02 February 2008

Good Complaint Letter

We wrote this in response to an unpleasant shore excursion. A few days later, we received 40% refund of the excursion price. I just want to share this with you. Enjoy.

Name of Tour: Platypus, Kangaroos, Koalas – Healesville Sanctuary ML33
Port: Melbourne, Australia
Date & Time: 19 December 2007 9:00 AM
Bus Number: Coach 4 Tour Guide: Pauline & Chris (Driver)

I’m sure this is one of many complaints about Platypus, Kangaroos & Koalas – Healsville Sanctuary - ML33 and unfortunately this is not the last as more are sure to come. Let’s start with the check in procedure. There were at least 4 different colored stickers for #33, two of which is lavender and pink, which caused confusion amongst guests as colors were too close in hue. An easy solution would have been to have contrasting colors.

Upon leaving the ship, the crew member that guided us to the bus had no clue where to go. We were not properly directed to the appropriate bus. On a side note, holding one plain white sign that just says “Celebrity Cruise” is not enough information for guest to gather together in their respected tours, as we are all from the Celebrity cruise ship.

The disorganization is continued as we tried to locate our bus. One attendant informed us to take the bus ahead. As we approached the bus, we were told that our “lavender 33” sticker did not match the color of her group and told us to go to yet another bus. We found that bus was full and were redirected back to the first bus. On the bus, there were multiple color #33 stickers on guests. It is pointless to have separate groups and not have them organized in the same bus. All this confusion and disorganization can be avoided on THIS and ALL other excursion pre-departures.

As for this excursion, ML33, there wasn’t time to experience Healesville Sanctuary as advertised in the brochure and in your Excursion Information Channel (Ch 16). It took nearly 2 hours to arrive at our destination, giving us only 55 minutes total to visit the sanctuary.

The request to extend our stay was declined by Celebrity even though the bus driver and the tour guide were more than happy to allow us more time. There was not an afternoon tour scheduled at 1pm, therefore, there was no urgent need to have our tour be back at ship by 1pm.

We had to rush through Healesville within time permitted, leaving us LITTLE or NO TIME to experience each habitat exhibit. Your brochure uses words like “walk-through” and “stroll”. This was not the case as we were literally “RUNNING” from exhibit to exhibit with our park ranger (David) in order to get back on bus by the expected time. Because we were so rushed through the park, we only saw about half of what the park offered.

We learned more about the park through the bus driver (Chris) and tour guide (Pauline) on the long bus ride back to the ship, when we should have been learning from the expert park ranger (David).

Again, according to your brochure, the tour is approximately 4 hours. We spent the 4 hours on the bus traveling to and from the park. This reinforces the fact that we had very limited time at the park. Math lesson: two hours to get to sanctuary plus two hours back to the ship…equals four hours!

This is ridiculous. And all is due to the poor organization and poor planning on the part of Celebrity Cruises. This being the first time Mercury had docked in New Zealand and Australia is no excuse for poor planning and lack of research as the procedures should apply to any and all destinations. Staff members in their respected post also need to be educated about all the destinations, old or new, in order to help guest answer all their questions and needs rather than a constant answer “I don’t know, this is our first time here, please watch channel 16.” This is also our first time here too, but we are the customers that pay for your service and information that unfortunately you are unable to provide. Celebrity is a big and professional cruise line and should prepare their material professionally offering their customers the best knowledge and services.

Due to the lack of knowledge and information from the excursion desk, we were forced to gather information using your Excursion Information Channel, unfortunately that too was as un-informative as your staff. As a result, we were unable to book the tour we wanted (ML43) in time, therefore force to settle with ML33. If we didn’t bring our own internet printout excursion descriptions, we would have never been able to figure out any tours, because your office has no written descriptions of any of the tours available and your staff was not able to answer any questions. We are very disappointed and feel misled. We feel that we did not receive what we paid for in the ML33 excursion and a portion of the tour fee should be refunded, at the minimum.

We should not be spending this much time to write the comment/complaint letter as we should be enjoying our cruise. But as Damian, the cruise director, says “Please do write them so Celebrity can improve in order to stay on top of your industry.” We hope this help you understand our perspective as customers and how much we feel your ship is disorganized in many aspects. We’ve cruised on other competitive ships as well and feel like you are the worst. We did not experience the high comments that people say about Celebrity.

Thank you

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