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My mother is terminally ill — why won’t Princess refund her cruise?

oceanQuestion: I am currently sitting on a deck overlooking a park at a hospice facility while my mother lies in her bed taking a morphine nap. She will die in a couple of days.

My mother was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma last year. We had expected that she would be around for at least another couple of years. But last week we discovered that the tumors she had more than tripled in size and a week later she was given a few days life expectancy.

That bucket list cruise to Alaska which is scheduled for next week ain’t happening. In an effort to reduce debt I tried to cancel her trip. My mother says, “Don’t bother canceling. They’ll keep your money and then book someone else in my room making double what they should!”

So I called the airlines she was scheduled to fly on. They were more than accommodating. They said they simply needed a letter and some other details pertaining to her death, and I was told a refund would be no problem.
I called Princess Cruise Line and they told me that they would not refund her cruise for any reason. They stated that if she bought the travel insurance they offer, she could get some money back as long as it was not within two weeks of travel. It is within two weeks of her trip, so that wouldn’t have helped.

Is it true that Princess will now get paid twice for the cruise that my mother could not get reimbursed for? By canceling the cruise, they are informed that she will not be there and they now have the opportunity to resell this space even if it as an incredible discount. This seems a bit unethical. What do you think? — Shannon Tait, Wappingers Falls, NY

Answer: I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. Between the time you first wrote to me and the time I closed your case, your mother passed away. My condolences on your loss.

I looked into the details of your cruise, and when you said this was a bucket list vacation, you were not kidding. Your mother was terminally ill before she booked this trip with her sister, and most travel insurance would not cover her because of her pre-existing medical condition.

This isn’t a simple question of a cruise line pocketing the money for a passenger who passed away. Your mother and your aunt were taking their chances by booking a cruise under these circumstances. I can certainly understand their desire to get away together one last time, but they also knew they were taking a risk.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you what they should have done differently, because it would be insensitive, and besides, there will be no next time for them.

Could Princess have resold the cabin? Maybe. But that, too, is beside the point.

The real question is: What should a cruise line do when a passenger dies? Airlines offer a refund, no questions asked. I believe that’s the right thing to do for cruise lines as well.

The Princess representatives you spoke with didn’t see it that way, mostly because your mother had not yet passed away. But after she did, I believe the cruise line’s position would have changed. I can’t imagine any company not refunding a dead passenger’s ticket — whether she’s insured or not.

Indeed, when I contacted Princess on your behalf, it said her case was still “open,” meaning it hadn’t decided what to do yet. After it reviewed the details of your request, it refunded both your mother’s and your aunt’s cruise.

Should Princess have refunded this cruise?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • jpp42

    I’m glad that they got a refund in this case. However, in this “pre-existing condition” case where there was a high chance of not having the medical fitness for the trip, I think it would be fair for the cruise company to reimburse the original travelers based on their ability to resell the cabin. If it was resold at 50% discount, then that money could go to the original ticketholders. The problem is you can’t really trust the company to tell the truth on this. I’m glad there’s still room for compassion.

  • kslmp

    My sypmathies to the family. Just a quick question though. With her health, would the cruise line have even let her on the ship?

  • TonyA_says

    BOYCOTT.
    Also, not all people with cancer are already terminally ill enough so they cannot travel. It depends. But cancer can grow so rapidly and move to other parts of the body. There is no indication that when they booked the passenger was already dying. The cancer just got worse after they booked the cruise. I hope for the best outcome. But this should be a warning to all people never to book a cruise if you are old and sickly. They will keep your money even if you cannot cruise. Buy an airline ticket instead. They are more accommodating.

  • Deborah Orth

    I would hate to think that anyone would vote no after reading the story.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Oh, but they did!

  • Charlie Funk

    Pre-existing conditions are indeed covered by several trip cancellation/interruption insurance providers as long as the coverage is purchased within a specified time frame. In some cases that time frame is within 14 days or so of initial payment, in others up to the final payment due date. Shame on whoever assisted this family with such an important trip for not offering them such coverage. Yes, the family was refunded their monies but only after needless stress and anxiety.
    One comment asked if the cruise line would have even let her on the ship with her health issues. While not an everyday occurrence, some have been known to take extended length cruises with the almost certain knowledge that they will expire while on the ship. Indeed, some ships have morgues with a capacity of up to 12 corpses for this reason.

  • naoma

    Insurance, insurance, insurance. Please do that.

  • Deborah Orth

    I know you are correct about the insurance as my husband and I have taken several trips where we had insurance that covered pre-existing conditions, as long as the insurance was purchased at the time we made the initial deposit on the trip.

  • backprop

    Seems like trip insurance would cover it as other posters have attested to. Shall we assume the OP had none?. What if the mother was well, and the daughter broke a leg before the trip? Would Princess be responsible for that? I don’t think anyone would say yes, so why create a narrow set of conditions under which the cruise line is obligated to refund someone’s money?

    If the OP had prepared for the other 99% of things that could have gone wrong (weather, missed flight, broken leg), this one would have been a non-issue. Take responsibility for yourself. Sad circumstances are going to happen. Be ready.

  • BobA

    This is my first time replying but I am a daily reader and enjoy your website tremendously. I wonder why when some of the questions you pose seem like they should be 100% one way or the other yet there are always dissenting votes. Are there plants from these organizations that vote the opposite way to show that their company is not in the wrong?

  • flutiefan

    no, i often vote opposite of the majority, and i am not some company shill. i simply disagree with people wanting the rules to apply to everyone else but them (which is the subject of a lot of polls and articles).

  • samvt

    Why can’t companies/corporations (after all, they are people) just do the right thing. Has profit become our only god?

  • SoBeSparky

    Even with fear of being seen as insensitive, I am ambivalent on the refund. I cannot see the cruise line accepting a terminally ill patient as a passenger. My recollection is that cruise lines have rules on the availability of the infirmary and doctor on duty. The cruise ship is not designed or equipped to be a hospital. So why, according to the ship’s rules, would she be allowed to board?

    I would want my last days to be in comfort with my home surroundings, not separated from my family on a cruise ship ill prepared to care for me with morphine and whatever else is necessary. The point is, in your “terminal hospice days” you can take a turn for the worse at almost any time. A perfectly mobile passenger with no pain could end up being in bed with lots of pain in a matter of hours. Common sense would say that bucket list trip just isn’t possible without compromising the comfort of the last days.

    There just is no “Plan B” for a seriously ill passenger. No options. Especially if the ship is removed from ports where a helicopter could medivac the passenger. And what is the cost of the medivac from Alaska? Sounds very expensive to me, more than the cost of the cruise. This was just an unwise move to book the cruise.

  • Andrew deLivron

    This is really a good business decision. If the surviving passengers are to consider a future cruise making a decision to allow for a credit will create a loyal customer in the furture.

