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mitsguy2001

Another reason why cruise cancellation policies need to change

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I have posted in the past about why I feel cruise lines need to change their cancellation policies, but unfortunately, nobody here seems to agree with me. I will start this post off saying that I do NOT currently have any children, and I am NOT a teacher or staff member at a school, nor do I have any currently active teachers in my family. Therefore, I am posting a completely unbiased opinion, and I do not have anything to gain.

 

I live on Long Island, which was recently devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Because of Sandy, most school districts lost more than a week of school. Because of that, the schools are opening during February break (schools in New York usuallly close for a week in mid-February) to make up the lost days.

 

I will say that I COMPLETELY agree with the school districts making that time up. The students are expected to be in school for 180 days per year, and teachers are expected to work for 180 days per year. So, if school is lost, it is completely reasonable to have to make that time up.

 

The problem, however, is that many people have non-refundable vacations booked during that week in February. There have been many letters to the editor in our local newspaper (so I am NOT simply making up theories) from people who had non-refundable vacations booked that week. They already suffered losses due to the hurricane, and now they are foced to lose money that they worked hard for and spent on a vacation. Their other choice is to miss a full week of school. That is a lot of school to miss, especially during an already severely interrupted school year. And, teachers and staff do not have the option of just missing a full week of school. One of the letters to the editor was by a school nurse who had a non-refundable vacation booked that week.

 

I should mention that insurance does NOT cover cancellation in this case. Also, the school calendar marks several days (during spring break in March / April) as makeup days, but it does NOT list any part of February break as makeup days. The school is reasonable to avoid using the makeup days in March / April in case there are days lost due to snow during the winter. I am not fauling the school district for that, but I am just saying that parents would have had no indication that days during February break would ever be used as makeup days.

 

The last time that a significant number of school days was lost before the winter was due to Hurricane Gloria in 1985, and even then, although the lost days were made up, they did not use February break as a makeup. Even if someone booked cancel for any reason insurance, that only covers a percentage of the cost, so they will still lose a percentage of the fare (between 10% and 25%) and the cost of the insurance (which is not cheap), which is a lot of money to lose on a vacation that you don't get to go on, especially when you suffered other losses due to the Hurricane.

 

Given the severity of the situation and the unprecedented nature of this storm and the makeup during February break, I think that cruise lines (as well as airlines, and others in the travel industry) should have a heart, and allow cancellation with no penalty for travel booked during the February break. People can very easily prove that school will be open that week. This is not the case of someone wanting to cancel at the last minute since the predicted weather is bad or because they had second thoughts about the cruise.

 

Other than the cruise lines (and airlines), it seems that all other companies went above and beyond in their response to the storm. For example:

 

1. The company that I worked for gave everyone 2 extra paid days off, on Monday and Tuesday Oct. 29 and 30, because of the storm.

 

2. Our local cable company is offering credit for any days where we were unable to use our service, even if it was due to a power outage that was no fault of their own.

 

3. My health insurance company normally requires 50 gym visits per 6 month period in order to qualify for a gym reimbursement. They agreed to reduce the number of gym visits needed this period, due to the storm.

 

4. Our local transit agency allowed people to use an October monthly pass for the first few days of November, and allowed a full refund with no penalty for tickets that were purchased for use on Oct. 29, 30, or 31, but were not used due to the storm.

 

5. My bank is waiving fees and late charges that were incurred due to the storm.

 

6. The place where I rented a DVD from waived the late fees that I would have had to pay when I was unable to return the disk due to the storm.

 

If everyone else went above and beyond for people impacted by the storm, why shouldn't cruise lines do the same?

 

Again, I am posting an unbiased opinion. I do not have any kids yet, I am not a teacher, and I do not have a cruise booked that week (nor any week currently), so I have nothing to gain or lose either way. Just posting an unbiased opinion.

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Isn't there insurance you can buy that allows for cancellation for any reason? Perhaps not through the cruiseline but through outside companies?

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Isn't there insurance you can buy that allows for cancellation for any reason? Perhaps not through the cruiseline but through outside companies?
Yes, which completely nullifies the OP's argument.

