Why won’t Norwegian Cruise Line extend this voucher for another year?

After a disastrous cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) issued $2,500 in vouchers to Jaihar Murli and his family. But the certificates expired after a year, as they usually do.

Murli wants NCL to extend the time to use the vouchers, but it won’t. His story illustrates how even substantial “goodwill” vouchers have important restrictions that may not be obvious at first glance. It also shows how persistence can pay off, even though the final resolution may not be everything you want.

NCL won’t extend the vouchers because it already did so once before. When NCL issued the future cruise vouchers to Murli, it informed him in writing that the “cruise credits are valid for sailings within 12 months from the date of this letter, are non-transferable, and have no cash value.” But Murli thought that he only had to book the cruise before the expiration date, not that the cruise had to be completed before that date.

When Murli tried to book a cruise before the voucher expiration date, for a voyage that was sailing after the expiration date, NCL wouldn’t honor the vouchers.

“Hoping for a speedy and fair resolution,” Murli turned to our advocates for help.

As our advocates reviewed the email exchange between Murli and NCL, it became apparent that NCL had already waived its policy and extended the expiration date of the vouchers once. The vouchers were originally set to expire in September 2016, but upon Murli’s request, NCL adjusted its policy and granted an extension through September 2017.

Murli said that after the vouchers were extended the first time, he received a call from NCL Guest Relations “affirming that the credit could be used for a future sailing before it expired, and that the sailing could occur beyond September 2017.”

Related story:   Is a two-hour delay worth 25,000 American miles?

Unfortunately, Murli did not have anything in writing confirming the conversation, and he didn’t know the name of the agent he spoke with.

Murli could have posted a query to our help forums which are staffed by travel industry experts, and often read by company executives. Our forum advocates may have had helpful suggestions for him.

Murli tried to escalate his request and directly contact NCL executives. We list executive contact information for companies on our website company contacts. But NCL only responded to Murli’s emails through its customer relations department.

Our advocates contacted NCL on Murli’s behalf. NCL reiterated that the vouchers could be used for sailings booked and completed before expiration in mid-September 2017. NCL declined to extend the vouchers a second time. But as a gesture of goodwill, NCL offered Murli a $500 onboard credit for sailings beyond the expiration date.

Murli still has time to use the vouchers. His options are to find a way to use them before expiration, or to use the $500 on-board credit for a cruise beyond the expiration date. We hope he is able to take advantage of one of the options.

Is NCL's offer of $500 onboard credit enough compensation if the vouchers are not used?

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Diane Perera

Diane and her family love to travel, and they do so as much as they can. Having experienced the downside of travel, and having learned so much from Elliott.org, led Diane to become an advocate and to help fight the good fight. Read more of Diane's articles here.

  • Lindabator

    They already gave him 2 years — it is ridiculous to ask for even more time. If you have not sailed in 2 years time, why would they just keep extending — you obviously have no intention of actually using them

  • AJPeabody

    It is implied that the vouchers were issued after a bad cruise experience. Good customer service, cruise company. The vouchers were extended for another year. Excellent work, cruise company. $500 credit if the vouchers aren’t used is really excellent. It’s time for the OP to get on the boat.

  • Rebecca

    I don’t see how 2 years isn’t enough time to use his credit? That seems perfectly reasonable to me. I can understand the need for an expiration date, especially considering this was a goodwill gesture and not a refund, NCL can’t have thousands of dollars in liability floating around.

  • Annie M

    Talk about greedy! NCL already helped him out once, I can’t see why he could not have rebooked a cruise within 2 years. Biting the hand that feeds you gets old as did apparently the fact he might have withheld information that NCL already extended the vouchers once from the way your story reads.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    Or if you are waiting for a specific moment (50th anniversary, 80th birthday, whatever), tell NCL that and reserve that cruise.

  • ctporter

    The issue is not that the vouchers had an expiration date, it is that the OP already knew they did AND got a one year extension AND got vouchers on top of that!

  • Michael__K

    you obviously have no intention of actually using them

    Except for the fact that he actually did try to use them to book a cruise and NCL wouldn’t honor them because, contrary to what they originally stated, they went by the sail date rather than by the purchase date…

  • Michael__K

    Expecting NCL to stick to what their Guest Relations agent told him about using the vouchers for sail dates after September is greedy?

  • Michael__K

    He was ready to use it his credit; the issue is that he was given incorrect information that the deadline was based on the booking date not the sail date.

  • cscasi

    Unless it is past the expiration date of the vouchers. As, we saw here, NCL will not accept them for use on a cruise that is beyond the expiration date of the vouchers, which is as should be; otherwise people would be trying to book a cruise a year or more after their voucher(s) expired. It is just like the airlines and their vouchers. They are good for one year from the date of original ticket purchase and one has to book a new flight before the expiration date or lose the value of the voucher.

  • cscasi

    Just like the airlines do. Seems that is the normal practice and I am pretty sure that is explained; probably on the back of the voucher(s) and probably in the FAQs section of a cruise lines web site.

  • cscasi

    We have only one side of the story and therefore, we can’t really say whether or not he was given wrong information or whether he didn’t fully comprehend what was told to him. People have the same problem with airline vouchers. I reserved my flight six months in advance but had to cancel it and was given a credit good for one year from the original purchase date; meaning I only had six months to use that value or lose it. And the new flight would have to commence on or before the expiration date or I would lose the value of the credit.

  • cscasi

    Except, as was stated in the above, “Unfortunately, Murli did not have anything in writing confirming the conversation, and he didn’t know the name of the agent he spoke with.” So, we do not know for sure that is what the agent said or if Mr. Murli thought that is what he said. Without proof, it is he said, she said.

  • Michael__K

    So then why not link to the FAQ section or the terms on the back?

    The FAQ for Gift Vouchers doesn’t cover it, so why would you assume the disclosures for other vouchers are any better?

  • Michael__K

    What prevented NCL from airing their side of the story (or referring to the documentation you assume exists even though it hasn’t been cited) when they were contacted?

  • Michael__K

    Except NCL declined to address this. So it’s just a “he said.”

  • Rebecca

    Right. And they then extended it an entire year, as a courtesy, so he could use it even longer than that date he originally thought the voucher could be used.

  • Michael__K

    Wrong. When they extended it, they misinformed him and told him he just needed to book his cruise by the new expiration date.

  • Lindabator

    exactly – he knew he was just stringing them along – 2 years is MORE than enough time to choose a cruise

  • ctporter

    But, even if he had a valid reason (say a medical condition not that did not allow him to be away from treatment for a year or more) he still was trying to endlessly extend a voucher well beyond the expiration and extension of the expiration. that he fully knew. At what point must a company disregard any terms and conditions for people? Without giving NCL a chance to go beyond the over and above considerations they already provided by understanding the OP’s reasons why should NCL even think about doing more for the OP? At some point, we all have “lessons learned”. And, btw, didn’t I read somewhere that “nothing is free”? (grin)

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