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Old July 28th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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Default Cruise Line refuses to rebook child with Cancer

Cruise line refuses to re-book family vacation after boy diagnosed with cancer | Fox News

I am just a little ticked off today. I saw Jim Walker write this up on his "CruiseLaw" blog last week - he is nothing but a cruise muckraker - literally hates the cruise industry.

Anyway - NCL refused to give this entire family a "free cruise" when they had to cancel at the last minute. Then the family said "well, then, give it to "make a wish" and supposedly NCL refused to do that as well.

Okay - could NCL have been nicer? Yes, Were they required to be? No. I understand Walker sitting in judgement because that is what he does all the time, but not FoxNews.

Here are the wrong presumptions about that case:

1. That NCL is never charitable. Not true - all cruise line give to charity all the time - all kinds of charities, including "make a wish."

2. That NCL is the only company that insists on being paid. SO! I suppose the bank also said "don't worry about your mortgage that month," and the water and power companies said "you don't have to pay your utility bill," and the car dealer said "don't worry about your car payment."..... right? In other words a double standard when it comes to the cruise line?

3. NCL offers insurance with every cruise it sells. If that company had insurance and this was an unforeseen event - then they would have been reimbursed. If this cancer had already been discovered, then they should have had insurance anyway, and declared it as a pre-existing condition, It would have been covered.

NCL has the right to pick and choose to whom it gives charity. If "Make a wish" wants to buy this child another cruise then let them do that, but no one gives NCL charitable donations to make them a charitable organization. So, why should anyone expect them to act like one?

Your thoughts?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old July 28th, 2014, 04:47 PM
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We started this discussion in another post; Just Another Reason to Purchase Travel Insurance

My feelings go out to this family - no parent ever wants to go through something like that.

But this is a tough situation; if NCL makes an exception for them, then everyone is going to want an exception and everyone will figure they don't need to purchase the insurance.

By the way, I heard that the CEO of another cruise line (wanting to remain anonymous) offered the family a free cruise.

No one ever plans for this like this happening, but it's their choice as to whether they want to get the travel insurance or not. If they don't get it, then why should they be granted an exception if later something happens whereby they have to cancel?

By comparison, this was a recent story concerning Carnival; Night before leaving on a cruise, a teenage daughter faints, falls, and cracks her skull. Hospitalized several days with six months recovery. Cruise canceled. NEVER buys insurance. Sends a letter to Carnival with doctor's note and Carnival gives her a full cruise credit to be used during the next two years.

Then again, keep in mind that Carnival has had alot of negative press lately, so they're looking for all the good press they can get and this may have had an impact on the decision as to what to do.

As I said, it's a tough situation and no matter how they handle it, it'll lead to other problems. If they allow them to change to another cruise, then everyone will be requesting it for a whole bunch of different reasons and where do they draw the line? Is this fair to those who purchase travel insurance? What kind of message does it send when some exceptions will be granted? This decision could open up a whole big can of worms that would not end up well for anyone.

On the other hand, if they don't grant the change, then with social media and the press always wanting to play up negative stories, it could have a negative impact on their image.

Basically, it's a no-win scenario no matter what they do.

Personally, I hope they get to transfer everything to another cruise. My heart goes out to them.

Professionally, I can definitely understand not granting a change and following the policies as set forth in the contract. After all, they are in the business of making money and now they have a cabin that will not sell for this cruise. Where do they draw the line?

I do wholeheartedly agree with your comments about Jim Walker! He definitely gives lawyers a bad name and totally lives up to the reputation of being an ambulance chaser. If it's not something negative, he has nothing to say. He's alot like the press; they much prefer to concentrate on the .5% that have a problem than the 99.5% that don't.

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Old July 28th, 2014, 10:58 PM
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I watched Fox News Sunday morning while packing to leave upstate NY for my trip back home. They were over the top in their unabashed bias for the family and it was not even close to a news piece - it was a hit piece in the style of CNN and their coverage of the Carnival Triumph loss-of-power cruise. I was quite disappointed.

Now, NCL certainly let this blow up on them in a bad way and it has long since become non-recoverable for the cruise line. I hope this is a lessons-learned item for them, as to how some cases do need to be treated differently. However, it also is a case that shows how social media can be used to make villains out of a company or a person for simply following the rules that everyone agreed to - such as the cruise contract when the booking was made. Does anyone think that at least one death threat was made against NCL employees over this, all because of the social media backlash over this? I'll wager there were dozens of threats made as a minimum. This is why social media can be a dangerous thing. And all over the price of a 7 night cruise for three.
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Old July 29th, 2014, 03:20 AM
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Yes my heart goes out to the family and I hope for the best for them. The problem with social media is EVERYONE can comment on this subject whether you are a seasoned cruiser or not! I am a member of a few facebook cruising groups and by and large everyone supports the stand NCL made as we all realize that the family should of purchased travel insurance. Non cruisers, and most homeland vacationers however, do not understand this need for travel insurance and have reacted accordingly. Could of NCL handled this differently? They could of but then precedent would be set and could open a big can of worms legally.
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Old July 29th, 2014, 04:25 AM
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Bottom line...............

