FOX 8 Defenders: Many await indefinitely full refunds for cruise trips

Updated: May. 22, 2020 at 6:12 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Those who booked a cruise for the summer months are likely still waiting for a full refund.

Chad Blancas said he booked a Carnival Cruise to Mexico in January, and cancelled in March amidst the crisis.

"Around March 23, I got the email from my travel agent. She said this is your options, a full 100 percent refund, or you can book for a future trip. So I agreed that I wanted the full refund due to the pandemic and everything going on," Blancas said.

Carnival Cruise Line notified him the refund would take four to six weeks.

"Four to six weeks go by, I don't hear anything. So I wait an extra week or so, still didn't hear anything. So I emailed the travel agent. I wound up emailing Carnival also," Blancas said.

Carnival responded, stating, due to a high number of requests, they are taking longer to process refunds.

"I haven't worked in about 60 days now, so I need the money. I'm moving in a couple of days, in about a week, so that money could go towards the deposit, it could go towards my rent, it could go towards putting food in the house. So, it's just really frustrating," Blancas said.

His travel agent said he's one of many customers she's trying to help either get refunded, or rebooked.

"I am calling the cruise lines and I am waiting on hold every other day or so, and I want to know if you haven't gotten it," Belinda Unbehagen, with Cruise & Tours Unlimitted, said.

She said 95% of her business comes from booking cruises which includes Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

"Some have been waiting for 60 days, 65, 70 days. Since March 12, that was my first cancellation," Unbehagen said.

She saID customers will likely get their money back in chunks.

"All of these different portions or attributes of your cruise fare are coming from different entities though carnival. So Carnival's pushing money out that they have, and as they get the other money, they push that through," Unbehagen said.

FOX 8 reached out to Carnival Cruise Line, which sent a statement saying in part, "Well over one million Carnival guests have been impacted by this extended pause in cruising, which dwarfs any disruption we've experienced in even the worst hurricane season...

We are committed to issuing refunds as soon as possible, but cannot give an approximate date at this time."

A spokesperson with Royal Caribbean International said refunds will take up to 45 business days.

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