Assist! I Missed a Cruise and the Cruise Line’s Personal Journey Insurance coverage Received’t Pay.


After graduating from faculty in 2022 and dealing for a 12 months, I used my bonus and a few of my financial savings to e-book a nine-day Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line for my accomplice and me. Our $7,657 cruise bundle included airfare from Atlanta to Barcelona, Spain, by way of Newark, and Norwegian’s personal BookSafe Journey Safety Plan, which included journey insurance coverage and in addition allowed me to “cancel for any cause” for a 75 p.c credit score. Climate delayed our first flight, we missed the connection, and United Airways couldn’t get us to Barcelona in time to embark. I known as Norwegian and brokers urged I purchase last-minute tickets on a unique airline, however I don’t have that form of cash. And even when I did, there have been no direct flights to later ports, and I used to be unwilling to danger lacking one other connecting flight. So we spent the night time within the Newark airport, paid for a return flight to Atlanta the subsequent morning and canceled the cruise and remaining air legs. I received $1,184 again immediately from Norwegian, after which an extra $232 again (for my return flight) from journey insurance coverage once I filed a visit delay declare, however a visit cancellation declare for the cruise was denied outright. I really feel I ought to no less than get the 75 p.c credit score — in any other case what was the safety plan for? Are you able to assist? Ivy, Atlanta

You’re not the primary traveler to write down Tripped Up after lacking a cruise due to flight delays on the very itinerary the cruise firm booked for them.

You additionally went out of your solution to clear up this downside by yourself, first, registering complaints with the Higher Enterprise Bureau, the Georgia legal professional common, and the Division of Agriculture and Client Providers in Florida (the place Norwegian is predicated), all to no avail. Even once I supplied to assist, you didn’t cease and — earlier than I might do something — prodded Norwegian into providing you with a slightly-more-than-75-percent credit score, or $5,420, for a future cruise “as a gesture of excellent will.” Spectacular.

I’d have moved on to assist one other Tripped Up reader, however Norwegian’s use of the responsibility-shirking phrase “as a gesture of excellent will” bugged me. I needed to know why BookSafe didn’t cowl you, and what different cruise prospects can do to guard themselves.

The BookSafe plan really has two predominant components: a journey insurance coverage coverage, administered by Aon Affinity and underwritten by Nationwide, and a “cancel for any cause credit score characteristic,” offered by Norwegian itself.

I learn by the high-quality print, and it seems (and Aon confirms) the journey insurance coverage portion doesn’t present reimbursement for a cruise if airline points trigger a traveler to overlook it. However beneath the Cancel for Any Cause element, it appears to me as if Norwegian ought to have given you that credit score with no problem.

I attempted to verify that with Norwegian, however the firm declined to reply most of my questions, as a substitute responding with imprecise statements by way of e mail.

“Though Norwegian Cruise Line gives flight preparations as a part of its cruise providing,” the primary e mail learn, “we wouldn’t have management over the operations of the airways and usually are not answerable for any flight modifications or cancellations.”

“It’s due to the very nature of surprising conditions, akin to this, that we strongly advocate all friends buy journey insurance coverage,” the assertion continued.

However once more, you bought the journey safety plan and the insurance coverage portion didn’t cowl you. As for the Cancel for Any Cause credit score element, Norwegian despatched one other e mail, which you forwarded, that learn, “We’re unable to subject credit for the penalties assessed to your reservation as this doesn’t qualify beneath Cancel for Any Cause previous to departure.”

While you complained to the Higher Enterprise Bureau initially, Norwegian doubled down, giving it similar wording.

I can’t perceive why. For the credit score to kick in, BookSafe clearly states you want solely cancel “previous to the ship’s departure,” not previous to your flight’s departure. You forwarded me a cancellation doc, dated the day you flew again to Atlanta — which was additionally the day the cruise set sail. That would appear to qualify, until Norwegian decided the cancellation occurred minutes or hours after the ship departed. That may be fairly disingenuous of them, contemplating you had been on the telephone with them for the reason that night time earlier than, asking about your choices.

Once I requested Norwegian in regards to the authentic rejection, I received an announcement saying you “had incorrectly filed a declare for a visit delay as a substitute of a visit cancellation declare” and that the credit score was “later added” to your account.

