What’s worse than being stricken with stomach flu on vacation? Maybe it’s being quarantined on a cruise ship with hundreds of other passengers suffering from the same illness.
That’s what happened to Randy Fulp when he sailed to Mexico with a group of friends on the Caribbean Princess in January. An appraiser from Sacramento, Fulp is a seasoned cruiser and knows the risk of getting sick, particularly at this time of year. Cruise ships are on high alert for sightings of the Norwalk virus, also known as the norovirus or stomach flu, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness.
Question: We were recently scheduled to sail on a seven-day Carnival cruise to Mexico. A few minutes after we boarded in Long Beach, Calif., I had horrible kidney pains. I couldn’t walk, and felt as if I was going to pass out.
My husband immediately took me to the medical doctor on board. He performed an ultrasound and I asked for something for the pain. All of a sudden he said you need to get off the ship because you have a kidney infection. Within two minutes we had three Carnival employees rushing us to get our bags and they escorted us off the ship.
All the while, I could barely walk. One of the employees told me not to worry, that I could cruise at a “later date.” Everything happened so fast. I was never given a choice of whether to stay on board or not. Read more “Kicked off my cruise for getting sick”
Question: Last year, my husband and I bought round-trip tickets to fly from Pittsburgh to Houston on United Airlines.
A few weeks later, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We originally thought he could still make the trip, but after his biopsy, it was clear he couldn’t go. His doctor wrote a letter stating that he had advised canceling this trip.
United was very sympathetic at first, and said that they would issue a full refund. They asked me to send a request through their website. I received an email a week later, saying they would allow us to cancel the ticket, pay a $50 change fee per ticket, and have up to a year to rebook the flights. Read more “No refund for a sick United passenger?”
Fred and Connie Claussen’s honeymoon cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas ended on a tragic note. During the voyage, Fred suffered a massive heart attack. The Serenade’s medical staff treated him and then diverted the ship to St. Kitts, where he was transferred to a hospital. Read more “Are cruise lines “dumping” their sick passengers?”
When Rela Geffen was hospitalized after suffering from congestive heart failure recently, she assumed her airline would take care of her. She was in Georgia on a business trip, but she’d paid an extra $19 for trip interruption insurance on her US Airways tickets.
And this is one of those times when I’m happy to say that the insurance came through for her. US Airways charged her a $125 change fee and a fare difference to fly back to Philadelphia a few days after her originally-scheduled flight, plus a $25 fee for making the change by phone, and her insurance picked up the tab.
“They were great and paid the $325 promptly after I returned home,” she says.
Question: My partner and I have recently returned from a six-day vacation at Barcelo Puerto Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While we were there, many guests were afflicted by a serious illness. We began hearing about it soon after our arrival and within two days, we were both violently ill with vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
For the last four days of our trip, we were barely able to eat or drink and wouldn’t dare take the chance of leaving the resort for any excursions.
Judging by the large number of complaints posted online, many other guests were also affected. Several even required hospitalization.
Because our annual vacation was ruined by this outbreak, we’d like to be reimbursed or offered some level of incentive for a future trip at another Barcelo property. We’ve written to the hotel, but haven’t heard back. Can you help us? — Daniel Vosburgh, Chicago
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the dangers of flying with the flu, and the airlines’ refusal to loosen their rigid ticket change policies. But how does it looks from the passenger’s perspective?