I want my Disney cruise discount!

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There it was, in black and white. A promise from none other than Disney.

“As we discussed, we would like to invite you to spend a future cruise with Disney Cruise Line at 50 percent.”

Some restrictions applied. It had to be on a seven-day cruise. Curiously, it also threw in a $500 cruise credit.

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“They offered me a discount,” says Jackie Masse.

Now, she says, Disney is backing out, saying it won’t offer her the special price and the onboard credit. She wants me to persuade the company to honor its word. I’m not sure if I should get involved. When I tell you the rest of the story, you’ll see why.

First, an explanatory note about the Monday post, for those of you just tuning in. This is “Can This Trip Be Saved?” a weekly feature that tries to answer one question, and only one: Should I get involved in a mediation?

I haven’t asked Disney for a response yet, but I will if I decide to mediate. My decision depends on you.

Masse says she deserved the discount. I’ll let her explain why:

Our last voyage with Disney Cruise Line was not pleasing.

First, we were staying at the Grand Floridian and had booked for transportation to bring us to Port Canaveral. However, transportation never showed up and a vehicle from the Grand Floridian took us to the port.

We just made it on board and our reservation could not be located. When it was, the room that we had paid for was not available. We were given an inside cabin when we paid for a balcony stateroom.

We were given an onboard credit of $200. When we told our situation to the cruise director. He said he would take care of it. We arrived home and received a letter offering 50 percent [off] our next voyage.

So Masse took Disney at its word. She booked a new cruise and then tried to invoke the discount retroactively.

Disney refused, she says.

She contacted several managers to appeal the denial. In response, she received a phone call from an assistant who was “rude” and denied her request again.

A closer look at the offer reveals several problems. First, it offers “50 percent” but it isn’t clear what the 50 percent is for. Off the price of a cruise? A shore excursion? A spa treatment? Then it’s combined, curiously, with a $500 cruise credit. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was either written by an absent-minded DCL employee, or wasn’t real.

I asked Masse for a paper trail — a standard request — and she sent me the following rejection letter.

I regret any disappointment with our phone calls as it was not our intention to offend you in any way.

Please know that we are unable to provide any discounts towards your upcoming reservation. However, I would be happy to waive all penalties, cancel the reservation, and refund the $4,882 back to the credit cards on file.

Mistakes were made here. Lots of mistakes.

The “offer” letter would have set off all kind of alarms with me. I would have tried to invoke the discount before I made the reservation, not afterwards. Now, the strategy appears to be to call in an outside referee to fix this.

I don’t know about this one. The complaint that led to this “offer” wasn’t a major service failure. A late pickup and a cabin class downgrade are easily remedied with an onboard credit and an apology, which is exactly what Masse received.

This 50 percent “off” letter is problematic. It left her, and me, with the impression that Disney would do more. (It didn’t have to, but an offer’s an offer.) So, the question is: Do Masse’s mistakes, in trying to redeem the offer nullify the errors Disney made when it offered her “50 percent”?

Update: (3:30 p.m.) I just got off the phone with Disney. This was a “fraudulent letter” and the cruise line has contacted the customer and recommended that she take up the matter with law enforcement. I’ll keep you posted as this story develops.

Should I mediate Jackie Masse case with Disney Cruise Line?

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108 thoughts on “I want my Disney cruise discount!

  1. ” A late pickup and a cabin class downgrade are easily remedied with an
    onboard credit and an apology, which is exactly what Masse received.”
    A $200 credit for a late pickup AND the downgrade? Since a balcony is much more expensive than an inside cabin, that $200 would have been completely insufficient and I would also not have been satisfied until I got the offer letter of 50% off a future cruise. Disney did not specify which is their mistake as I would assume it was for my next cruise as she did. I do agree she made a mistake by not invoking it up front when booking. Why not try to find the cruise director and get him to vouch for the offer? He might still work for them.

    1. $200 is NOTHING compared to the difference in price between an interior cabin vs a balcony stateroom. That’s not even a reasonable response to that type of downgrade. So no, “a late pickup and a cabin class downgrade” are NOT easily remedied with a cheap onboard credit and an apology.

      You should rethink that statement, Chris.

      Now as for the letter, do we know why they’re rejecting it? Do they think it’s not authentic? What’s the reasoning here? What does the letter say? At the very least, I think more investigation is necessary.

      So I vote for Chris to get involved if only to provide more specifics.

      1. Agreed. I wouldn’t settle for $200 to be moved from balcony to interior.

        This one has me intrigued because I would like to see who offered a 50% off discount. That seems a little extreme.

