In August News 6 covered the stories of people who had their cruises cancelled due to COVID-19 months ago but were still fighting for refunds. It took a few weeks, but a few passengers have now recovered thousands of dollars they were due.
The U.S. government issued a no sail order in mid March due to the pandemic. Even though cruises were cancelled through no fault of passengers, many have been denied refunds, based on the cruise lines policy.
“This is just one nightmare after another,” Lindsay Dillon said.
Dillon says the nightmare wasn’t just that her cruise to the Bahamas was cancelled due to COVID-19, She says trying to get her money back made it worse.
“I mean the communication is just so terrible,” Dillon said. “I have called so many times and I just have been given so many excuses. So many different people will call me."
For Dillon and her friends, it was supposed to be a five day party to the Bahamas onboard the Norwegian Sun.
“It was actually my bachelorette party,” Dillon said.
They flew to Fort Lauderdale, made it onboard, even into the pool with cocktails--when it happened.
“They made an announcement that we had to get off the boat,” Dillon said. “It was very bizarre, everything happened so fast. We had to get off the boat."
Dillon says she checked her documents and immediately applied for a refund, she says she even got an email saying her refund request was submitted successfully and to allow 90 days for it to be processed.
However, when five months passed, News 6 connected with her in the Facebook group called, “NCL waiting for a refund.” The group has more than 1,100 members.
When News 6 contacted Norwegian on Dillon’s behalf, the company said it was “an oversight” and they are “processing a full fare refund” of $998.00.
It still took another few weeks before it happened--but Dillon was pleased telling News 6 via email:
“I honestly can not thank you enough! I have been pushed around saying the situation will be escalated and someone will contact me and no one does. I do a 15 minute call with you and it gets settled! I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart!,” Dillon wrote.
We also got results for Tom Fox who paid almost 8-thousand dollars for he and his wife’s 7 day Alaskan Cruise which was cancelled due to Covid-19.
He says he had tried through Princess Cruise Lines, Florida’s Attorney General, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Better Business Bureau.
“And I was getting no where,” Fox said.
After months of waiting he contacted News 6.
“I contacted Channel 6, within 24 hours we’re looking at the promise of a refund and within 15 days we’ve got almost every dollar back,” Fox said.
There are a couple of takeaways:
The cruise line industry is inundated with cancelled cruises and people trying to get refunds. It will likely take much longer than usual to get a refund.
Every cruise line’s refund policy is different. Consumers should know the policy.
A common thread between some of these customers, is if you are given an option of re-booking with a Future Cruise Credit, know that if you accept the credit, that could make you ineligible for a future refund.
Ask before you make that decision.