After contacting Virgin Holidays Customer Care Team on returning to the UK after they ruined our £13,000+ holiday, they responded very apologetically and offered £153 compensation with their final offer of £606 (Just over 4% of the holiday)
Getting nowhere with Customer Services, we tried the Managing Director.
Here is the letter we wrote her:
For the Urgent Attention of Managing Director Amanda Willis
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Dear Mrs Willis,
I am writing to complain about the above holiday along with the aftersales support I have received from your team at Virgin Holidays.
Approximately a year ago my family and I decided we wanted a holiday of a lifetime and decided to venture to Orlando. After filtering through many companies and offers, we finally decided to book the complete package with Virgin Holidays. There were many reasons why we chose your company. Apart from the 'Rock Star Service' you offer, we bought the holiday package and destination for security, safety, superiority and the fact that should anything go wrong, you would be there to help.
This couldn't have been further than the truth.
As I have already done with your customer care team, I have enclosed a list of our complaints for your records. The first being the fact that the accommodation was not as described in the brochure:
.... "Our 'Standard Villas' are in agreeable locations such as Lake Davenport Estates, Glenbrook, Orange Tree, Hampton Lakes, Highlands Reserve, Westridge, Florida Pines and Sunrise Lakes. Our 'Superior Villas' are located in 'prestigious' developments such as West Haven, Windwood Bay, Calabay Parc and Tuscan Hills".......
We opted for and booked the 'Superior Villa' at the Prestigious 'Secure-Gated Tuscan Hills' development. On arrival we found the accommodation was simply uninhabitable.
In the photos I have attached for your records, you will see insect infestation, blood stained pillow cases, dirty linen, water logged and broken furniture, wallpaper hanging off walls, carpets throughout the whole villa which look like a muddy rugby team had played a game on them, mould on shower curtains, plaster falling off shower cubicles, mould and old food caked onto the food pantry shelving and a half empty swimming pool. It was shocking to say the least and immediately put a downer on the holiday.
I immediately contacted your representative at the resort, and after some time we were moved to an alternative property which was not what we had requested nor paid for. It was a standard villa on the unsecured Highlands Reserve. We were assured there were no other Villas available to us and this was the best they could offer.
The following morning we met with the Virgin Representatives who were based at the Contempo office near Haines City but they were unable to re-house us on the gated complex we had booked and paid for. They apologised and told us there was nothing they could do and to complain when we got home.
We also asked Contempo at the time if they would send someone out to the new Villa to rid the kitchen of an infestation of ants and to fix the toilet door locks, none of which worked. 10 days after the request, pest control visited the property to clear the infestation but at no time during our holiday did anybody fix the broken locks.
On the second day of our holiday, we returned to our second villa to find several industrial blowers and dehumidifiers scattered around the house, drying out the carpets which had been flooded whilst we were out all day, due to a faulty water filter on a poorly maintained refrigerator. The noise and smell was unbearable and disrupted our holiday for the following 4 days, which also left us with no dining room, just 4 bedrooms and a lounge area which was unusable. The 9th person in our party had to sleep on a mattress on the floor of one of the already occupied bedrooms. I have attached a video of this disruption and noise for your records.
We immediately called Contempo's emergency line, where we were greeted by an abrupt lady called Jenny who outright accused us of breaking the filter in the refrigerator, which caused the flood and subsequently there was nothing she could do to help move us to a third property. After protesting our innocence, Contempo later had the audacity to issue us with a bill of $1800 for the clean-up operation. Their behaviour towards us over the remainder of the holiday was disgraceful.
Furious and determined to prove our innocence, and after spending more stressful days of researching the fridge/freezer, we found this fault to be common on poorly maintained units. Since arriving back in the UK, I have spent more time communicating with various suppliers and engineers of these refrigerator units and have attached one of the chat scripts also for your records.
