateroom attendant for ten, and that they should get a credit for the inconvenience. Capping off the day, it’s time to get ready for dinner where they ask for extra portions of the lobster, complaining about the crappy service while not even offering a condescending, “Thank you”, to the few staff who will still indulge their whims. Then, on the last day of the cruise, it’s time for another visit to the purser’s desk to take the tips off the bill, “because we’ll give them cash instead”, which is how there was a pending charge after the cruise, when the bill for the week had been settled up with a couple twenty dollar bills. Yes, I know my story is pure conjecture, but does it really seem like that big of a stretch? Dude’s probably getting jacked, but without knowing a whole lot more, I don’t know how sorry we’re supposed to feel. TonyA_says My mother always carries one in her bag. She is a world traveler (trust me since my parents introduced me to the meaning of this term in the 60’s and they continue to travel feverishly in their mid-eighties). They travel to places I would not even think of going. The reason she keeps a vinyl tape measure is she always goes shopping for stuff for their nice home(s). Try fitting an expensive table cloth or lace decorations over multiple dining tables and you’ll see why. OLDER people are used to carrying this stuff. They buy stuff for 3 generations and they keep the sizes on a notebook. Joe_D_Messina They’re extremely useful if you buy clothing as gifts, as well. It can be hard to figure out sizing in foreign countries and even over here a “Medium” doesn’t tell you much. TonyA_says Yup. my folks have bought stuff for me and my kids that have sizes that are not American. Very difficult to tell Mom just get me extra large – since that does not mean anything overseas. Now my wife also carries one in her purse :-) pauletteb I can’t help but wonder how many other cruisers get scammed by similar bogus charges. Not everyone goes through their vacation statements line by line (although IMO you’d have to be crazy or lazy not to do so). The OP and his wife don’t drink, so that was an obvious tell, but it would be very easy for an unscrupulous bar tender to add a few drinks to the tab of regular imbibers who might not remember how much they had to drink that night. pauletteb This appears to be a pending charge on their credit card AFTER the fact! pauletteb Do you enjoy being an apologist for the cruise lines? mythsayer What about the bill for the towels? That obviously wouldn’t be on the final bill. jackfile Visitor occasions will also be restricted, boring and never appealing. Site visitors invest haft each day upon vessel in order to luxury cruise the actual these types of, as well as all of those other day time visiting the town… http://cityplaceauction.com/ OrlandoGuy I’m sorry, but this story sounds suspicious to me. I’ve sailed the Summit and other M-Class ships before many times, and some of the cabin sizes do vary even within the same category. Some of the aft cabins are actually larger than advertised, and I’m sure the size listed was a legitimate typo. If it was truly an issue he certainly should have complained as soon as he boarded. I hate to sound un-sympathetic, but I’ve met people like this before on many cruises. They booked the cheapest cabin aboard the ship, and while that’s fine, it makes me wonder what their bill actually was. Were these the only charges for their whole cruise? The rooms have TVs you can verify your bill as well as receive it the night before. I’ve seen people lie about things they didn’t purchase, or have tips removed because they were to cheap to pay them, and furthermore get the waiter in trouble because of ‘bad service’. Assuming this did happen after they left the ship, I would ask to see the signed charges for the bar bill, and when they occurred; i.e. the last night? If Celebrity can’t produce that, I agree, they should not be charged for them. The towels are suspicious though. While it’s possible someone else could have taken them after they left the room, I have sailed Celebrity enough to realize they are fair with issues. (I’ve never had a problem with towel charges in over 30 cruises, and only once has a small delayed mini-bar charge that appeared after the fact incorrectly, and it was immediately taken off when I phoned them). I suspect Celebrity went back to the room stewards and waiters and discovered the charges were correct; perhaps a table-sharing drink at dinner one night. The pictures are bogus – they could have stuffed them in a carry on bag not in the photo, and the room steward could have seen them take them; who knows. The fact they even took pictures makes me suspicious; I usually take the towels off the first day and put them in the closet; never leave them on the bed worried they’ll get thrown in the wash and lost. All I’m saying is I’m skeptical about Celebrity not removing these charges if they were not legitimate , but i can see them offering a credit for the room size.