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Isn't there insurance you can buy that allows for cancellation for any reason? Perhaps not through the cruiseline but through outside companies?

 

If you read my post, you'll see that I did mention Cancel for Any Reason insurance. But I mentioned that it only covers a percentage of the fare, and it is expensive. You'd still be paying about 10% to 25% of the cruise fare, plus the cost of the insurance. That is a lot of money for a middle class family to lose on a vacation that they don't get to go on, especially when they already suffered other losses due to the hurricane.

 

Yes, which completely nullifies the OP's argument.

 

Again, that only covers a percentage of the fare, and you still lose a lot of money. So that does not completely nullify my argument.

 

Also, as I said, there is absolutely no precedent for using February break as makeup days; they were not needed even after Hurricane Gloria.

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I see no reason to change the current policies.

 

And why not???? My post shows that cruise lines are even more heartless than health insurance companies, utility companies, banks, and even transit authorities. Also, many people here have bashed my employer (with no basis to do so), even though they treated us employees better than the cruise lines are treating their paying customers.

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So where do you draw the line?

 

Someone's house burns down, they may not recover everything in and on their property. Should the cruiseline refund them the full cost because they have expenses related to the fire?

 

Illness in the family and insurance doesn't cover all the medical bills? Should the cruiseline refund them the full cost because they have expenses related to the illness?

 

We had an extraordinary amount of snow days one year and there was talk about cancelling Feb. vacation, going to school on Saturdays etc. The school opted to go for an extra week in June instead. Our school district allowed parents to have a vote in when it would be made up.

 

These are all things that can change someone's plans and while they aren't on the same scale as Sandy or Irene and may only affect one person rather than thousands there is no way any large company can refund full fares and still maintain a profit which is their reason for being in business.

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OK, you complained about the current policy. I may or may not agree. However, the easiest thing to do in life is complain.

The hardest thing is to provide a solution.

 

Therefore, what, in your opinion is a couple of solutions? They have to be realistic and they also have to benefit both parties. A cruise line is NOT a charitable organization.

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My thoughts on this is that a cruise is a vacation that many cant afford. If the lines were to change a policy (even if for this one time) it would open the flood gates. How many people book a non refundable vacation, only to have something happen between booking and actual vacation, and feel they would be better off canceling the vacation and keeping the money. The cruise line (or land based resort or what ever) would be out the fare and maybe unable to fill the now vacant room.

 

Most vacations are non refundable, because its a luxury. I paid a good deal of money for insurance because I have old in-laws that have been having alot of medical issues (all looks good so far fingers crossed :) ). Times are hard for everyone at some point or another.

 

Also I would assume the school district will expect a decent amount of kids to miss this week anyways because of previouse plans. (My daughters dance school had a make up day because of teacher illness, guess what she had to miss becase we had non refundable plans).

 

Also there are alot of parents that have no problem pulling their child from school for a family trip. We pull my daughter for a week every year. I missed a week every year from school from K all thru highschool.

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So where do you draw the line?

 

Someone's house burns down, they may not recover everything in and on their property. Should the cruiseline refund them the full cost because they have expenses related to the fire?

 

Illness in the family and insurance doesn't cover all the medical bills? Should the cruiseline refund them the full cost because they have expenses related to the illness?

 

We had an extraordinary amount of snow days one year and there was talk about cancelling Feb. vacation, going to school on Saturdays etc. The school opted to go for an extra week in June instead. Our school district allowed parents to have a vote in when it would be made up.

 

In New York, since they have the Regents exams during June, they cannot extend the school year until all vacation days (except legal holidays) have been used as makeup days. My school district's website even includes a copy of the text of that law.

 

These are all things that can change someone's plans and while they aren't on the same scale as Sandy or Irene and may only affect one person rather than thousands there is no way any large company can refund full fares and still maintain a profit which is their reason for being in business.

 

Aparently everyone else except cruise lines is able to make exceptions to their policies and remain profitable. Read what I said about my employer, my health insurance company, my cable company, my bank, my local transit authority, etc.