On day 3 of the holiday we requested a meeting with Contempo's Operations Manager, Johanna Harvey and a Virgin Representative. We received a letter from Johanna Harvey over 1 week later claiming she had been trying to reach me for a week. Knowing we would be at Theme Parks all day and every day, not once did she call my mobile phone which was given to Contempo. She claimed that had she knew we were uncomfortable in the 2nd house and she would have moved us to another Villa which is simply not true, as our requests to move had already been denied and we were assured there were no other properties available. She also made further false claims that she had a manufacturers report justifying the $1800 bill, claiming that a box in the fridge had broken the filter. No such report had existed as 5 days later I held a meeting with Paula Mason from Contempo who claimed they were still awaiting such report. Johanna Harvey refused to meet us at the Villa where we wanted to demonstrate it was physically impossible to break or cause any damage whatsoever to this filter and its surrounding area.
After being messed around so much throughout the holiday I decided to call your Orlando Office and spoke with a lady called Dee who put me through to a supervisor called Lynne. She informed me that Virgin Reps are not allowed to visit properties without a representative from Contempo. After much convincing and complaining, I finally got her to speak with Contempo to agree a visit to the property with a Virgin representative, Demetrius. The meeting finally took place with Demetrius your representative, the Maintenance Manager and Paula Mason from Contempo. Johanna Harvey failed to show up. At this meeting it was proved beyond any doubt that it was physically impossible to break this filter. The maintenance manager who discovered the flood while we were out, stated that he had just 'assumed' we must have broken the filter by jamming a box against it, which when demonstrated was impossible. Even Demetrius, had a good go at trying to break the filter and even make contact with it and found it impossible. The maintenance manager also stated that the filters could be dropped on concrete and they would never break but he refused to agree that these filters could break due to the lack of maintenance. Demetrius assured us this would be in his report. Contempo have since dropped the charges but have failed to apologise for this contemptible behaviour.
It goes without saying that every day of the holiday was stressful, from our arrival at the uninhabitable Villa, to the change of Villa which we didn't want, to the inconvenience of noisy industrial machinery scattered around the second villa for 4 days, to the sleeping on a mattress on the floor, to the inappropriate unfounded accusations by Contempo, along with the constant demands of $1800 for the flooding caused by 'more' poor maintenance, to the time consuming daily research we conducted to prove our innocence, to the lack of support from Virgin and so on.
After writing to your customer service team on our return, they responded 4 weeks later with a barrage of apologies and stated none of the above should ever have happened, but then go on to offer an insulting £153 compensation for the traumatic blow to our £12,842 dream holiday, simply fuelling the fire which Virgin have created. After responding accordingly to this offer, I have received 2 further offers of compensation with the final offer of just £606 which equates to just over 4% of our holiday.
The holiday was ruined due to the aforementioned and the stress caused by Virgin and your end supplier Contempo, and more importantly not getting what we had booked and paid for.
I am sure you will be just as appalled at the treatment and service we have received to date.
As our holiday was a package, the Package Travel Regulations 1992 apply to it. Under these regulations you are liable to compensate us appropriately for the problems we encountered and for the distress and disappointment we suffered as a result.
I can only assume that your customer care team have exceeded their mandate and are unable to be of any further assistance on this matter and hope sincerely that you will show more commercial attitude in resolving this matter as quickly as possible.
Thank you in advance for your attention to our case.
What ever happened to the saying the customer is always right. We have just returned from Mexico after 4 days into an 11 day all inclusive holiday from hell. We booked 3 weeks ago after a year of stress for the family as i have just under gone back surgery and this was to be a holiday of a life time spending xmas in the sun and relaxing in the 5*Sian Ka'an or so we thought .We arrived after a 12 1/2hour flight and road trip to be turned away from the hotel which has been changed to an adult only hotel we were left on the hotel steps with no rep in sight and the manager refusing point blank to let us in as my 17 year old son was classed as a child but you pay adult fair and adult price for over 12 years old? We were put in a sister hotel that was like comparing the Ritz to a holiday Inn the rep was to say the least useless and did not answer her phone or call us back because she had no credit on her phone. We insisted on a flight home and were told no flights available even though i had already been on there website and found seats for the journey home. Every phone call we made in Mexico and to the UK was ignored or we were told they would return our call this never happened. It was not until my wife nearly had a breakdown did we get a flight home. I AM DISGUSTED WITH VIRGINS HANDLING OF THE WHOLE HOLIDAY OUR XMAS HAS BEEN RUINED STEP UP VIRGIN AND TAKE THE CONSEQUENCES !!!!!!
two years back in 2010 i had a really frustrating experience with the online booking of a virgin holiday. last year i saved myself the trouble alltogether.
this year i try again to book with them - one would not believe the crap is still far from working and ends up again in hours of frustration and probably trying to achieve a booking over phone.
until you get to payment page, it seems fine, then it comes up with adress being only an adress if it was in UK, the payment via credit or debit results in 3 differing amounts !?