  • backprop

    ditto flutiefan. The poll and question are there to get people talking. One’s first reaction might be one way, but with just a little thought, it goes the other way. With questions like this one, you have to think beyond whatever is tugging at your heartstrings before clicking the button.

  • Deborah Orth

    I may be wrong, but my reading of the article lead me to believe that the woman was not in hospice at the time the cruise was booked but had gotten much worse as the sailing date neared. As for planning for your “last days”. How does one know when one’s last days will be? Was it so terrible that a woman who thought she had a couple of more years left wanted to take a last trip with her sister?

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Bob, the polls aren’t meant to be scientific. They’re meant as a catalyst to continue the conversation about a given case or issue. You’ll find some commenters here who don’t participate in the poll because it oversimplifies an issue. Actually, it’s meant to offer a framework for a debate, nothing more.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I voted no after reading the story. I did so after I wiped my eyes. My mother is in the next room. I’ll spare you the details, but she’s moving into the next phase of her life and we’re not signing her up for any season tickets, if you get my drift.

    Since I’m roughly in the same situation as the OP, I think my “no” vote isn’t some silly vote just to be funny, like in Monday’s poll. If I go ahead and sign my mother up for a season ticket to the opera or the symphony or the local community theater, I would be doing so with the full knowledge that she may not get the full use of those season tickets. They aren’t refundable. You can donate the tickets back to the organization, but that’s it. The organizations can sell that same seat if I notify them in advance, but there’s still no refund of the ticket.

    The family took a gamble, bless their loving hearts, and didn’t insure the gamble. Counting on a business to change its rules, even in such a heartwrenching situation, isn’t a dependable solution to a problem. Princess was within its rights not to refund, but I am so thankful that Chris Elliott stepped in to move the company beyond a matter of rights but to a matter of kindness.

  • Deborah Orth

    I’m glad that Princess ended up doing the right thing and issuing refunds. We took a Princess cruise this last February (10 day partial Panama Canal transit & had a wonderful time) it’s just too bad that they could not have just asked for documentation like the airline did. Before I voted on your poll question I asked myself How I would like to be treated if I were ever in that position?

  • Steve

    I am unclear on a major point here. We know that independent insurance companies such as travelguard do provide insurance with no pre-existing clause if you buy within 2 weeks of booking. Did the person in this article not go ahead and buy insurance, and now wanted the cruise company to make an exception?. Insurance is not that expensive and seems like a reasonable option give the risks involved.

  • Grant Ritchie

    Why does my suspicious mind think that most if not all of the cruise lines that create these ridiculously strict refund policies also just ” happen” to have travel insurance subsidiaries that sell protection from them? There’s a special place in hell…

  • backprop

    I asked myself, would I have knowingly allowed myself to get into a position to lose that money without insurance, whether from the death of a family member or mechanical breakdown, or illness, or injury, or weather…

    Different strokes I guess.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Backprop – the story says they couldn’t GET the insurance because of a pre-existing condition clause… It’s NOT different strokes, but an inability to get the insurance to begin with.

  • Deborah Orth

    Please accept my sympathy on your Mother’s condition. I have lost both my parents and I know how hard it is. That being said the company should have done the compassionate thing without Mr. Elliot having to become involved the airline did. One of my best friend’s Mother was placed on hospice and told she was terminal. That was 10+ years ago she is now 91 I know it is an isolated case but it can happen. I also firmly believe in the purchase of insurance to be on the safe side.

  • TonyA_says

    In a way I have to disagree. I simply tell my clients to buy a different type of vacation. Why worry about what type of insurance to buy for a cruise. Just don’t cruise.

    I’m currently going to a similar travel planning problem right now. My parents are avid travelers and we (4 generations) usually all travel together during the big holidays. My father, my sister and I do all the planning. But this year is going to be different. My mother has cancer of the esophagus and larynx (area). She (never smoked) had lost her voice and just finished her chemo and a long course of radiation treatments. During my 59th birthday last week I was able to talk to her. The “lump” near her throat had gotten smaller and she has regained a small part of her voice. It was the best birthday gift ever – to hear my mother’s speaking. But then came the bad news. Her oncologist just told my Dad and sister, that he saw something else during endoscopy. Another CAT scan was ordered. Apparently he saw some growth in the false chords that worries him. And they think the radiation did not penetrate the cartilage to be effective for that area. Since my mom is too old for surgery then another chemo might be the next course of action. My mom has lost almost 20 lbs during the ordeal and she is always tired (very sleepy). That’s what daily trips to the hospital will probably do to anyone.

    Ok that being the background, my Dad keeps on reminding me to finish our Xmas multi-generational vacation. I keep on saying “working on it”. But really what do I do?
    Do I plan one near a hospital? Near her doctor? Near a place they (my parents) has had unforgettable memories? My father told me Sicily. I stared at the ceiling for a while I paused in complete silence over the phone. How can my Mom get there? Will the airplane ride be too difficult? I told my Dad, maybe Hawaii would be easier on everyone. My brother-in-law is a surgeon and if anything were to happen, I suppose it is easier for us to rush to a hospital in Hawaii. I hope I chose the correct destination.

    If anyone here has some tips on where to go in Maui or Kauai or any island in Hawaii where older people (with possibly limited years left) can enjoy a couple of days together with their family, please tell me. I might know something about how the travel industry works but for my own family vacation under these circumstances, I am just a lost puppy. Thank you.

    PS. We are not talking about buying travel insurance or avoiding nasty businesses like cruiselines. All we want are a few good days to remember for the rest of our lives. I bet the OP’s family wanted the same thing, too.

  • Pegtoo

    I really think most companies want to do the right thing. I’d like to believe that. But so many people take advantage. How do we make customers do the right thing every time also?

  • TonyA_says

    Until people are in the same boat (pardon the pun), it might be hard for them to understand.

  • Deborah Orth

    Agreed 100%, things are going to and can happen to any of us. Also agree we should try to be as ready as we can for any emergency or possibility. But when and if that thing happens that you some how missed being ready for happens to you will you really like it if you hear: Sorry Pal you are just plain SOL to bad you weren’t prepared for that happening.

  • backprop

    That’s referring the insurance that the cruise line offers. I’m relying on what other posters have already attested to, that third party insurance is available. I’m reading my third-party (CSA) insurance policy for my upcoming trip, and it certainly seems to corroborate that.

  • backprop

    Why wouldn’t I expect that? I’d be kicking myself, not the company.

  • Deborah Orth

    Well put Tony! Without trying to be religious. “There but for the grace of God go I.” None of us really think that Bad Things will happen to us, and we like to think that we are Prepared for anything, but you never know.

  • Ann

    My condolences to the reader at this difficult time and I am glad that Princess provided a refund. But this is an anomaly – at this late date of a cancellation, it is quite possible the cruise line will not be able to re-sell the cabin because of current regs. on when they need to have the passenger manifest to the powers that be.

