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The Dumbest Way To Try And Save Money

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To state it simply, one cannot predict when or where an event calamitous to your life, or that of a family member, can occur.

Yet, for  a much too large percentage of people planning a cruise, making the choice to save money in their cruise budget by not purchasing travel insurance is far too common.

The latest such case to reach the public eye is that of the Colucci family. The Colucci family was to cruise on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship on June 1. On May  19 five year old Nicolas Colucci was found to have a large cancerous tumor growing in his liver, and required surgery as soon as possible, followed by chemotherapy treatment. They contacted NCL, not to cancel their cruise, but to request they be allowed to reschedule the trip. Their request was denied.

This is a heart wrenching story. No one amongst us can possibly not feel deeply for young Nicolas and his family. How could you not? No doubt everyone hopes Nicolas’ surgery went well, and prays his treatment has a positive outcome.

As this story became more public, in traditional as well as social media, the calls grew loud for NCL to change their mind, and allow the Colucci family to reschedule their cruise for a later date; understandable? Certainly!

Yet, I can’t help thinking— if the Colucci’s had purchased available travel insurance they wouldn’t even have to be dealing with  this; adding stress of their already horribly stressfull situation; having to deal with losing the family vacation they had bought and paid for.

There has certainly been a growing call for Norwegian to make an exception to their policies in this case, and on an emotional level, it’s easy to agree they should.

However, with the hundreds of ships sailing week in and week out, can anyone possibly think there aren’t multiple life (and trip) altering situations arising? They may be similarly heart wrenching diagnoses, deaths in the family, or domestic accidents, which force people to cancel and try and alter their cruise plans. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was some such case on every sailing each week.  And each and every such incident is traumatic to those involved.

In these situations it seems so many look to the “deep pockets”( the cruise lines) to cover the financial loss of the situation.

The fact remains, if the people who face these crisis had purchased the available travel insurance, there would be no burden added to their troubled situation, and little or no financial impact added to that burden.

Sadly, the situation of poor Nicolas clearly demonstrates, that no matter what your age, and no matter the state of your health, crisis and tragedy can and do occur.  That it is possible for you to purchase insurance for a few hundred dollars which will relieve you of the (sometimes massive) financial costs of these occurrences is actually very positive, and doing so is very important!

It is important to note that it very rare to have regular health care insurance which covers out of country travel. And even more rare that it would cover illness or death of family members. So purchasing actual travel insurance is absolutely essential.

I recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy which covers much more than only crises which arise before you cruise. You need to be covered for unforeseen events if they occur during your trip. In the event you or a family member become ill, and need to be treated in a foreign port, or worse yet if the need arises to be evacuated from a ship at sea; the costs can be astronomical.

Don’t be left in a crisis situation, looking for someone else to accept responsibility  for something you could have so easily been responsible for prior to your travel.

And, to be blunt, if you can’t afford to purchase the travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

The case of Nicolas Colucci is indeed a dilemma of the heart; a 5 year old struck with a terrible disease.  But I do have to wonder; if there is a maximum age limit for sympathy, and empathy, and understanding.

On June 28 my mother passed away. I wasn’t booked on a cruise, But, if I had been scheduled to cruise on July 1, would the cruise line be expected to accept responsibility for my life’s circumstances, and rebook me at a later date?

If, god forbid, my home burnt to the ground, who would I look at to be responsible for rebuilding it if I chose not to have insurance?

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –








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Comment from Paul Motter
Time July 31, 2014 at 10:05 am

It is a sad situation and my heart goes out to the family of the boy. The news out this morning is that the family would NOT take a cruise now even if it was offered to them.

What occurs to me is that we have become a society of “entitled” people. And corporations are now no longer “people” but just big heartless cash machines.

It is like we have become a society of children who when we drop our ice cream cones we now expect someone to give us a new one. That is supposed to be something you learn not to expect as an adult, but children are an exception, right?

And lately the cruise lines, especially, have been taking it on the chin with even certain congressional leaders suggesting they don’t do their fair share.

I also wonder if they called the bank to see if they could skip their next mortgage payment, the utility companies, etc. You analogy about your house is a very good one.

I like to remind that cruise lines generally offer travel insurance as an option with every cruise – just like rental cars. If you choose not to take out insurance on a rental car you are accepting responsibility for that car, and you could be in a very serious accident.

By the same token, I do want to say this. I agree that the rules against name changes, etc, are too strict. The cruise line could have given that cruise to a needy family, and in hindsight maybe they should have.

But let;s not pretend the cruise lines are not already charitable. Most of them already support charities to the tune of $millions each year. They have some right to pick those charities. But in a case like the Colluci’s, if the cruise line is able to reselll the cabin, so there is no loss of income, why not give the Coluccis at least a partial break?

I wish it had gone down that way, but it didn’t. There are laws to back the cruise lines up, by the way.

One time my wife could not go on trip where I had already purchased the plane ticket, and so I said to the airline “since I paid for the seat, I would expect the seat next to me be empty, right?”

“No,” i was told. “The person on the ticket has to arrive in person to claim the seat.”

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 1, 2014 at 7:21 am

Rules are rules, the old adage that rules are meant to broken does not apply in most instances, cruise lines included.

If it were not for riles, there would be a free for all with all and anyone trying to get their just rewards without any regard to the rules that may apply to any given situation.

Travel insurance is fine, but it must be of the proper policy, to cover any and all issues that may crop up. I am an advocate for purchasing travel insurance. As many cruises, near 100, we have never needed to cash in our travel insurance policy due to any circumstance. We still take out the policy. Buyer beware, not all policies are equal nor fair. Kuki has covered this in his past blogs.

Sure, it was sad to see a family denied a refund due such a tragic personal family situation. On the other hand, there are people that could, would, will and due cancel and demand refunds for false reasons. That is life.

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