Retirees Bob McMaster and his wife, Adeline, twice rebooked their cancelled cruises using their Future Cruise Credit on Sea Princess and Pacific Princess – but Princess Cruises sold the ships.
Princess Cruises then claimed their Future Cruise Credit had expired, forcing them to spend months trying to get it reinstated.
“How can Princess Cruises say that my FCC has expired when they sold the ships and cancelled the cruises. It is through no fault of mine that I have not be able to use my FCC,” Mr McMaster from Brisbane told Cruise Passenger.
His problems began in February last year, when he and his wife, both 67, booked a cruise via Cruise1st on Diamond Princess which was cancelled. While Princess processed a full refund plus a 50 per cent FCC within days, he had to battle with Cruise1st and it took him 10 long months and the threat of legal action with CruiseFirst to finally get the full refund back.
“I had the money in my account within days. Not saying this will work for everyone, but may be worth a try,” he said.
They then booked a cruise on Sea Princess scheduled to depart in April this year.
When Princess sold the Sea Princess, the couple transferred all their FCC to another cruise, this time on Pacific Princess due to sail in March next year.
“This cruise also disappeared when Princess also sold the ship,” he said.
When they decided to roll all their FCC to book a 14-day New Zealand cruise on Coral Princess departing in February 2022, they found that not all their FCC showed up on their online account.
“I have been watching and waiting for the balance of our FCC to appear. When I chatted with Princess Cruises two weeks ago, I was told that the Diamond Princess FCC had expired.
“What? How can it expire when it had been used according to the terms and conditions. It was Princess which cancelled the cruise and then subsequently sold the two ships – Sea Princess and Pacific Princess,” said an incredulous Mr McMaster.
After much argument and emails, Princess reinstated $965 out of a total of $1509 of their FCC.
When he spoke to Cruise Passenger yesterday, he said: “We are still short of $544 and I have again contacted Princess and stated that this is not good enough as they should reinstate the full amount, as they in fact caused the FCC to expire – not us.”
But hours later, he called to say he had had a pleasant surprise. Princess Cruises has credited the FCC balance of $548.43 into their online Princess account.
So all’s well that ends well.
“But it is still a warning to other cruisers out there – watch what happens to your FCCs,” said a relieved Mr McMaster.
Despite the arduous process of getting their FCC reinstated, the McMasters “can’t wait for the ships to start cruising again.”
“We love cruising – we want to cruise as soon as possible. However, there are many people like us who may be unaware when their FCC will expire or have expired.,” he said.
Princess Cruises said that unused FCC have been extended until 31 December 2022.
“The case referred to was an outlier that was remedied and was certainly not part of a pattern,” said a spokesperson from Princess Cruises.
Princess has a rather complicated FCC policy depending on which cruise you have booked on and when it is due to sail. It appears that all FCC must be booked on cruises departing by 1 May 2022. Double check your cruise and the FCC terms and conditions as there are also multiple deadlines for when online forms need to be submitted. For more information, visit https://www.princess.com/plan/impacted-and-cancelled-cruises/