Assigned cabin too small

This item appears on page 26 of the March 2011 issue.
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My wife, Shirley, and I have been vacationing in Norway for many years. We have friends in the Lofoten Islands and stay with them or in a rental owned by their son.

Getting to the Lofotens is possible by car, ship or, via multiple in-country flights, plane. Since we love to travel there by ship, we most often use the Hurtigruten system and have done so at least 19 times. We have never had a problem with Hurtigruten personnel or, until recently, the ships’ accommodations.

Many travelers do not know it, but, in addition to offering round-trip and one-way cruises (including full board) along Norway’s coast, Hurtigruten ships can be booked for passage only (excluding meals) between specific points.

In January 2010 we called Hurtigruten’s New York office and booked a passage-only trip northbound from Bergen to Svolvaer for Sept. 24-27; eight days after arriving in Svolvaer, we would catch the ship on its return from Kirkenes to Bergen. On both sailings we booked cabin level P.

The trip northbound on the Kong Harald was perfect. The many stops the Hurtigruten ships make are always interesting; time is available for walking in each port city. (Guided shore excursions are available. — Editor)

Unfortunately, upon boarding the Richard With for the southbound part of our trip, Oct. 5-8, we found that we had been given a very small, J-category cabin instead of a P-category cabin. (On board the ship, I found an older copy of the ship’s layout and it clearly showed cabin 611 as a J-category cabin. They had changed the designation of that cabin from J2 to P2, as we later saw in the 2010 brochure. P-category cabins generally are three feet longer in size.)

I pointed this out to the hotel manager and he insisted that we were in a P-category cabin, 611-P, on the sixth level of the ship. I was told there were no other P-category cabins available.

(For all of our trips with Hurtigruten, we had never been informed of the number of the cabin to which we were assigned until we got aboard the ship. We had never had a problem before, so I hadn’t worried about it.)

In cabin 611-P, our single, medium-sized suitcase would not fit in the storage closet, and there was no spare space in which to keep it in the cabin without falling over it, even with the lights on. With the suitcase in the closet, the closet’s door had to remain open, blocking our cabin’s exit door.

One of the things we were told was that, three levels below, there was a storage room for excess luggage. Unfortunately, that area was not locked, plus everything we needed while in our cabin was in our suitcase.

I asked again what could be done. A very nice lady advised me that the only larger cabin available was a Q-level cabin but that I would have to pay the difference in price. I agreed. She also said that if I wanted to be reimbursed the difference (as I suggested), I would have to contact the New York office.

As it worked out, since no larger cabin was available for all three nights of our trip, we had to change cabins three times in three days, staying in the small cabin the second night.

Upon our return, I contacted the New York office for a refund of the difference but got nowhere. For both of us, the cost of our northbound sailing was $666, and the cost of our southbound sailing originally was $624. These prices were with no food service and with a pensioner discount (we were over 67 years of age). For the larger cabin, southbound, the additional amount that we paid was $305, which seems excessive, as we had a larger cabin for only two nights.

In an e-mail I received on Nov. 8, a Hurtigruten representative wrote, “Hurtigruten in Norway has confirmed that you were allocated cabin 611, which is correctly designated as a P grade cabin. We do advise in our literature that standard cabins (categories U, P, N, J, L, A and I) differ mostly in location and size, which can also vary within the categories. We regret that there is therefore no refund due in this instance and would reiterate our regrets for your disappointment.”

I believe Hurtigruten should have made the larger cabin available to us as a courtesy and we should not have had to pay extra for it.

If we do choose to use Hurtigruten in the future, I will ask to get a cabin assignment before paying for it. Likewise, we would only book one of their newer ships, which have larger cabins (though still quite small).

ROBERT TEWS

Edgerton, WI

ITN mailed a copy of Mr. Tews’ e-mail to Hurtigruten ASA (8411 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Ste. 201, Sunrise, FL 33351), also e-mailing the company, and received the following e-mailed reply.

I am delighted to learn from Mr. Tews’ letter that he has been a frequent traveler on Hurtigurten and very much enjoys our unique product. I was, however, disappointed to learn that he did not enjoy his recent trip with us, as he was disappointed in the size of the cabin he was allocated and felt that it was not of the category that he booked.

We do clearly state in our brochure that cabins differ in size and location, and we do print a deck plan with all categories in our brochure and on our website.

Mr. Tews was using Hurtigruten as a transport provider between specific points (food not included), but customers on our cruise itineraries do have food provided and are allocated cabin numbers in advance.

I believe that the ship was very full and Mr. Tews was on the ship for only three nights, doing a small segment of our itinerary, and therefore we were unable to offer him an alternative cabin.

Whilst we cannot on this occasion offer Mr. Tews a refund, as he is a loyal customer I would request that for any future bookings he contact me so that I can ensure his bookings receive personal attention.

