My son and I took the Celebrity Cruise to Southeast Asia on Dec 7th. I would like to share my horrible experience with everyone, hoping it will not happen to anyone anymore. After I came back, I literally had nightmares about Celebrity's deceptive behavior and dishonest business practices.
All of my friends who took cruises to Southeast Asia from other cruise ship companies informed me that I did not need to schedule any tours in advance because there would be plenty of taxis and tour buses at the port looking for business and they would be happy to drive anyone to their destination. Therefore, I did not book any tours in advance. After we got on the ship, they kept announcing everyday that there were not going to be any taxis or tour buses at any of the ports we stopped at, so we would be stuck on the ship if we did not book any excursions with them. After hearing this alarming announcement, a lot of people started to schedule an excursion. Though, we found out it was not true and there were in fact plenty of taxis and tour buses waiting for us at each port. Luckily, we overheard this information from some other guests who signed up for an excursion which they scheduled through Trip Advisor's recommendation to Ho Chi Minh City , Bangkok and Pattaya and we later joined the same tour and we were very happy with those tour companies' service. A lot of people on our cruise were not happy with their shore excursions from Celebrity because they were charged five times more than if they were to plan their own excursion and they went to fewer places. Since, I did not find any guests who already booked a tour at the Chiang Mai port, so afterward I was scared by their announcement in the morning. I rushed to purchase an excursion because I did not want to be stuck on the ship for the whole day. I had originally wanted to visit Da Nang or Hue, but the bus had already left . For that reason, I paid $69.00 to book the tour" Hoi Ann on our own". Unfortunately, we missed the bus, and the check-in lady said that we could not get refund, but she could book another tour for us since we missed the last bus even though we did not want to go to that place, and I did not want to waste $69, so we got on that bus with another couple who also missed the original bus. The only activities we did from that tour was to take a 15 minutes cable car ride to a small village to eat a self-paid buffet. After I came back, the other guests told me that they wanted to take a risk to walk out from the port even they heard that threatening announcement again. After they walked one minute from the port, they found a lot of tour buses there. The bus they took even came with a tour guide, which took them( five people) to the two main cities, where I had intended to go for that day and each person was only charged $30. I felt horrible that I missed the chance to visit the two main cities which I wanted to go to just because I fell for celebrity’s misleading announcement. Moreover, I found out that instead of charging the tour price we paid of $69, they charged us $159 ( the total price for two of us was $318). I told the shore excursions department that we were not told that tour will cost $159 for each person and we would be charged the additional difference, otherwise, we would rather give up the $69. We requested that they refund us for the additional charge ($159 - $69 = $90); even though they knew that they did not inform us of any additional charges. Instead, they insisted that we should be charged the full amount of $159 because we agreed to get on that bus.