 

OK, you complained about the current policy. I may or may not agree. However, the easiest thing to do in life is complain.

The hardest thing is to provide a solution.

 

Therefore, what, in your opinion is a couple of solutions? They have to be realistic and they also have to benefit both parties. A cruise line is NOT a charitable organization.

 

Health insurance companies, cable companies, banks, transit authorities, etc, are not charitable organizations either, but they were able to treat their cusomters with respect and make exceptions to their usual policies in a time of crisis. Why should cruise lines be the only exception? Also, the employer that I work with is not a charitable organization either, but they treated us employees with respect during a time of crisis.

 

As for my solution: write into their rules certain exceptions that would allow a refund, such as if a school vacation (at least one that was NOT listed as makeup days on the calendar) is turned into school days.

 

I'm sure the people who are writing letters to the editors are probably NEVER going to go on another cruise, EVER again. The cruise lines will then have to drop their fare to attract new passengers, having lot many existing ones due to this storm.

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OK, you complained about the current policy. I may or may not agree. However, the easiest thing to do in life is complain.

The hardest thing is to provide a solution.

 

Therefore, what, in your opinion is a couple of solutions? They have to be realistic and they also have to benefit both parties. A cruise line is NOT a charitable organization.

 

 

Loved your comments and response.

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If honestly think that there will be enough people not taking future cruises and the lines will have to scramble for new customers I think you are kidding yourself. As for the other service providers offering freebees it is going to take a lot of waived late fees for DVD's to make up for the loss of one fully refunded cruise fare.

 

I have tons of sympathy for all of those that were impacted but honestly don't think it's any more realistic for the cruiselines to offer fully refunded fares to those impacted than it is for people to think that they are going to get enough from FEMA to completely rebuild their homes. There are always amounts that are not fully refunded by insurance and there always will be otherwise no one would be able to afford it.

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How about the folks just take the vacation? Their children's lives will not be ruined by missing a week of school and life will go on.

 

This particular situation is one that will only come up once every few years with massive natural disasters.

 

Overall, the companies bear almost all of the risk of cancellation pre-final payment. Which with 90 days for a 2/13 cruise would be 11/15... So many people would have had the opportunity cancel without penalty.

 

I agree cancel for any reason insurance is really expensive and this probably slips through the cracks of standard insurance, but even with the cruiselines if you cancelled quickly enough you might get 75% of your payment back.

 

Seems overall pretty reasonable...

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Yes, you can get 100% refund with a "cancel for any reason" clause. When cruising in February, that's something that should be seriously considered as many times, there are snowstorms, flight cancelations and other reasons why young, healthy people are unable to board a ship.

 

I am very sorry for those affected by the hurricane. Disasters happen all the time: fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. Which disaster should cruise lines make an exception? Insurance is for the unexpected, not just medical. It's always a gamble whether you'll need it or not.

 

Many people regard cruise insurance as just another scam or the equivalent to an appliance warranty. Unlike warranties, when you cruise, your potential financial liability increases exponentially. Don't leave home without it. And don't forget to make sure you have "cancel for any reason."

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I have posted in the past about why I feel cruise lines need to change their cancellation policies, but unfortunately, nobody here seems to agree with me. I will start this post off saying that I do NOT currently have any children, and I am NOT a teacher or staff member at a school, nor do I have any currently active teachers in my family. Therefore, I am posting a completely unbiased opinion, and I do not have anything to gain. (clipped)

 

 

I think you make some very good points. In the case of a natural/weather disasters, airlines make exceptions to their cancellation and rebooking policies, and it seems logical that in times where large numbers of booked cruisers will be affected, that cruise lines should adopt that same approach.

 

Sherry

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Its sounds like your examples were companies based in the area hit by Sandy, so its community helping community (its a great thing when this happens). The bank can wave fees beacuse everyone else in the US is still paying them :) Maybe your work was extra profitable this year (maybe Sandy made them money ... it did my work) and felt its better to have happy employees.

 

A vacation is a luxury, a cruise even more so. If you open the gates just a little it will be a flood. What makes it right that people get money back because of school issues. What happens if my job takes away a vacation that has been scheduled for 9 months (has happened to me).