        1. But who would KNOW that she had a problem on her cruise and co-incidentally send her a 50% off letter? Was it on Disney lettehead and who signed it? It came after she had a problem so who would try to scam her so co-incidentally?

      2. Disagree — a downgrade IS easily remedied with a cheap onboard credit and an apology. It’s just that $200 is way to cheap. The “cheap” credit should have been equal to the difference in price of the cabins. I suspect the contract relieves Disney of liability for a late pickup.

        1. Doesn’t make sense. You paid cash for the higher quality room. You should receive the difference in cash, not funny money.

          If I paid $1000 for my room and you put me in an $800 room, $200 on board credit doesn’t cut it. I want cold hard cash. You’d have to up the credit to convince me to take credit over cash.

          1. That’s not what I had in mind as an “on board credit.” I was thinking it meant a dollar credit to your ship account, which could then be used on the ship or would be refunded if unused. Never been on a cruise (nor would I ever, at least not the big boat kind), so I don’t know how this stuff works.

          2. I’m not a cruiser and honestly, I don’t expect to be anytime in the near future. So, I too am ignorant of the specifics. But, I assume that an OBC means that the money is under the control of the ship. I demand a credit posted to my credit card.

        1. I’ve gotten many correspondences from Disney, both resorts and the cruise line. This would have set off whistles right away. DCL letterhead and communications wouldn’t look like this at all. And they use 800 numbers, not 855, even for the Castaway Club members. There was some conversation on similar letters on the DISboards.

          I’m sorry she was a victim of fraud.

          1. Fail. Five seconds on google reveals that this IS one of the DCL phone numbers. Five additional seconds reveals that this is the Disney Destinations logo on the letterhead.

            She probably was the victim of fraud. But the fraud was by a Disney employee who exceeded his authority and probably knew it. Or she’s the one committing fraud.

          2. I might lean towards the OP committing fraud. The grammatical errors are similar to the ones in her email to Chris. Maybe she took some of the free stationary on the cruise and put together this fake letter to try and scam Disney out of some money.

        2. A little bit of digital sleuthing…

          Rebekah Young the Executive Guest Correspondent does exist:

          https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rebekah-young/8/447/72a

          http://novembersunflower.com/2012/09/part-four-disney-cruise-line-debacle-stuffed-mickeys-and-insincerity/

          855-325-7526 (855-DCL-PLAN) is an actual reservation number of DCL:

          http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47333843

          The letter does look strange. It may be a fake…and a very elaborated one. Who would fake such thing for what purpose? The DCL recommended that the customer bring this up to law enforcement. Why are they not bringing this to low enforcement? Isn’t it a forgery on their behalf? Still nothing makes sense.

        3. I googled “rebekah young disney” and she is a real employee in Disney Public Affairs according to LinkedIn. The phone number is also Disney Cruise Lines (I called it). The letter still looks fishy to me. The letterhead doesn’t look too professional; I’d expect Disney letterhead to have more detail and list the company mailing address. She only provides the general phone number, not her direct phone line or extension, and also no direct email address. I recently dealt with Hertz Public Affairs, and I had that employee’s direct work phone and email. Also, there are a few spelling and punctuation errors. A call to Ms. Young should help determine if this letter is legit.

          1. Ms. Young would be otherwise advised not to comment on potential litigation matters. If Disney Corporate wants to dent the discount having an administrative employee confirm the validity is counter productive.

        4. I think “Rebekah Young” has a couple of uncles in Nigeria and part ownership of the Brooklyn Bridge. Glaring typos everwhere – the first sentence, for heaven’s sake! “…your stay with Disney Cruise Line.” I guess Disney must be downsizing to only one line. The punctuation is atrocious and the sentences don’t even make sense. “…deluxe family ocean view stateroom with verandah.” Clue: All verandahs (sic) on a ship have ocean views…..
          The OP fell for an obvious scam. Disney isn’t responsible for this nonsense.

          EDIT: I just called the phone number on the letter, and I got a voice prompt identifying itself as Disney and asking me to dial 999 for an agent. That got sent into another voice prompt telling me that all agents were busy. I’m very surprised the first prompt did not include a Spanish option. Every automated instruction at DisneyWorld includes a Spanish translation, even the “Beware of the doors” announcement on the monorail.

          1. Its common really for public (and thats what a letterhead is) phone numbers to go through some form of access control voice mail system. Publishing a number would soon inundate you with calls.

        5. Okay. The letter certainly looks legitimate on its face. And from what others have written, the phone number and the letterhead are genuine Disney.

