“We feel we need a vacation from this vacation”

One of the most memorable trips of my life was seeing Denali National Park years ago when I edited the Alaska section for Travel Weekly.

But for Charles and Cindy LeCroy, it was a different kind of memorable. Their Denali tour was part of a Princess Alaska cruise, and in retrospect, they should have probably stayed on the ship.

Everything that could go wrong went wrong, from power outages to missed connections. Worse, their cruise line offered a $100 voucher for the trouble, which means they’ll have to take another Princess cruise to benefit from it. They think the company can do better.

Let’s hit the highlights. Their Denali disaster started two weeks before their cruise, when Princess said it had overbooked their train from Whittier to Denali, and asking them to take a bus for part of their journey.

Here’s what happened when they arrived at Mt. McKinley. Take it away, Cindy:

It was a long bus ride so my husband and I decided to rest up a bit and make reservations for dinner.

I picked up the phone and it was dead. We then walked all the way to the front desk and reported it.

We ended up reporting it three times and the girl at the front desk finally said, “We’re well aware of it.” The phones were only out in the unit we were staying in.

We walked to the restaurant to make dinner reservations at that point. Later that night we tried to set the alarm clock to NO avail! It didn’t work. Luckily we both woke up in time to leave for our next destination.

When they arrived at the Denali Lodge and checked in, they found two people cleaning their room. So they decided to visit the gift shop. That’s when the power went out in the entire hotel.

We went back to our room and noticed several people trying to unlock their room doors with their cards, to no avail. My husband just pushed our door open because they didn’t shut it all the way.

No lights OR water! We couldn’t even use the toilet!

The electricity was out for an hour.

We then went to check out the restaurants at the lodge and they weren’t letting anybody inside. After the electricity came back on we went to a restaurant and everybody had to wait another 45 minutes for the restaurant to heat the ovens.

My husband and I had to brush our teeth, wash our face and my husband had to shave in the bathtub because the lever on the sink was broken off and the stopper was completely down and wouldn’t come up! Such a mess!

The final insult came when they showed up for the train to begin their journey home. That’s when they discovered they didn’t have seats because Princess had overbooked that leg of the train trip, too. They didn’t have seats.

We ended up sitting in the lounge area in two swivels chairs for five hours. We then ordered a cold sandwich from the little bar and the lady said they ran out of sandwiches.

The train stopped and picked some people up and the manager had spoken with a Princess employer at that time and brought the man back to where we were sitting and he had a computer with him and he said my husband and I were in the system just not in the train system!

In short, the whole land tour was a “bust,” she says. “We feel we need a vacation from this vacation.”

Princess’ liability for land tours is covered in section 15 of its passage contract, the legal agreement between you and the cruise line. See section F for details.

Carrier makes no warranty, either express or implied, regarding the suitability, safety, insurance or other aspects of any such contractors, transportation, tours, services, products or facilities, and Carrier’s liability for non-performance of any independent contractor providing such facilities or services shall be limited to a refund of the amounts received by Carrier on the Passenger’s behalf, if any.

Princess offered the couple a $100 voucher when they wrote to complain. It wasn’t enough for the LeCroys. I suggested they send a brief, polite appeal, which they did. Here’s the company’s response:

We constantly strive to provide the best customer service possible.

At this time, we have thoroughly reviewed your file. I am truly sorry for your continued disappointment with the circumstances regarding your sailing and for any additional frustration as a result of our correspondence.

I assure you that all of their concerns were taken into consideration in our response to their original letter. I do wish every facet of your time onboard had met the standard we strive to maintain. While I regret your disappointment, I must respectfully deny your request for additional compensation.

Our onboard credit offer of $100 per person was a sincere gesture to encourage you to sail with us again.

Their travel agent called to follow up on the rejection and according to Cindy LeCroy, was not only given a firm “no” but also “spoken to rudely.”

No doubt, the LeCroys had a terrible time in Alaska. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet.

The $100 credit came with too many strings attached and an unacceptable form apology, but Princess is technically correct. Its own contract, which the couple agreed to when they booked the cruise, is clear about its liability. Or lack thereof.

I’m moving this into my “case dismissed” file, but I’m not happy about it.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Stuff happens at hotels. The power goes out sometimes. It was only an hour so I don’t think they deserve any money back from the hotel, although the hotel probably should’ve given all the diners a free dessert or whatever as a nice gesture.

