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EDITORIAL

Does This Cruiser Deserve a Refund?

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There’s an old saying that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. But cruiser Katrina General thinks ships going where they say they’re going to should be the third. And because the Carnival Victory wound up not visiting the ports on its original itinerary due to an unforeseen incident which may have cost a young man his life, she believes the line owes her more than they’re offering. But is she right?

What Went Wrong

You may recall that a week or so back, we reported on a woman who believed she and her husband deserved a refund because the ship on which she and her new husband were sailing was unable to tender at Grand Cayman island. As a result, she insisted that their entire honeymoon was ruined.

In this latest case, General was on the Carnival Victory when it sailed out of Miami bound for Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. But as reported by a Jacksonville news outlet, the trip was cut short after another passenger went overboard. As one would expect, the pleasure cruise was suspended as a search-and-rescue effort was mounted.

“The ship was on a four-day cruise that visited Key West as scheduled,” Carnival said in a statement. “However, because of the vessel’s involvement in search-and-rescue activities it was unable to make the scheduled visit to Cozumel.” As a result of the missed stop, Carnival offered a 20 percent discount on a future cruise.

General told News4Jax that she was “not expecting to get a full refund, but I am expecting to get something back, because I didn’t get what I paid for. Sure, it wasn’t their fault, but it wasn’t our fault either.”

The Bottom Line

The cruise contract every passenger agrees to before sailing states in no uncertain terms that the line can, at “their discretion and for any purpose, deviate in any direction or for any purpose from the direct or usual course, and omit or change any or all ports of call, arrival or departure times, with or without notice, for any reason whatsoever.” It adds that “Carnival shall have no liability for any refund or other damages in such circumstances.”

Perhaps more importantly, we can’t help feeling that General’s decision to complain to the media about the loss of a day in Mexico, when weighed against the loss of a human life, smacks of bad taste. Imagine being the loved ones of 23-year-old Brandon Paul, no doubt reeling from news that the search-and-rescue mission had been called off by the Coast Guard, and finding out that one of his fellow passengers was upset about the impact his tragic passing had on their vacation. Something tells us they would gladly pay General and her family the $3,000 they spent on the family vacation if it meant having Brandon back with them.

Does this cruiser deserve a refund?

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