Action 9

Consumers still waiting on refunds for COVID-19 cruise cancelations

A woman in Lake County claims she lost $12,000 on a cruise to nowhere. She’s still waiting for a refund two years after the cruise was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“That is a huge chunk of change,” Brenda Meyett said.

Meyett feels double-crossed by the cruise line and the travel company that booked her Panama Canal vacation.

The Royal Caribbean cruise was canceled due to COVID-19. At the time, the entire industry had shut down.

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Meyett has been fighting for a $12,0000 refund ever since.

“It wasn’t the cruise line’s fault that we couldn’t go. But still, it’s no fault of mine that we didn’t go. So, I should be compensated for my funding,” Meyett said.

According to Meyett, Royal Caribbean offered future travel credits, but since COVID-19 remained a health issue, she doesn’t want to cruise again.

Meyett says the cruise line eventually agreed to a refund, but months later, she is still waiting.

“They keep saying it was returned to my form of payment, but we’ve seen nothing,” Meyett said.

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She expected her travel company that booked the cruise, AAA, to help recover the money.

“When I call AAA, I have been passed off, and I can’t get anywhere with them,” Meyett said she’s beyond frustrated.

Action 9 has handled more than 40 complaints about cruise refunds since March 2020, from consumers who felt credits instead of refunds was not fair.

Going forward, refund disputes should be easier to resolve. The Federal Maritime Commission adopted new rules this year to help consumers recover their money.

The commission requires full refunds for any cruise nonperformance when the trip is canceled or delayed by three days or more, and cruise lines must include clear refund restrictions online.

Action 9 contacted Royal Caribbean. The company told us it sent Meyett’s cruise money to AAA, and she should get her full refund from them.

AAA’s national office told Action 9 that Meyett’s refund had been delayed by unusual circumstances, but this will be resolved to her satisfaction and they will be sending her a check this week.

“I want all my money back,” Meyett said.

Any cruises booked since April are covered by the new refund rules. The Maritime Commission offers dispute resolution online.

AAA Response:

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. AAA provides travel services and support for our 62 million members in North America and we strive to provide the best customer service to each member. We regret that Ms. Meyett had an unsatisfactory experience. Ms. Meyett’s case has been complicated by an unusual set of circumstances, which we are reviewing with our travel partner Royal Caribbean. We will ensure Ms. Meyett receives the money she is owed and that this matter gets resolved to her satisfaction.

Working with Ms. Meyett and our partners at Royal Caribbean and AAA in Maryland, we have successfully resolved the issue. In addition to the refunds previously provided, a check is being sent to Ms. Meyett this week to reimburse her for the balance of the money she paid for the four cruise bookings. Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention. We are glad we could help Ms. Meyett get a full refund and resolve the matter to her satisfaction.

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich,

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.