To me, that’s someplace between muddled and false. What really occurred was that you simply filed a “journey delay” declare to Aon that turned out solely to cowl your flight again to Atlanta. (That’s what journey delay protection does, cowl surprising bills.) Then, you filed a “journey cancellation” declare, additionally to Aon, however that was by no means going to work: Journey cancellation protection lapsed as soon as you bought on the airplane and yet one more form of protection, “journey interruption,” kicks in. However submitting for that wouldn’t have achieved you any good: Norwegian’s journey interruption coverage doesn’t cowl airline delays.

That’s why you ended up — after some blood, sweat and tears, that’s — with the 75 p.c credit score from Norwegian.

It’s complicated, little question. You fell into a typical lure about journey cancellation, delay and interruption insurance policies — assuming that this protection pays for something that’s actually not your fault. However claims adjusters are usually extraordinarily literal in decoding the fine-print record of “perils” or “hazards” your coverage covers.

“If it’s there, you’re good, and if it’s not there, you’re not good,” stated Stan Sandberg, a co-founder of TravelInsurance.com, a website that aggregates insurance policies from completely different firms, offering handy direct hyperlinks to the state-specific insurance policies.

I received curious and determined to match the high-quality print of BookSafe with the default journey safety plans at cruise operators like Carnival, Disney, MSC, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Viking. I used the New York variations for consistency, and regarded particularly at how effectively they coated points brought on by delays and cancellations of “widespread carriers” — airways, trains and the like.

All of the plans have “journey delay,” “journey cancellation” and “journey interruption” protection administered by insurance coverage firms. Most embody a separate “cancel for any cause” credit score portion that the cruise traces administer themselves. (Solely MSC doesn’t.)

I centered on journey interruption, which usually gives a most advantage of 125 or 150 p.c of the journey’s worth. Meaning a traveler might in concept be reimbursed for the total value of the cruise, plus further bills incurred due to the interruption.

Three of the seven plans I checked out — Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Princess — go away airline points out of journey interruption advantages completely, making it not possible, in a state of affairs like yours, to say the worth of a missed cruise in its entirety. “That’s stunning,” stated Jason Schreier, chief government of the journey division of Aegis Common Insurance coverage.

“Ninety-five p.c of journey insurance policy you’ll discover have widespread service points in each journey cancellation and interruption advantages,” he stated.

The opposite 4 cowl delays to various extents. Carnival mentions solely climate points. MSC and Viking cowl mechanical issues, climate delays and strikes — fairly customary language, however not all encompassing. Solely Disney’s plan permits journey interruption to kick in for “any delay of a typical service,” so long as it causes you to overlook no less than half the journey.

Mr. Schreier of Aegis informed me that the cruise traces themselves will usually scratch widespread perils from customized plans to cut back legal responsibility. Once I requested Norwegian about this, the corporate referred me to Aon Affinity. However Beth Godlin, the president of Aon Affinity Journey Follow, wrote that Aon “works with many various cruise traces” and customizes plans “to fulfill the wants of the cruise line.”

Lastly, there’s that cancel-for-any-reason-for-partial-cruise-credit aspect. As we realized, Norwegian’s plan, in addition to these of Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess and Disney, do embody flight points by permitting vacationers to cancel proper as much as the ship’s departure. Solely Viking’s is completely different — ending when you board your first flight. (Once more, MSC doesn’t provide this profit in any respect.)

I’d warn towards selecting a cruise line on the only real foundation of whether or not its safety plan covers widespread service delays — you’d simply be asking for one thing completely different to go improper. However Ivy, as you utilize your credit score, I’d contemplate placing within the time to look into shopping for a separate insurance coverage plan, utilizing comparability websites like TravelInsurance.com or Squaremouth, or going on to firms like Aegis, which Mr. Schreier factors out has a cruise-specific bundle and a “Stress Much less” characteristic which may have paid on the spot for a flight on a unique airline to get you to Barcelona on time.

No matter you do, I hope you could have an important cruise and may no less than briefly forgive Norwegian for what occurred — as a gesture of excellent will.

If you happen to want recommendation a couple of best-laid journey plan that went awry, ship an e mail to TrippedUp@nytimes.com.


Comply with New York Instances Journey on Instagram and join our weekly Journey Dispatch e-newsletter to get knowledgeable tips about touring smarter and inspiration in your subsequent trip. Dreaming up a future getaway or simply armchair touring? Take a look at our 52 Locations to Go in 2024.





Supply hyperlink