    Travel insurance is sold by the cruise lines and third party providers specifically for these purposes. That is what travel insurance is for. We’ve had passengers who did not want to buy travel insurance at the time of making their deposit because their reasoning is “I can cancel by final payment date and not lose any money, so why should I buy non-refundable insurance?” This is fine and dandy, but we explain to them about the pre-existing condition clause and that if they develop any new illnesses, it would not be covered if they wait to purchase. We had one passenger who, a month after making her deposit and refusing travel insurance, was diagnosed with cancer. Because she could not get insurance at that time because she now had a pre-existing condition, she had to make a decision by final payment on whether she felt she could or could not go. On the side of safety, she canceled her cruise and received a full refund. This was also a bucket list trip and it ended up that she could have traveled when the cruise took place but she erred on the side of caution.

    If a traveler is seriously ill at the time of deposit but her doctor stated she was able to travel the day she booked her cruise and the day she bought her insurance, they may have been able to find an insurance that might cover some of her costs. Just because she had cancer doesn’t mean that she could not have found coverage. There are Cancel for Any Reason policies that would likely have offered compensation, although likely not 100%. And the aunt could have purchased her own policy.

    The cruise lines certainly could not afford to refund everyone who may develop a life threatening disease or tragically pass away before their cruise who did not purchase travel insurance. That is what insurance is for.

    If passengers with serious illness who do not have insurance decide to book a vacation, they need to evaluate their circumstances at final payment time to decide if they will or won’t be able to travel so they can cancel with no penalty. If they don’t cancel at that time and the illness takes a turn for the worse, the earlier they cancel, the less of their full payment they would lose.

    Although that may not have been the case here, too many people disregard travel insurance with an “I don’t need it” attitude, then when something similar happens, blame the cruise line for not refunding their money. Anything can happen before you travel – we’ve had clients in car accidents on their way to the airport on their vacations that would have lost everything if they hadn’t purchased travel insurance. Insurance is a small price to pay when you think of how may different scenarios could happen.

    In this case, Princess did a great thing for the writer thanks to you getting involved. But please explain in one of your columns how and what travel insurance is meant to cover.

  • TonyA_says

    Also I am a bit confused here. Many people say insurance. But insurance is really for a different problem or reason – mostly unknown ones. For cases like this, compassion from the vendor is more appropriate. Having to buy insurance because of inappropriate policy of the cruise line is just another business ploy.

  • TonyA_says

    You got it! Another money making scheme.

  • TonyA_says

    They can always say NO to the wrong people and still have the correct refund policy.

  • SoBeSparky

    “My mother was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma last year. We had expected that she would be around for at least another couple of years.” I interpreted this to mean about a year has already passed. Meaning she has about a year left in their estimation.

    A person diagnosed with a short-term (18 months or so) terminal illness has no business on a cruise ship. It is simply not equipped for very possible eventualities. This is not for the cruise line’s benefit, but for the patient’s. These are not floating hospitals with medical specialists. Alaska cruises run seven days, and that is a long time for a terminally ill person to have no qualified medical care nearby.

    It may seem touching and emotionally rewarding to have one’s last days on a bucket list cruise, but the practical considerations are overwhelming against such a trip.

  • Deborah Orth

    Never knowingly allowed yourself. Reasonable people never knowingly allow themselves to get into a bad position. “Pride goeth before the fall.” Nothing bad can happen to me because I’m prepared for it.

  • SoBeSparky

    My sincere prayers for you, your family and your mother to enjoy her last days. I found this on Google. It seems to be solid advice, best pursued before you book anything: http://dying.about.com/od/ethicsandchoices/a/travel_tips.htm

  • backprop

    No need for histrionics. It’s a simple case of buying something and being willing to lose that money, or paying a little extra (even through a third party) and insuring it. This is opposed to visiting your misfortune on either the company or other passengers.

  • Deborah Orth

    Lots of ambiguity here I agree. Maybe their estimation was based on what they were told by their doctor? Maybe they even asked their doctor if he thought that she be able to do this trip? Just hope that you never have to make a decision like that in your last days.

  • Alan Gore

    Does this story tell us that cruise lines have actually become worse than airlines? Princess was obviously betting that in the confusion that always follows a death, the cruise booking would just slip trough the cracks and be forgotten about until it was too late. Once again, it took the threat of Internet shaming to put things right for the consumer.

    This is another case in which enforcement of silly corporate rules actually gets in the way of good business. The mother’s instinct was right on: since there was no incentive being offered to cancel before departure, better to just not show up and let a cabin sail empty. Now Princess has to eat a cabin that might have been resold.

  • Deborah Orth

    No histrionics at all. Life happens and you cannot protect yourself against everything.

  • Alan Gore

    But what if the rule makes no sense for anyone? I would love to see consumers get more assertive about this kind of thing. Why the push to punish people who travel and encounter normal human problems along the way?

  • Cam

    I am very sorry for the person’s loss. And yes, death should qualify for a refund.

  • SoBeSparky

    Although it may be too easy for me to say now, I think my priorities in my last days would be twofold:
    1. Family and friends nearby.
    2. Palliative care readily available.

    I also would stress out if I believed I was a burden in an avoidable situation.

  • TonyA_says

    Thanks SobeSparky, but she is NOT anywhere near deathly ill. That is the point I am trying to make about cancer. I have lost 2 loved ones that went quick because of cancer. The last one was my best friend cousin. I visited him during one vacation and we were all laughing and drinking. Then about 6 months later, the poor guy was dead (of cancer).

    Most people with cancer can travel or live near normal lives. Then some powerful being just snaps a finger and it turns for the worse so suddenly.
    Very hard to deal with for family members.

  • Deborah Orth

    We are going on a trip in February to an all-inclusive. When we put down our deposit we bought insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. The hitch was it had to be purchased at the time of the deposit not with final payment. The goodwill generated for the cruise line will make up for 2 lost fares. I also don’t think that there are loads of terminally ill people booking cruises just so they can get their money back if they can’t go.

  • Deborah Orth

    She was going to take this cruise with her sister some people are closer to their siblings than others. Maybe the rest of the family encouraged her to do this? We just don’t know.

  • TonyA_says

    I not really sure I understand what you are saying.
    But here is the gist of the argument.
    People are trying to use insurance to make a non-refundable fare refundable.
    My point is fares should be refundable for death in the first place.

  • Deborah Orth

    I have been having a running discussion with several people who basically feel it was the woman’s fault for wanting to go on a cruise when she knew she was terminal and for not having the foresight to purchase insurance. Hence they feel she should be just plain SOL or up the creek without a paddle to keep the water motif going

  • TonyA_says

    Just the length of your post trying to convince us about travel insurance is an indication how complicated cruise line policies are. Just forget cruising. It is simpler.

  • TonyA_says

    I am afraid you are 100% correct. Corporate greed.
    And no business has to run 100% capacity to make money. That is not how business or service systems works.
    People have been brainwashed about the cruising industry and that is why they make such ignorant statements.