    For the Princess land portion, I think they should get back the cost of one way train travel in cash. On the leg up, they accepted to go by bus but dropping the ball twice is a bit much.

    I say: Cash back for the return train trip.

  • Elmo Clarity

    According to the contract, “Carrier’s liability for non-performance of any independent contractor providing such facilities or services shall be limited to a refund of the amounts received by Carrier on the Passenger’s behalf, if any.” I would say they should be entitled to this refund at minimum. A $100 credit on another cruise is a worthless offer.

  • Raven_Altosk

    The power was out for an hour? Oh heavens, no!

    The alarm clock didn’t work? Oh, no!!!I never trust a hotel alarm clock. Any cell phone–even the cheap ones–have a clock/alarm feature. Use it, people.

    The phone wasn’t working?
    Don’t these people carry a cell phone?

    I mean, really? Common sense, much?

    While the train not having seats for them is a legit complaint, I’m really struggling to find any sympathy for these people with their other petty nonsense.

    I think Princess should give them the one-way train fare back in cash. That seems fair.

  • Kevin Mathews

    I’m in agreement here. Nothing in their complaint sounds tremendiously like it should’ve ruined their vacation.
    Based on the title of the article, I was expecting something drastically different then a few minor hiccups.

  • emanon256

    So there was nothing wrong with their sailing? They were at one hotel where the phone and alarm didn’t work (Don’t most cell phones have alarms), and another hotel where they had no power for 1 hour, and then had to wait 45 minutes to eat? And the sync didn’t work; did they report that to maintenance? That sucks, but did the hotel have a lobby bathroom, did they ask to change rooms? Aren’t these hotels just short stops before and after the cruise anyway? Then they complain about having to ride in the dining car? The dining car is far more comfortable than the coach car, they usually kick people out of there to make room for other people, and I would consider riding in the dining car an upgrade. That sucks that they ran out of sandwiches, but surly they had other things on the menu. It also sucks that they had to take a bus part of the way, that would be my beef with the trip, but they still go there and still went on their cruise, that’s the main purpose of the trip, and they didn’t complain about that. I don’t mean to sound cynical. I would be upset about the bus part, and I do think they should get a refund for that portion. But the rest makes them sound like really obnoxious complainers, especially asking about the phone 3 times in a short time. I hardly see this as making them have a terrible time in Alaska, unless they chose to have a terrible time.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    In the LeCroys’ defense about the phone issue, cell phone coverage at Denali varies by carrier. Their cell phones may not have been able to make calls. The rest of their list of complaints (couldn’t use the toilet? no – couldn’t *flush* the toilet for an hour) sounds remarkably petty to me.
    I would make the case, though, that the entire train fare should be refunded, not vouchered. My in-laws took that Princess train trip and the train they were on had observation cars. If the LeCroys didn’t get to see the scenery on the trip, they really missed out (I don’t know about the view from the dining car – anyone else know?). My husband and I drove from Anchorage to Denali, so we know the route – spectacular!

  • Michael__K

    I think Princess should give them the one-way train fare back in cash. That seems fair.

    Why one-way? They were bumped from their reserved train seats in both directions. Note that a round trip for 2 people would have cost $468 (value season) or $584 (peak season).


  • Alan Gore

    Most of this set of complaints are petty (It’s been years since I heard of anyone using a hotel phone), but the screwed-up train reservations are definitely Princess’ fault. This train ride uis supposed to be a valued part of the Denali experience.

  • emanon256

    Here is a picture of the view form the dining car. I personally think its more spacious than the regular seats too (The view would be better from the observation car). But I do think they deserve something back for having to take the bus.

  • emanon256

    My attachment didn’t show up.

  • SoBeSparky

    Cell alarms are not dependent on cell coverage. Cell alarms work as long as the phone is kept on. Further, they were sitting right in the snack car, so they could see and hear about sandwiches, etc. This complaint is a balloon, blown up way out of proportion.

  • Michael__K

    Comfort is a personal thing. Perhaps *you* would have preferred the swivel chairs in the dining car.

    I wonder why no on else else on the train offered to switch seats with the OP’s?

    Or, why, instead of imposing the swivel seats on the OP’s, didn’t Princess announce that they had a free dining car upgrade available for the first takers?

