No doubt, COVID-19 has wrecked the bottom line of cruise companies, and it’s likely many of them won’t be able to survive the hit.
As horror stories continue to surface of passengers trapped on COVID-19-infested cruise ships and stranded at sea, many people are forgoing even the thought of taking a cruise.
But just like the airlines, cruises are hesitant to give people their money back.
Instead, they’re attempting to lure travelers into “great deals” such as promising discounts or upgrades in their future cruises.
But don’t take the bait!
While these promises of cruises at a steal may sound great, they aren’t worth it in this current reality of travel.
Refund Horror Stories
We get it – cruise lines are trying to hold on to your cash as long as they can.
When one 71-year-old man tried to get his cruise refunded for his family, Carnival flat out refused.
They kept insisting all they could do was offer his family a chance to rebook their cruse sometime within the next year.
Los Angeles Times reported:
“I paid $7,500 last July for this trip,” he said. “But no matter how much I explained how dangerous this is, Carnival kept saying they wouldn’t refund my money.”
Carnival’s intransigence over the past few weeks mirrors that of many other cruise operators and leading airlines. Yes, you can reschedule. But, no, in most cases you can’t have your money back.”
Thankfully, after a full-out battle, the cruise finally refunded his money.
And even when people called to cancel their future cruises, stating their valid concerns, officials did everything to persuade them it would be completely safe by then.
A leaked scheme in Miami revealed sales officials were deliberately misleading future cruise goers telling them the coronavirus would “die in warm weather” to keep them from canceling their cruises, reported Miami New Times.
This led to a strong-worded warning from Florida’s Attorney General promising to investigate Norwegian Cruise Lines for misleading customers.
Miami New Times reported:
“My Consumer Protection Division is conducting an extensive investigation to get to the bottoms of the disturbing allegations against Norwegian Cruise Lines. Let this serve as a warning to anyone seeking to mislead consumers during these challenging times. I will do everything with the power of this office to hold accountable those who would prey on Floridians during this health crisis.”
It’s unknown how many people have called cruise lines to ask for refunds but were denied and misled by cruise reps trying to keep their cash.
Sadly, many elderly folks grew up learning to “trust the experts,” and are getting taken advantage of by greedy sales managers who are fearful to refund their cash.
The Rules Have Changed
A “No-sail order” was originally issued in March set to last 30 days… then it was extended all the way until August… and now it has shortened back to July.
Basically, no one knows when it’s “safe to sail” and they are just extending then rolling back restrictions.
In addition, on April 4th, the CDC issued a rule that both passengers and crew arriving in the States from a cruise can’t return home on commercial flights.
Cruises are required to provide chartered flights or other private transportation arrangements for passengers.
What a nightmare.
Too Much Uncertainty
While stay-at-home orders may be lifted, they may be reinstated again.
Outbreaks might seem to be contained one day, then resurface in a few weeks.
Some countries may ease travel restrictions via air first, others via water.
When travel does finally resume, you’re bound to score some killer deals anyways as cruise lines will be desperate to get passengers sailing again.
If you decide you’d like to take advantage of a deal in the future, you’ll want to have the flexibility of cash – not a pre-determined voucher.
And instead of a cruise, perhaps you’ll decide to take a vacation somewhere else instead.
Don’t lock yourself into being forced to take a cruise when you have the option of a cash refund.
Hold your ground.
No matter what they offer you – opt for the cash refund option.
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