2.96 to pay now !? never been that cheap !!!
295996 in the payment row along with the credit card details
and finally the correct price at the end of the page (as a summary info)
as soon as you press the confirm (it is impossible to change the amount ...) it comes up with warning - 'you should not pay more ' and highlights the problem within the section of the credit card payment
however the amount now showing has been added by another two '00' thus now reads
29599600 !!! so the holiday price now got up to millions !
i have never come a site that is similar painful and stupidly programmed - pls. take offline or repair !
We booked our New York holiday 12 months in advance, booking a direct flight to JFK airport. When we arrived at our departure airport ( Manchester ) we could not see our flight number on the board so we went to the desk & was told the flight had been cancelled, this was the first we knew about it although we were told it had been cancelled the previous month.
We were given an alternative flight but it was via Paris where we had to change planes. When we went to check in for the flight to New York we were told that we were only on stand by for that flight & denied boarding as the plane was full. Following a further 2.5 hour delay we got on the next plane.
On arrival at JFK we went to get our pre booked transfer to find out that we were in a different terminal & there was no one to take us to our hotel, we had to take a cab.
While in New York my wife spent hours on the phone trying to sort out our return flight. We got no help from Virgin holidays other than to be told to turn up at the airport. We were on stand by again & again we had to go via Paris.
On our return to the UK we complained to Virgin Holidays customer service who performed just as badly as all the other Virgin contacts we had, no help just a sorry we will speak to our people to ensure this does not happen again.
After 3 months of e mailing we were eventually offered £150 (£50 for each traveller ) & a food hamper & that was their final offer.
We had to reluctantly accept their offer but we felt it was more like a game to them, one they had to win, not looking after their customers.
My advice to anyone is DO NOT BOOK WITH VIRGIN HOLIDAYS>
tried to get information for a Hawaii holiday phoned 7.45 answered 7.47 put on hold no answer by 8.00 booked with Kuoni
We flew to Los Angeles and Las Vegas with Virgin Holidays a while ago and, in contrast to a lot of other reviews, found the whole service to be excellent.
It all started when we went to see one of their representatives in the local department store. The lady we spoke to was very nice and talked us through all the different options available in terms of locations and flights. We went away with a good quote but wanted to do a bit of research about the hotels so we took her email address and telephone number.
Once we got home we looked at the booking and reviews of the hotel and weren't completely happy with them so called her up the next day and made a few changes here and there until we got a quote we were happy with. The Virgin rep also mentioned to us what the date was that the peak season finished and if we went after that date the cost would be a lot less.
After a bit of communication and negotiating, we finally agreed on a price and booked our holiday and were told when to expect the documents and tickets and other related items.
Sure enough, we received everything when we were supposed to and there were no problems.
Once the holiday came around things couldn't have gone more smoothly, there were no problems checking in at the airport and everything was exactly as arranged.
Once we landed in LA, we were even greeted by a Virgin rep who was very polite and welcomed us to LA and gave us a few details about local tips as well as a list of possible excursions and her telephone number in case there were any problems.
We had hired a car as part of our holiday and this was absolutely fine. They were able to find our booking without a problem. The only issue we had here was that after a long flight and waiting in the queue for the car for about an hour, we were quite tired and didn't realise that the car company automatically added like a breakdown cover of $5 per day which we only realised when we got back to the UK and were presented with a bill showing these additional charges. However, this was not Virgin's fault.
Once we got to the hotel there were again no problems. Our booking was found and we were checked in very quickly. During our stay in LA we were even called by the Virgin rep to check that everything went ok and if there was anything they could do for us.
The second part of our holiday was in Las Vegas and after driving over there we, again, found that there were no problems with our reservation at the hotel and within half an hour of being in our room we got a phone call from the Virgin rep in Las Vegas to invite us to a welcome session at Planet Hollywood the next day.