  • emanon256

    I think you just like to argue with anything anyone says. Did the OP ask anyone to switch? It doesn’t say that. It also doesn’t say the OP didn’t like the chairs.

    I don’t think airplane seats are comfortable, I should get 100% of my money back on my flight. That’s how you are beginning to sound.

  • Mel65

    Since we leave on Saturday for OUR Princess Alaskan cruise, I read this with dread about what we might face. Whew I feel better after reading! Their tale of woe sounds like a lot of little irritations that added up to one big ol’ plate of annoying. So, I do think Princess owes them more than a “spend our money on us” token, but it really only sounds like they were inconvenienced at the hotel for a short while (and seriously? they couldn’t “hold it” for ONE HOUR of not flushing?). The train screw up though–Princess really pushes you to sign up for excursions early and through them so if the reservations were mishandled, that’s a Princess mea culpa and they should have had the grace to respond to that with more class and offer a full refund of the Denali tour or at the VERY least, the train ride and maybe a goodwill on board credit for a massage or something, if the OPs still had some on board time after this…I was sad we don’t have time for the Denali tour on our trip but now I’m a little relieved :)

  • Len Oxman

    I voted no, but these inconveniences are things that should be expected on an “adventure” vacation.

  • Raven_Altosk

    They accepted the bus transfer and only complained about it when they wrote the laundry list letter.

    The minor complaints pretty much invalidated the real one to me because it painted them as completely unsatisfiable people.

  • Susan Payson

    Perect example of a First World problem. No sympathy here.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    That’s why I said “Their cell phones may not have been able to make CALLS.” (Emphasis added) Agree with rest of your comment.

  • TravelingSalesman

    I have mixed feelings on this one.

    I do agree that Princess should have done more than a $100. voucher.

    That said, while Alaska is NOT a “Third World” destination, it’s not always going to be as citified as a vacation in San Diego or Branson. Having to endure the “long walk” to the front desk, seems trivial. Power outages happen everywhere and more often in Alaska.
    I agree with Elliott: Maybe they should have stayed on the ship.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    I’m with the others saying that the overbooked train tickets is a legitimate complaint, the rest is petty junk. They’re making it sound like sheer agony that they had to – gasp! – get up and walk to the restaurant because the phone in the room wasn’t working. If you’re so sedentary that you find it an inconvenience to walk a few minutes outside, why on earth would you plan a vacation to a NATIONAL PARK of all places? Sorry, but that complaint just really gets under my skin.

    That being said, I think $100 in funny money is piddly for essentially losing the train reservations, though I’ll confess I have no idea what those train tickets usually cost. Princess did get them to Denali and back, so I’m not sure about a full refund, but I’d probably say half would be fair.

  • RITom

    Sorry Raven, but you are wrong here, our cell phone did not work at all in AK when we were there, Verizon has poor coverge and Virgin Mobile NONE, ATT spotty. We were cell phone free, does your cellphone work there?

  • Daddydo

    10 This is Alaska and stuff happens, but the “contract” rule may not apply in this particular case. Sometimes, you leave out the most important “facts”. Was this a Princess owned hotel? If so, then I would assign them total blame. Compensation? Cash, not credit. Goodwill is no compensation, it only serves to make the honest claimee angrier. Delta has sent me a 100.00 voucher and I sear that I never want to fly them again, so why would Princess expect the Lecroys to ever step abaord Princess again? Their travel agent will know the hotel and I would return once again to the supervisor of customer relations with this new information.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I was there in 2008 and my ATT service was just fine…So…?
    But the alarm clock is NOT dependent upon the cell service anyway.

  • Jennifer Moore

    I think this couple complained about too many disparate things which were beyond the control of Princess. Also, I think that if they had complained to Princess representatives either on their ship or before boarding the ship, they might have received an onboard credit they could have used during their vacation. It does sound like Princess has some quality control problems with respect to their land tour program.

  • Michael__K

    What choice did they have about the bus transfer?

    If they refused the bus transfer, they could have lost the rest of their land tour, as the contract is written.

    Would you have supported them for a full refund in that case? Or would you have called them whiners for not accepting the bus transfer?

  • Michael__K

    I would consider riding in the dining car an upgrade.

    Then there should have no been trouble — on a full train — finding enthusiastic volunteers to give up their assigned seats and move to the swivel chairs in the dining car.

