A Cincinnati area couple has been trying, unsuccessfully, to change a cruise they had booked months ago.
It's their honeymoon cruise, something they should be looking forward to. Unfortunately, it's scheduled to go to hurricane devastated Puerto Rico at the end of October.
Planned months in advance
Kyle Cunha said "We decided to do a cruise for our honeymoon, do 4 or 5 days in San Juan, and afterwards go on and enjoy the rest of the Caribbean."
They booked a Carnival cruise. But then hurricanes Irma and Maria hit.
Cunha figured Carnival would switch the cruise to another island. But when he called, he couldn't believe what a rep told him.
"They basically said we are going, because our cruise port is good to go. But you look at the news and search anything, and all you see is devastation."
But Cunha says he was told no changes, because the port of San Juan is now re-opened.
He says he would be fine with San Juan being a one day port of call, and would be happy to buy clothing, and eating, and help the local economy get back on its feet.
But he says the problem is that San Juan is his ship's home port. He and his bride would need to stay there for several days, during what's supposed to be a week of newly wedded bliss.
Unfortunately, Carnival states in its contracts that if you cancel within 14 days of the cruise, you forfeit 100%.
"We paid in full, so we would lose the the full price," he said.
So 9 On Your Side contacted Carnival, and after reviewing the couple's case, the cruise line made an exception to the rules, and will let the newlyweds take a later cruise, at no penalty.
How to protect yourself
To protect yourself, the insurance comparison website InsureMyTrip.com says look for insurance that includes:
- Cancellation coverage, in the event you can't go. Ideally, pay a bit more for a"cancel for any reason" policy, which includes cold feet, or job loss.
- Trip interruption coverage, if illness or a storm cuts the trip short.
- Medical insurance that covers you outside the USA. Many travelers don't realize that their employer's health plan may not pay for hospitalization outside the country.
Finally, know the risk of traveling to the Caribbean in the fall, during peak hurricane season.
Sure, prices are lower. But even if your ship diverts around the storm, passengers sometimes report choppy waters, heavy overcast cloudy days, and stiff winds that prevent you from lounging on the deck.
So purchase insurance so you don't waste your money.
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