Does a sudden serious illness and no trip insurance equal a missed honeymoon?

This unfortunate couple had to cancel their wedding when the fiancé became seriously ill. Then when they tried to postpone their honeymoon cruise, things got even worse.

Question: We booked a cruise for our honeymoon with Norwegian Cruise Line. My fiancé just ended up in the hospital with a severe infection that resulted in amputation. We had to cancel our wedding, and at this time we can no longer take the cruise, under orders from his surgeon.

When we first found out what was going on we called Costco travel, who we booked through, and they suggested buying travel insurance that day, which I did, in the event we needed to cancel. But with the travel insurance his amputation is considered a pre-existing condition since he had an infection before we bought the insurance.

We called Norwegian to see if there was anything we could do — change the name or give the cruise away, postpone our departure date until he was healed, get a cruise credit, anything. They would not work with us — any of those things would result in 100 percent cancellation fee. We cancelled within the 75 percent window, at 31 days, therefore will only be reimbursed 25 percent on a several thousand dollar cruise.

We want to go on the cruise when he is healed. We do not want any money back, we just want to take our cruise as we have already had enough devastation and loss up to this point. We would like them to allow us to change the departure date (we would even be willing to pay a fee- although not 100 percent) or just get a cruise credit for a later date. Can you help? —Alyssa Still, Albuquerque, N.M.

Answer: As if having to cancel your wedding wasn’t tragic enough, being told you’re also going to lose most of the money you invested in your planned honeymoon makes this even more heart-wrenching.

A cruise is one of the most popular honeymoon options for newlyweds, and one that often represents a major expense. Which is why travel insurance exists. When we’re planning something fun, like a vacation or a honeymoon, we don’t like to think about the things that might go wrong. But your case illustrates how sometimes things can, and do, go wrong.

Unfortunately, you waited to buy your insurance until the health issue had already emerged. And the odds of a policy helping at that point are slim. Travel insurance plans generally have an automatic exclusion for pre-existing conditions, but some do offer a waiver if you’ve been “medically stable” for a specific period of time prior to purchasing the policy. It’s unlikely your fiancé’s infection would have met that criterion.

There’s a world of information on the do and don’ts of buying travel insurance at our advocacy website, including this useful article.

You mentioned in your correspondence with us that your phone calls to NCL weren’t helpful and that you’d had difficulty finding a way to reach them by email. Our advocacy site also includes information on how to contact them electronically.

We reached out to the cruise line on your behalf and are happy to report that it has offered to make an exception given the extraordinary circumstances in your case.

After learning of the circumstances regarding the cancellation of your cruise, as a gesture of goodwill, we have made a very rare exception to our policy and have issued you a future cruise credit representing the 75 percent in cancellation fees that were assessed, the same amount that would have been covered under our “Cancel for any Reason” travel protection policy.

Here’s to a speedy recovery for your fiancé, and a to lovely upcoming wedding, followed by a memorable honeymoon cruise.

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