          Let’s look at the language:

          1. “… As we discussed, we would like to invite you to spend a future cruise with Disney Cruise Line at 50%.” Reading that sentence in the most logical way possible (and the only way required), Disney’s offering a cruise – not extras, food, merchandise, etc. – at 50% of the regular price – of the cruise itself. Ms. Masse shouldn’t have to parse every word in order to find a possible meaning that would relieve Disney of its promise of 50%.

          2. “Presentation of this letter is required upon arrival.” Nothing is said about disclosing the letter at the time of booking. While doing so might have avoided this situation, Ms. Masse was under no obligation to discuss/disclose the 50% letter at the time she booked. All the letter cautioned was that she should book early, as “peak vacation periods fill up fast.”

          The only remaining limitation was that the offer is valid for “…one seven night cruise, deluxe family ocean view stateroom with veranda.”

          Bottom line: Assuming she booked a qualified room, Ms. Masse’s entitled to a 50% discount on her reservation. Period.

          And any question of fraud should rest with Disney, the police, etc., and not with her. She’s a customer, not a cop.

          1. Except that all the advice we read about how to spot fraudulent e-mails, etc., suggest that one of the things we should look for are misspellings, awkward language, etc. None of that appeared here.

          2. The grammar and punctuation aren’t proper in the entire second paragraph. It should read “at 50% off”, not 50%. There is a big gap in the lettering where it says “call in advance . our peak season”. Our peak season should be a separate sentence and capitalized. You also don’t “spend a future cruise” with us. That letter is terrible and I don’t believe that a Disney Exec would send anything out that looked or read like that.

            Perhaps Disney thinks she is the one who forged the letter and thus told her to handle it with law enforcement. Who would take a letter they may have forged to the police?

            Chris, where is the original letter with the declination that you first spoke about? The one that says

            “I asked Masse for a paper trail — a standard request — and she sent me the following rejection letter.

            I regret any disappointment with our phone calls as it was not our intention to offend you in any way.

            Please know that we are unable to provide any discounts towards your
            upcoming reservation. However, I would be happy to waive all penalties,
            cancel the reservation, and refund the $4,882 back to the credit cards
            on file.”

            Post THAT on here side by side with the suddenly 50% off letter and let us see them side by side. Allow us to be detectives to see if we can determine if that rejection letter may have been made into the new letter.

          3. That’s true when your dealing with scam letters coming from foreigner’s, as most scams are portrayed by.

        6. Thank you for posting the letter. I can definitely see Ms. Masse coming home from a cruise where she’d had some problems and thinking that this letter was in reference to that cruise, rather than a possible scam.

        7. It’s real, scammers make the document look “perfect” to the original. Disney has several types of letterhead, this is “casual” correspondence letterhead, and the signature indicators (which have little or nothing to do with the signature) are acceptable.

          My conclusion based on the exemplar provided is that this is either real, or someone VERY familiar with Disney written correspondence. This template is rather recent, so a very recent exemplar would have to be available with a congruent presentation (which has little to do with the communicative concept of “presentation”).

          Someone on Disney’s side is either planing for “plausible deniability”, or an agent with Disney exceeded their implied authority. Either way mediate, this is “worthy” of further investigation.

    2. Why is this even hard? Look, regardless of anything else, they had a service problem and Disney offered them 50% off in writing. Whether or not they deserved that much is not at issue. Disney offered it, they want to take Disney up on their offer and now Disney is balking.

      Disney put it in writing. If Disney wasn’t clear on exactly WHAT was offered at 50%, that’s Disney’s problem Disney wrote the letter, not the OP. Sure, they SHOULD have checked up front before booking the reservation, but if the letter doesn’t have that restriction, then that’s Disney’s responsibility.

      Look, if a restaurant offers me a 50% coupon because we had a horrible meal, do I really expect to have to tell them I’m using it up front? I would just plop it down when the bill comes, not tell them before I order.

    3. I’ve only been on one cruise so I don’t know much about the policies as to when a cruise can give your room away but I can assure you I’d have raised a ruckus until I got a refund before I ever accepted an inside room if I had paid for a balcony stateroom. There is something very fishy about how complacent this person is about accepting a $200 shipboard credit and the promise of the cruise directors “taking care of it” as compensation.

      1. She claims they “just made it onboard” – wonder if they were past the checkin time, but the ship still allowed them to board, but the cabin had already been re-assigned. You ARE required to be there at least a half-hour before sailing, NOT when they are closing the doors.

  2. What exactly does the 50 percent off letter say? Are there specific instructions on how to redeem the offer?

    If Disney put an offer in writing I would expect them to honor it, even if it was written by an absent-minded employee.

