The social media landscape can sometimes be toxic, but there is no denying the power of public opinion. Large brands are only too aware of this. A social media marketing budget of millions can’t protect a company when a negative social media post goes viral.
Refund Initially Denied
This was the very scenario that Carnival Cruise Lines faced recently. TikTok user ‘catbai‘, whose real name is Caitlin Bailey, shared her heartfelt sense of injustice with the cruise line after her mom unexpectedly passed away.
She called to cancel an upcoming New Year cruise and was told the $2,134 cruise was subject to a cancellation fee of $1,371 “since your mother did not purchase Carnival Cruise protection.”
|Caitlan was then given an email address to send her mother’s death certificate, which could take up to 30 days to get a response. “My dad is going to be out $2,134,” she posted. “How is that okay? You’re a multibillion-dollar company; please help me.”
The video post quickly gained traction, notching more than two million views. Feeling helpless up until that point, Caitlin says the post quickly went viral and got Carnival’s attention. As well as the many sympathetic comments, the cruise line was tagged.
“Thank you to everyone that tagged them, commented, shared, liked. It did blow up and we did get their attention,” she said in a later post. That led to the cruise line reaching out to her and confirming a full refund would be paid.
Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald Assists
“It’s very overwhelming just because it happened so quick. Carnival is doing the right thing and going to help my dad. And I’m just very appreciative.” Caitlan points to astute TikTok users who urged her to reach out to well-known brand ambassador John Heald as the game changer.
“He was a great help, and he was very quick and empathetic,” Caitlan said, adding that Heald told her he had recently lost his mom. “We will go on Carnival again, and we will get that cruise protection.”
Cruise line policies on refunds for deceased customers vary, while travel protection policy often doesn’t cover refunds for customers diagnosed with serious or terminal illnesses ahead of a cruise.
This is a firm reminder to always buy a travel insurance policy for your cruise and always expect the unexpected.