  • TonyA_says

    And to top that, I am not sure what other business thinks it is right to keep the money of a dead customer they cannot deliver the service to. Unbelievable.

  • TonyA_says

    I am not a lawyer. But what right does a cruiseline have to keep the money of a dead passenger who cannot board the ship? How can you deliver the goods to a dead person?

  • Deborah Orth

    Agree 100% in case of death! But our policy protects in case of illness based on pre-existing condition. Should it prevent us from traveling also will help defray costs should something happen during our trip, some health insurance will only pay if you are in the USA Medicare does not travel with you abroad for example.

  • TonyA_says

    Exactly. Your case is different. The problem of the OP is refund in case of death. It is very clear. The passenger died. So why no refund?

  • Alan Gore

    There is a general difference between cruising and flying here, in that cruise passengers are much more likely to be old and infirm, including in fact a lot of people who are advised not to fly because of the cabin altitude and forced inactivity. “Terminally ill” means that your condition is not curable, not that you are too sick to cruise.

    Cruise lines also need to be mindful of the fact that for every old passenger who becomes too old and sick to sail, there are grown children with incomes and inheritances who, given the example of a tiny bit of elementary humanity to the family matriarch, could become the next generation of cruisers. The clueless bean counter who didn’t think of this ought to be horsewhipped – by the stockholders.

  • TonyA_says

    The question is are the rules REASONABLE?

  • MN mom

    i beg to differ. My dad had lung cancer, and when we found it had spread to his bones, we knew it meant trouble. We weren’t given a time estimation, but we all knew our time was limited. i also knew that Dad always wanted to see Alaska and if we were going to make it happen, we’d best do it NOW. i booked a cruise for 8 family members to sail 6 wks after we found out about the cancer spreading. Prior to the trip, he received radiation and it made him sick. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to take the trip, but Dad wanted to go so badly, that we just went for it.

    Dad had THE BEST time of his life on that ship! He ate well (gained 7 lbs!), loved the scenery, stayed up late at the piano bar, and relished his time with his grandkids. It’s time i wouldn’t trade for any amount of money.

    Once we returned, Dad talked non-stop about that cruise. He dreamed of going on another one and often browsed the internet looking for deals (we all knew he’d never get to go, but he loved looking…..and dreaming). Those memories – and all the conversations about “possible” cruises to take – were the best medicine for him and gave him something to look forward to, to live for, instead of sitting waiting to die.

    We lost Dad 3 1/2 months after our cruise. Did we take a risk going on the trip? Absolutely. But to say that someone with a terminal illness has “no business” going on a cruise is a horrid thing to say. NONE of us are guaranteed our next day – and anything can happen to the most healthy person in the blink of an eye. That doesn’t mean a person should stop living. It doesn’t mean to sit in a chair and wait for “possible eventualities”. Heck, we are ALL at risk for “possible eventualities”. But we live our lives anyway because the alternative (not doing anything, not planning anything, etc.) isn’t living life at all. And NONE of us has the right to condemn another person to THAT.

    i applaud the woman and her sister for striving for that bucket list trip. i wish they’d have been able to plan it sooner so they could have actually gone, but i bet they had good times planning and looking forward to it – and that counts for something when dealing with such a grim illness.

  • bodega3

    So the mother and sister did not take out insurance even though the mother had a condition that could have prevented her from traveling….and ultimately did, plus the mother and sister agreed to the terms and conditions of the booking at the time of final payment. Then the OP asked if the refund should be given back because of a chance of filling that cabin even though the cancelation was two weeks prior to sailing. I am shaking my head on this one. I am going to vote no because it isn’t fair to those who took out coverage knowing they had a condition and made the right decision so their family didn’t bother a consumer advocate with in a selfish manner.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Alas, they would say that its not that they can’t deliver the product, but rather the customer is unable to receive it. Thus putting the onus on the customer. Heartless.

  • bodega3

    We all are either in business for ourselves or we work for a business. Businesses have to make money and if they sell something, they have to have policies in place for refund. Yes, there can be bending of rules and we have done that with our business, but overall, we are pretty straight forward. There is time and money in refunds, it isn’t as clear cut as many think. IMHO the OP’s mom and sister took a gamble with the mother’s health and the decision to not take out insurance with would have covered for this. But the issue I have is with the comment that the cruise line was going to fill that cabin and make additional money. So what? That isn’t the OP’s business especially since the family made a financial decision NOT to pay for coverage.

  • TonyA_says

    Since when do you have to run 100% capacity to earn money?
    I run my old business at 45-50% PEAK capacity and made good money.
    There is always room for compassion on even a fixed capacity system.
    The probability of having dead customers is not that great.

    The onus is on the BUSINESS to make a compassionate refund policy not on the customers to protect themselves with insurance policies because of a one sided company policy.

  • TonyA_says

    Should the OP take a cadaver with her?

  • bodega3

    It is not up to us to decide on a companies cancellation policy. The mother and sister knew what it was when they made the booking and took a chance. I am all about compassion, but at the same time, they could have protected themselves and decided not to.

  • SoBeSparky

    I refer you to the page I gave above to Tony A, http://dying.about.com/od/ethicsandchoices/a/travel_tips.htm

    These are medical experts giving their best advice. A cruise does not fit their description of arrangements for a seriously ill traveler. A small two-bed infirmary is not the type of standby medical facility a terminally patient deserves, for all parties. Of course, I am glad yours worked out.

    A cruise ship has no provision for palliative care. Their infirmaries and doctors are primarily prepared for common minor mishaps, and perhaps cardiac emergencies, and even then they do not approach the level of service of a small town emergency room.

    Let me tell you another real situation. My step-mother was at the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Her best friend, a charitable lady, decided my step-mom would enjoy “one last cruise.” She always was an independent traveler, and cruised on freighter ships and cruise ships for 40 years, so this too was an especially appropriate activity, a “last cruise.” Cancer and Alzheimer’s are obviously decidedly different but in one respect they are not. At any given moment, the ill patient can suddenly take a decided turn for the worse.

    So in this case, the different surroundings caused my step-mom to be completely disoriented. When she left the cabin, she would be cogent. When she tried to return, she had to knock on door after door down hallways to find her own cabin and friend. Every night had similar situations at different locations on the ship. Her cabin number in her purse was of no help. My step-mom went into panic and lost common reasoning to find her way.

    After this episode, she did not sit around waiting for institutionalization. She traveled by air for her brother’s funeral 2,500 miles away. She visited relatives in Canada. She took me out to dinner and we had interesting conversations. But a cruise was inappropriate.

    What started out as a charitable effort ended up being a complete nightmare for both the caregiver and the ill person. There are three parties to this travel conundrum, the patient, the travel companions (relatives/caregivers) and the transport/lodgings involved. There also are friends and family not on the vacation who would like to be near in the final days or hours.

