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Crystal ski NEVER Again

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Informed two days ago that our Crystal ski holiday for Christmas can not go ahead due to the hotel not opening on time. Crystal have not offered us any suitable alternative and have basically been totally unresponsive to emails and not available on the phone.
We are now in the position close to Christmas of having to fork out thousands extra cost in order to save Christmas for young children.
Will never use Crystal again. Just wanted to vent some anger and warn others of the absolutely appalling service we have received.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Until this year I have not used a tour operator for a trip. Because of covid I have, against my better judgement. Sorry to hear@Boarderfarce, of your predicament. I have an Inghams and a Crystal trip coming up. I’m hoping for the best.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
did they offer any alternative trip at all?
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It's a pity you are unable to get an explanation or alternative.

I have been using Crystal for many years (even before they were bought by TUI) and have had very few problems.

This year, I have not booked anything, due to uncertainty - but have kept in touch with Crystal Ireland and have come to appreciate some of the problems they are facing, as a result of Covid.

- They lost a lot of money last season
- They are working around covid restrictions - meaning less people answering the phone
- They are looking at very high pent up demand, due to people needing to get their skiing fix...having missed one, if not two seasons
- They have changed systems
- There is a lot of work around honouring missed holidays from last year
- I think they have less accommodation - due to uncertainty
- Hotels are letting them down - as in your case
- When I spoke to them a couple of weeks ago, there were only a handful of places to France left for the whole of Jan

I say this, not to excuse Crystal, but explain what might be going on....and it is not the norm and is Covid related....and depending on where you are going and what you see as a suitable alternative - there may be nothing available. The trouble is, this needs to be communicated and potential alternatives gone through.
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One alternative was provided. However we would be dropping from full board to half board. The hotel was also a big drop in standard. Looking ahead much cheaper in comparison too our original choice.
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My heart goes out to anyone involved in the travel industry. The service levels from many companies are poor ATM, but TO's have a horrendous task at hand.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We contacted the hotel direct who informed us they knew back in October they would not open on time. Yet crystal has taken over a month to inform us which severely limits our options. The stress and anxiety this has caused.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Boarderfarce wrote:
One alternative was provided. However we would be dropping from full board to half board. The hotel was also a big drop in standard. Looking ahead much cheaper in comparison too our original choice.


Full board isn't really a big deal - I suspect few places actually offer it because most people don't want to schlep back to their hotel for lunch. Why not take the offer with an appropriate amount of refund?
Also while you're obviously disappointed I think you may be being a tad melodramatic about "ruining Xmas for the kids" - kids are generally stoked about Xmas wherever they are and as long as they have family, presents, tat, lots of sweeties and some movies to watch they can be utterly indifferent to whatever other magical circumstances you have decided makes Xmas.

NB I'm no fan or apologist for TOs. But they are in an incredibly difficult place right now especially if suppliers are doing the dirty on them. To me the comms delay is just the flipside of the convenience you gain by using a TO, you lose on the direct communication and ability to personally control issues.
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Full board was selected to give the four children all under 10 meals after morning ski school. They were disappointed last year having their first ski holiday cancelled for obvious reasons.
This year the excitement has been building for them since October, getting new clothing ski lessons watching videos etc. Ruined might be strong but immense disappointment and not the Christmas they have been promised and looking forward to for a long time
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No monetary compensation has been offered to drop to the lesser alternative.
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Sounds really frustrating, I'd be super annoyed too having an TO pull on booked contract. That said you might still want to take the alternative if its half reasonable and push them for some refund and buy the kids a crepe or lunch each day after lessons. Packages are few and far between for Christmas and New Year, I normally do DIY but for various reasons I've been trying to look for packages for NY and they are few and far between - TOs operating to far less places and far fewer accomodations. I have the added complication of the "teen" problem which is stopping me from booking anything so it's possible we won't get away now for NY, my kids will be gutted having waited 2 years.

Or get your refund, book a tunnel ticket and drive. French resorts seem to have plenty of appartments availble to rent. It'll probably be cheaper than your TO package. I'd be driving and renting if it were not for the Teen Pass Sanitaire problem, and the challenge of getting a test for a teen 24 hours before an early am boxing day departure.

It seems this season is going to be either a punt or buggeration faffage at best.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Gazzza[/b], some good advice there. Hope you manage to get away somewhere
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Gazzza wrote:
Sounds really frustrating, I'd be super annoyed too having an TO pull on booked contract. That said you might still want to take the alternative if its half reasonable and push them for some refund and buy the kids a crepe or lunch each day after lessons. Packages are few and far between for Christmas and New Year, I normally do DIY but for various reasons I've been trying to look for packages for NY and they are few and far between - TOs operating to far less places and far fewer accomodations. I have the added complication of the "teen" problem which is stopping me from booking anything so it's possible we won't get away now for NY, my kids will be gutted having waited 2 years.


