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Frank X. Prudent 11-22-2016 05:09 PM

While in London my travel agent forwarded to me the e-mail which she was sent by French America Line stating that the trip up the Red River in December which I had paid in full has been cancelled. They reported that during the second revenue trip there was a problem on board which ended up in two of the boat's decks flooding. The boat has been laid up since then and the required part for repairs has to be custom made. I have the option of cancelling and receive my full fare along with monies spent on air back. The other option which I did not take was to book on a cruise next year and get a one category upgrade and a $100.00 on board credit.

I am not at all satisfied with their offer, to say the least. I see some of the same sort of high handed management style that afflicted Majestic America Line, and I wonder if the fate of FAL will not mirror MAL! I spoke with a FAL rep today and asked for a phone call back from someone in authority, but I'm not holding my breath. In the mean time I hope that success will shortly come to FAL, but one certainly has one's doubts.

Bob Reynolds 11-22-2016 06:58 PM

Frank, I am curious as to what would have made you happy. Full refund on all you've paid, including air, or the new trip with upgrade and $100 credit seems quite fair to me. What am I missing?

Dan Owen 11-22-2016 09:50 PM

Now, I am interested in their term "flooding". Does this mean two lower decks were underwater and "flooded" or some water pipes or something broke on an upper deck and "flooded" two lower decks? Two months to fix a broken water pipe seems a bit much, but then I guess you have to figure making repairs to any type of water damage.

Frank X. Prudent 11-23-2016 11:56 AM

That's quite simple, Bob. French America Line, the operators of the LOUISIANE, made a promise to me that they would provide a luxury cruise at an agreed upon price. They collected my money and held it for a number of months. Now less than three weeks away from sailing they say they can't provide the cruise. During that time they earned interest on my money. I should receive some sort of compensation alone for that. If I cancelled at the current time for any reason whatsoever, including an event totally out of my hands, I would have lost the entire cruise fare which, I might add, is quite considerable. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander!

I fully understand that giving another cruise is probably out of the question with FAL, although the passengers that did not cancel their reservations on the AMERICAN QUEEN in 1996 when she was forced to remain at the Cincinnati Public Landing due to an Act of God were also given a free trip at a later time. FAL's failure to provide the cruise is not due to an Act of God!

A letter via U.S. mail, and not just an e-mail to my travel agent, from Chris Kyte or some other FAL honcho would be nice with a sincere apology and a $100.00 future cruise credit. I wouldn't use it, but it would go a long way to soften my feelings towards FAL. I was so greatly looking forward to this cruise. The LOUISIANE was to head up the Red River to Shreveport, Natchitoches, and Alexandria. These are all places where I have never been, so now I hope the DELTA QUEEN returns to the Red River sometime in the future.

For the company to give a one category upgrade and a $100.00 onboard credit to those souls whom decide to allow FAL to keep the fare paid and rebook is quite paltry. I doubt many will take them up on the offer. FAL's promise of more cruises to come should be weighed against what the company has promised to deliver and hasn't thus far.

One promise that was made in the very first printing of FAL's first brochure and on their website is their, "Integrity Pricing Policy" which clearly states that, "Our fares remain the same from the moment they are created until the moment the vessel sails." Despite that fact, after I had booked, FAL offered promotions to future customers such as free gratuities, $100.00 onboard credits, and a one category stateroom upgrade when, I imagine, it appeared bookings were soft. (Which in certain cases could be as high as $1600.00 per stateroom.) If I had cancelled at that time, FAL would have assessed me a $600.00 cancellation fee. So now they just cancelled my trip and say we'll give your money back. Which, by the way, when I called their office yesterday the reservationist said she has no idea when the refund will be made. Do you still think that it's fair. I don't!

Bob Reynolds 11-23-2016 12:19 PM

Thank you for the explanation, Frank. I now understand your anger.

Frank X. Prudent 11-23-2016 10:51 PM

I wouldn't call it anger. It's more like frustration and being ripped off!

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