We went to this session which consisted of us getting a free breakfast while the rep welcomed us and told us about the different parts of Vegas and offered us any excursions we may want. In the end we decided on getting a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and this was all booked very easily and we were told about the pick up times and given information about the excursion which ended up going perfectly (other than my fear of heights which I had to quickly get over!!)
As I said earlier, once we returned to the UK we were presented with a larger than expected bill for the car rental so called Virgin who chased up the booking and explained what each of the charges were.
Overall, we couldn't have been happier with the service received. Everyone was very nice and everything was organised as it should have been. I would definitely recommend it!
My husband and I have just returned from a holiday in Sri Lanka booked through Virgin Holidays. Our second Hotel where we stayed for 5 nights - Vivanta by Taj in Bentota was awful! We complained to the management and to the local Virgin Rep! Our room was appalling. The furnishings were shabby and the room was damp and smelled awful. The bathroom was in an even worse condition. The grout was black the base of the bath was stained and the shower curtain was moldy. The toilet seat was not the correct size and did not sit correctly on the base and the drains smelt terrible.
Despite our complaint to the Virgin Rep on the day we arrived which we followed up with an email to Virgin Customer Services in the Uk the following day (26th April) we have still not even received an acknowledgement! I called Virgin on our return on 30th April to be told that I would receive a respond between 10-14 days from the date the complaint was lodged. I think their customer service is appalling!
Our initial booking with Virgin Holidays Cruises for a Carribean Cruise went fine with the sales guy on the 0800 line (now 0844 premium line according to the website). The guy said any problems call me back and gave his direct line number. When we called with a query his colleague blocked it and told us to call after-sales on an 0844 premium number. The wait time was something like 10 minutes and is only available during working hours (i.e. no support for emergencies). We had to make endless calls to verfiy information for the cruise and car rental. The support person had little detailed information available and sometimes made mistakes. We were only given the Virgin flight Locator number when we asked for it and this is needed to book seats etc. The updated mailed information we received was often in conflict with details missing and we ended up with three different holiday reference numbers! The reason became apparent as they were using Virgin Holidays to do some of the items in the travel itinerary and the two systems didn't join up. The final paperwork just made it to us with a week to spare over Christmas with no time to resolve any errors had there been any left. We made two formal complaints during this time which only partially resolved our queries. Via www.saynoto0870.com we did manage to find an alternative to the 0844 number and also discovered the 0800 number had an option to access After-sales. So, if you want to avoid travel hassle, book direct with the carriers or find another travel agent
Having come back from our honeymoon in the Maldives I would like to bring to your attention what sort of hell we had getting there after booking through Virgin Holidays.
The initial booking went fine, we decided where to go and the gentleman who booked the holiday couldn't be more helpful and after that's when it started to go uncomfortably wrong.
We received a phone call a day after we got married stating that the pool at Hudhuranfushi would be closed for maintenance so as compensation we could have a free lobster meal and a fishing trip or go to another island, so as we decided it was pointless to go somewhere without use of a pool we immediately decided to go to the other island offered with full facilities.
I requested a letter confirming these changes to make sure that any amendments had been put into place. 2 days later a letter arrived with the old details on it resulting in another phone call to get conformation. The consultant said "We Are not aware of any changes to your travel plans please hold......(10 minutes of their phone adverts and my phone bill later)... "Hello sir, you were offered to change to which we had not heard anything back", which I then went onto explain that we had already made the decision to change islands, the consultant then returns to the phone and states " Dont worry everything is in order Mr ******** the people at the airport and accommodation are aware of the changes for which you have no need to worry". At this point we are starting to feel less confident about our honeymoon.
A couple of weeks later we received another call advising us that the pool was to remain open and would we like to change back to our original destination. Having already changed once we decided to stay with the new island offered. I asked the consultant on the phone to confirm that changes which had been arranged and also asked where our confirmation letter was. At this point the consultant asked me about the rearrangement in our travel plans as they were not on his screen and that's when the shouting started. In my disgust I hung up.
I rang back later to enquire where our tickets were as we should have received them already and it was less than 2 weeks till departure so I got the please hold......(another 20 minutes of thier phone adverts and my phone bill later)... "Hello sir, I can assure you they had been sent out and I can confirm that the correct amendments have been made and can you also please check your documents when you receive them for accuracy".
