Don’t bother booking a cruise if you’re not fully vaccinated. Here’s why

Well, that didn’t take long. The first wave of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated passengers who’ve been denied boarding their cruise ships has washed ashore.

As the cruise industry begins to return to the waterways, mass confusion about the requirements for cruising has ensued. One of the first casualties of this chaos was Joshua Maxwell and his fiancee. They showed up at the dock earlier this month, planning to set sail on Celebrity Cruises’ Equinox. Unfortunately, they weren’t fully vaccinated, and the cruise line rejected the couple and sent them home.

The twist? Maxwell says vaccination requirements confused cruise line employees, too. As a result, he says the duo were allowed to board the ship and settle into their cabin before being forcibly removed by security hours later.

So what’s going on here?

Can the cruise line cancel my trip and keep my money?!

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the travel industry — that’s for sure. But in these unusual times, can a cruise line really cancel your trip and also refuse your refund request?

Of course, the answer to that question is “no.” But Elizabeth Ramirez says that’s exactly what NCL did to her — canceled her cruise and kept all her money.

Now Ramirez is asking the Elliott Advocacy team to investigate and retrieve $7,300 from Norwegian Cruise Line.

This case is a strong reminder of the importance of keeping detailed records of all your refund requests. It’s especially true during this pandemic when thousands of other travelers are making similar requests — all at the same time. Unfortunately, Ramirez’s tale also shows that sometimes even when a consumer does everything right, things can go all wrong. (Reprint)

How do I get a refund for this canceled boat tour?

Gerald Stanton canceled a planned boat tour of the Panama Canal after suffering a terrible accident last fall.

That day trip through the canal was scheduled for January of this year — before the coronavirus crisis began. So why is the operator of this excursion blaming the eight-month refund delay on the pandemic?

That’s the $252 question that faces the Elliott Advocacy team today. (Reprint)

Why did Orbitz cancel my flight, leaving me with a $3,400 bill?

What if a booking agent made a mistake and canceled your return flight home from vacation, leaving you stranded abroad?

During a pandemic. Thousands of miles from home.

That’s what Aruna Krishnamurthy says happened to her last January. She was attempting to come home from India when she discovered Orbitz had inexplicably canceled her flight. That error cost her $3,400 — and hours of stress and anxiety.

Now she wants Orbitz to pay for the high-priced walk-up flight it forced her to buy to get home. But hold on — Orbitz says Krishnamurthy actually canceled the flight, and it doesn’t intend to pay for her mistake.

Can we figure out what’s going on here?

Forced off the cruise with no vouchers included! What went wrong?

Just days before the coronavirus shut the entire cruise industry down, John Buchan and his husband boarded MSC’s Grandiosa. They were looking forward to a relaxing voyage through the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, things started going wrong immediately when they opened their cabin door and found a naked couple already inside. But within hours, that shock was overshadowed by another unpleasant surprise. That’s when MSC summarily canceled their cruise and forced the couple off the ship before it even set sail.

Looking for an Overseas Adventure Travel refund? Here is the good news!

Did Overseas Adventure Travel or another tour company promise you a refund during the pandemic and then renege later? If so, you’re certainly not alone. One of the most frequent complaints we’re fielding involves tour operators changing contract terms after the coronavirus cancellation wave began.

The good news? One of the top tour operators has recently changed its stance once more — this time, in favor of its customers. If you’ve been battling for a refund from Overseas Adventure Travel or Grand Circle during the pandemic, you’re in luck. (Reprint)

If a worried host asks you to pretend not to be a guest, it’s time to go

If your vacation rental host asks you to pretend not to be a guest during your stay, would you?

That’s the odd situation that confronted Josephine Avina last July when her family planned a short trip during the pandemic. But pretending not to be guests wasn’t the only thing the host wanted the Avinas to do. She also expected them to be OK with living in the remnants of a bachelorette party held the night before.

As you’ve probably already guessed, the Avinas with their two small children in tow weren’t OK with any of it. They promptly asked for a refund and took off for a hotel. And although the owner agreed to return their rental payment, it’s eight months later and the Avinas are still waiting.

Now, after a failed credit card dispute over the missing refund, the Elliott Advocacy team is the family’s last hope. (Reprint)

All the reasons why you can’t get a refund for your destination wedding

All Melanie Brown wanted was a refund for a destination wedding in Belize last summer. All she got was excuse after excuse after excuse.

It’s something else to keep in mind one year after the COVID-19 pandemic sank large segments of the travel industry. Salvaging your refund may mean navigating an excuse factory that hotels and other companies have hastily built to keep your money.

Brown’s experience is also instructive because it’s a map that shows you how to bypass these bogus reasons for pocketing your deposits — whether it’s a refund for a destination wedding or just a hard-earned vacation.

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