    I am not advocating depriving anyone of anything. Land travel, as noted above, can be done prudently with precautions to protect everyone involved, patient, friends and family, and the hospitality business involved. A cruise ship is totally unequipped to deal with these illnesses. So any terminal patient, their family and friends, embark on a cruise at their own risk. And that was the point of this situation. Should the cruise line refund the full fare of a terminally ill patient and sister booked on a final cruise?

    Was the cruise line “greedy” as some maintain, or were the passengers taking substantial risks? I lean toward the latter. And I know this column is probably giving Princess heartburn. This “total refund” could be seen as encouragement to have more terminal patients take bucket-list cruises. And that is the last thing cruise lines want to encourage, as they have no provisions for care of such passengers.

  • TonyA_says

    It is up to us to pressure cruise lines to have decent policies. But then again what do we expect of companies who don’t even want to register their ships in the USA but dock in our ports, use (and pollute) our waters, and take mostly American passengers?
    Time for Congress to take some real action.

  • TonyA_says

    I would not take my mom in a cruise ship either.
    I am trying to find out where the nearest medical facilities would be just in case we need them.

  • bodega3

    The family should have accepted the terms and conditions for which they agreed to. But alas, we don’t do that any more. We complain, whine, stomp our feet, write letters until we get what others who followed the rules don’t get.
    I am not insensitive. I am just tired of it!

  • TonyA_says

    Because some mad made rules are inhuman.
    People react accordingly.
    This is one of them IMO.

  • bodega3

    We will just have to respectfully disagree on this. This has nothing to do with where the ships are registered. It is has to do with running a business and a customer knowing what the rules are regarding the purchase BEFORE placing money down on it. Who pays for these type of refunds? The other passengers. Just like shoplifting, each item you buy at a store is marked up to cover for another customer’s selfish greed.

  • bodega3

    The family didn’t have to buy the cruise then. We are free to make that choice. But the bottom line to me is the attitude that the cruise line, 2 weeks out will fill that cabin. What if they don’t? They still have people to pay, food that was purchased. Remember, that the cruise price isn’t covering all their costs as they are kept low to get people to book and the onboard purchases fill in for that.

  • TonyA_says

    Sorry but shoplifting is a crime. They steal money from businesses.
    The old lady did not commit a crime. She paid for the cruise. It is the cruiseline who took her money and she got nothing for it. So maybe the closer party to the shoplifter is the cruise line :)

  • TonyA_says

    Airlines and hotels allow refunds. So why are cruise ships so special?
    Why are they the only ones who think they are right when they are wrong?

  • bodega3

    But as a consumer you pay for that cruise in each item you purchase. You don’t think this refund won’t get passed on to others somewhere down the line? The family booked a cruise knowing the mother had an illness that was going to kill her. Should other passengers get stuck paying for their lack of expecting a refund? We pass expenses on to customers in our business. We know what we need to keep the doors open and if people want lenient rules, someone is going to pay for it.
    The family played both ends IMHO.

  • bodega3

    Every business decides on how they need to run their company. How many airlines are doling well? Hotels allow refunds depending on how it is booked, the type of rate booked. Notice more and more nonrefundable rates. Wonder why?

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    Kudos to Princess for doing the right thing. It’s terrible to lose a loved one and this might be of a tiny comfort …. just to know someone cares.

  • TonyA_says

    The government can always step in to protect the interest of their citizens; especially if your business uses PUBLIC resources.

  • TonyA_says

    Personally, I do not mind paying taxes that goes to building and supporting the community.
    It is the same thing. Someone died. That is not gaming the system.

  • Miami510

    My condolences to Ms. Tait and her family. What she went through was a wrenching
    experience; something all too familiar. My admiration for the spirit her mother and aunt showed in wanting “one
    last fling,” at life.

    Princess Lines deserves the censure and disapprobation that the vote supports. There’s a difference
    between legal and ethical, and that difference we might term humane. Readers are in the same position as was my
    superior officer in the army. He said to me, “Lieutenant, I can’t make you do that, but I sure can make you wish you
    did.” That was the message Christopher sent the Princess. They knew what the readers reaction would have been, yet they stuck with the legal answer instead
    of the benevolent, gentle and compassionate answer.

  • disqus_A6K3VBf8Zn

    I can’t be sympathetic. I have been there. How many take advantage? Without you, she would be lost. I have lost money by having cancelled a trip just before because the MDs said it wasn’t time, only to realize an hour later that it was. There were the risks taken. However, if trip insurance does not make allowances, then life is a slippery slope. I want to say “yes.” Wouldn’t this be nice? It isn’t real. A travel agent might have helped.

  • polexia_rogue

    i also voted no because- yes they CAN resell the cabin, but will they be able to?
    Cruises are not like airlines where thousands of people need to get from A to B on a daiily basis.

    there is a good chance NO ONE will want the cabin in the 2 weeks before the ship sails.

    and YES i have been in that situation before- i have lost tickets worth over 600 dollars (to a certain comic con-like event) because if it says “no refunds” i am not going to ask anyway. (even if my husband slipped in to a coma due to blood poising.)

  • disqus_A6K3VBf8Zn

    We share the same boat in many respects. Getting to be with mother that day when there were plane cancellations due to bad weather and having been advised previously the time was not right, I lost. Yet this is the way things go. You have me touching my eyes. When I walked in, the state had deteriorated. I was a bit too late. Or is this Life.?

  • bpepy

    Much sympathy to you, and I hope your mother fares well. Hospice is a great resource and help. But, season tickets are a bit different than a cruise. You can use them yourself or give them to a friend of your mother’s, a relative,etc, etc. (Or I suppose you could scalp them the night of the performance!). All levity aside, I think Princess should have refunded her money with no quibbling, and I’m glad they did in the end.

  • Deborah Orth

    Dear Mr. Gore we have been on 9 cruises and I would have to say the average age of the passengers depends a lot on the cruise line. Carnival which bills its liners as Fun ships attracts many more young people than does a line like Holland America. I once heard a comic say that nap time was an activity on Holland America cruises.

  • Deborah Orth

    The OP’s family got a refund and so did her sister, from what I read, but only after Chris became involved!

  • bodega3

    The length of a cruise is also a factor in the average age. Generally, the longer the cruise, the older the passenger.

  • bodega3

    Dying isn’t gaming. I am very sorry to read about the mother’s situation. Having lost 3 of our parents in the last 4 years, I know how hard emotionally it can be. Not reading the terms and conditions, then running to an advocate for your money back because they didn’t wish to cover themselves in case of a loss is gaming the system…actually the mom didn’t go to Chris, her kid did. But her comment was quoted by her kid and it sounded very self centered. Consumers are becoming demanding. They want rock bottom prices, cutting out someone to save a dollar, then won’t protect their investment in the trip and put down a company that won’t give them their money back, even though they have to read the terms and conditions BEFORE placing any money on the trip and decline coverage that would get them their money back if they encounter this sad situation. How different is this that yesterday’s article on someone wanting their money back after they booked on an opaque site and didn’t like what they got, yet they were not willing to book someplace where they could review the hotel, see the prices for that hotel BEFORE buying a nonrefundable rate?

