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Cruise lines investigated over refunds as passengers wait for money from canceled trips

Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 11:53:52-04

Few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than cruise lines as trips are canceled and passengers want refunds.

Passengers like Brenda and Desiree are finding it difficult to get their refunds for a Mexican Riviera cruise that was booked for April 2020.

The trip was supposed be their honeymoon.

"We were going to have the time of our lives," Desiree said.

Then came the pandemic and the cruise was canceled.

Norwegian Cruise Lines offered a full refund or a future credit at 125% of what they spent.

At the time, they took the credit.

"We had no idea a year and a half later we were still not going," Desiree says.

So now the couple wants a refund, but because they agreed to the credit last year, they now can't get one.

It's a common complaint, as different cruise lines have different cancellation and refund policies, which was exposed because of COVID-19.

The Federal Maritime Commission is investigating the situation and looking at new rules to streamline policies.

One proposal states that if sailing is canceled or passenger boarding delayed by 24 hours or more for any reason besides a government order or declaration, passengers get a full refund within 60 days.

You can weigh in on the Commission's proposals as they seek public input.

Unless it's retroactive, the policies would be too late for Brenda and Desiree who say they can't get anywhere with Norwegian.

"I said 'Aren't there any exceptions?' She said, 'its against our policy,'" Desiree said.

For months, we repeatedly contacted Norwegian's corporate offices and got no response.

But after our last email, that changed.

Norwegian replied saying "this matter is being handled directly" with the couple.

Brenda says they are expected to get their refund soon and they're looking forward to a future cruise, at a better time.

Thanks to Norwegian Cruise Lines for doing the right thing!

If you're planning a cruise, here are some things to consider.

-Carnival Cruise lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines now require vaccines for passengers 12 or older unless they can't get vaccines for medical reasons. Carnival also requires a negative COVID-19 test. Norwegian requires a negative test and full vaccines for all passengers.

-Travel insurance has been required for unvaccinated passengers and may be good for all passengers. Compare cruise line policies and see which is more favorable.