Pregnant woman cancels cruise due to Zika virus, company won't refund the money despite insurance

Posted at 10:56 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 01:56:23-04

Savings from a minimum wage job went toward a lifetime goal for Janet Bennett: paying for a cruise for her and her daughter.

They were set to sail next month, after booking the trip in early March.

The Caribbean cruise, the airfare and the gratuities are fully paid. 

But events abroad and at home conspired to spoil the getaway. The Zika virus spread to the Caribbean and Bennett’s daughter got pregnant.

Her daughter, Lindsay Stark, said that her doctor advised her not to take the vacation.

Bennett, who had previously bought travel insurance, wants a refund of her daughter’s portion of the nearly $3,000 trip.

“We’re not rich people,” Stark, of Peoria, said.  “We don’t have a lot of money.”

Carnival Cruise Line offered to refund Bennett about $100 instead.

“I feel horribly ripped off,” she said.

Carnival also offered the option of a different cruise destination—but at an increased cost, Bennett said. They also offered to reschedule after the woman's pregnancy. 

However, Bennett says she doesn't know if she'll want to reschedule the trip. She suffers from a lung disease and is unsure if she'll live through next year. She also doesn't want to discuss the topic with her daughter.

“It’s a dream turned into a nightmare,” Bennett said of the attempt to get a partial refund.

An after-hours email to Carnival has not been returned.