Can I write a happy ending to this Celebrity horror story?

Oleksandr/Shutterstock
Oleksandr/Shutterstock
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.
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My cruise ship broke down and left me high and dry

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com
Douglas Kauffman had the misfortune of being booked on the Celebrity Millennium. You may recall the propulsion problems that caused a string of cancellations late this summer.

Well, one of them was Kauffman’s.

Cruise lines like Celebrity have a customer-service protocol that they follow in the event of a cancellation. While these standards address almost every vacation, there is no one-size-fits-all fix. Someone inevitably feels they’ve been short-changed, and that’s why Kauffman contacted me.
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Am I being scammed by Celebrity Cruises?

Did the Summit just scam this passenger? / Photo by mag 3737 - FlickrDarryl 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?
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Did I forget to mention I was born in Canada?

Harry Kopy has a secret.

You can’t tell by looking at him, or even by talking to him, but if spend a little time with him, you’ll know that although he’s a U.S. citizen, he was born in Canada.

OK, maybe it’s not a secret — but it was an important detail when he booked his recent Celebrity cruise to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
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Is Celebrity’s last-minute price switch legitimate?

Kathi McGaffigan and Bruce Nordqusit’s upcoming Italy cruise on the Celebrity Constellation came with an unpleasant surprise just a few days before they set sail. The company discovered a pricing error and reset their rate from $999 per person to $1,549, and although it apologized for the mistake, it insisted on charging the couple the difference.

These pricing errors — often called “fat finger” fares — are not uncommon in travel. I’ve written about them several times, and I generally believe a company has the right to fix a legitimate price mistake.

But this didn’t fit the traditional definition of a “fat finger” rate, and Celebrity had no business changing their price at the last minute.
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An all-inclusive hotel that wasn’t

san juanQuestion: I hope you can help me with an issue that came up with our recent cruise on Celebrity that included a hotel the night before. When I scheduled the cruise, I added one night prior in San Juan at the Gran Melia Puerto Rico, because the hotel was offering an all-inclusive option, according to the cruise line.

I paid $634 for this property, believing I would receive not only a pre-night hotel with my meals and drinks, but also transportation to the pier the very next day to begin the cruise with my husband.

When I presented the voucher at the hotel on the scheduled date the front desk representative informed me that there was no reservation under my name. I quickly contacted my travel agent and the cruise line directly and over an hour later I was called back to the front desk and they checked us in. But they didn’t offer an all-inclusive option.

I called Celebrity back after settling into our room to find out why there was a mix-up, and they said there was nothing they could do about it. Since I had no other choice, I paid for my meals at the hotel — a total of $188 for dinner, breakfast and beverages. I also had to pay for a taxi to the port the next day.

I have called Celebrity since our return, sent e-mails and written a letter with copies of the vouchers and receipt, and the only answer we get is that we were refunded the $80 for the taxi and they are unable to grant our request for additional compensation. Can you help? — Vanessa Thompson, Toms River, N.J.

Answer: You should have been offered an all-inclusive — and hassle-free — room at the Gran Melia. Instead, you spent more than an hour of your hard-earned vacation arguing with your cruise line about a reservation. That’s not good.
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