Memo To Cruise Lines: Seattle Is Not Cozumel

A few different cruise lines took initiative and changed the itineraries of ships heading to Mexico in the near future. However, they won’t let customers who are uninterested in sailing to the tropical paradise of San Francisco rebook or get full refunds.

Kathy’s Princess “Mexican Riviera” cruise, leaving from Los Angeles and visiting three different ports in Mexico, has been modified to stop at the ports of San Diego, Santa Barbara and San Francisco! Not exactly the trip she booked.

How can they sell a cruise to Mexico that doesn’t even go there? This seems like misrepresentation. If they are concerned about the CDC reports, then the cruise should have been canceled, not rerouted to locations totally different from those in the original itinerary.

Princess maintains that they “retain the right to change ports at any time”, but this is a change of country! If you go on their web site right now, you will see that the trip due to set sail on May 2 is still called Mexico Riviera and still the 3 original Mexican ports listed. Even though they know they are not going there, they continue to sell it as if they were.

Their disclaimer I’m sure covers them legally. However, all we asked for was the ability to go to Mexico at another time. They refused because we did not buy their insurance. WE did not cancel the cruise to Mexico, PRINCESS canceled it. can anything be done?

Brandon is in a similar situation with Carnival Cruise Lines—his LA-to-Mexico cruise has the same changed itinerary. He wants to cancel, pointing out:

I’m from San Francisco!!!! So A) I take a cruise from LA back to the cold waters of my hometown or b) reschedule. Unfortunately my job is pretty tight on days off so rescheduling is really off the table too and I would rather get a full refund. Of course Carnival is saying no. Any suggestions on getting my money back? I did pay with my credit card, should I dispute the charges?

The relevant part of the Princess passage contract is pretty clear:

8. RIGHT TO DEVIATE FROM ROUTE, CANCEL ACTIVITIES AND CHANGE OR OMIT PORTS OF CALL.
Except as otherwise provided herein, Carrier may, for any reason, without notice or liability for refund, payment, compensation or credit:

(A) Deviate from the scheduled ports of call, route and timetable;
(B) Call or omit to call at any port or place or cancel or modify any activity on or off the ship for any reason, including but not limited to inclement weather, labor disturbances, or safety reasons in the sole discretion and judgment of the Carrier or ship’s Captain;
(C) Comply with all governmental laws and orders given by governmental authorities;
(D) Proceed without pilots, tow or be towed and assist vessels; or
(E) Render assistance to preserve life and property.

I’d argue that while Kathy and Brandon’s situations fall within the letter of this rule, the port changes mean that travelers are now scheduled for a fundamentally different cruise than the one they booked and paid for.

Passage Contract [Princess Cruise Lines]
Itinerary Updates [Carnival Cruise Lines]

(Photo: Tha_Sco)