Arizona woman buys trip insurance for cruise, denied cash refund: 'We did everything right'

Cruise ships
Posted at 9:35 AM, Jan 10, 2023

Georgia Tate planned on joining her daughter Jackie, her son-in-law, and several friends for a Greek Isle cruise in July 2022.

"It was my first, my maiden cruise," Tate said. "I was going to have one of the forward-facing suites. I mean, I just kept upgrading. I was going to do this right."

To make travel easy and streamlined, they booked everything through Norwegian Cruise Line, including their flights.

But about a month out, the group heard about issues with flight cancellations. They called Norwegian to see if they could fly out earlier, but said they were told they'd missed the deadline to do that by a few days.

Tate and her daughter were set to fly out the day before their cruise left.

"Everything's packed; everything's in the car. We're, you know, excited about it. And then I got, the first thing I got was a text," she recalled.

She then called Jackie. Their flights had been canceled.

During the Fourth of July weekend in 2022, a glitch forced American Airlines to cancel thousands of flights, and their flight was among them. They said American Airlines tried for hours to get them to their destination, but they wouldn't be able to make the cruise.

"The best they could do is get us to the second port, an hour after the boat left," Jackie said.

While working with the airline, Tate said they also spent hours trying to get a hold of Norwegian on their emergency line. Once they got through, Tate said the person on the Norwegian line kept asking if they wanted to cancel the cruise.

They did not cancel.

During the booking process, Tate bought trip insurance and filed a claim through Aon Travel Insurance. Both Tate and her daughter also contacted their respective credit card companies to see if the charges could be reversed.

Tate's daughter paid through Visa and said her charges were immediately reversed. Tate paid using an American Express card and had a different experience. Tate said American Express denied a charge reversal.

"They told me, 'You have nothing to worry about. You made the airline flight through them [Norwegian]. It's a no-brainer.' And then they talked to Norwegian," Tate said.

She disputed the claim with Norwegian. The cruise line refunded her $2,437.24 and suggested any additional funds would have to go through insurance for a refund.

Those additional funds left Tate out more than $7,500.Her claim with Aon Travel Insurance was under review for months.

Initially, it was denied.

After several months, Tate was offered cruise credits, stating her situation didn't meet the requirements for a financial reimbursement according to the trip insurance policy. Now, she's left asking if trip insurance is even worth the price.

"It's so restrictive. Read the 36 pages of the contract with your attorney," Tate said.

As for American Airlines, they are refunding her flight. However, since it was booked by Norwegian, the funds went back to them.

This article was written by Kirsten Johnson for KNXV.