  • Michael__K

    I like to point out flawed reasoning.

    If you really think that the swivel chairs in the dining car were an “upgrade”, then it shouldn’t have been hard to find passengers who would have been thrilled to sit in those seats for the entire ride.

    You’ve repeatedly complained in other articles about having to move from your assigned seat on board an aircraft. Even though the contract of carriage on every airline clearly states that seat assignments are never guaranteed.

  • pauletteb

    Its seems that Princess overbooked the train in both directions, but at least the OP got a seat (even a swivel one) on the trip back. I think she deserves CASH compensation for getting stuck on a bus on the way up. (Admittedly, I’d rather have a root canal than travel by bus. Ugh!) Vouchers are such a scam; the cruise operators know that people who are very unhappy with their original trip are unlikely to rebook, so the vouchers don’t get used and the cruise lines are rarely out-of-pocket. The rest of the complaints I’d file in the “stuff happens; get over it” category.

  • pauletteb

    They were allowed on the train for their trip back. They simply didn’t like having to sit in swivel seats in the lounge.

  • emanon256

    We don’t know if they asked or not, so your assumption is faulty. Also the train doesn’t normally let people sit there very long so everyone has a chance to be there. I don’t know their policy in regards to how to handle exception situations, and I doubt you do either, so for all we know they may not have allowed them to trade.

  • bodega3

    Princess owns several hotels in Alaska and the Mt McKinley Lodge is one.

  • emanon256

    You are only making faulty assumptions based on information you do not actually have. See my post above about the chairs.

    Yes, I have complained about being moved out of an aisle seat with extra leg room and into a middle seat with restricted legroom. I have never contacted Chris or asked for my money back as I know the contract of carriage. If I was moved to an equivalent or better seat, I would not have complained at all.

  • Raven_Altosk

    All right, I’ll concede that fact. Princess probably had them over a barrel, so refund the train fare.

    (But now I’m curious what a ‘swivel’ chair is as opposed to ‘normal’ train seating here and why that is an issue for these folks)

  • Michael__K

    I believe the swivel chair is like a barstool (no backrest)

  • Michael__K

    You assumed it’s an upgrade and not a worthy complaint. Upgrades are normally voluntary and are normally presented as upgrades.

  • emanon256

    Then feel free to turn down an upgrade if you are offered one. But if you were offered a more roomier seat or no seat at all, I think you would take it to.

  • JoJo449

    They had to walk all the way to the front desk? Boo Hoo! What a couple of whiners. The phone didn’t work? Neither one of them had a cell phone? Was this in 1912? They had to walk to the restaurant to make revervations. Did the hotel only have one phone? The power was off for a whole hour? OMG. And it took 45 minutes for the restaurant ovens to heat up? Did they think they were coal fired? Having to take a bus was unacceptable, but they knew this 2 weeks ahead of time.They should not have accepted taking a bus & if Princess insisted, their first order of business should have been to call their travel agent.agent? That is assuming their home phone worked. A good agent should have been able to rectify their problem. Maybe next year they should set up a couple of lawn chairs in their garage & watch a movie.

  • Michael__K

    You might complain about moving from an aisle to a window and I could (truthfully) say that I would consider that an upgrade, but that would be a non-sequitor if YOU don’t consider a window an upgrade over an aisle.

    You might not think a seat with a backrest is important, but that doesn’t entitle you to impose acceptance of a seat with no backrest on someone else.

    If the dining car seats were so great, then there should have no need to impose them on any passenger who didn’t voluntarily choose them.

  • Owassonian

    So did they finally take the cruise as planned or missed the cruise too? That would be the real disaster. I understand why the petty things could bother you so much if they are consecutive and take away the fun in travel. Should one ask for refund because of those? Not likely. The overbooked train and the missed connection by itself merits a cash refund or a gift card, worth the food and amenities expense. The broken sink lever deserves a genuine apology and a travel voucher. If the OP took the cruise without any issues, the main attraction, then the Princess has smaller amends to make than if the cruise was a missed connection. The smaller amends should still be a usable gift, and not a marketing tool for future bookings.

  • emanon256

    I think discussing anything with you is futile as you simply make up stuff to suit your argument.