    If the offer can’t be used on this particular booking, for one reason or another, I would expect Disney to give Ms. Masse a clear explanation as to why. If she hasn’t gotten a clear explanation that is consistent with what’s disclosed in her offer letter, then absolutely, please ask DCL for a response.

  3. Why in the world would you think you could book your cruise THEN call the company and demand a 50% credit? Wouldn’t you contact the person who offered you the discount (or CS) and then let them book it with the applied discount?
    I think you should take this case assuming the LW has proof of the 50% offer. In that case the LW needs to book the cruise directly with Disney to get the discount BEFORE they pay.

    1. I can see how this would happen but I agree that I wouldn’t want my CC billed first with the higher rate. I’d prefer to avoid having to pay and then get my money back.

      That being said, it may have been natural to book the cruise with a travel agent and then call Disney to finish up and apply discounts. Not a good practice, but not unreasonable.

      1. NO – I am a travel agent, and if my client gets a discount offer, I have to call FIRST to book, to ensure they are not in violation of any terms or restrictions.

  4. If the offer letter is legitimate, Disney should honor it. If it cannot be applied retroactively, cancel the current reservation without penalty as promised, and rebook with the discount. If Disney does not honor their own written offer at that time, then I hope Elliott will get involved!

    1. Agreed. Whether the OP tried to apply the discount “retroactively” is moot. The question is why is Disney not honoring the letter?

      1. Because it is obviously not their letter. I have seen many such letters, and the language is all wrong, and the usual terms & conditions/restrictions are NOT disclosed, as they are normally.

  5. I’m not sure I see the difficulty. Why not simply call Disney and get clarification on what the 50% off is and how to apply it. Disney is willing to cancel the current cruise without penalties, a do-over if you will since retroactive discounts seem problematic for them. This seems like is should be easy for the LW to solve.

        1. Didn’t want to tip their hand, they know they have a case, bringing in a hired gun improves the probability of an advantageous outcome.

  6. To me it seems impossible to give a meaningful response without reading all of the relevant text concerning the “offer,” including the context in which it was written. Certainly something is amiss because the letter states “50 percent” and Disney has not addressed “50 percent,” but without more I cannot intelligently opine. (Although it has been suggested to just “call Disney” and ask what was meant, that seems awfully close to allowing Disney to re-write its settlement agreement . . . it seems like “settler’s remorse” could come into play with that.)

    1. Disney isn’t budging on giving the 50% on the LW’s cruise. If you ask what Disney position is, you can either accept or reject it. If you like it, then you can hold Disney to a specific position. If you reject it, then you know what you have to argue. Basically, the LW needs information in order to properly proceed.

  7. Did they book and then wait for the cancellation penalty peroid to attempt to get the discount? Or did they book during the cancellation penalty peroid? Why did they pay and then ask to have the discount applied?

    I think those questions are important before deciding to mediate.

  8. Of course you should mediate. She already got screwed on the first cruise. Does she need to wait for a third cruise to get the 50% off discount? I also think it is quite insulting to imply the 50% off is for anything else but the cost of the cruise (fare). I hope they don’t weasel their way out of this one.

    1. Given that we haven’t really seen the full offer in context, I am not quite sure I can agree that the “50 percent” reference must be related to a discount off of a future booking, or if it relates to something else. It may, it may not. By itself, I think you’re likely correct that a reference to “50 percent” would be perceived by a reasonable person to be a discount on a subsequent voyage. But I also think the devil is in the details, details I have not seen.

      1. Sometimes (or now more often) Elliott needs to mediate just to know what really happened. I tend to agree with this trend now because many consumers might not be aware of their rights and travel suppliers take advantage of them.
        Of course the reverse can also happen. People can come here and lie.

  9. Is the offer letter real? Thats more first question. On the background of the offer an inside cabin when you had a balcony is worth a a 50% discount thats almost the difference of 2 separate cruises (assuming inside cabins). If the offer requires a seven day cruise what else but another cruise could it be “Another cruise…at 50%” that’s a cruise.

    You need to mediate this if for no other reason to find out the why. Really, this is Disney the money is nothing to them, and the LW has an offer in writing.

    If mediation fails, I’d recommend the LW take it to small claims court, $4,882 (or 50% of that) is certainly within the jurisdiction of most courts, and Disney will just settle rather then look like chumps.

  10. A $200 credit and an apology is less than the least Disney could do to make up for a downgrade from a balcony stateroom to an inside stateroom. If they offered her a 50% discount on her next cruise and won’t honor that, please get involved, even if it’s only to get more details about Disney’s offer as others have suggested.

