Help! I Missed a Cruise and the Cruise Line’s Own Travel Insurance Won’t Pay.

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A young woman booked her first big trip, a Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian, but missed the boat when her flight was delayed. Since she bought the cruise line’s own travel protection plan, why is she stuck with the bill?

After graduating from college in 2022 and working for a year, I used my bonus and some of my savings to book a nine-day Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line for my partner and me. Our $7,657 cruise package included airfare from Atlanta to Barcelona, Spain, via Newark, and Norwegian’s own BookSafe Travel Protection Plan, which included travel insurance and also allowed me to “cancel for any reason” for a 75 percent credit. Weather delayed our first flight, we missed the connection, and United Airlines could not get us to Barcelona in time to embark. I called Norwegian and agents suggested I buy last-minute tickets on a different airline, but I don’t have that kind of money. And even if I did, there were no direct flights to later ports, and I was unwilling to risk missing another connecting flight. So we spent the night in the Newark airport, paid for a return flight to Atlanta the next morning and canceled the cruise and remaining air legs. I got $1,184 back right away from Norwegian, and then an additional $232 back (for my return flight) from travel insurance when I filed a trip delay claim, but a trip cancellation claim for the cruise was denied outright. I feel I should at least get the 75 percent credit — otherwise what was the protection plan for? Can you help? Ivy, Atlanta

You’re not the first traveler to write Tripped Up after missing a cruise because of flight delays on the very itinerary the cruise company booked for them.

You also went out of your way to solve this problem on your own, first, registering complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the Georgia attorney general, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Florida (where Norwegian is based), all to no avail. Even when I offered to help, you didn’t stop and — before I could do anything — prodded Norwegian into giving you a slightly-more-than-75-percent credit, or $5,420, for a future cruise “as a gesture of good will.” Impressive.

I would have moved on to help another Tripped Up reader, but Norwegian’s use of the responsibility-shirking phrase “as a gesture of good will” bugged me. I wanted to know why BookSafe didn’t cover you, and what other cruise customers can do to protect themselves.

The BookSafe plan actually has two main parts: a travel insurance policy, administered by Aon Affinity and underwritten by Nationwide, and a “cancel for any reason credit feature,” provided by Norwegian itself.

I read through the fine print, and it turns out (and Aon confirms) the travel insurance portion does not provide reimbursement for a cruise if airline issues cause a traveler to miss it. But under the Cancel for Any Reason component, it looks to me as if Norwegian should have given you that credit with no hassle.

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