Is this enough compensation? He waited too long to use his cruise voucher

Gregg Brady was looking forward to his February cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Of The Seas but the winds of fate were about to blow in a different direction. Just before his vacation, he had to be hospitalized and missed his sailing.

He didn’t have trip cancellation insurance, but Royal Caribbean agreed to issue vouchers of $171 per person — the equivalent of his taxes and port charges — for a future cruise. RCCL didn’t specify the duration of the vouchers.

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That was more than three years ago.

You can probably guess what happened next, right? When Brady tried to redeem the voucher, RCCL informed him it had expired. Long ago.

“I was not informed of this one-year expiration,” he says. “Royal Caribbean has documentation of my travel plans and exact monies spent but refuses to give me anything beyond a $50 voucher to use on the ship after I book, and fund, another cruise.”

A $50 voucher, after having spent $1,385 for a cruise, isn’t much. I recommended that Brady contact someone at a higher level at Royal Caribbean. He did.

Here’s the cruise line’s response:

I am apologize for any confusion regarding the credit for a future cruise that was initially offered that the time of canceling, but I am very glad to hear that you are feeling much better at this time.

Please note the initial credit that was offered was in the amount of $171 per person to be used up to a year after its issuing date. This information was relayed to your Travel Agent at the time of issue. Unfortunately, that credit expired on 1/9/2009, and is now unavailable for use.

While we are unfortunately unable to accommodate your request for a full credit for another cruise, due to the inconvenience you experienced in trying to redeem these credits, as a one time exception, I would like to reissue the credits in the amount in which they were initially given at $171 per person.

These credits will be issued for your use on another Royal Caribbean International sailing. Please note that the $50.00 Credits previously offered will be inactivated.

In the future, I would like to kindly advise that buying our CruiseCare Insurance could be very helpful. In addition to offering travel insurance for our guests in the event that a medical illness or hospitalization occurs, it also includes trip cancellation and interruption as well as baggage protection.

Under this CruiseCare coverage, guests’ who elect to purchase the insurance, and find a need to cancel their cruise due to unforeseen circumstances are entitled to a refund or credit of their cancellation fees up to the total cost of the trip.

Alright, aside from this grammatically troublesome reply, Brady is back to square one — with credit for his port taxes and fees.

I like the fact that he tried to ask for a $1,385 credit (after all, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, right?). I think RCCL could have offered him some kind of voucher beyond the $171, given that he had to cancel his cruise for reasons beyond his control. I often hear cruise lines saying that to do so would “undermine” the value of travel insurance.

That’s nonsense. Thanks to their fine print, many travel insurance policies don’t need any help from cruise lines in “undermining” their policies. But I digress.

And how about Brady’s travel agency? Tsk, tsk. They should have let him know about the expiring vouchers, don’t you think?

Is getting the $171 back for a year enough compensation?

(Photo: steamboat sorg/Flickr Creative Commons)

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