  11. Well, if she really did suffer from a completely lost reservation and a cabin downgrade, she should have received a lot more at the time than a small OBC. We are talking being due hundreds in refunds here… I wonder if a crooked travel agent absconded with the final payment, and that’s why the reservation disappeared.

    If she has the letter, and it looks legit, then I’d say its pretty straightforward to mediate. 50% off is generous, but not outlandish, especially if she never received cash for the downgrade.

  12. I think you should mediate why she only received a $200 OBC for a downgrade to her cabin on the first cruise. Something doesn’t sound right here.

  13. If it was me, I should have canceled the upcoming trip as soon as I had received the offer with no penalties.

    After having the money in my account, I’ll try to re-book the trip with the discount letter, to only later involve Chris if Disney refuses to honor the discount.

    Note the reply:

    Please know that we are unable to provide any discounts towards your upcoming reservation.

    I understand they cannot do it because she already have paid. For a fresh one, how knows?

  14. This is interesting. Since Disney is allowing the OP to cancel her res, “no harm no foul” then what is stopping her from REBOOKING her cruise, now utilizing the 50% credit properly (perhaps when actually making her res)? Seems to me like this 50% credit might not have been off the price of a future cruise, but perhaps off the cost of an upgraded cabin? I think step #1 is: Let’s have a look at that offer letter!

    Or perhaps the 50% was off the FULL fare of a future cruise, and she is attempting to apply the 50% to a deeply discounted cruise? No way to know until we know the terms of the 50% offer.

    1. I thought about this as well on the “some limitations apply” caveat. Many people try to wait for promotions before booking a cruise so Disney may not want a double dip.

      But we still don’t know the details.

  15. If it’s in writing from Disney, they made the offer. They should honor it. If they didn’t make the offer, they shouldn’t honor it. Shouldn’t that be it?

  16. Something isn’t right here and I’m not sure what it is…

    Every company has bad days and days that the proverbial wheels fall off but this is such a comedy of errors I wonder what else is there. Especially since you asked her for a copy of the correspondence and she sends you the rejection letter but not the offer letter or anything else…

    Beyond that, the price difference between a balcony cabin and an inside cabin is much, much greater than a $200 OBC. This is a case where the LW deserves a cash refund for the difference and the $200 OBC. Disney never offered that and the LW seemed ok to leave the ship without it. Next you have an offer that looks suspicious on its face.

    I’m not sure if for the first time that I can remember, Disney, a company known for its customer service and recovery (like driving the LW to the ship when the bus no showed), completely and totally screwed up an interaction on multiple occasions or there’s something the LW isn’t telling us.

    I’m inclined to have you check this out, after getting a release from the LW that Disney can tell you everything, just to give the mouse a chance to defend itself.

  17. I voted no. She got what she needed: cancellation without penalties. Now what she needs to do is to have Disney clarify “some restrictions” applied to this offer before booking and rebook with the discount. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

  18. I voted Yes, tentatively, if that’s possible. I would ask the lady produce the offer letter in question, since when you requested correspondence and the paper trail she failed to provide it. If she can do that, then I wholeheartedly believe you should accept her case and mediate, because in lieu of the 50% discount and $500 cruise credit, the suggestion that $200 of on-board credit is sufficient for a room downgrade from a private balcony to an inside cabin is laughable. I suggest she accepts the offer to cancel the payment now and get her money back while she can, and then press Disney to honor the terms of the discount and cruise credit, providing she can produce the full discount paper trail.

  19. I would be livid if I only got a $200 discount after I booked a certain room that costs way more.

    BUT, on the other hand, I’ve never bought something THEN asked for the promised discount. It’s always done at the time of purchase – the logistics of getting the refund alone would make me question why she would try to do it after the fact. Had she contacted the company prior to booking and paying, a lot of this would have been sorted out.

  20. Wow..This appears indicative of the huge slump in cruise revenue..due to a down economy. It’s true that you can now get 80% off other cruises these days…but Disney is very used to getting the big revenue..and they certainly charge way over what is fair. You’ll be seeing more and more cruise lines shrink…and Disney as well. We are going into a bit of a dark ages time worldwide due to many factors…monetary changes, govt. changes or the end of some govts….lots of changes…

    1. You are correct about the slump in cruise revenue per passenger. From a US point of view, part of it is due to the growing gap in wealth between the rich and poor and the shrinking of the American middle class. However, I believe that the problem is also one of the cruise lines’ own making. Current lending rates are very low and that phenomenon has made it possible for many new mega cruise ships to be built at low overall cost. The banks aren’t lending large sums of money to small and medium size businesses because of risk, but they have no problem lending to publicly held companies that already own many large ships. The opportunity to build more ships now at the lowest possible cost is tempting to cruise line executives. Almost all of the new ships being built carry 3000+ passengers and are replacing ships with smaller capacity. With this glut of available cabins, the cruise lines are now offering prices and onboard credits that were unheard of in the past. As even more new ships come into service, I predict that fares will decrease even further. The need to have the newest and largest ships may be good for short term earnings of companies like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Princess, Disney, etc. In the long run, this glut of ships and cabins may bring about the demise of some of them and create unemployment among current, shortsighted cruise line executives.

