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Vietnam forum

Problems with Columbus Cruises

Posted by Rohan on 5/1/2010 at 08:56

Posted from within Vietnam.

I am now waiting to be picked up by Columbus.

About 3 months ago, I booked a 3 day trip on the Pinta Gold. 4 days ago, I received an email stating that the Pinta Gold was in for repairs (I note from other posters this seems to have happened all too often lately), and offering the same itinerary in the Pinta. I accepted this.

Last night I received a phone call telling me I would be at the resort for one night. I reacted angrily to this as this was not what I booked.

While I type this, I have received another call. This time I was told the boat was overbooked by one room due to a problem with the booking system. I said I didn't see why it should be my room that was cut when I booked 3 months ago. I suspect that they just found they could get someone else in the same room for more money.

The bus should be here soon, so I will finish this post. I will keep all of you who are wondering whether this company can be trusted informed of further developments.

#1 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63

Posted by seahorse88 on 5/1/2010 at 09:45

Hi Rohan, we will wait for your update. We are also booked with Columbus, arriving this week in Saigon, be there in Hanoi on Monday and cruise in Halong Bay Tuesday. I hope you'll be fine.

#2 seahorse88 has been a member since 14/12/2009. Posts: 9

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Posted by Rohan on 5/1/2010 at 16:34

Posted from within Vietnam.


They took me back to the office, where I was told that there were only 2 cabins on the boat who had booked the 2 night cruise (the rest were one), and it seems the couple in the other cabin was even more militant than me. I was told they had booked earlier than me (and I had booked in September!).

While the resort they offered looked OK, it wasn't what I had booked for. I ended up suggesting that I move my cruise by a day, and that solved the problem. It was a bit inconvenient, but they offered me free drinks and the best cabin.

We will see what comes of this tomorrow, but of all of this is delivered and the cruise itself lives up to its reputation, all will be good.

#3 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63

Posted by lucky13 on 5/1/2010 at 18:12

Aaah dear,

Booked in with Columbus for the 14th of January on the Pinta Gold and have just got an email saying we are being moved to the Pinta Cruiser as well. We were originally paying 195 each and they have offered us 185 for the Pinta Cruiser which does not seem like enough of a discount considering the usual price difference. I've asked them whether they can offer a better price, but otherwise might have to consider a different company- which I don't really want to do considering the dramas I've gone through with booking and paying the deposit!

Would be interesting to hear about your experience when you get back Rohan- hopefully things worked themselves out. It's a lot of money to pay (on our budget anyway!) for something that might end up not being worth it.

#4 lucky13 has been a member since 13/8/2009. Posts: 10

Posted by sanpedro on 5/1/2010 at 20:06

I'm in the same postion booked for 1 night on Pinta Gold and have been offered Pinta Cruiser, I have accepted but haven't had a confirmation yet.

#5 sanpedro has been a member since 29/9/2009. Posts: 10

Posted by smash on 6/1/2010 at 02:39

well just got this email this morning (requested a new voucher after a date change)

" We would like to inform you that we have updated information in your voucher. According to our discussion your balance is only 45.9USD. And your tour on Ha Long Bay is 2day-1night tour.
One more thing that we are welcoming the return of Santa Maria which offers bigger, newer and has better facilities than Pinta Gold. Our Pinta Gold will be retired and you will get your cabin on Santa Maria with the same Pinta Gold price. "

Will be interesting to see what happens when I rock up for the cruise in March!

#6 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162

Posted by silversnapper on 7/1/2010 at 14:05

I heard this story from one of the crew during our trip early last month. I was told that they are actually refurbising a boat they have been using in there in the past. That's maybe the Santa Maria you are referring to.
The Pinta Gold was good in my personal opinion. So if indeed they are doing their best effort to make an old boat into a better one, then that would be great for their clients/guests.
Having said so, more professional service should be expected from the crew. Higher price in due time? Hope not for we're plannng to return there next December. Please keep us posted.

#7 silversnapper has been a member since 5/12/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by Rohan on 8/1/2010 at 22:21

Posted from within Vietnam.

Interesting to hear about the Santa Maria coming back and what sounds like a long term break (or permanent retirement?) for the Pinta Gold.

I have just got back from 3 days on the Pinta Cruiser, and for those of you concerned about the boat, I can say I thought it was pretty decent. Bed was too hard, but so has been almost every bed I've slept in in Vietnam. Food wasn't gourmet, but it was good and proportions were generous. The boat itself was in good condition and everything seemed to work. No rats or cockroaches (not that I saw anyway). I had the room next to the engine, and even that was OK. It was noisy when the boat was moving but at night (which was really the only time I wanted to use my cabin anyway), there was only a faint hum.

With regard to my story above about the offer of the resort, I actually met someone (another traveler not associated with the company) who spent a night on the island who told me that the resort is fantastic and I should have taken them up on it. So there is some info for anyone else they make that offer to.

One note of caution - they did try to charge me the price I had originally booked at despite the downgrading of the boat. I did have to talk to them to get it reduced. So if you are one of the people moved from the Pinta Gold to the Pinta Cruiser, check what you were paying for the Gold before you get on board. When you get on the boat, they will ask you to pay the balance of what you owe, and they will name a specific figure. If they ask you to pay the same amount as you were paying for the Gold, question it. Their own website claimed the Gold was a better boat.

So in conclusion, having never seen the Pinta Gold I cannot compare it to the Pinta Cruiser. All I can say is that I enjoyed my 3 days on Halong Bay, and had no issues with the boat.

#8 Rohan has been a member since 16/6/2009. Posts: 63

Posted by smash on 9/1/2010 at 02:31

thanks for the post :o)

#9 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162

Posted by seahorse88 on 11/1/2010 at 13:40

Posted from within Vietnam.

We've just arrived this morning from Saigon and confirmed our cruise to Halong at Columbus office and learned that we will not be boarding Pinta Gold but to another Boat. We're scheduled for tomorrow, so let's see what this new boat can offer us. By the way, we've finally made it to this beautiful city of Hanoi. It seem to me that the weather in colder and the people are warmer compared to Saigon. But I like them both. Amazing culture. Tonight we will watch the water puppet show. I just finished jogging around Hoan Kiem Lake, which I didn't have much time to try in Saigon. Wish us luck for our Halong Bay cruise tomorrow.

#10 seahorse88 has been a member since 14/12/2009. Posts: 9

Posted by Precious24 on 12/1/2010 at 11:23

"the people are warmer compared to Saigon"

Seahorse how long did you stay in Saigon?

#11 Precious24 has been a member since 21/11/2009. Posts: 22

Posted by seahorse88 on 20/1/2010 at 09:55

Hi there! I may be wrong, yeah but it was just on a personal observation from people whom I met and talk to. I got your point, I just stayed for less than 3 days in Saigon and five days in Hanoi. Maybe, you can enlighten me on this one. Thanks, that would be of precious to me seriously.

#12 seahorse88 has been a member since 14/12/2009. Posts: 9

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