I agree.

I have watched Crystal availability disappear and prices double, or nearly double over a few months - to the point that if I can't get a last minute deal, won't be going . Their offer/incentives are also much less.

Personally, I would advise the OP to concentrate on the positives and take the deal. Covid has and still is, screwing with our lives. The Kids will get behind it, if the OP gets behind it - they will also pick up on any negativity.


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 12-11-21 13:29; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
DIY it.
RyanAir had £5 flights this week!
Book cheap flight you dont mind losing.
Book canceable accommodation.

Crystal parent company TUI done similar to us to attend a family wedding a few months ago.
Pulled our holiday, also pulled the incentive they offered us to roll over for another year, as we could have went from another airport.
Without the incentive they wanted another £500. For a trip I didnt really want to do anyway, I gladly told them to Be Nice please!.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I'd like to praise Crystal.

Last 2 winters with all the problems etc I had several trips booked with Crystal that all went kaput due to covid. I have to say they sorted refunds and/or alternative trips (hopefully happening this season) very efficiently. Refunds were fast, when I asked for them, and alternative trips that I have selected where appropriate have been upgraded free.


It could just be that they need more than 2 days to get your situation sorted and give good answers to your emails. I imagine that they are extremely busy at the moment. I expect they will get back to you quite soon.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Book a channel crossing and some appartments and drive or even get a family hotel down valley somewhere like Austria. You have to be able to be a quarterback and move with agility as circumstances change in the current travel environment. My arrangements for Xmas which I'd ordinarily view as 95%+ certain at this sort of distance I consider maybe 60% with a fair wind at the moment just because of all the curveballs UK Gov, other Gov, airline, hire car, accomodation etc can throw.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Boarderfarce, feel for you in your situation, it must be incredibly frustrating. But, as others have mentioned, if you can negotiate the half board option with some compensation then that could work. The likelihood is that if you prep the kids ("this isn't ideal but let's go with it") then they'll be fine, and actually have a fantastic holiday. The kids are more likely to have their holiday spoiled by the adults complaining that it's not what they paid for.

Also, if you're looking to vent and get a resolution, twitter is great way to go. Link in Crystal, and post your issue. It's such a public forum that companies look to resolve any issues very quickly. Often I've failed over the phone/email, but have had swift results from posting on twitter. But don't be too aggressive in anything you post, you can be upset and frustrated, but you still have to be composed.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
My group paid for a direct flight and they never told me ithad changed. I found out when going to but my API into Air Canada.

The flight was way cheaper and was taking over 19Hrs. After long battle with them we got better flights and a refund as well. I hit them hard on the big three social media sites they responded way quicker.

There phone system is very poor. Also please not its not the person on the end of the phone fault.
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@Boarderfarce, I really feel your frustration - by not telling you as soon as they knew it comes across a bit bait and switch though I suspect it‘s c0ck up rather than conspiracy. I suspect from their side they see no incentive to give you a discount on the alternative as they‘ll be able to sell it full price.

As an alternative suggestion, could you ask to keep the same hotel/package but go at Easter when the hotel is open? I think Easter‘s a great time for children to learn to ski - warmer, longer days, sunnier.
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
In Crystal's defence our flights have changed for a holiday this January. We were told this month and given what I think is quite fair compensation. Crystal do seem very busy as other posters have mentioned so perhaps give them a couple of days to work things out. Hopefully you'll get some compensation (I did have to ask for it but once I'd raised it with the nice person on the phone it was offered straight away). I think your kids will love the experience either way and probably won't care about the accommodation or food.
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sparklingspringwater wrote:
In Crystal's defence our flights have changed for a holiday this January.


Changed how? Day, time, airport? Out? Return? Both? Just wondering as I am booked with Crystal too.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Only changes were to the return timings and the airline, it was a BA flight but it isn't running anymore they said, so it'll now be with TUI instead.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It was Crystal who turned us to self-catering after an abysmal experience with them. For me, they're in the mould of an operator who works on such thin margins that if everything is going fine, they are fine as well. But once things change and circumstances get difficult, they fall apart.
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@sparklingspringwater, ah, thanks! That doesn't sound too bad. A change of day/airport would be a lot worse.
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Can anyone recommend a good site to book accommodation only? Looking at apartments or chalet for 8 people?
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I suspect that what your seeing is now going to happen quite a bit across all the cheaper TO. Unless your spending serious money (i.e. VIP values) and not in the mass market then there it little many of the TO can do as they are relying on hotels, flights etc from other companies and if they change it will remove any margin they had in the sales and there is no where near the availability that they would have had in previous years to offer alternatives. Many have less than half the options let alone before you add all the carried over bookings from last 2 years.

Unfortunately there is no ideal solution, while many say do DIY it also has some dis-advantages as others have posted.