3 days later the E ticket arrived and our excitement was short lived as the tickets had the names of MISS ****** and MISS ********.
Stunned is the only word I could use, as all the bookings and letters sent etc, had all been in the name of MR *******, so I'm on the phone once again for another 30 odd minutes trying to get my name changed into the correct details
A friend of mine recently flew to Jamaica through Virgin and had to pay charges to get his name changed on his travel documents as otherwise he would not be allowed on the flight. With this in mind and knowing how important this is for security purposes I wanted my details corrected to avoid any delays and hassle at the airport.
Now on their website it does state that errors must be reported immediately as to allow time to amend any details but I was told on the phone that it was too late to do this and the consultant then said "In order to do this we would have to cancel your holiday and rebook, the only time we would have available is December so I have spoken to Emirates Airways and they are aware of the problem"
Now with all the problems we have had so far we felt very uncomfortable with the way it's been left and I have now made several calls to check the details as none of them match the printed details we had, So my last and final call I rang Emirates Airways and they was not aware of any communication between Virgin holiday and themselves so they took my passport details and changed my name on my ticket and boarding pass in seconds and assured me there would be no problem.
When we finally got to the Male airport in the Maldives we was greeted by the friendly Virgin rep who promptly handed us a letter welcoming us and it stated that "We will contact you during your holiday to check if everythings in order" and also at the bottom it asked if we could spend a few minutes to fill out the feedback form which was nonexistent.
When we arrived at our destination we quickly realized that the staff at Meedhupparu Resort wasn't expecting us as when we were asked for our letter of conformation to confirm that we were staying there they also didn't even realize we were a honeymoon couple until they read the letter.
This was a holiday of a lifetime which was fast becoming a major disappointment as everything became a last minute problem for the staff as we read that honeymoon couples get a basket of fruit with a bottle of wine and the bed decorated upon arrival............... No basket of fruit, No wine and we had to leave the room for staff to decorate the bed
The other issue is the flight timings.
We flew back from Male at 23.50 landing in Dubai at 02.55am and had a 12 hour wait to catch our flight to Manchester which wasn't that much of an issue until we spotted there were 3 earlier flights to Manchester........... so why weren't we booked on one of them??
I hate complaining but as this was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime I really felt the need to let you all know about:
Inaccuracies in the booking procedure
Miscommunication between UK and Offshore consultants
The long waiting times that cost a fortune on our bill
Not listening to the customers' requests
I WILL NEVER BOOK A HOLIDAY THROUGH VIRGIN AGAIN as this was supposed to be a once in a lifetime experience which Virgin Holidays made it exactly that AS IT TURNED OUT TO BE A VERY STRESSFUL HOLIDAY, as it was more like a script from a Comedy film.
I will be booking our next holiday through our local travel agents as we have never had any issues at all using them as we have the same office and people dealing with us everytime.
I have recently booked a holiday through the Virgin Cruises call centre and it turned out to be a less than satisfactory experience. I telephoned the sales department, who I must say were very helpful, knowledgeable staff, friendly and efficient. After some conferring with my partner and calls going backwards and forwards, we decided on a Hawaiian cruise and booked a package costing just over £3000. I closed the call by asking for an e-mail confirmation to be sent to my e-mail address something i consider to be a simple request - oh no! This is where the service stopped! After giving the agent a reasonable amount of time to respond 2 days and still no e-mail, I called the same agent on the direct line that he had given me to request the e-mail be sent, he seemed shocked that I had not received the e-mail and promised to send it to me immediately, it did not arrive! I then rang again on a Sunday and was told this time that my booking had gone to "after sales" and they don't work on Sunday! They could not access it. On the Monday I rang and spoke to somebody else who also said that they would e-mail the agent I originally spoke to and he would send it - still nothing. After three times of requesting this simple e-mail verbally I thought I would e-mail, I sent an e-mail requesting it, and received and automated reply to say it would be dealt with within 48 hours, I also gave other feedback about their website not having a booking facility and the virgin atlantic website not allowing me to add my air miles. I received a reply 48 hours after via e-mail saying that they would credit my air miles and thanking me for feedback on their website, but guess what - No confirmation e-mail or itinerary! I replied to the e-mail again asking for the e-mail to be sent, and once again I received the standard e-mail response in 48 hours somebody will reply. This time the 48 hour period lapsed and I did not even receive a reply. I send another e-mail asking for it to be sent, by this time I have made this simple request 3 times verbally and a further 3 in writing! After 24 hours nothing so I telephoned, this time somebody in after sales department who was clearly embarrassed by my experience and it arrived very shortly afterwards. Incidentally my air miles were never credited. I rang Virgin Atlantic who were very helpful and did this for me and they were credited to my account on line. I also asked Virgin cruises for my reference numbers for the cruise, hotels and airlines so I could manage them myself. All in all do NOT be fooled by the initial good customer service of the sales agents, once they have your money, the service goes straight down hill! I have not even been on holiday yet, I am only glad I got confirmation numbers from virgin so I can do their job and deal with the suppliers direct.