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I think you make some very good points. In the case of a natural/weather disasters, airlines make exceptions to their cancellation and rebooking policies, and it seems logical that in times where large numbers of booked cruisers will be affected, that cruise lines should adopt that same approach.

 

Sherry

 

A key difference for airlines is they BENEFIT when people change their plans mid-snowstorm/disruption. The empty seats help them bring their operations up to normal by differentiating between people who NEED to fly right then vs. people who can be flexible.

 

Here the cruiseline will still need to fill the cabins during the later date.

 

This argument would work better if we were discussing mid-disaster flexibility. Which again doesn't work the same way for a cruiseline as an airline.

 

Which isn't to say that their policies are perfect, but rather that I don't think the analogy translates.

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I think you make some very good points. In the case of a natural/weather disasters, airlines make exceptions to their cancellation and rebooking policies, and it seems logical that in times where large numbers of booked cruisers will be affected, that cruise lines should adopt that same approach.

 

Sherry

 

 

It sounds like the OP wants the cruise lines to refund all payments. I could see the cruise line MAYBE letting you transfer to another sail date, but not refund all together.

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Had no idea that schools in New York closed for a week in February! Is that in addition to a Spring Break in March/April? My goodness, that' a lot of time off.

 

I see no reason for an exception to the cancellation policy when it impacts school days as I feel it opens up too many other possibilities. What about if time off from work has to change for an exceptional reason, would that also be appropriate?

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Had no idea that schools in New York closed for a week in February! Is that in addition to a Spring Break in March/April? My goodness, that' a lot of time off.

 

I see no reason for an exception to the cancellation policy when it impacts school days as I feel it opens up too many other possibilities. What about if time off from work has to change for an exceptional reason, would that also be appropriate?

 

 

Pretty common here in the North East. Our schools have a week (last week in Feb.) that goes to town meeting day in March so they actually get 7 days off. Then another week in late April with school ending 2nd week in June.

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Had no idea that schools in New York closed for a week in February! Is that in addition to a Spring Break in March/April? My goodness, that' a lot of time off.

 

I see no reason for an exception to the cancellation policy when it impacts school days as I feel it opens up too many other possibilities. What about if time off from work has to change for an exceptional reason, would that also be appropriate?

 

 

I also had no idea schools close for fall break ... here in Oregon the schools dont do that. We have spring break and thats it.

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The cruiselines did refund, or in the process of refunding the costs of a cruise not provided due to the storm. They do not provide refunds if you can't make it to the cruise, and the ship is sailing. It's not the cruiseline's fault that planned time off will not happen.

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[quote name=SandS204ever;36155067

 

Also I would assume the school district will expect a decent amount of kids to miss this week anyways because of previouse plans."

 

 

This is true. Our school was closed for 7 days between the hurricane and nor'easter. As a teacher' date=' we had a shortened Feb. break as was, due to the Jewish holidays falling on a Thursday/Friday- we needed to shorten the Feb. break by 2 days to make up those 2 days. Our administration has told us to expect to "lose" the entire Feb. break. Those teachers who had previously booked vacations may still go, but use their personal/sick days to cover the days they will miss. We expect a number of students to be absent due to vacation plans.

[/color']

 

Had no idea that schools in New York closed for a week in February!

This practice was first started in the 70's in NY. The schools closed during the oil crisis, to save heating the schools for a week. It never ended!!

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Had no idea that schools in New York closed for a week in February! Is that in addition to a Spring Break in March/April? My goodness, that' a lot of time off.

 

Schools in NY have had a vacation the week of Presidents Day since back in the 1970s. The reason was because during the oil shortage, it was very expensive to heat the schools. While they already had to close schools for Presidents Day and Washington's birthday, it was better for the school districts to close for the entire week and save on heating costs during one of the coldest months of the year.

 

As was already mentioned, NY state students take Regents exams the last week in June, so they have a very long school year. It is the same 180 days in a classroom as required by schools in the rest of the country, but it just spans more months to account for the extra February vacation week. Hope that helps to clarify some questions! :)

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