    It never says they had no backrest. In my experience, all of the seats in there had backrests and the swivel seats in the lounge were much better than the bench seats as you get more room and your own arm rests. I don’t see them complaining about the seats, they are just complaining. It never says they tried to trade or turned down the seats and asked them to bump someone else, I don’t know if they did or did not. It seems that they are just complaining about everything. I also stated that should have received a partial refund. I still don’t know what you beef is. I think you just like to argue, so go do it with someone else.

  • Michael__K

    or no seat at all

    Sure, it’s an upgrade over standing. Is that the point?

  • MarkKelling

    While I doubt anyone uses a hotel phone to make calls outside the hotel (with all the various extra charges hotels like to add to phone calls), in most hotels the only way to reach the front desk is by using the in room phone. That is what the OP attempted and couldn’t even do that. I would not have cared much and would have just walked to the front desk and taken care of what I needed, but to some people not having a working phone in the room to make those types of calls apparently is important.

  • Michael__K

    I don’t see them complaining about the seats


    We ended up sitting in the lounge area in two swivels chairs for five hours.

    If you think they were happy with those seats in lieu of the normal ones they reserved then we’re just not reading the same article.

    BTW, I didn’t make any a priori assumptions about whether the swivel seats represent an upgrade or not. I merely observed that if they were really an upgrade then there should be no need to impose them on any passenger who doesn’t voluntarily choose them over the typical seats.

  • MarkKelling

    The train trip is one of the highlights of the land excursion, at least it was for me when I took it. Since they missed it, they lost out on a major part of the enjoyment of the trip.
    I did not go through Princess when I was there, I did the trip as offered by Alaska Railroad. It was a lot more flexible than the Princess trip and I completely enjoyed it. Back when I took the tour, the train had one portion that was Princess only and the rest was for anyone else travelling to Denali. If the train is still set up that way, I wonder why Princess didn’t try to get them on the regular train? Being on a bus means you miss a lot of the excellent sights and have restrictede mobility. On the train, you are free to walk around, go to the dining car or observation car and enjoy the trip.
    Because they did not get to take the train, they should have a large portion of that segment refunded in cash, vouchers are worthless. Princess did get them to their destination apparently on time, so a full refund is not called for. The rest of the complaints don’t do anything to help their case.

  • SoBeSparky

    They complained about the hotel phone, not their cell phone, being dead. That is why they complained to the front desk. So…I interpreted your remark to reference other reader comments on how they should have used their cell phone as an alarm…Jeanne and SoBe were two ships passing in the night, so to speak. LOL.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    :) I know all about using cell alarms w/o cell service as I’m doing that now to remember to plug the parking meter! —
    Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my typos.

  • Grant Ritchie

    Open note to anyone considering submitting a complaint to Chris… ENOUGH with the laundry list complaints! They make you sound like a whiner. Stick to one or two major points. You’ll have a much greater impact. :-)

  • jennj99738

    There are generally house phones near the stairs or elevators as well. In any event, I don’t consider having to walk to the front desk a hardship worthy of a complaint.

    Once customers make a laundry list of minor or bogus complaints, the business generally stops listening.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I believe their issue with the “swivel chair” is that these chairs were in the lobby, not on the train! They were supposed to be on the train, and instead had to sit in the lobby for 5 hours. With no food, because they ran out of sandwiches.

    I think they mentioned that these were “swivel chairs” just to highlight how uncomfortable they were during this 5 hours that they shouldn’t have had to wait. That’s how I’m interpreting it, anyway.

    Don’t get the wrong idea – I totally agree with you that their laundry list included some pretty petty little stuff that didn’t belong on there. I was thinking the same thing…no phone? Lost power for an hour? BFD!

    But their silly laundry list doesn’t change the fact that they got screwed out of their train ride, and Princess owes them their money back for that portion of their excursion. REAL money, not funny money that they can’t use.

    This entire story emphasizes something that Christopher has been harping on for years: DON’T SEND A STUPID LAUNDRY LIST! As you point out, going on and on about all the petty inconveniences just hid their real, valid complaint: getting bumped off their train ride. They paid for something, and didn’t get it – plain and simple.

  • LeeAnneClark

    The swivel seat wasn’t on the trip back. It was in the lobby where they were forced to wait for 5 hours, with no food. That is unreasonable, and worthy of a refund.

    I agree with you about the rest of it…petty silliness not worthy of complaining about.

  • bodega3

    I agree!

