Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
jmcbride2019

Royal Caribbean's Heartless Refund Policy

Recommended Posts

My wife and I booked a cruise in November 2017 to depart in September 2018. We paid in full by March 2018, but the next month, we received devastating news that my wife had Stage 2 breast cancer that required 4 months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and radiation treatments. Her oncologist estimated at least a year to complete treatment. For obvious reasons, we needed to cancel our cruise. While we were passed the period for a full refund, we asked, that given our extenuating circumstances, that we get get our money back. They said they would refund our money minus the down payment of $750, if we decide to book at a later date. While it was disappointing to lose our down payment, we had more important things to focus on. Fast forward 18 months to today (October 2019). My wife is still going through treatments, but her prognosis indicates it is ok for her to travel. I reached out to Royal Caribbean to book  travel and to use our initial $750 down payment. Per their Resolutions Department, they explained that there is a policy that our booking must occur within 12 months of the cancelled cruise. This was the first time we heard this, and I replied that while I understand the policy, I'm hoping, given the extenuating circumstances, they could honor our initial down payment. I even stated, "Look, I'm not asking for any money. In fact, I want to GIVE you money! I only ask that I can use monies I've already given you." They held firm and showed no humanity and did not let us use our previous down payment. For a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company to keep our modest $750 (which is a lot for us) really speaks to the kind of company this is. We obviously will not book with them and want to make sure other travelers know the kind of practices they employ.

Edited by jmcbride2019
Title too to dramatic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can empathize with your situation, and my thoughts are with you and your family during your wife's battle.

 

However, I think that the title of this thread is a little dramatic. In the future, I would suggest travel insurance for cancellation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sympathy for your wife's situation, however two words come to mind...

 

Travel Insurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having just go thru a cancer scare myself, (thank god everything is benign.) I really feel for you. Very life altering. 

You stated that even tho you were past final payment, and sounded like you had no insurence royal refunded the bulk of your money. Even tho they didn't have too. Look at the big picture, you wife will be okay. Give her a big hug and kiss. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Mikew0805 said:

I can empathize with your situation, and my thoughts are with you and your family during your wife's battle.

 

However, I think that the title of this thread is a little dramatic. In the future, I would suggest travel insurance for cancellation.

Thanks for your comment, and you're right on both points. I edited the title and will certainly purchase travel insurance next time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Balsam12 said:

Sympathy for your wife's situation, however two words come to mind...

 

Travel Insurance.

Thank you, and yes, I know better for next time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m sorry you’re going through all this. And you’re right. It’s heartless on RC’s part. My suggestion would be to email the higher ups. Might be able to get help that way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m sorry about the diagnosis, and glad she’s doing well, but this situation is exactly what travel insurance is for, and all of the cruise lines have the same policies. Illness, death, accidents, home loss - unexpected sad/bad situations that come up that prevent travel. I always buy insurance, never needed it, my mom did have insurance when she needed to cancel a cruise due to her cancer diagnosis. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As sad as the situation is, if you'd had travel insurance then you wouldn't be in this scenario. All cruise lines operate with these restrictions.

If they make an exception for you then they have to make exceptions for everyone and it's pointless them having cancellation policies in the first place.

 

Hope your wife makes a full recovery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most important is I hope your wife does well and responds to the treatment.  Unfortunately, as some said you need travel insurance. The cruise line is a for profit business   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish your wife the best and a full recovery. 

 

Next time 2 suggestions.  Don't pay until final is due. And buy insurance.  We buy insurance the same day we make final payment because we take several cruises a year.  We book refundable until my vacation is secure and then switch to nonrefundable if able ....we have lost $200 before.   Hurts a little but we can absorb it.  Then always use our FCC within a year.  

 

Again it's hard to learn this way.  Come back to cruise critic when your wife is able to go again and learn lots from all the great folks on these boards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jmcbride2019 said:

Thank you, and yes, I know better for next time.

I guess you've answered your initial question then. Hope your wife makes a full recovery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I’m sorry for your wife’s medical issues and wish her a full recovery.  I went through a similar situation three years ago.  I had to curtail travel for about a year, and had to cancel a cruise four weeks before sailing.  When we booked the cruise,  we purchased cruise insurance. That purchase allowed me to receive a 100% refund of our cruise expenses.  

 

 While you may not think the refund policy is fair, many people pay for travel insurance. If the cruise line provides any kind of special situation for you (Or others who do not buy insurance) then what is the reason for passengers to pay for insurance. 

 

 I know that many on this board believe that passengers should “write to higher ups“ to try to get some better resolution. If one did not have homeowners insurance and had a house fire, would others be saying “oh I’m so sorry, you should write to the company where you don’t didn’t buy insurance and maybe they will help you”

 

 I’m not saying all this because I am heartless. I am a cancer survivor, and spend one day a week at the hospital volunteering in the cancer center helping other patients.  I am realistic, and believe that one should purchase insurance to cover unexpected  situations. 