We had numerous problems with our Virgin Cruises holiday to the Carribean: 2 weeks Christmas/New Year 2010. We wrote to complain on 11 Jan, and all we got in return was a meaningless, condescending list of platitudes which completely failed to address any of the issues. We wrote again on 8 Feb - this time to the chief exec. We got an acknowledgment, but no reply. We wrote a reminder on 31 March, but have still received no reply. It seems they are not interested. They produce lots of glossy ads, but the trip didn't live up to it and they clearly don't give a stuff when you complain.
These were the issues:
 On the flight there, the sound system on my wife's in-flight entertainment system did not work; on the flight back, the screen did not work. 20-odd hours in a plane with nothing but the back of the next seat for entertainment - this is hardly acceptable in this day and age.
 On arrival (on the transfer bus) your rep gave us a note telling us to be ready for 1.30pm the following day to be taken to our cruise. The cruise was not due to start for another week. This caused anxiety, as we did not know if plans had been changed. However, the rep got off the bus immediately after handing us the note, so we could not query it. We did not see her or any other Virgin rep after this.
 We learned much later from other passengers that there had been a meeting in the hotel with your rep on the morning of our first full day in Puerto Rico. We had not been notified. Others we spoke to had also not heard of this until later. Information, such as it was, was passed from passenger to passenger on an ad hoc, hit-and-miss basis.
 On transferring to the ship a week later, we found that the transfer bus driver had no record of us. He took us anyway and, fortunately, Royal Caribbean were expecting us.
 On returning, we again only found out what to do via hearsay from other passengers. We met the transfer bus driver by the ship at 9am. There was no Virgin rep, just the driver. Once more, he had no record of us.
 We were given these options: be taken to the airport for free (or rather, included in the holiday price) or be taken to a shopping mall, whilst the bus company kept our luggage, for $20 per person. There were no other options and, lumbered with our suitcases etc., we could not set off elsewhere independently. We did not want to go to the mall nor spend a further $40, but, not wanting to spend the whole day at the airport, we were forced to comply. We were shocked to find that (given that this was a package tour - and one that cost £4,000) no provision had been made for the final day, that there was no rep to speak to and that we were not notified of this earlier. Had we been, we could have taken up one of Royal Caribbean's tour offers and enjoyed the final day, instead of being bored stiff for 11 hours at the airport/mall.
 Those of us going to the mall asked the bus driver's supervisor for receipts for the extra $40. At this he got stroppy, told the driver to take everyone to the airport, got off and slammed the door. We shouted. He relented. We coughed up and went to the mall. I think 18 people went to the mall - an extra $360 on top of what the bus operators were being paid for the trip in the first place. At least they had a good day. For us, it was not only uncomfortable, it felt somewhere close to blackmail.
 At the end of the day, most people got their receipts. We did not, as we did not officially exist.
 The plane left Puerto Rico some 11 hours after we had disembarked from the ship. As planned, it went to Antigua, waited for a long time, loaded, then took off again. We saw no cabin crew (except for safety routines) on that first leg of the journey, nor during the wait, and we were not offered so much as a glass of water until we were 4 hours into the flight.