    I know you do not like cruises, but this is no better than you offering insurance to a passenger who purchased a ticket from you and them wanting you to refund everything you earned even though you told them it was nonrefundable and the insurance would cover them and you from taking a hit.

  • Deborah Orth

    Correct because usually it means one is retired to be able to have that much free time or has enough senority with a company to take a longer vacation. I have also seen cruises described as being for the Newly Wed and the Nearly Dead. I think that the truth lies somewhere in between those 2 extremes.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thanks for the reply – and the funniest thing I’ve run across all day. I start imagining scalping tickets to “Carmen” or Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and I just start giggling.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    what a whinger. You must be a Pom.
    Why should anyone ever offer you a refund ?
    You seem more worried about trying to get money back that you’re not entitled to, than your mother.
    Presume now you’re fighting over the will as well.
    Shame, shame, shame !!!

  • Bill

    I’ve taken three cruises since 2006, when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Seven days in Alaska in 2006, 10 days Caribbean in 2008 and 14 days Caribbean in 2012 – so I’ve spent 31 days on cruise ships in 6 years. Every time I have purchased travel insurance, which does NOT have any pre-existing condition clauses as long as it is purchased within xx number of days of the ticket. BTW, this was third party insurance, not cruise line insurance. I took my chances, and so far I’ve been lucky, I’m still around to enjoy cruising. I have a deposit down for another cruise, with date TBD. If I happen to be in chemotherapy when cruising time arrives, I’m either SOL or I will need to use the travel insurance for a partial refund. The thing is, this is my choice. If I want an absolute guarantee that I will never lose money, then I will not purchase a cruise. I will also not purchase cut-rate nonrefundable hotel stays, I will wait until the last minute and pay the rack rate. I won’t buy subway or train tokens that I might not be able to use, I’ll pay by the trip. Etc, etc…. I know this sounds cold hearted, but it is not intended in that way. I don’t know how long I have. I was told I had until 2010 to 2012, but that hasn’t happened, and life goes on. We all make choices and take chances, and we live or die with our decisions. I wish my stock broker would guarantee a positive return on my investments, but he won’t. I also wish cruise lines would always return every penny should I not be able to cruise, but they won’t do that either. We live with it, and we move on. Good health and happy travels to all.

  • bpepy

    Glad you didn’t take my comment badly–I did mean it to be funny. I’m very sorry about your mother and I know how hard it is to have a loved one terminally ill. We lost our 31 year old son to brain cancer a few years ago and it was devastating. That’s how I know about Hospice. Best wishes, Barbara

  • MN mom

    Ironically, we traveled with my aunt, who has early-onset Alzheimers, and my uncle, who is legally blind, when we took my Dad on his Alaskan cruise. No one on the ship (crew) had to take care of them, we never expected that they were going to utilize the infirmary or the doctor, though we knew if an emergency arose, there was a doctor on board. But that is true for any of us. Anyone, at any time, can have an aneurysm, a heart attack, fall down the stairs and break a leg, get an attack of appendicitis, etc. We can’t “not live” because something MIGHT happen.

    i took complete charge of taking care of my aunt and uncle – making sure they were always with a family member and assisted by one of us if needed. i got Dad a scooter so he could move about the ship without worrying if he would fall or tire out. A cruise for this group was by far easier than traveling on land – we didn’t have to get in and out of cars, travel over the road to get to places, check in and out of several hotels, etc. We were able to unpack and stay put, which was so much easier for my aunt as she only had to get used to one cabin, not multiple hotel rooms. We also purchased insurance with the full knowledge that something could go wrong. i wouldn’t change a THING and am so grateful that Dad has this last trip, and that my aunt and uncle were able to travel, as well. They could never take a trip like that alone.

  • AH

    “”Terminally ill” means that your condition is not curable, not that you are too sick to cruise.”

    thank you, mr gore!

  • Michael__K

    Pre-existing conditions are indeed covered by several trip cancellation/interruption insurance providers as long as the coverage is purchased within a specified timeframe.

    That’s only true if the passenger was also medically fit to travel at the moment when each and every trip payment was made.

    I’m sure the family believed that was the case, and I suppose it’s possible that a doctor might corroborate that, but would you really bet against a travel insurer denying a claim in this scenario on the grounds that a terminally ill cancer patient could not be considered “medically fit to travel?” And would you really side with the family if their claim was denied on those grounds?

  • Michael__K

    One question: if the OP took your advice and purchased insurance and their claim was denied on the grounds that the insurer doesn’t regard terminally ill cancer patients as “medically fit to travel”, what would be your reaction? Would you be commenting in support of the insurers decision (how can they stay in business insuring terminally ill cancer patients?!) or in support of the OP?

  • TonyA_says

    The bottom line, Michael, cruiselines seem to say they are not capable of compassion. They are in their own world and not responsible to anyone or any nation. They have an Army of Believers spreading their dogma. They are everywhere.

  • backprop

    If the insurer sold her insurance and then reneged on the terms of the coverage, of course I’d be on the side of the OP. It’s their choice whether to insure cancer patients or anyone else. Why wouldn’t we expect them to abide by the terms of the contract?

    Flipping it around, why shouldn’t the OP be bound by the terms of the nonrefundable clause of the cruise?

  • backprop

    You hate cruise lines. We get it.

  • TonyA_says

    Yeah only after public shaming. Maybe they don’t have any shame.

  • Ann

    Tony, this could have happened at a resort too – there is no guarantee a resort would not have done the same thing.

    BUY insurance when you make your deposit to have pre-existing condition covered.

  • TonyA_says

    For sure, they are just as nasty to dead guests.

  • Ann

    You imply in some of your posts that you are a travel agent, as you state “my clients”. Don’t you sell travel insurance if you are an agent? Do you advise your clients not to buy insurance and throw themselves on the mercy of the supplier if they can’t go and imply that the supplier should be obligated to make exceptions like this? If that is how you work as an agent, sooner or later I predict a law suit in your future from a client who didn’t buy insurance because you didn’t offer it.

    Travel is a products that people purchase. Travel insurance is a product to cover that vacation if people cannot go – it is just that plain and simple. There is a policy for everyone as well as Cancel for Any Reason that is meant to protect the consumer who is buying a vacation,

    We always tell our clients if they can’t afford to lose all their money if they cannot go on their trip for any reason, then make sure you buy insurance

    If you can afford to lose everything if you can’t go, then you don’t need it.

    I myself never travel without insurance. And they could have found insurance that would cover the pre-existing condition. Princess was very kind to reimburse this, but it is not usual and people should not expect this if they cannot go on a vacation they have paid for. It is up to the consumer to protect themselves and if they have a travel agent who doesn’t recommend insurance, then they have a lousy agent.

