We called our cruise travel agent (in spite of the fact that we are travel gurus, we still use a travel agent for cruises because they get really great bulk deals etc.) and booked our trip, and then talked to Cunard about transporting Dacia. They had one small container available but she was too big for it by three measly inches, so we would need to have two small containers which would open into one big one.
I asked if we could reserve that one container and be on the waiting list for another. I was told no, and, that there was not a waiting list, that I would just have to call back and hope that someone canceled. I did call back, numerous times, all to be told each time I asked that a waiting list didn't exist. Sure enough, back in December, I called again, and asked, again, but this time was told that there WAS in fact a waiting list, they just didn't tell people about it because it was rare if anyone canceled.
So, I then asked to be put on it, only to be told I'd be third down. Interesting since if I'd been told about it before, I'd have been first with one kennel already reserved. Frustrating.
I wrote the letter on the blog to Cunard because I was hoping that putting it out there in the public domain might have some results. I notified @cunardline on Twitter and to his/her credit he/she said that he/she would pass it along to guest relations. Well that netted me...crickets.
I've asked a few people some advice about pursuing this a little further and I think I am going to actually email AND write Cunard about this. Unfortunately, I think I have to be the squeaky American wheel here because my kind of polite, tongue in cheek, humor (from the blog post) got me nowhere. I am sure Cunard is going to think I'm silly and petulant for asking to be moved to the top of the list (and maybe you do as well...) but
A) I'm spending a LOT of money to expat over on Cunard.
Not as much as some (we don't have a penthouse) but we do have a very nice room and between MomE (who has to buy a single ticket which is time and a half a regular ticket!!), the Canadian and me, there is some serious cake being forked over. So, you know, a *little* extra attention to this issue would be nice.
B) Blogging about my experience and how this incident is treated nets them some amount of publicity (either good or bad...take your pick)
I am all about giving great as well as negative feedback. I am not a well-known blog celebrity (yet.. ;)) but, already several people have found me and contacted me privately because they are searching for information on taking their pets across on Cunard. Many expats are following this blog here and on Twitter thanks to the brilliant expat community -- and if I have an awesome expat experience, maybe others will too. I will be brutally honest as to how this was handled by Cunard. I will also post on CruiseCritic (where I'm a member) and of course on Twitter. I am not trying to badger or threaten and don't want you or Cunard to think that -- I just want to give the community an honest assessment of how this was handled and then they can make their own decisions accordingly should they want to choose this option to take their pets over.
C) We may not even *get* Dacia on if no one cancels.
This could be a moot point because even if Dacia does get moved to the top of the waiting list, there might not be any cancellations and then we will have to fly her over regardless. So, Cunard could make my day and let me sing their praises and not even have to deal with my dog :) Plus, I'm taking the cruise regardless -- I'm really excited about it and the opportunity to make such a fabulous transition. This only has to do with taking over my dog.
All of this aside, I have to give a lot of credit to the folks in the kennel department. Once I finally talked directly to them, they were SO helpful and were the ones who actually told me about the list and put me on it. Kudos to them.
So, I will keep you posted on this ongoing saga. I've posted a request on Twitter to @cunardline for the guest relations addresses (email/snail mail) and I will be sending both a letter. Cross your fingers that she'll be sailing with us!!