You've returned from your cruise, still dissatisfied with an element of it -- and, despite your efforts to solve the problem when it arose, it wasn't fixed. Here are some "next steps":
What's the most effective way to complain and get results? Keep the emotion
out of your missive, no matter how angry you feel. Be specific about the nature
of the problem, along with efforts to solve it. Provide as many details -- time,
date, etc. -- as possible. But try to keep the letter to one page.
Include the names of employees
who weren't helpful but also list those who were.
Be clear about the specific
source of your dissatisfaction. Keep it simple.
Provide specific information
about your inconvenience or money lost.
Provide an expectation
of what the cruise line can do to fix the problem. But be reasonable. It's very
rare, unless the cruise was an absolute -- and provable -- disaster, that you
will get a "free cruise" (which cruise lines say is one of the most common requests).
Ask instead for a discount on a future cruise or onboard credit or compensation
for a loss.
Do your research: Who
should the letter (or email) be sent to? Most often, people write to the cruise
line president; but that person, alas, rarely reads them. If it's a genuinely
serious offense, consider "carbon-copying" a journalist who covers the cruise
industry, as did Joanna Jespersen, a Washington, D.C. attorney, whose bad experience
with Norwegian Cruise Lines wound up in the Washington Post and Consumer Reports
Travel Letter. And don't forget to include your travel agent, if you used one,
on the CC list; they can also be a powerful advocate.
The folks in the passenger
services department -- or whatever department you're supposed to write to -- will
then research your situation. They'll contact personnel, whether in the head
office or onboard, to confirm that you reported the problem and to see why it
wasn't fixed. Then they'll write back with an explanation and, possibly, a "reward."
But you won't always get what you ask for. One cruise line flatly refused to
reimburse us for losing our luggage (we'd flown on a cruise line-organized charter)
and merely sent a sort of apologetic letter. Aside from swearing you'll never
sail on that line again (as we did), what are your options?
out that passenger survey that's handed out at the end of every cruise Including your problem
may not help you -- but cruise lines do read the surveys and it may help another
passenger avoid a similar issue. Windstar -- in a very smart move -- occasionally
does a mid-cruise passenger survey where you can list anything that's wrong
with your cruise. This gives them time to fix it for you while you're still
to the message boards
If it's a situation where you learned something the hard way, take to the boards
on Cruise Critic, and let other passengers know what happened -- again, as briefly
and factually as possible. Don't forget to share the "what I learned" portion,
which could help future cruisers avoid either the cruise line or making the