I think the biggest take-way at the moment is not to get anyones hopes up of the holiday. I am praying ours happens but we have prepped the kids that it may not happen as everything is not predictable at the moment.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Boarderfarce, Sorry to hear of your disappointment with the Crystal hotel.

I'd recommend looking at Peak Retreats or their subsidiary ski collection who are principally a self drive TO with prices including Eurotunnel flexi plus but they do offer accommodation only as well. We have used them for 1-2 family ski holidays a year since 2008 and always had good experiences and stayed mainly in high end apartments with pools etc. Our friends have ended up going with them too.

If you are looking for this Christmas I would suggest Hotel Alparena apartments in La Rosiere as the accommodation is fantastic and it is very close to the ski school meeting point.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Trip advisor then on to whichever site gives the best deal. I have used booking.com a lot. Generally no payment required till just before you go
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Boarderfarce, Where are you heading to, if France most local tourist offices have their own dedicated booking site which brings together most of the local agencies who run accommodation. Can't help with other countries.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
A few changes in the alps that will be causing issues like this. Due to Covid and changes in unemployment benefit rules (Frace specific) a lot of people who used to work in the tourist industry have had to take other more permenent jobs. The workaround used by UK tour operators of just sending somone out from the uk to fill a gap and make stuff work is NOT available any more due to Brexit. This year they have started clmaping down on any (so called) digital nomads, if you are sitting in a country to do your online work, you need the ability to work in that country, nit just the one where the office is. Why does this matter, a lot of tour operators had staff in the Alps working for the UK office, but by being in the resort they could make stuff work, especially in the last min pre season crunch. They are now stuck in brighton not Chamonix, nippingh round to Avoriaz to solve a problem isn't possible any more.

As for the OP's dilema. If you don't want to DIY, contact a tour operator who is based in the alps. There are plenty of brits who jumped through all the hoops to stay and run small specialist operations here.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Boarderfarce wrote:
Can anyone recommend a good site to book accommodation only? Looking at apartments or chalet for 8 people?


it is worth looking at Sunweb or Snowtrex, as you can get accomodation & lift pass bundles - so one less element to deal with.
If france, then you can also look at madam vacances (skifrance is the uk website) or pierre vacances as well as a few others..
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Boarderfarce wrote:

We are now in the position close to Christmas of having to fork out thousands extra cost in order to save Christmas for young children.


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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It seems to me that TUI offered an alternative which the OP doesn't like, in which case they should either negotiate a different alternative or ask for a full refund.
I'd be surprised if TUI aren't offering equivalent value, but you still have the choice in law to walk away.

A foreign trip in the middle of a pandemic is obviously a risky proposition. Even if they didn't make that clear in
their contract, no one can seriously claim that they don't realize there is additional risk.

It's probably worth cultivating a more laid back approach: anger isn't usually the best approach to fix things.
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@Boarderfarce, I've just sent you a PM about a potential chalet that might suit-provided it's Christmas week you are after.
Smile
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
mikeycharlton wrote:
Boarderfarce wrote:

We are now in the position close to Christmas of having to fork out thousands extra cost in order to save Christmas for young children.




My heart goes out to the 100s of millions of kids out there that won't get to ski this Christmas.
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:


My heart goes out to the 100s of millions of kids out there that won't get to ski this Christmas.


mine dont.
dont want the slopes overcrowded.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Boarderfarce wrote:
Full board was selected to give the four children all under 10 meals after morning ski school. They were disappointed last year having their first ski holiday cancelled for obvious reasons.
This year the excitement has been building for them since October, getting new clothing ski lessons watching videos etc. Ruined might be strong but immense disappointment and not the Christmas they have been promised and looking forward to for a long time


Have you looked at what Esprit have? When our kids were that age, we used them as they would take kids back from lessons to hotel for Lunch and then have an afternoon club which they thoroughly enjoyed. We then got to enjoy a good numbers of hours skiing and a meal out together on the slopes without our children which is and always has been a huge novelty for us.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Boarderfarce, what Timc said
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@Boarderfarce, it's a disappointing and stressful situation, especially if you are the one who's organising the whole thing. Personally I'd be taking @Gazzza's suggestion of going for the offered alternative (with a suitable refund - I would be very surprised if Crystal won't refund the difference in price, if the offered hotel is a lower standard and HB rather than full board). As long as the adults present this as an exciting holiday, the kids probably won't even notice that it's not quite what was promised initially. Or go with @Gämsbock's Easter idea (again with a refund, since Easter will be cheaper than Christmas). That one depends on being able to change holiday dates, of course, and you have to handle the Christmas disappointment but it provides the same experience in the end.
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Thanks all some great constructive advice. It's appreciated. As said above I'm sure the kids will have a awesome Christmas as long as we get to go away somewhere. It's all relative and yes we are all fortunate to be able to go skiing
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