  • Michelle C

    I spend enough time on Cruise Critic to notice that cruise companies never refund money. It is always in the form of future cruise credit/discount. Personally the only issue I see that might need a refund on is the lack of seats on the transfer. Broken sink and phone, and no electricity for 1 hr is an annoyance- nothing that needs a vacation from vacation. I’d be more pissed off that housekeeping left the door ajar. I have also read enough cruise tour disasters to know that this is the way NOT to see AK. It isn’t the OP’s fault for not knowing- but just a warning to any other reader. If you want to see interior AK then do it on your own and rent a car. Book your own lodging or go camping. People will always construed a “no we won’t give you what you want” as being spoken to as rudely.

  • Ann Lamoy

    First of all, the “bus” ride from Whittier to Denali is not like riding on a Greyhound bus. They are really nice motor coach buses. You get spectacular views and a very comfortable, roomy ride. Certainly the schedule is longer than the train but many people take the train one way and the bus the other.
    As other people have stated, the lounge is as nice or nice than the seats in the cars.
    As for the issues with the hotel and restaurant? Pish tosh. Things occasionally break down, power sometimes goes out. Minor complaints. If these issues are causing them to have a melt down then they really need to stop travelling. Full Stop.
    If it is that bothersome to them that the train trip wasn’t all it should be then a one way refund from Princess is in order.

  • Joe Farrell

    The problem here is not the failure of the train to provide service, its the problem of the cruise line to properly and adequately organize the trip. The ball here got dropped by the cruise line – not by the train company. No one made sure that the documents were properly completed and submitted even if it was an electronic manifest transfer. The cruise line screwed up – assuming the bus transfer worked out – they are entitled to a refund of the train fare – pure and simple.

    Raven – I think that these folks certainly are on the whine train instead of on the Alaska Railroad – so I agree but the bigger response to the litany of defects is that these folks are in Alaska – there are places east of them all the way to Siberia where there is no power, no water, no sewage and nothing but tundra. Its not like you can run down to the local Target and replace your clock radios and grab a generator while you are there. . . .

  • Joe_D_Messina

    That’s when they discovered they didn’t have seats because Princess had overbooked that leg of the train trip, too. They didn’t have seats.”

    I’m curious about this section. When the train was overbooked the first time they ended up on the bus, which makes perfect sense. But if the train was truly overbooked the second time, how’d they end up in the swivel seats in the lounge?
    Was there no bus for the second leg and the options were either cramming them on the train or their being stranded? Hard to believe the OP would fail to make a big deal out of that if that was the case, but it’s also hard to see how they got on an overbooked train without being in the system to even take the train, which is what the Princess employee apparently told them was the case.

  • Lindabator

    Love it! Out in BFE, power outages are the norm, big deal. But paying for a seat on the train they didn’t receive? PAY THEM FOR IT! My sales rep would have gotten an earful over that!

  • Lindabator

    True – and since most tours offer transfers by rail or by rail & motorcoach, which is what they got here, they still got them there, it was just the snafu on the return that they should be compensated for.

  • Lindabator

    No, it was in the LOUNGE on the train, as opposed to the standard train seating. This is where you go when you want a drink or something to eat, but it is still a part of the train, for heaven’s sake, although I still think they should give them the money back for that one.

  • Lindabator

    Just a note – ALL the cruise lines have their private cars hooked on to the Alaska railroad, but they don’t just put you on Alaska if they run out. (but they should have tried one of their sister companies for space, like Holland or Carnival)

  • Lindabator

    NO – again, YOU misunderstood – the seats they had were in the LOUNGE car of the train, that is why they were swivel seats. They would be complianing about missing their flight if they had waited around the hotel for 5 hours, as this WAS the train home.

  • Lindabator

    Actually, great viewing from ANY seat in the cars – folks regulary head to the lounge for snacks or drinks, without having to miss the scenery. :)

  • Lindabator

    Yes, he does!

  • Lindabator

    Actually, this sounds as if the land tour came AFTER the cruise, so no shipboard credits would have been offered. (Travel from Whittier to Denali is ONLY on Princess, and is a post cruise tour)

  • Lindabator

    I agree with you 100%, and if I had sent in a letter for my clients, I would have only noted the snafus to the train ride, and would have SUGGESTED to princess a refund for the cost of the one ride. Laundry lists, whining about everything, and NOT telling them what you feel is appropriate gives them no recourse.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Ahh..okay, you’re right! I went back and read that part. It was definitely confusing. Kind of a messy column – I’m still not exactly sure what happened. But now I see that they were, in fact, put ON the train…they just had no assigned seats, and had to sit on “swivel seats” in a lounge car. Got it.