 

 Most importantly,  best wishes for a full recovery for your wife. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a breast cancer survivor myself (I was 36 at the time and 73 now), I certainly sympathize with your situation. While not expecting such a devastating diagnosis at a young age, if I didn’t have good health insurance it would have been an impossible financial burden. Likewise, you didn’t expect to have to cancel your cruise but if you had purchased travel insurance your financial loss would have been nothing. 

 

As as someone pointed out, there are any number of sad reasons why people need to cancel their cruise. Can you really expect the cruise line to take a loss on all of them? Why would anyone bother getting insurance?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to everyone who's shared their positive thoughts and empathies. It's means a lot, really.

 

Also, appreciate the suggestions to purchase travel insurance for exactly these situations. It's never a bad idea, wish I'd done that obviously. Lesson learned.

 

Regarding RC's handling of this situation, though, I stand by my title. They explained that we could use our initial deposit towards a future booking. We tendered their offer to do just that. It was only then, when we tried to rebook, that they said it needed to be within a year of the original booking. I don't have a problem with that policy, per se...had it been originally communicated to us. Misleading expectations, travel insurance can't correct that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jmcbride2019 said:

Regarding RC's handling of this situation, though, I stand by my title. They explained that we could use our initial deposit towards a future booking. We tendered their offer to do just that. It was only then, when we tried to rebook, that they said it needed to be within a year of the original booking. I don't have a problem with that policy, per se...had it been originally communicated to us. Misleading expectations, travel insurance can't correct that.

 

Did they issue you FCC (future cruise credit) certificates or was this just verbally communicated?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Another_Critic said:

 

Did they issue you FCC (future cruise credit) certificates or was this just verbally communicated?

 

It was a verbal communication and I was unaware of an FCC. Another lesson learned 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I contend that they did show compassion by allowing you to re-use the deposit as credit, even though you had passed the full refund date. As you say they did not have to do that per their terms, and normally wouldn't. And you did get the majority of the amount refunded, it is just the deposit at issue, not the whole amount.

 

Where the issue arose was a mistake in communication when you didn't realise there was a 1 year expiry. Absolutely they should have explained that. However, it is standard expiry time for compensation credits, and it isn't reasonable for them to last forever, so there should be an expiry. It's just it wasn't explained to you, but I don't think that makes them heartless. That's just a mistake.

 

It's also something you could have asked at some time, as it's reasonable to have an expiry. Not that you're expected to, but it's not an unexpected clause that came from nowhere either. So I don't see it was done in any heartless manner, but just a mistake that happened for something that you weren't aware. And in the end, you still got the majority of funds back, an ability to travel, and an action that wasn't done heartlessly.

 

As above, I'd take it as a lesson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am so glad your wife is doing better!  My thoughts and prayers are with you both.  My DH and I always get travel insurance and have used it once due to an unexpected death.  We pay for it every time, but it really was worth it compared to what we would have lost.  In the one instance, it made up for all the past cruises that we did buy it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst agreeing with everyone regarding insurance and hoping that your wife continues to recover.

 

Do you have in writing that you can use the $750 towards a future cruise with no time limit or T&Cs mentioned?

 

If RC put this to you in writing then that is their mistake and they should be held to what they communicated. If it was small print that you did not read then it is your mistake. You cannot be held to a policy that they did not communicate to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, The_Big_M said:

I contend that they did show compassion by allowing you to re-use the deposit as credit, even though you had passed the full refund date. As you say they did not have to do that per their terms, and normally wouldn't. And you did get the majority of the amount refunded, it is just the deposit at issue, not the whole amount.

 

Where the issue arose was a mistake in communication when you didn't realise there was a 1 year expiry. Absolutely they should have explained that. However, it is standard expiry time for compensation credits, and it isn't reasonable for them to last forever, so there should be an expiry. It's just it wasn't explained to you, but I don't think that makes them heartless. That's just a mistake.

 

It's also something you could have asked at some time, as it's reasonable to have an expiry. Not that you're expected to, but it's not an unexpected clause that came from nowhere either. So I don't see it was done in any heartless manner, but just a mistake that happened for something that you weren't aware. And in the end, you still got the majority of funds back, an ability to travel, and an action that wasn't done heartlessly.

 

As above, I'd take it as a lesson.

 

I completely disagree with you, but yes, a lesson was learned. They did not communicate there was an expiry...at all, not until I attempted to book again. And it's not that I didn't "realise" there was an expiry. They didn't tell me there was one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, travel insurance is not always a sure thing when it comes to payout if needed.

We  were in France for two weeks and I received a call saying my sister was in ICU.  I traveled back the next day and the insurance company did not reimburse me one cent.

So TI is not always the magic bullet IMO.  TI companies have so much fine print that it boggles my mind!!!!!!!!😳

 

I have now been buying TI from my big box TA.  I have not needed it but still........we will see.

 

I would love to do a "cancel for any reason", but it is VERY expensive.

Edited by Judyrem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prayers to your wife and family. I hope she has a full recovery.

 

I wont say what others have. But i hope you guys are able to do a cruise of some type. Good luck ❤ dont let this ruin you from cruising!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...