Cruise Line Tells Man To Pay $853 Re-Booking Fee After Wife Dies

Image courtesy of KDVR

When you’re booking a vacation, one of the last things that you want to ask is, “hey, what happens if someone in my party dies between now and the trip?” A man in Colorado decided to follow his wife’s request before she died and go on a Mediterranean cruise that they had scheduled before she became sick. When he contacted the cruise line to tell them that he would still be going on the cruise but that his companion had died, they imposed an $853 fee. Wait, a fee for what?

Even if he were swapping in a friend or relative for his wife, that’s still a substantial fee that the cruise line collects for simply changing the name on the reservation. Yet TV station KDVR in Denver, which originally reported this story, said that he was simply leaving the booking as it was, and his late wife would not be coming.

The company contacted him to ket him know about the fee, and explained that if he didn’t pay the mysterious change fee, he would lose the entire $11,000 reservation. He fought the cruise line, and eventually took his case to a local TV station.

That’s almost exactly the same fee that another passenger was charged to swap a different person onto the itinerary for her late husband: she went to the Washington Post when she was asked to pay $855, or 15% of the original fare as a cancellation fee plus a $30 fee to change the name on the booking.

Bringing in local TV news convinced the cruise line to waive the fee, but what about when people aren’t able to bring down the power of local media on the travel companies that have wronged them. If someone’s companion dies, and they still want to take the trip without asking for a refund, shouldn’t it be enough that they have that person’s fare, but one fewer person to feed and entertain?

KDVR recommends checking cancellation policies for different cruise lines before you book, which isn’t a bad idea. Also consider travel insurance, though some insurers make claims difficult to collect.

Widower gets charged $853 ‘rebooking’ fee when wife dies before cruise [KDVR] (Thanks, Jack!)

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