    In that case, that changes my view. They got their train ride, it was just not in assigned seats, which they’d paid for. So IMO Princess still owes them a refund – whatever the difference would be between assigned seats, vs. no seats.

    Thanks for clarifying!

    I still think this is mostly a whiny laundry list of petty irritations, with a couple of valid complaints (the bus ride instead of the train in, and the seatless train ride back).

  • LeeAnneClark

    Yep, you’re right – see what I posted above:

    “Ahh..okay, you’re right! I went back and read that part. It was
    definitely confusing. Kind of a messy column – I’m still not exactly sure what happened. But now I see that they were, in fact, put ON the train…they just had no assigned seats, and had to sit on “swivel seats” in a lounge car. Got it.”

  • djp98374

    The issue here is they paid for a train trip up to Denali and a train trip back….that includes seats. It is not the same as ataking a bus up andwhat effectivly was a standing room only seat on the train back. The entire cost of their train travel needs to be refunded. With an Alaska cruise people tend to plan these trips years in advance. There is a lot less “no-show” rate than other stuff given its cost. Thus the cruise should not be overbooking these tours. if the cruise line isnt liable then the company they contract with for these tours is.

  • JenniferFinger

    Legal contract or no, the overbookings and the loss of power really did make their vacation suck. A $100 voucher for a future cruise after a vacation like this really is no compensation at all. I think Princess needs to compensate them at least for the overbookings in a different manner than a little voucher-$100 seems awfully low, and after their service I seriously doubt the letter writers would ever go on a Princess cruise again in the future.

  • Life Lessons Military Wife

    Oh goodness….she had to walk all the way to the front desk! Let me recommend this pampered couple never travel to Europe as some of what they experienced is the norm! I’m embarrassed to read this as an American!

  • Blackadar

    I agree with most everyone that this is a whiny laundry list that uncovers one really legitimate complaint – the train issues. Princess needs to refund that portion of the excursion fee because they didn’t get what they paid for. As for the rest, well…that’s life – deal with it.

  • plodder

    “Their travel agent called to follow up on the rejection and according to
    Cindy LeCroy, was not only given a firm “no” but also “spoken to

    Why do people still bother with TAs?

    And really the “land leg” of the trip ruined because of some power outages. What whiners. I can’t imagine why so many voted “no.”

  • rickjoel

    As frustrating as this was, Princess’ agreement was valid. They could have done more, but didn’t have to. As an agent I would have argued also on behalf of my clients. Problems can and do occur. I was stuck on an Amtrack train in the tunnel out of NYC for 2 hours in the heat. Had to take it in stride as they did nothing to compensate. Thing is, no one was physically injured and the problems wern’t impossible. I’m not offering excuses and I would have been upset as well.

  • jet2x2

    I had cell service at the hotel near Denali the last time I went. Just returned from a 2-week cruise in southeast Alaska, phone didn’t work away from “civilization” but did work on roaming in most of the cities we visited. People with ATT did great, the rest of us had to cross our fingers occasionally. No big deal really.

  • jet2x2

    The point of going to Denali is to SEE THE MOUNTAIN. The train doesn’t go into the park so they can’t have missed it from the train even if their view was blocked. You have to take a bus into the park. Ours was a school bus and they gave us a box lunch and the seats were uncomfortable and it was great because we saw this magnificent peak without cloud cover and that happens once in a blue moon! And I got to take pictures of wildlife you can’t see anywhere else. (Yes I love Alaska). If they got into the park and would rather focus on trivial things that could happen at any hotel, they missed the point of the trip.

  • Bill___A

    I thought their liability was to have to refund all monies paid for the land portion, including train, hotel, etc. That, I expect, is more than $100. I have a hard time understanding how the door locks didn’t work when the power was out as every one I’ve seen works on batteries. Furthermore, I never trust alarm clocks in hotels (if the power goes out at night, it is useless). Finally, having the power out for one hour is not a big deal. I would take issue with having to ride a bus rather than take a train, that would be the big deal to me.