If they gave an award for the longest complaint letter, then Cornelia Stumpf’s missive to Celebrity Cruises would definitely be a leading candidate.
At 3,661 words, it is an epic-length tale of a vacation gone wrong — a tale to which Stumpf would like me to help her write a happy ending.
Today, I’m moving my Tuesday feature “Can This Trip Be Saved” to Monday, and there’s no better case to start it off with than Stumpf’s.
To her credit, she didn’t bury the lede.
“The biggest and most pressing item for this letter is the issue that the Celebrity Constellation broke down with a mechanical failure of one of the turbines on the second day of the voyage in the port of Key West on Dec. 15,” she wrote in a complaint to Celebrity.
The problems were well documented in the local media, which reported the Constellation had technical issues with one of its gas turbine engines. As a result, it stayed in the Southernmost City an extra day.
As I review her lengthy email to Celebrity, it seems Stumpf is bothered by many things, from the contradictory statements made by the crew after the mechanical failure to its proposed resolution.
For example, the cruise line sugarcoated the Key West delay, saying it would give passengers extra time to enjoy the city. It gave travelers misleading information about the status of their departure and bent some facts about the revised itinerary. In the end, she says Celebrity headed to Nassau instead of Mexico.
Here are her demands:
I expect a compensation from Celebrity for a minimum of 50 percent of my paid rate/price of my cruise including taxes and port charges, as I did not get to the port I had booked and my vacation was totally ruined, the money I spent wasted, due to the fact that the mechanical failure of the Constellation ruined my vacation, did not bring me to the port of call which is sold as the highlight of the cruise, and kept me over 38 hours waiting for repairs in a navy pier location.
I do not consider being docked for over 38 hours, in addition to the regular stop in Key West, as cruising, it is docking due to repair and does not warrant CRUISE EXPERIENCE. I could have booked a nice hotel in Key West and been on a beach if I wanted to stay in a place for over 48 hours. I elected cruising, not staying!!!
Then, she goes into excruciating detail about exactly how Celebrity let her down.
I’m impressed by the saga. She leaves nothing to the imagination. It is a classic laundry-list of complaints that seems to be common among cruise passengers.
But her main point, which I think is perfectly valid, is this: She booked a cruise to Cozumel; she got a cruise to Nassau.
“A day sitting at a naval dock in Key West, waiting for updated information, is not a relaxation day in my opinion, nor is the port of Nassau a replacement for the Mayan highlights of Cozumel,” she says.