  • TonyA_says

    Sure, I try to represent my clients BEST INTEREST, not the interests of the travel suppliers, per se.
    I do not spread the dogma of cruise lines. I do not want to make tainted money from them. Understand?
    Oh, and I sell Travelguard insurance, also and we are registered with the NY State Insurance Commission to do it.
    I know my stuff so I know the weakness and pitfalls of what I am selling.
    For one thing if your customer is buying something they cannot afford to lose maybe they are OVER BUYING and you are making too much money of them.

  • Lindabator

    You assume it COULD be sold at a late date – not necessarily so. And because people would want to know the cost, which would be an issue of privacy with the next client, I don;t see them being able to give you a satisfactory answer (you would not be entitled to it anyway).

  • Lindabator

    But then they KNEW they were taking a risk – I agree wholeheartedly that PCL should have ponied up the money due the circumstances, but then where do they draw the line – we have a family group of 40 cabins travelling to celebrate her possible last cruise – if she passes, do they just refund everyone??? NOT as cut and dried as first thought.

  • Lindabator

    But she wasn’t dead when they approached them – it was the week before.

  • Lindabator

    Sorry to hear about you Mom, Jeanne! But a very good point you made here. It is unfortunate, but she took a gamble and lost – why do we always assume the company should bear the burden of that gamble?

  • Lindabator

    Actually, disagree with you here, Tony. I DO agree that once she passed away, it should be automatic. However, they took a gamble and lost – why does it always then become a company’s burden to bear?

  • Lindabator

    Which will ensure the prices go up, and rules are NEVER bent.

  • Lindabator

    But when we make a decision, we should be able to LIVE with the consequences. I do believe that in a case of death, they could have refunded. But you agree to terms and conditions when you book, so you really don’t have to expect a company to bear the brunt of the cost due to a person having made that decision and losing. I have a group of 40 cabins sailing with mom for her possible LAST cruise opportunity (due to illness as well). If mom passes the week of the cruise, WHY should the cruise line be on the hook for 40 cabins, when they all knew the risks in advance? (That’s why they took insurance with medical waiver for ALL of them).

  • Lindabator

    Bull. The terms and conditions are not opaque – they are clearly written. They also recommend insurance – these clients took a gamble and lost, and now the company is supposed to bear the brunt of the decision? Not only is that not what a company is funded for, its not something the government would want to try and govern – otherwise NO business would have discounted rates, but all sky-high to cover the inevitable you propose. I’m glad they refunded after her death (which they still did not have to do, but which I believe is the best decision in ANY case), but DEMANDING a company bend their rules kind of defeats the purpose of those rules being in place – and being consistent for ALL travelers.

  • Lindabator

    AMEN, Bodega! I do feel sorry, and am GLAD PCL game them the refund after she passed, but they should NOT be expected to cover the burden of a loss when you took the gamble and didn’t hedge your bets with an insurance with waiver policy. If they were denied insurance across the board, perhaps that should have been a consideration as well.

  • Lindabator

    Where did you get that impression? As long as the policy was purchased at time of deposit, and you were fit to travel at that time, you are covered.

  • Lindabator

    And if she had booked an escorted vacation without insurance, she’d have been in the same boat (no pun intended). Its not because she was cruising that is the problem, but that she knew she was ill, and failed to take out insurance.

  • Lindabator

    But when they approached them for a refund, they were still in hospice – they passed later.

  • Lindabator

    ALL travel companies offer insurance as a form of peace of mind for their clients – some are better than others, and I ALWAYS suggest 3rd party for best coverage. They don’t make the money on the policies as the underwriters do.

  • Lindabator

    I voted yes, they should have refunded – but ONLY due to the death. IF PCL had still said no, I would never castigate them for not assuming the financial burden of a poor decision made by a client of theirs. People need to take responsibility for their own decisions – and deciding to travel without insurance when you are terminally ill imparts a certain degree of risk – if you can’t live with the loss, don’t go.

  • Lindabator

    Good health and happy travels to you as well! And spoken like an educated consumer, ready to take responsibility for their own decisions. Unlike this client, unfortunately. Do I think PCL should have refunded once she passed – yes, but NOT required to.

  • Charles

    Nonsense. Lots of reputable companies sell trip insurance with a pre-existing condition waiver if you buy the policy within some period of when you made the first deposit on the trip. I just bought a TravelGuard Gold policy and it has that clause. The first rule is always: don’t buy travel insurance from a cruise company (or pretty much any travel provider)! There are plenty of third party travel insurance providers with pre-existing condition waivers. Buy from them instead.

  • Michael__K

    What precisely do you dispute?

    The requirement that you need to be MEDICALLY fit to travel (which Charlie omitted?)

    The requirement that you need to insure ALL the payments (which both of you omitted?)

    The requirement that you need to be medically fit to travel when additional non-refundable balances are paid?

    Straight from the policy terms:

    Travel Guard:

    The Insurer will waive the pre-existing medical condition exclusion up to a maximum of the first $30,000 of Trip Cost per person if the following conditions are met:
    1. This plan is purchased within 15 days of making the Initial Trip Payment;
    2. The amount of coverage purchased equals all prepaid, non-refundable payments or deposits applicable to the Trip at the time of purchase, and the cost of any subsequent arrangement(s) added to the same Trip are insured within 15 days of the date of payment or deposit for any subsequent Trip arrangement(s);
    3. All Insured’s are medically able to travel when plan cost is paid.

    ——
    Allianz:

    you must purchase trip cancellation coverage that covers the full cost of all your non-refundable trip arrangements.
    you must be a U.S. resident and be medically able to travel on the day you purchase the plan

    ——
    Travelex:

    The Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion is waived provided you meet all of the following requirements:
    1. the payment for this plan and enrollment form is received within 21 days of the initial Covered Trip deposit/payment for your Covered Trip; and
    2. you are not disabled from travel at the time you make your plan payment;
    and 3. you insure all prepaid Covered Trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions; and also insure the cost of any subsequent arrangements added to your Covered Trip within 21 days

  • Deborah Orth

    Then why make an exception in the case of death. The cruise line didn’t kill the woman why should they be on the hook for the fare.

  • Charles

    I’m not sure a comparison with flying is apt. Flights tend to be easier to resell. and you are limiting the usage of the plane for a few hours if you cancel. A better comparison would be with an all-inclusive resort. If you cancel a resort, you may leave a room open for days. I just booked one in Jamaica for Aug 14. But, I can cancel up Aug 12 and get a full refund. It’s low season and I know they are not going to resell my room if I were to cancel. They just have a better attitude about this type of thing.

    Note that I booked today more impulsively than I normally would because I knew I could cancel and rebook if I want to. BTW, I did use Expedia with a 15% discount coupon, so the OTA haters can start your griping.

  • jennj99738

    What you said is not accurate. You said that the passenger must be “medically fit to travel when additional non-refundable balances are paid.” Both policies you quote, and every policy I purchase, only require that the passenger be medically fit when the insurance *plan* is paid. That means the insurance plan or policy not the trip balance. The insurance plans only require the passenger to be medically fit for travel when the policy is purchased.