      1. Disney only has four ships, though, so they have pretty good occupancy on their cruises. Go to CruiseFish (dot net) and look at the current prices for 2015 Alaska on the Wonder, or 2015 Norway / N Europe on the Magic.

  21. My problem is she booked before applying the discount. ALL discounts must be presented before purchase, wether a cruise, hotel voucher, buying clothes, restaurants– i can’t think of a single company that would allow after a purchase. Disney is fair in returning monies with no penalties, others would be stuck.

  22. If I booked a Business Class seat on an overseas flight, was told at the airport that there wasn’t a seat available for me, had to sit in economy class for the long flight and wasn’t offered compensation for being downgraded, I would be very unhappy. If I contacted the airline and they sent me an offer in writing for a 50% discount on my next flight, I might consider that to be adequate compensation. However, if I attempted to use that discount and they wouldn’t honor it, I would take them to court to collect the difference between my original business class fare and coach fare and vow never to fly on that airline again. Disney, in lieu of honoring their promised discount, has offered a full refund of the ticket that she recently purchase. She should take the money and run to the nearest cruise travel agent who can book her on another cruise line that offers a comparable itinerary and comparable amenities. If Disney will not honor a promise made in writing, they don’t deserve her money. She should also be checking out the procedures for filing suit in small claims court in the jurisdiction where she resides.

    1. She may not have booked the cruise according the rules of obtaining the discount. That is a missing detail. Rarely, if ever, do you get a discount after a reservation is made. It usually has to be done at the time of initial booking.

  23. I think you should get involved just to have an objective 3rd party get both sides of the story. There is something in the wording of “and had booked for transportation to bring us to Port Canaveral” that makes me think they did not book Disney transportation, but a 3rd party. If that is true, then the late transportation issue is not Disney’s fault. It was a minor point anyway and the downgrade is more the issue and is worth understanding the vendors side before moving foward.

  24. I voted no. Let’s pick apart the story.

    The LW stated they were staying at the Grand Floridian and booked transportation to take them to the port, and the transportation never showed so the resort provided transportation instead. Was this DCL transportation? I find it highly unlikely that the transportation was a no-show since Disney regularly runs buses between the resorts and the port. Now you can MISS your bus. Did that happen, perhaps?

    “We just made it on board.” That says to me perhaps they were planning to take Disney transportation and missed their time. Disney buses arrive at the port well after noon, while the earliest passengers arrive around 10:30 am and start boarding noon-ish. Boarding usually closes around 3:30.

    “Our reservation could not be located.” Were the passengers carrying their cruise documents? Disney is one of the few remaining cruise lines to mail physical documents. They are nice spiral-bound books with your reservation numbers, luggage tags, any excursions and onboard reservations listed, and a copy of the cruise contract. If the pax had their cruise documents, DCL would have had all the information right there, including the reservation number and cabin number, to locate the reservation. Now here is one possibility: since they arrived so late, the cruise line marked them as a no-show and upgraded someone from a lower cabin into their balcony cabin. (DCL passengers commonly do at-port upgrades for pennies on the dollar, you can get a great deal on remaining suites this way.)

    A $200 OBC does not come close to covering the difference in price between an inside cabin and a balcony cabin on DCL, but they may have been going by the current sail-day rate vs. what the cabin was booked at. If you book far enough ahead on DCL you will typically pay a lot less than those who book closer in, depending on what time of the year you’re sailing.

    Sounds like the cruise itself went fine ….

    Now they want to use their discount for a future cruise. It sounds like they booked online and want to apply the discount retroactively. That’s not how you typically work one of these letters. You find the cruise you would like to take, and then you call in and ask to book it with your discount.

    How long was it between when they booked (assuming online) and when they tried to get DCL to honor the discount? Immediately, or did they wait days, weeks, months? Did they let the discount offer expire? Were there any terms & conditions attached to the letter such as blackout dates, and did the new cruise violate that t&c?

