My mother passed away last month on the day my husband and I were to sail on a long-scheduled 15 night cruise to Hawaii.
We cancelled the cruise with a day’s notice which was well past all the cancellations periods for a partial refund let alone the full amount. The situation is exactly why thousands of people buy travel insurance. But we hadn’t.
The Bad News
When my travel agent spoke with the cruise line representative to cancel the booking she wasn’t able to arrange any type of credit. We were about to lose both my mom and $3500 on the same day. I wasn’t mad at Carnival Cruise Lines, but at myself. Why would I risk losing so much money?
When delivering the news to me, the agent did encourage me to write a letter and so I did.
Asking for What You Want
I wrote an email explaining the situation (including a link to the obituary) and requested a credit. My appeal included the fact that we were loyal cruisers and stockholders.
I also included the fact that I knew we should have arranged for travel insurance and had learned our lesson and thanked them for their kind consideration.
I was hoping for at least a 50% credit so we could take a vacation somewhere later this year. This letter was not sent via snail mail to the customer service address my agent gave me but emailed to the president of the cruise line.
Now, I had no expectation that he would read my email but trusted that it would be routed to the right resource and it worked.
Two days later I received an email from an email address labeled icare (guest administration). Not only did we get a credit, but it was for the full amount!
The credit did come with a few restrictions and one of them was that it couldn’t be used for Hawaii. I requested that be waived since the cancelled cruise was to that destination and again Carnival came through.
We are now booked for a cruise to Hawaii in 2013 and Carnival now has two very happy and loyal customers. Oh and yes, we did get travel insurance this time.