Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Lion Travel blasted over ‘low-quality’ cruise tour

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Travelers line up to check in to the Sun Princess cruise ship in Japan yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Consumers’ Foundation

The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday asked Lion Travel to disclose the terms of its contract with passengers on a Sun Princess cruise ship tour to Japan’s Okinawa and Ishigaki islands, after the foundation received complaints from 915 people.

The four-day cruise departed from the Port of Keelung on March 24 and was scheduled to visit tourist attractions on the two islands, but was severely delayed and made only short stops, the foundation said.

The foundation on April 9 received complaints from 915 passengers, it said, adding that it arranged a three-way negotiation with tourists and the travel agency on Friday last week.

Lion Travel said it was only willing to compensate each traveler with NT$500 in cash and a NT$100 coupon, as they signed the contracts as independent travelers and the agency only charted a cruise ship to transport them.

“The agency did not deliver what it had promised in the advertisement and blamed all the delays on inclement weather,” a traveler surnamed Chou (周) said. “Although it was advertised as a four-day tour, it was actually a three-day tour. We spent a lot of time waiting in lines to disembark — four hours on the first day, three hours on the second day and two hours on the third day.”

The company said that its charter was just like when a traveler buys flight tickets through a travel agency, Chou said.

However, she said that the company’s analogy was inappropriate, as it advertised the tour as a complete package, including food and accommodation on board, and attractions they would visit.

Foundation chairwoman Lei Li-fen (雷立芬) said that it was understandable that the compensation offered by Lion Travel failed to satisfy its customers, because they paid from NT$25,900 to NT$60,900, but received such a low-quality tour.

The travel agency’s promises should be considered part of its contract, the foundation said.

“Lion Travel should respond to delays if there is any change in arrival terminal and inform travelers of these changes during the tour. This is what a responsible travel agency should do,” it said.

Even though the agency only chartered the ship, it should have at least one employee for every 15 tourists on board, it added.

If the agency had arranged a sufficient number of on-board service personnel to accompany the tourists, there would not have been any chaos during the trip, the foundation said, adding that the agency was stingy in its apology and compensation.

The agency said that the tour was delayed by bad weather, which it had no control over, and promised to improve communication with travelers next time.

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