    There are a lot of unanswered questions if you go forward with mediating this issue.
    Maybe I fall more toward the mediation side now, but I feel the LW needs to provide a lot of supporting documentation and be honest with their facts.

    1. I agree, there is too much up in the air. I am still debating about whether this should be mediated. On a previous cruise, I received a discount letter from Disney. It was tied to that reservation. In order to utilize the discount, a special number was given on the letter and my TA called it when booking the cruise. There were limitations on the discount, no holiday cruises, only certain length cruises/stays at Disney World, etc. We were pretty lucky as we were able to use the discount on a suite, but the TA said this was pretty rare and I think it was because it was not specifically excluded in the letter provided to us.
      I think I would take the refund, then call and book. The way the statement read from Disney about being able to honor that discount on the upcoming cruise may mean that they either booked outside a cabin class allowed or maybe it is for a holiday cruise, so there may be an underlying issue with trying to use the discount.

  25. There it was, in black and white. A promise from none other than Disney.

    Have you seen it? Can it be printed with identifying information redacted?

    It’s really hard to judge, based on incomplete information.

    1. This. It seems that in the past few months, more and more important information is being withheld, obfuscated, or left unspoken in order to make the stories more tantalizing and to generate more discussion. Perhaps it’s working 😉 On the other hand, perhaps the OPs are the ones leaving out the salient details.

      1. It’s a necessary evil of the Monday column. It’s a cute idea to have us help make the call but we need information to do that, yet he wants to avoid wasting effort if the case gets rejected.

        My assumption is that he reserves Mondays for the iffier sounding cases where it seems like lots of info is either missing completely or possibly been left out on purpose.

        1. Well, information like “I [saw/did not see] the letter from Disney” would be really helpful. Many of the questions here are clarifying exactly what Christopher knows and what he doesn’t. We need to understand the “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” 🙂

    2. I agree…Chris put the rejection letter in the letter but not offer letter. The offer letter is the key piece of information in this case. Without it, how can a person judge fairly!?!

  26. I think she should take the offer of a refund. Start from the beginning again and with letter in hand, call and try to rebook it WITH the discount. If she fails, at least she already has her money back. If she keeps trying while they already have her money, she may end up at a point where they won’t even offer her a full refund anymore.

  27. I would dearly love it if, when Chris does decide to mediate based on a poll, if he would update us as the results of a mediation. We speculate like crazy without all of the facts. I want to see how those speculations match up to the discovered facts of the case.

    1. We are getting to the point where mediation is necessary to produce the facts and not to discuss their merits.
      However, despite all the noise in this case, there really is not justification for Disney downgrading them to a much lousier cabin, if indeed that really happened. That alone would be justification on my book for Disney to bend some of its own rules to make this customer whole. I think that is Walt would do but as you know it is no longer up to Walt.

      1. Thaw him out and ask him. 😀

        I figure we’re going to discuss the merits, might as well know if our armchair quarterbacking is correct or not.

    2. I agree…we never get the follow-up details and etc.

      I would like Chris to have a page on his site where he could put the ‘Victories’ (the LW received the compensation that they wanted), ‘Defeats’ (the facts were true but the company refused to give the LW their desired compensation) and “Busted” (where the facts were not fully disclosed or the facts were misstated by the LW).

      1. Me too. Did you see the update? Disney claims that the letter is fraudulent. I think it would be a service to the readers of Elliott to post the letter, since I didn’t find anything during a quick search for Disney cruise scams about 50% off letters, but did find employment letter scams.

        1. Well now I want MORE information! The letter was fraudulent but the OP should “take it up with Law Enforcement” so … did Ms. Masse forge the letter or … So.Confused

          1. Most liberal interpretation of what meager facts were presented: Ms. Masse had a poor experience with Disney, came home and found this letter in her mail and thought that Disney was trying to make it up to her on her next cruise, which maybe she had already booked and she figured she could get Disney to apply the credit retroactively?

            On the bright side, we didn’t see a letter from Ms. Masse saying, “I got this letter from Disney saying they were giving me 50% off, so I called and gave them my credit card number, and it turns out this was a scam and now my credit is ruined.”

          2. Or she decided after she booked the next cruise to photoshop a fake letter with this “50 percent” offer and claim it came from Disney. Judging from the typos and grammatical errors, I wouldn’t be too suprised.

          3. @monicalynnkennedy:disqus says that a similar letter has been discussed on DISboards, so I’m going to go with coincidence in receiving a scam letter, rather than deliberate forgery. Just going to take the “nice” road tonight.

