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American Cruise Traces safety plan is not defending me

Q. I needed to cancel my American Cruise Traces cruise from Memphis to New Orleans for medical causes.

I referred to as American Cruise Traces and inquired about rebooking for a cruise this fall utilizing my cancellation credit. I had paid $570 for a “cancel for any cause” safety plan.

A consultant knowledgeable me that I solely had $350 in credit score as an alternative of 80 % of the unique fare of $5,745. Once I requested for an evidence, referring to the “cancel for any cause” safety plan, he mentioned that I had canceled lower than 9 days earlier than the beginning of my cruise. That is not true. I canceled a day earlier than the deadline.

I hoped that upon investigation, American Cruise Traces would discover that it made a mistake and resolve to take a extra accountable perspective. Nevertheless it hasn’t. Are you able to assist?

EDWARD MARKS, Washington, D.C.

A. Your “cancel for any cause” journey safety ought to have coated your cancellation. However the American Cruise Traces safety plan (discovered on-line at www.aclmedia.azureedge.web/cmsmedia/libraries/acl/paperwork/cfar/acl-cfar-summary.pdf) comes with some vital restrictions. First, it is not insurance coverage, however “safety.” You are paying $570 for extra lenient cancellation phrases. And people phrases state that you need to cancel 9 days or extra earlier than the beginning of your cruise package deal to obtain an 80 % cruise credit score. A typical “cancel for any cause” insurance coverage coverage would allow you to cancel inside much less time — normally 48 hours earlier than your journey — and obtain a 50 % to 75 % refund.

Journey insurance coverage is one thing value contemplating for any cruise. Cruises will be costly, and quite a bit can go incorrect. (Imagine me, I do know.) However it’s important to store fastidiously. By no means take the primary journey insurance coverage or “safety” coverage that somebody gives. Speak to your journey adviser or spend just a little time researching journey insurance coverage choices on-line with my client information (www.elliott.org/ultimate-consumer-guides-smart-travelers/how-find-best-travel-insurance). Primarily based on the evaluations I’ve seen, the safety you had was just a little dear and had some vital limitations. You might need discovered one thing higher elsewhere.

You canceled your cruise on the ninth day earlier than departure, so the cruise line ought to have honored your declare. As an alternative, it apparently considers day 9 to be previous your deadline. Technically, that might have been 9 calendar days earlier than you checked into your lodge in Memphis for the beginning of your journey.

You possibly can have appealed this to an government on the cruise line. I checklist the names, numbers, and e-mail addresses of the American Cruise Traces executives on my client advocacy web site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/american-cruise-lines-inc. I additionally publish a number of useful tips about how one can negotiate a refund at www.elliott.org/solutions/how-to-fix-your-own-consumer-problem.

I assumed American Cruise Traces ought to evaluate your case yet one more time. Shedding $4,596 over a number of hours, and on a technicality, appears incorrect.

I contacted American Cruise Traces in your behalf. It agreed. A consultant contacted you and mentioned the cruise line restored the 80 % it’s best to have obtained below your safety plan.

Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit group that helps shoppers remedy their issues. Elliott’s newest e-book is “Learn how to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (Nationwide Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/assist or chris@elliott.org.

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