Don't travel without trip insurance.

I get it for land vacations as well as cruises.


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Old July 30th, 2014, 03:33 PM
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Default NCL Facebook Response

Here is most of Norwegians official response from their Facebook page:

"In light of recent discussions, we would like to share some background with you.

After learning of the circumstances regarding the cancellation of the Colucci family's cruise, we wanted to make sure Nicholas would be able to take the cruise that he was so very much looking forward to.

While we knew getting Nicholas well again was the family's top priority, we offered to work closely with the family when Nicholas was ready to travel to ensure that they took their vacation and we provided a personal contact at Norwegian for the family to stay on touch with. Separately, one of our travel partners reached out to Mrs. Colucci and offered their help in making sure the family took the cruise they had planned.

We contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that we work closely with to grant the wishes of hundreds of children each year who want to take a cruise. If the family chooses to participate in the Make-A-Wish Program, we will make sure that they receive the cruise they were looking forward to.

We are touched by many similar situations and do our very best to work with our guests to offer support whenever possible. As a company that provides vacation experiences for more than 1.3 million people each year, we understand that situations such as this occur. In all instances, we balance these requests with the need to treat fairly those guests who have elected to purchase travel protection insurance. In an effort to provide guests with peace of mind, we offer
Travel protection and we strongly encourage our guests to take advantage of this safeguard to cover unforeseen circumstances.

We continue to wish the very best for The Colucci family and hope Nicholas gets well soon. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Most of the general public have probably never taken a cruise, and never had the need to purchase travel insurance. They take hotel vacations, and for the most part, you have until 6 pm on the day you are to arrive to cancel with a full refund. So travel insurance is a foreign concept to most people.

Only those who cruise get the fact that you either need to buy this coverage, or be prepared to accept the fact that you may lose your cruise fare if an unforeseen event occurs in the penalty period. And no one cancels in this time period without some sort of compelling reason.

I think what probably happened is that the family actually wanted a full refund of the cruise fare. NCL offered to work with them to reschedule it when the child's health permitted. They did not like this offer and went to the press. So now they have the cruise they paid for, the free cruise offered by the other cruiseline, and possibly a free one from Make A Wish. Way to use your kid to extort money from sympathetic corporations! Just my opinion.

I like this statement from NCL, "We understand that situations such as these occur. In all instances, we balance these requests with the need to treat fairly those guests who have elected to purchase travel protection insurance."

The coverage could have been gotten for probably $69 pp, and they don't even charge for the kids, so really very affordable. If you are going to pinch pennies on vacation, don't do it here.
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Old July 30th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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And this is also why it's so very important to work with an agent instead of purchasing a cruise directly with the cruise line. An agent would have spent the time discussing the travel insurance. They provide service. Whereas when purchasing it through the cruise line they simply ask if you want it or not without discussing the benefits. They sell and don't provide service.

This is especially important for first time cruisers because, as you alluded to, they would have no clue as to what it is. They really need to understand why it's so crucial when small children are involved and when it's such a pricey vacation.

I thought NCL was handling this appropriately. The bottom line is that people make decisions and need to take personal responsibility for those decisions. They were given the opportunity to purchase the travel insurance and chose not to. Then something terrible happens and they feel they are 'entitled' to void the contract. When that doesn't work, they use social media to make a big stink about it. They made the wrong decision - why is it someone else's responsibility to make it right? If you build an expense house on the beach and make a decision not to purchase hurricane insurance and your house is destroyed by a hurricane, would you expect the taxpayers to rebuild it at no charge to you?

Not trying to make light of this horrible situation - my heart goes out to them. But there are many many situations like this that happen every day and if every one of them were given an exception to the contract, then there would be no reason to purchase travel insurance and this would definitely not be fair to those who do.

Bottom line is everyone has the option to purchase travel insurance. If you can afford to lose your $4000 vacation, then don't purchase it. But if something happens, then you need to accept responsibility for your decisions.

Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/15 yrs exp and 50 Cruises on 12 different cruise lines in many parts of the world! VIETNAM VETERAN OWNED & OPERATED. Certified Accessible Travel Advocate. Specializing in unsurpassed personal service to insure you have a hassle-free vacation!
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Old July 30th, 2014, 06:47 PM
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I have never purchased insurance for a cruise before and never needed it. That said I got it yesterday for my 23N San Fran to Sydney cruise. It's just to long a time, to few ports to stop if there is an issue, and really far to fly home if something comes up. $100 for a longer trip but worth the peace of mind.
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Old July 30th, 2014, 07:37 PM
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A key quote from the latest NCL statement: " In all instances, we balance these requests with the need to treat fairly those guests who have elected to purchase travel protection insurance."

This story is still being played up by Fox News, at least on their website. Frankly I'm tired of hearing about this family. At some point you get to wondering if they are more concerned about the cruise cost than the sick child. I'm sure that isn't true but it's how it can come across when the story gets told over and over, and has social media traction that never ends.
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