We wanted a good quality package for a hassle free holiday taking our elderly parents cruising in the Caribbean. We chose Virgin Cruises thinking they were reputable, how wrong we were it was poor service from start to finish. From misleading sales at the outset, to them booking our overnight stay in a hotel in the wrong place for the start of our cruise! We arrived at miami aiport and were met by a rep from Virgin Holidays who told us we'd been booked into a place miles away, but she couldn't correct the error as she was Virgin Holidays not Cruises..and all the helpline numbers for Virgin were closed. They didn't provide us with transfers as they said it was cheaper to do ourselves, but when we went to get our taxi to the hotel we found out it would be 500 dollars so we had to book a room in the correct location instead and pay ourselves. You'd think when challenged they'd apologise and put it right but no they said its not their fault as their operative (wrongly) checked google maps..they said he did his best! Virgin's slow customer service meant they didn't even reply whilst we were on board ship and took 5 weeks when we got home to review and reply and then refused to pay our extra hotel cost back despite it being their fault and having almost £8000 of our business. I will never use them again.
I would never consider booking with Virgin Holidays again - the amount of paper work and different reference numbers is unbelievable, the call centres are slow to respond (at 10p a min no wonder they make a profit) and they don't provide the Cruise operator with basic information that we then had to provide - basic information about connections that Virgin could easily have provided.The tickets and final paperwork did not arrive before we left - not just to one address but to all 3 people travelling on separate bookings. And Virgin said it was our problem not theirs.Giving them one star is a star too many.All in all an administrative nightmare - and I thought this was supposed to be a holiday !
After reading many bad reviews after paying for our holiday, we were a bit worried to say the least but I would not hesitate to use Virgin Cruise holiday again. There was a small mistake on Virgin part which was resolved to our satisfaction and from then on the whole holiday was perfect. The flights, hotel (there were some problems but not Virgin fault), transfers and even our cruise was very good and both of us came back relaxed. Virgin even left a bottle of sparkling wine in our stateroom on the Cruise ship. What a nice surprise!They were the best value for 1 week HB in Puerto Rico and 1 week on Celebrity ship.
Virgin Holidays offer a range of long haul holidays predominantly to the Carribean, USA and Far East as well as a few other destinations. The website is easy to navigate and book online, you also receive some form of online discount (currently 10%).
I booked a holiday to Florida last year and had mixed experiences. The holiday we booked was to Naples on the Gulf coast and included return flights to Miami, hire car will full insurance package and accomodation for around £800pp. In my opinion this was a great deal, the hotel we stayed in was superb, Virgin also got us an upgrade to a sea view room which was a nice touch as well as a special offer for free valet parking.
With Virgin holidays you fly Virgin Atlantic, i've flown to the USA with several different airlines and Virgin is my favourite. The service is impeccable and the whole process was easy.
I have no issues with the holiday itself or the staff at airports or the destination, all were fantastic and i would definately book a package with them again.
My issues with thier call centre:
The problems i experienced were with their call centers, i have to say i dont think i've experienced worse customer service in a long time. I needed to change my standard package holiday to a multi-point (multi--centre) holiday to attend a last minute wedding elsewhere in the USA. Virgin do create tailor made packages but to make amendments after booking you had to call their customer service line, you automatically get through to an offshore call centre. Communication is challenging for a start and this is made worse when you are trying to explain a complex request and amendment to the booking.
I spent several hours on hold to an 0845 number over a period of at least a week with several different price quotes for the same change before i got the amendment finalised to my satisfaction only after i got hold of a supervisor in the UK. The supervisor was fantastic and not only understood the complexity and made the amendments quickly but also apologised for the inconvenience caused. Ultimately i complained in writing and got a satisfactory resolution to the issue but the hassle caused was significant in this case, at one point i was considering cancelling the holiday and forfeiting the deposit.
That said if you are looking for a simple package holiday, and dont want to do anything a bit more complex (like multi point trips!) then i think Virgin offer a great range of hotels and destinations. And, like i said the staff at the airports and hotels were superb. If you are looking to do a slightly more complex holiday then i would advise you to scope this out with Virgin before booking.
For a standard, simple package holiday this is a great option - provided you dont ever need to deal with their customer services call centre who seem unable to cope with anything but the simplest queries.