          4. My cynicism is high right now due to a few other things today. I apologize to the OP if I’m maligning her unjustly.

  28. As I am reading this, the LW booked a cruise, put money on the cruse and then is asking for the discount to be applied? Is this correct? Normally, in these letters, they will tell you how to book this to obtain the discount and it was be done at the time of the reservation and can’t be applied after the fact. There are usually other details, such as dates the discount may or may not be used on, possibly type of cabin or if it applies to 3rd and 4th passengers, etc. What else was in this letter than isn’t being shared?

  29. It’s odd to me that she invoked the 50% discount letter only after paying the full price.
    To me, it likes she knew in advance it wouldn’t work and try to invoke after the fact, maybe it work, so fine, may be it won’t work, no big deal.
    I wouldn’t make payment if my discount doesn’t applied.
    That’s the way everybody ask before deciding to buy.

  30. something just doesn’t add up here. no real paper trail and booking a cruise and then wanting the discount are problematic to me. Most people who were offered a discount or credit would bring that up while booking, to make sure that there weren’t exclusions.

  31. having been on one cruise (never again), I can say that the only redeeming factor was having a balcony. And we paid for that balcony. and if someone took it away to give us $200 to spend on more food, booze, etc I would not be pleased. all of that said, someone sent a letter to her making some excessive promises….and there should be some accountability there.

  32. 50% off much like free bumped airline tickets have extremely limited availability. I see “I am sorry” letters weekley from cruise lines and airlines. They are basically available on the most off dates – around hurrican season, when school is in, when nobody else wants to sail. I have never had one of my clients bumped from their cabin. This is the strangest thing of all. Disney Travel has the most exact details in the industry for tansportation, hotel transfers, and cabin assignment. They counld not find the reservation? Impossible, their documents are exact! Chris, you are missing a whole lot of information before you go jumping into this one. I would want to see the confirmation before anything else.

  33. Wait, they downgraded her cabin class and only offered her $200? Seriously?

    The transportation issue isn’t an issue. Should not even be discussed.

    I’d like to see the letter. Something is sketchy here.

  34. I would like to see more evidence. I’m not seeing any documents that support her claim of a stateroom with a veranda and I have not seen the offer letter. So asking to vote on merely your statement is unfair. You’re a Journalist and consumer advocate, where’s your research?

  35. Exactly how does a fraudulent letter get sent from a Disney email account, and why would it be the OP who should contact law enforcement. If someone is illegally using Disney email accounts, that’s a matter for the Mouse. And agreed with the others, $200 bucks to say your sorry is peanuts. That could be eaten up with one shore excursion. If she had been staying at the Grand Floridian, she had already shelled out a lot of money to Disney and it should have done right by her. That alone warrants a mediation.But it’s also poor business judgment on Disney’s part. If they did right by her, it’s likely she’d book future cruises with them or recommend one to others. That generates money. A refund does the opposite. If a mistake was made, suck it up and honor the deal.

  36. There is no way that letter is from Disney. REALLY any 7 night cruise! Over the holidays too? Don’t think so. Presentation of this letter is required upon arrive? What does that mean? When she boards the ship? The cruise is paid for upon arrival. That’s not how Disney works.

  37. Wait, out of the blue she ” just happened” to receive “a letter ” from Disney that was not very specific offering her %50 off her next cruise? Since when would Disney not be super specific about terms & conditions, etc.? She waited until after booking her trip to mention this so called letter? How does that not get mentioned while you are making the reservation? I don’t think it is Disney that needs investigating.

  38. In the future, I would recommend that she use the Disney Cruise Line website to confirm her reservation details, as well as check in online. She will be able to confirm all of her details, such as exact cabin number. Also, although I visit the Disney theme parks regularly, when I make a cruise reservation, I always use a knowledgeable travel agent; I find they can typically untangle any issues that might crop up.

  39. If you’re booking a cruise based on a discount, why would you not apply that discount when you booked the cruise? The fraudulent letter would then have been exposed. The fact that she wanted Disney to apply the discount retroactively makes me think there’s more to this story. We will indeed stay tuned.

  40. I voted to get involved and here is why. Looking at the letter, it specifically told her she had to call that DIsney number to book. Did she call the number and advise them of the letter? It appears not.

    I saw there is more to this story and you should get involved. I’d like to see if Ms. Young’s signature matches or if it matches someone elses handwriting, perhaps the LW.

    Where were the LW’s documents for the cruise? Didn’t she bring the booklet that Disney mails for their cruises and didn’t’ she do her online check in before the cruise? If she did both then I am not buying that Disney didn’t hold her cabin for her. And she is owed MUCH more than $200 for that downgrade. There is a much bigger price difference.

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