Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Key Cuises and Tours of Bucks County: Key Mis-Information About Seabourn and Its Cheap and Unwarranted Shot at Goldring Travel

Protecting the Integrity of Goldring Travel


So I am sitting here waiting for my chicken to finish marinating before hitting the barbecue and I receive a note that a travel agency (Key Cruises and Tours of Bucks County, Pennsylvania) was trying to take a cheap (and grossly inaccurate) shot at Goldring Travel.  (BTW, I have never met this agency and have never had - to my knowledge- a client that has moved to Goldring Travel from them, so I don't know why the "shot across my bow".)

So I took a look at the article entitled "So What's Wrong With Seabourn Cruises?" The article starts out, "An independent luxury travel agency owner in New Jersey continually takes shots at Regent Seven Seas Cruises on his blog and, to a lesser degree, other cruise lines that are NOT Seabourn.  While any travel agent is entitled to his or her opinion, why doesn't this agent blog about the recent issues on Seabourn Cruise Line? Two particular incidents occurred on Seabourn Cruises that were not addresssed on that agent’s cruise blog, but have been well documented: "Getting kicked off the ship" and "Getting soaked on the ship"

OK, Marcy and Jeff Silverman of Key Cruises and Tours (see, I will use your name), let me explain not only why you are lousy travel agents, but why people should not rely upon Key Traveler or Key Cruises and Tours when planning their vacations.  I mean if you are going to stick your neck out, you better be ready to have it chopped off, right?

First, why make it personal?  If you have an issue with Seabourn, keep me out of it.  But if you are taking a shot at me, at least of the class and integrity to use my name.  (And, why go after another travel agency in the first place?  Is it just that you need some publicity?)

Second, why drag up two (inaccurately) reported incidents as if those two isolated incidents  - of the thousands and thousands of Seabourn cruises where guests have their expectations far exceeded - should weigh on a client's decision of which line to cruise on. 

While perfection is a goal, not a possibility, it is not ironic that just today an AvidCruiser site posted an article:  A Close Call and Seabourn Sojourn’s Crew is Up to the Challenge about how Seabourn sent staff to the airport to meet two passengers that decided to fly in the day of the cruise (always a big risk) whose flight was delayed 6 hours and were going to miss the ship.  That is pretty consistent with what I regularly report.  In fact, I just wrote the other day about some very recent extremely satisfied Seabourn guests.  Check it out.

So, with the table set, let's talk about what Marcy and Jeff Silverman of Key Cruises and Tours have spouted...and what the truth is. 
  • The Muster Disembarkation:  Seabourn did disembark an elderly couple after the woman refused to attend the post-Costa Concordia muster.  She was not ill; she merely later claimed she was not feeling well.  What isn't mentioned is that she double-locked the suite door and refused to let the Seabourn officers (not just the staff) into her suite.  It was not about missing the muster drill (and her conduct was not that of an ill woman, is it?).  She was disembarked for arrogantly and intentionally refusing to cooperate or obey the Captain and officers of the ship.

    • BTW, I was involved with a heavy smoker Seabourn guest who, years ago, repeatedly refused to keep her suite door closed (so smoke would waft into the hallway disturbing other guests).  She was required to sign a contract acknowledging that if she did not obey the ship about keeping her suite door closed she would be disembarked at the next port.  She signed it and still sails with Seabourn today. Would you prefer Seabourn allow such conduct which may risk the safety and/or comfort of the other guests?

  • The Weathered Cruise:  A guest complained to Seabourn about some missed ports and wet carpets/a plumbing problem on a cruise late last year.  (A person who was on the cruise posted on The Gold Standard Forum and you can read about the ordeal the ship and guests went through.)  While there is no question that compensation was due (and I will not debate if $4,000 in future cruise credits was sufficient or not), a cruise line is not required to compensate anyone for missed ports...especially if due to severe storms.  Marcy and Jeff, why did you not mention this?  And why did you not mention that, possibly, with a good advocate (i.e. a truly qualified Travel Agent) this person's troubles could have been handled much more effectively and less emotionally.  Now, did Seabourn handle this properly?  I honestly don't know.  But what I do know is that it was an extraordinary situation and - as you will read on The Gold Standard Forum - it was not as if the entire ship felt Seabourn mishandled the situation...just this one person. 
    • Perfect?  Possibly not. 
    • Worth Goldring Travel writing about?  Not really.
So, now that you have read about the two isolated complained of incidents and you have read about the numerous good incidents, let's have Jeff and Marcy respond.  They can have space here or they can post on The Gold Standard Forum if they like.

But, more importantly, wouldn't you rather use a travel agent that is more focused on making sure you have accurate information then dredging up old mis-information and taking cheap shots at another travel agency?  I thought so. 

I want you to truly understand the difference.  So bring me your Key Cruises and Tours recommendation and pricing.  I will, for no cost or obligation, let you know what I think of Marcy and Jeff's travel plan and pricing.  That does not mean I want to steal their business.  (Heck if they did it right I will let you know.)  It means that I take my reputation very seriously and will take on any travel agency that engages in such practices.

At Goldring Travel we want to earn your business for life...by doing right for you each and every time.