She booked two separate balcony cabins for her 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise for $3,440 each.
Turns out she and her travel agent were wrong.
“After researching the Internet, we found out that Carnival Cruise Lines had slashed the prices due to the fact of the many mishaps,” she says. “Yesterday I went online on the Carnival website and found out that the balcony cabins are now selling for $2,319. That is a difference of over $1,100 per cabin.”
Hernandez assumed that Carnival would adjust the rate on her cruise, so she contacted the agency through which she’d purchased the vacation and asked for a partial refund.
“I was informed that they have a contract with Carnival Cruise Lines stating that they are not allowed to change the rate,” she says.
Disappointed, she sent an email to Carnival asking it to reconsider. Here’s its response:
We are truly sorry to disappoint you and your clients by not being able to provide a rate adjustment on their reservations for the June 22, 2013 sailing of the Carnival Breeze. I hope that by providing you with an explanation you will better understand why we cannot honor your request.
In 2009, we introduced a pricing program called Early Saver that provides an attractive fare with a price protection feature for guests who book early and purchase this promotion. This means that if a lower fare is offered on the sailing (up to two business days prior to sailing), Early Saver guests are eligible to receive the difference as an On Board Credit. The program, however, does have certain restrictions like a non-refundable deposit and admin fees if changes are made to the booking.
Early Saver is a very successful program because our guests really value the price assurance feature. In order to protect the integrity of the Early Saver program, we are obligated to our customers not to make price adjustments to bookings made on non-Early Saver fares (including Past Guest fares).
Despite our best efforts to anticipate demand, at times we are forced to lower fares closer to sailing. Nobody dislikes the lower prices more than we do, but occasionally our “crystal ball” is a little cloudy. Regrettably, this means that guests who do not purchase Early Saver are not eligible for a price reduction, onboard, or any other compensation for the decrease in rates.
The promotion is available up to 5 months prior to sailings that are 6 nights or longer; the Early Saver promotion was available at the time your booking was made on November 21, 2012. However, the booking was made under the Group rates and promotion that your agency was able to secure for the group. Since the Early Saver promotion had not been selected at the time of making this booking, or had not been changed to the Early Saver promotion at any time that it was still open on the sailing, we cannot apply the price protection feature to this booking, as it is only applicable to those guests who accepted the harsher terms and conditions associated with this promotion in exchange for the price protection feature.
We certainly understand any disappointment it may cause when rates are decreased, Ms. Hernandez. We value your business and hope the next time you consider booking with us, you will be sure to make reservations under the Early Saver promotion so you are able to utilize the price protection feature.
In closing, we ask that you not let this experience color all the fun that is in store for you when you sail. We appreciate your support and would very much like to count on your continued loyalty.