PLEASE NOTE: BUYER BEWARE! by using a "Cruise Line Official Travel Agency" to book your cruise be aware that CLIA (Cruise Line Association) affiliated travel agencies, are NOT required to have the travel agency fiduciary duty to their customers—clearly stated this means that if you book through such a travel agency you HAVE agreed to the agency "disclosure" that I will paraphrase: "It should be understood this agency is just a facilitator for transfer of customer funds to the cruise lines." This means that when customers of cruise line agencies are booking a cruise with a CLIA affiliated travel agency, if any problems arise while on board the ship they are sailing the ocean in a canoe without a paddle.
When you use a travel agency that sells travel products in addition to cruises they may also be CLIA affiliated agencies, it is ALSO buyer beware! WHEN BOOKING A CRUISE—though, if you use the same travel agency to arrange other travel products, such as airline tickets, hotels, and tour products, they are travel industry association members of ASTA and IATA—these associations require their agency members to demonstrate a fiduciary duty when booking travel products—if something goes wrong the travel agency is responsible for offering whatever maybe necessary to correct the wrong. When a resolution is NOT forthcoming from the travel agency then IATA and ASTA are the ones to contact with notice that one of their appointed travel agencies has been negligent of the fiduciary duty. ASK FOR AN INVESTIGATION AS TO WHETHER THE AGENCY LICENSE SHOULD BE REVOKED.
It is my experience that Cunard Lines has a disdain for Americans who rely on the terms of a Cunard Line storage contract: a promise of "insurance cover" for storage of luggage at the Cunard Southampton UK storage facility for the sum of $65 for a period of not more than 30 days, which the ship's Purser offers transatlantic passengers needing storage while traveling elsewhere before return to the ship.
The Cunard storage contract with me was entered into while en route to Southampton UK., but as an American, I have sadly discovered that Cunard is no longer a venerable and respected ship line. And I cannot resolve the issue directly with Cunard due to the fact that Princess Cruises dba Cunard is located in Santa Clarita CA.and Princess Cruises Claims Department dba Cunard is also dba Carnival Cruise Lines.
In my case, "Princess Cruise Lines" dba for Cunard dba Carnival Cruises Line Claims Department refuses to acknowledge the Cunard Line storage contract. The Princess Cruises dba Cunard dba Carnival Cruise Line Claims Department cites the "Passage Contract" (I have warned about this document in my previous blogs which every major cruise line passenger must approve when they pay for their cruise but in the Cunard dba Carnival Cruises Lines "Passage Contract" there is no "I accept" or "I decline")—the Cunard Line "Passage Contract" refers to 1979 Athens Convention (which the US Congress never signed) in #14: "You agree that Carrier's liability for loss or damage to baggage or personal property is limited to U.S. $250 per guest..."
The Princess Cruises DBA Cunard dba Carnival Cruise Line Claims Department in Santa Clarita, CA. refuses to recognize the Cunard Line storage contract. BUT, if I was a citizen of the UK, Cunard Line would be responsible for my loss. And it is clear that Cunard dba Carnival Cruise Line Passage Contract which cites "1979 Athens Convention" definition for loss of luggage IS NOT the Cunard Line "storage contract" wherein a sum of money was paid for "storage with insurance cover."
It's BUYER BEWARE!! for Americans booking any Cunard cruise. This ship line maintains its main office in Southampton UK and Americans must use Princess Cruises dba Cunard dba Carnival Cruise lines Claims Department in Santa Clarita CA if any problems arise, WHICH includes death, injury and any other issue that may threaten a passenger while on board.
To date my problem remains unresolved: the "Official Cruise Line Agency" Direct Line Cruises (located at Hauppauge, L.I. in New York state) who booked my back to back transatlantic cruises SAY they aren't responsible for the contract made with Cunard and THEY cite the "Disclosure Notice" (see above paragraph one). The Cunard Line refuses to accept liability for my luggage lost at Cunard Storage Southampton UK because I am not a citizen of the UK. The Princess Cruises dba Cunard dba Carnival Cruise Line Claim Dept. didn't bother to reply to my October 31st, 2013 $6900 itemized claim for loss of my luggage; on Jan. 2nd they sent me a check for $100 (which I returned) with no letter or explanation, and it took until Feburary 2014 (6 months) for me to find out that my luggage was deemed lost within 10 days after it was first reported on Oct. 8, 2013.
In my next blog I will tell you what resolution steps I have taken that involves the State of New York, and what I have done to inform the Better Business Bureau of a "buyer beware" re Direct Line Cruises; if you look for Direct Line Cruises on the Internet, you will see the travel agency website, and the BBB notice of 3 complaints, 2 (which includes mine) which are service oriented and remain unresolved. FYI: "service" when referring to a travel agency is synonymous with fiduciary duty.