  • Michael__K

    You have to buy more insurance when you pay additional non-refundable balances. Otherwise you don’t meet the “full cost of your non-refundable arrangements” test.

    And the same 15 or 21 day deadline and medically-fit-to-travel requirements apply each time you do that. I don’t see how you read the policies otherwise.

    Now you could declare and purchase insurance for all the anticipated costs from the outset even before some of those costs actually become non-refundable (although in the case of Travel Guard the plain language clearly says that the coverage must EQUAL the prepaid, non-refundable payments). But even if you did that, does that really change anything? There is other language in the policies that says you must contact your travel suppliers promptly if you need to cancel so that you maximize any supplier-issued refunds you are eligible for. If you are not medically fit to travel just before another portion of your trip costs becomes non-refundable and make no efforts to cancel and recoup those funds then there’s a basis for denying an insurance claim on that portion.

  • jennj99738

    A passenger on a cruise knows the entire cost of the trip at the outset when she buys the cruise. She insures the full amount of the cruise. At some point the letter writer’s mother knows she is too ill to travel and I would hesitate to say it was more than two weeks before the sail date. I agree with you that at that point, she should have canceled the cruise and makes the request for reimbursement of any non-refunded costs or the policy could deny a portion of the trip costs. There is a reason why there are refund dates for a trip, so that the travel supplier can rebook that trip.

    In any event, she will need to prove that she was fit to travel when she purchased the trip insurance policy not when she pays the balance. I don’t see how you can read the policy otherwise so I guess we’ll agree to disagree.

  • Michael__K

    The “full amount” doesn’t yet necessarily meet the criteria of being “prepaid” or “non-refundable” at the outset…

    And then there’s provisions like this:

    You need to contact your travel suppliers within 72 hours of canceling or interrupting your trip to qualify for the largest reimbursement possible. If you notify your suppliers later and get a smaller refund, we will not cover the difference

    Furthermore, cruise passengers are routinely pitched additional add-ons (shore excursions, pre-cruise and post-cruise activities, upgrades) after initial purchase.

  • Ann

    That is a ridiculous statement. Whether it is a $500 vacation or a $50,000 vacation, if the client can’t afford to lose what they have pre-paid, then they need to buy insurance. And that IS representing your clients best interest to give them the information they need and let them make the decision as to whether they need insurance or not and make sure if they decline it, they sign a statement saying they declined it so they can’t come crying back when something like this happens.

    I am shocked that as a travel agent you are as belligerent as you seem to be about ensuring your clients are protected.

    The dogma of cruise lines? Many people love cruising, are you saying you turn away a client who wants to cruise because you don’t believe in the cruise lines policies? That is simply ridiculous.

    It seems you and I disagree as to the value of a travel agent who advises the client on the best way to protect themselves once they book a vacation. I am not here to preach to a client who wants to go on a cruise that the cruise lines have a “dogma” that I refuse to buy into because they don’t extend courtesy to every reason why someone can’t go on a trip when they sell travel insurance for just these reasons.

  • TonyA_says

    What makes you think we are not selling the appropriate travel insurance. You are making too many assumptions.
    Why should we maintain a NY State license to sell insurance if we don’t sell it?
    Do you hold a NY license to sell insurance to sell to NY customers?
    I do not sell cruises because I do not want to. Honestly, I do not need the money and the headache :)

  • Ann

    Yes we do have TWO licenses to sell insurance in NY.
    As I said, we have to agree to disagree. We do business two different ways. I give my clients what they want and ensure they are protected as best as I can.

  • TonyA_says

    what’s there to like? :)

  • TonyA_says

    Here’s a great show about cruise lines:

    http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/29/17518957-carnival-ceo-comes-under-congressional-heat?lite

    Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, told Rock
    Center’s Harry Smith that he regards Carnival “very poorly” as a corporate citizen. Rock Center commissioned S&P Capital IQ to look into Carnival’s taxes and their team found that on billions of dollars in profits over five years, Carnival paid only .6 percent taxes.

    Rockefeller grants that Carnival’s actions have been entirely legal, but insists that there are glaring ethical issues.

    “How do you have the guts to smack down fairness, to cheat on what is right? You’re legally not liable, but what you’re doing is treacherous and wrong.”

    And here is a link to Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s letter to the Cruise Boss.

    http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=24f0172d-436f-4ad7-a417-82cd36cf5513

    I didn’t make this up folks :)
    Maybe a little compassion helps.

  • DonnaE

    As a travel agent, the well known travel insurance we sell waives pre-existing conditions if the insurance is purchased within a defined period of time after the first payment for the trip. This whole issue could have been avoided.

  • http://werelivingafulllife.blogspot.com/ jen

    Happy for the refund. Cancer is a nasty thing. You just never know how quickly it’s going to take you. Sorry she didn’t get to take her cruise. Bless her soul.

  • Mia

    So if you were told your wife (or husband) had cancer, and wanted to take a bucket list trip somewhere and after you made your plans, she became so much sicker so quick and you couldn’t go on your trip, you would just shrug your shoulders and eat the cost? You really believe that a cruise line shouldn’t refund one’s money for a valid, and documented reason as an illness that will result in one’s immediate death? You believe the rules of, ‘Non refundable for ANY reason” is appropriate? I think when you vote you don’t really vote with real empathy for the situation, you just sound like someone who enjoys sitting in judgement of others. I don’t agree that all complaints require an airline, cruise line, car rental, or hotel to give full and complete refunds but these companies are dealing with people and in life, things happen so it is smart for these companies to look at each complaint and think to themselves while evaluating, “what would a reasonable person expect,” and in this case all reasonable people would expect a cruise company to completely refund the money. But a hard nosed, insensitive holier than thou person like yourself, obviously wouldn’t understand that.

  • ITakeResponsibiltyForMyActions

    “So if you were told your wife (or husband) had cancer, and wanted to take a bucket list trip somewhere and after you made your plans, she became so much sicker so quick and you couldn’t go on your trip, you would just shrug your shoulders and eat the cost?”

    If my spouse had cancer and wanted to do a bucket list trip, I would make sure to either have proper insurance to cover an unforeseen turn for the worse or be willing to eat the loss. I wouldn’t expect a 3rd party to protect my investment for free.

    “You really believe that a cruise line shouldn’t refund one’s money for a valid, and documented reason as an illness that will result in one’s immediate death?”

    You really believe a 3rd party should be have to refund the costs because of no fault of their own, you didn’t cover all your bases knowing the person had a condition that could worsen so you couldn’t use the product?

    I can see 3rd parties refunding money for unforeseen/unexpected costs, like the person was involved in a serious accident on the way to departure. But I don’t see where 3rd parties should automatically be on the hook for something that is not their fault.

  • flutiefan

    you’re a judgmental delight!