Things did not go as planned when Vera Martignetti took a shore excursion offered by Roberts Hawaii on a recent cruise. But it’s a good thing Martignetti knew where to turn for help.
Martignetti and her daughter had booked a four-tour combo for the two of them at a cost of $239 each.
Because she’s 78 years old, Vera Martignetti was careful not to schedule anything too taxing for their off-ship excursions. Their third Roberts tour was Volcanoes National Park and Rainbow Falls in Hilo. That morning, they were taken by their driver to Volcanoes Park. The third stop was a lava tube that hadn’t been mentioned on the tour description. Vera and her daughter were told to “go down the steps, go single file through the lava tube, and go counterclockwise when we come out to return to the bus.” The tube might be moist, she was told.
“The tube was more than moist,” Martignetti says, “with water dripping down on us and numerous puddles of water on our path.”
As a result, I fell trying to avoid a large puddle which covered the entire path side to side.
When my daughter got me back to the bus and asked the driver for help, he was only able to find a first-aid kit with no gauze or large bandages.
He clearly had no first aid experience and was very flustered when trying to find things in the kit. Others on the bus helped wash the dripping blood out of my eye and off of my right arm.
At the next stop, park rangers were already there providing assistance to someone else who had fallen. We asked them to look at my wounds and they provided first aid and advised us to return to the ship and have the ship’s doctor work on the injuries, adding that I’d need antibiotics and a tetanus shot.
During the next part of the excursion in Hilo, Martignetti filled out an injury report, and the driver took them back to the ship while the excursion continued on.
“The ship’s doctor spent 45 minutes or so digging lava granules and pebbles out of my forehead, the palms of my hands and the back of my right hand and arm,” she explained. “There also were numerous contusions all over my body. I got a required tetanus shot and antibiotics.”
Martignetti’s daughter called Roberts Hawaii’s customer service office early the next morning and told them that, because of her injuries, they would not be taking that day’s tour on Kona. It would have been necessary for them to take a tender to and from the port, and Martignetti didn’t feel up to taking the tour.
The person who answered her call said she hadn’t heard anything about the incident. When the agent pulled up their account online, there had been no notation or information added. The agent said she’d ask around and get back to them.
Another person called that evening and left a message saying they had found the injury report and would refund $63 to account for the second half of the tour that was missed on Hilo. She also said that Roberts was quite clear about not refunding canceled excursions within 24 hours and would not provide any refund for the tour on Kona.
Since this case was clearly an exception, Martignetti’s daughter felt sure this was a misunderstanding. Martignetti returned the agent’s call to clarify the situation but got voicemail. She left a message asking to have her call returned so they could discuss it, but never got a response. She also had not seen the promised $63 refund for the Hilo tour credited to her account.
Fortunately, Martignetti’s next step was to reach out to us to request contact information for Roberts Hawaii. Our research team was able to send her the information, which is now shared on our website. She wrote to them:
Your website clearly says ‘We are proud to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our tour products.’ Needless to say, at this point we are not satisfied.
I’m not asking for reimbursement of my medical bills ($391.83 billed by Norwegian Cruise Line). I would just like both of us to be reimbursed for the portion of our Hilo tour that we couldn’t continue, and for the entire Kona tour.
Roberts Hawaii’s marketing manager responded, offering to personally check on the Hilo tour refund. “We will also be refunding your entire Historic Kona tour,” the manager added.
A quick glance at Roberts Hawaii’s website shows that the tour agency is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. No wonder the agency responded favorably to Vera’s request. This is a great reminder to find reputable travel vendors by doing good research.
And don’t hesitate to contact us if you have problems.