KATHRYN BEADLE, Managing Director, Hurtigruten, Ltd., 3 Shortlands, London W6 8NE, U.K.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My wife, Shirley, and I have been vacationing in Norway for many years. We have friends in the Lofoten Islands and stay with them or in a rental owned by their son.

Getting to the Lofotens is possible by car, ship or, via multiple in-country flights, plane. Since we love to travel there by ship, we most often use the Hurtigruten system and have done so at least 19 times. We have never had a problem with Hurtigruten personnel or, until recently, the ships’ accommodations.

Many travelers do not know it, but, in addition to offering round-trip and one-way cruises (including full board) along Norway’s coast, Hurtigruten ships can be booked for passage only (excluding meals) between specific points.

In January 2010 we called Hurtigruten’s New York office and booked a passage-only trip northbound from Bergen to Svolvaer for Sept. 24-27; eight days after arriving in Svolvaer, we would catch the ship on its return from Kirkenes to Bergen. On both sailings we booked cabin level P.

The trip northbound on the Kong Harald was perfect. The many stops the Hurtigruten ships make are always interesting; time is available for walking in each port city. (Guided shore excursions are available. — Editor)

Unfortunately, upon boarding the Richard With for the southbound part of our trip, Oct. 5-8, we found that we had been given a very small, J-category cabin instead of a P-category cabin. (On board the ship, I found an older copy of the ship’s layout and it clearly showed cabin 611 as a J-category cabin. They had changed the designation of that cabin from J2 to P2, as we later saw in the 2010 brochure. P-category cabins generally are three feet longer in size.)

I pointed this out to the hotel manager and he insisted that we were in a P-category cabin, 611-P, on the sixth level of the ship. I was told there were no other P-category cabins available.

(For all of our trips with Hurtigruten, we had never been informed of the number of the cabin to which we were assigned until we got aboard the ship. We had never had a problem before, so I hadn’t worried about it.)

In cabin 611-P, our single, medium-sized suitcase would not fit in the storage closet, and there was no spare space in which to keep it in the cabin without falling over it, even with the lights on. With the suitcase in the closet, the closet’s door had to remain open, blocking our cabin’s exit door.

One of the things we were told was that, three levels below, there was a storage room for excess luggage. Unfortunately, that area was not locked, plus everything we needed while in our cabin was in our suitcase.

I asked again what could be done. A very nice lady advised me that the only larger cabin available was a Q-level cabin but that I would have to pay the difference in price. I agreed. She also said that if I wanted to be reimbursed the difference (as I suggested), I would have to contact the New York office.

As it worked out, since no larger cabin was available for all three nights of our trip, we had to change cabins three times in three days, staying in the small cabin the second night.

Upon our return, I contacted the New York office for a refund of the difference but got nowhere. For both of us, the cost of our northbound sailing was $666, and the cost of our southbound sailing originally was $624. These prices were with no food service and with a pensioner discount (we were over 67 years of age). For the larger cabin, southbound, the additional amount that we paid was $305, which seems excessive, as we had a larger cabin for only two nights.

In an e-mail I received on Nov. 8, a Hurtigruten representative wrote, “Hurtigruten in Norway has confirmed that you were allocated cabin 611, which is correctly designated as a P grade cabin. We do advise in our literature that standard cabins (categories U, P, N, J, L, A and I) differ mostly in location and size, which can also vary within the categories. We regret that there is therefore no refund due in this instance and would reiterate our regrets for your disappointment.”

I believe Hurtigruten should have made the larger cabin available to us as a courtesy and we should not have had to pay extra for it.

If we do choose to use Hurtigruten in the future, I will ask to get a cabin assignment before paying for it. Likewise, we would only book one of their newer ships, which have larger cabins (though still quite small).

ROBERT TEWS

Edgerton, WI

ITN mailed a copy of Mr. Tews’ e-mail to Hurtigruten ASA (8411 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Ste. 201, Sunrise, FL 33351), also e-mailing the company, and received the following e-mailed reply.

I am delighted to learn from Mr. Tews’ letter that he has been a frequent traveler on Hurtigurten and very much enjoys our unique product. I was, however, disappointed to learn that he did not enjoy his recent trip with us, as he was disappointed in the size of the cabin he was allocated and felt that it was not of the category that he booked.

We do clearly state in our brochure that cabins differ in size and location, and we do print a deck plan with all categories in our brochure and on our website.

Mr. Tews was using Hurtigruten as a transport provider between specific points (food not included), but customers on our cruise itineraries do have food provided and are allocated cabin numbers in advance.

I believe that the ship was very full and Mr. Tews was on the ship for only three nights, doing a small segment of our itinerary, and therefore we were unable to offer him an alternative cabin.

Whilst we cannot on this occasion offer Mr. Tews a refund, as he is a loyal customer I would request that for any future bookings he contact me so that I can ensure his bookings receive personal attention.

KATHRYN BEADLE, Managing Director, Hurtigruten, Ltd., 3 Shortlands, London W6 8NE, U.K.