What was supposed to be a happy Alaskan getaway on a Celebrity Cruise ship turned into a tragedy for Consumerist reader Melissa when her father suffered a cardiac incident while on an excursion then passed away two days later in the hospital. Now Celebrity is telling Melissa that it discarded hundreds of dollars worth of clothing and other items that were left on the ship while she tended to her father.
After posting her story on CruiseCritic.com, Melissa wrote to Consumerist and shared some recordings of her subsequent calls to Celebrity customer service and lost and found.
According to Melissa, the ship packed up the items in her stateroom and arranged to have the luggage taken to the hospital in Anchorage. The problem is that there were several clothing items that she and her husband had given to the on-ship laundry service to have cleaned, along with three ulu knives that the group had purchased during their trip and had been checked in with the ship’s security.
These items were not with the luggage that was delivered to the hospital. Melissa says she talked to someone that first day they left the ship and had been reassured that the knives and the clothing would eventually be shipped.
But several weeks after returning home, the only thing that had been shipped was a single ulu knife. Adding insult to injury, it was the one cheap Chinese-made knockoff knife they had bought; the two genuine, significantly more expensive knives had gone missing.
Realizing there was a problem, she contacted Celebrity, where she was bounced around from person to person until eventually ending up talking to someone in Lost and Found for Celebrity.
“Unfortunately, clothing items are something that we do not return,” said one Lost and Found rep, saying they can not be shipped because they are considered “unhygienic.”
But weren’t they in the ship’s laundry? Wouldn’t the ship therefore be fully aware that these clothes are clean? Moving on…
Another Celebrity rep tried to explain that her items were discarded because they had not been claimed within two weeks of the end of the voyage. When Melissa pointed out that she notified the ship’s crew immediately after having to cut her trip short, the rep stated that telling the customer care team on the ship isn’t the same as notifying the crew members who actually had her clothing and other items.
“I would have called in two weeks if I had known I’d had a deadline,” says Melissa.
A rep offered to e-mail the ship to see if there is any chance the items are still somewhere on board, but Melissa isn’t holding out much hope, since this is the same rep who said her clothes had been thrown out.
Meanwhile, Melissa’s mother says Celebrity told her she could not be reimbursed for items thrown away by the ship’s crew.
Since Melissa and her family had to check in the knives with security and check in their laundry to be cleaned, one would think that there is a record of all these items, but no one seems to be willing to follow that thread and Melissa continues to get vague answers and hollow promises that she’ll be called back.
We’ve reached out to Celebrity for a comment on this story but have yet to hear back. If we do, we’ll provide an update.
UPDATE: Though we have yet to hear a response from Celebrity, Melissa says that after the story was posted on Consumerist she was contacted by a rep from Celebrity’s corporate communications office who has promised to be a “personal advocate” for Melissa and has promised to investigate the matter. We’ll let you know if there are any further updates.