Judith Abramson’s western Mediterranean cruise on the Oceania Marina last April did not end well. After a sudden illness, the ship’s doctor decided she needed to go to the hospital, and she was unceremoniously disembarked in Naples, Italy, under less than ideal circumstances, she says.
“I was put off the ship with no money, no ID and no one to help navigate the language,” she told me. “I was in the hospital for three days and not one person from the cruise line or the ship came to inquire about me or my problem.”
Worse, her travel companion was treated the same way.
“Elaine was told that she had to pack up and leave the ship immediately. No one gave her any assistance in finding a hotel room. She had to make an overseas phone call to a family member who found accommodations at a nearby hotel,” says Abramson.
And the final insult, she adds, is that no one from Oceania bothered to contact her family to let them know she’d been hospitalized.
“We feel that the least we are entitled to is a complete refund of our trip,” she told me. “Any help you can give us with this would certainly be appreciated.”
Can Oceania do that? In a word, yes. Check out its passenger ticket contract, the legal agreement between Abramson and the company.
We may, without liability for any refund, payment, compensation or credit of any kind, refuse to embark, or may disembark, confine to a stateroom, quarantine or limit the activities during the Cruise at any time or at any port any Guest who may be suffering from contagious or infectious disease or whose presence, or that of any accompanying child, in the opinion of the Carrier, the Master, or any doctor, may be detrimental to the comfort, enjoyment or safety of other persons, or who, in the Carrier’s or Master’s opinion, might create a risk of harm to himself/herself or any other person, or who may be excluded from landing at the destination by Immigration or other Governmental Authorities. In such cases, the Guest shall not be entitled to any refund of the Cruise Fare or CruiseTour Fare or any compensation whatsoever.
Gee, that’s a mouthful.
I suggested Abramson send a brief, polite email to Oceania, describing her ordeal and making her best case for compensation. It responded with a lengthy explanation of why it did what it did.
Let’s hit the highlights.
Concerning your medical disembarkation, we hope you can appreciate that the doctor’s prime objective was ensuring your wellbeing, and getting you to a hospital facility that would be medically equipped to handle your circumstances, as quickly as possible.
While we do understand that you felt rushed, things must move very quickly in these situations, particularly when time is limited and the ship is scheduled to leave port shortly, and would be at sea for many hours thereafter.
As you may know, our ships have limited medical facilities, and to eliminate the risk of a possible life-threatening emergency at sea, the doctor felt it was imperative for you to get to a shore-side hospital while the ship was still in port.