How to get help for a “horrible, frightening and costly” cruise

To say Richard Zitser had a bad cruise might be something of an understatement. And to suggest there’s a quick fix, or any fix, might be untrue. Read more “How to get help for a “horrible, frightening and costly” cruise”

Can Oceania keep our airfare refund?

When Brian Dean’s wife falls ill before their South Pacific cruise, they don’t expect to lose their airfare. But now their cruise line wants to pocket their refund. Can it do that?
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Tipping lies cruise lines like to tell

eAlisa / Shutterstock.com
eAlisa / Shutterstock.com

If you thought tipping was out of control in the United States, try heading out to sea.

That’s where Jane Greene discovered the tipping economy isn’t just alive and well, it apparently sustains the crew of major cruise ships. That’s a particularly interesting revelation in light of the U.S. government’s plans to regulate the cruise industry.

“Prior to our most recent cruise, we always tipped generously — above and beyond what was recommended for individuals who showed extra initiative,” says Greene, an author from Pensacola, Fla.

But on her latest cruise on Oceania, she found a surprise charge on her final bill: it included a hefty, and automatic, tip for the crew.

Oceania’s tipping policy is spelled out in its frequently-asked questions section: For guests occupying staterooms, gratuities of $14.50 per guest, per day, will be added to the final bill. Plus, an 18 percent service gratuity is automatically added to all beverage purchases, spa services and dinner at its signature restaurant, La Reserve, it says.
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Their luggage went missing, but does anyone know why?

By all accounts, Maddy and Phil Handler liked their October cruise on the Riviera, one of the new mid-size ships in Oceania’s fleet. There was just the matter of the Handler’s luggage — and reams of correspondence between the couple and a vice president at the cruise line, bickering about what happened to it.

The cruise line claims another passenger inadvertently took the Handler’s suitcase and that it tried to help them retrieve it. But these passengers are unhappy with the way in which their claim has been handled, and they want answers about their missing luggage. They want me to step in and get a clear explanation from Oceania.
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My cruise line left me stranded in Naples — is this voucher the best they can do?

Judith Abramson’s western Mediterranean cruise on the Oceania Marina last April did not end well. After a sudden illness, the ship’s doctor decided she needed to go to the hospital, and she was unceremoniously disembarked in Naples, Italy, under less than ideal circumstances, she says.
Read more “My cruise line left me stranded in Naples — is this voucher the best they can do?”