Why you should always cruise with a Travel Agency

There is more to going through a travel agency than just getting a good packaged deal. If you’ve spent over a grand on a cruise, you might as well spend the extra fifty odd pounds to give you the safety net of a travel agency who are ABTA and ATOL protected. As well as financial protection, they’ll also help you out if it all goes pear shaped. As a case study, let’s have a look at five examples with the customer helpdesk team at Planet. It’s their job to help customers in a sticky situation, from lost luggage to cancelled flights or just giving you some free advice to get the best experience possible.  Sometimes working in customer care is a thankless task as not every issue can possibly be resolved, but as part of the leading online travel agency, when it comes to customer care and feedback, this team strive to do their upmost each day as new issues arise. For them, the mission isn’t complete until the customer is safely back home again after yet another fantastic holiday.

Issue one: Bad weather

A customer had a booking with cruise line MSC but their flights from Birmingham to the port were cancelled due to heavy snow in the UK. Planet Cruise’s customer service executive saves the day by re-arranging a later flight once the weather cleared up. This also involved waiting on hold with the cruise line for over an hour to re-arrange the corresponding transfers either side of the flight. Many other customers were also unable to drive to the required airport due to the dangerous traffic conditions although the team did give as much alternative travel advice as was possible. As a result, Planet Cruise’s customer care team managed to find many closer airports as alternatives or later flights once the infrastructure had been resolved. One of the worst instances was a 6am flight cancelled at 8pm the night before and the unlucky customer assistant having to stay throughout the night to get them on another plane.

Issue Two:  Monarch Flights cancelled

This caused pandemonium throughout the travel industry as Monarch airlines folded over-night. This left thousands of tourists unable to get on holiday or stranded in their initial destination. Luckily for Planet Cruise, and their customers, the helpdesk team was at hand to smooth everything over by rebooking all the customers previously with Monarch onto replacement flights. This wasn’t easy due to silence on Monarch’s side in the chaos, leaving them to use their contacts and initiative to get all Planet Cruise passengers safely to their destinations.

Issue three: Missed plane or ship

It happens quite often that a cruiser gets confused with the time difference and misses their ship at port. In this situation the helpdesk team are on hand to advise them and get them back onboard as quickly and easily as possible. This time however, a man had missed his ship from Southampton, which is much better than being stuck in a foreign land with only the clothes on your back at least. Again, the guys in customer care helped him out by getting back on the ship at the next port. Unfortunately, it was a transatlantic crossing and the next port with check-in facilities was St. Lucia! Another way the customer care team can help you is if you have to cancel yourself due to personal reasons such as a death in the family. Here, they regularly manage to get packages cancelled with the airlines and hotel providers free of charge, which is always gratefully received by the family.

Issue Four: Lost property

It happens all too often and can be devastating depending on what has been mislaid. Hopefully, at worst it’s a child’s toy and all that’s lost in an emotional attachment, at worst it’s a laptop with not only its monetary value but also vital information stored inside. Whatever it may be, the customer care team are on hand to retrieve your lost items by contacting the relevant companies and tracking it down. Another frequent issue is people taking the wrong luggage but with their detective skills honed through years of experience, the team can sift through the relevant contact lists and recover the mixed up items.

Issue five: Chain Reaction

Sometimes one thing going wrong has a knock on effect throughout the rest of the holiday. Here is a classic example of not only just how bad things can get, with the story of one unfortunate family, but also how the team do their utmost to sort out the debris of the proverbial fan. Problems started with this family when a pipe burst in their ski chalet the night before they were due to stay. This wasn’t the end of the world and the team quickly changed the relevant details but the incompetence of the transfer company for the new flight time and destination really put the customer service team to the test. Twice the taxi failed to show up to pick up the family and when they arrived at the new hotel, no contact had been given they were going to be late by the taxi company. The result was the hotel giving away the room after the holiday-makers missed their check in. This left the family spending sixteen hours in the lobby waiting for something else to be done but the companies at the resort were proving to be useless. The customer care team kept in constant contact with the family as they sorted out new accommodation and transport for them, staying up overnight and double checking early the next morning that everything had indeed been done this time.

As can be seen, things don’t always go smoothly when on holiday but if the worst does happen, with a travel agency, and their customer care team , you’ll always have professional assistance to achieve a happy ending, no matter how much of a lost cause your holiday could appear to be.

John Shallo
John Shallohttp://www.cruiseaddicts.com
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

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