Home Financial responsibility Federal government proposes new refund rules for cruise lines – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Federal government proposes new refund rules for cruise lines – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


When COVID-19 canceled vacation plans for many families, NBC 5 Responds heard from consumers who reported that cruise refund policies were all over the map. Some consumers received refunds and others received credits for future trips.

Now the federal government is considering new rules for refunds for cruises.

Canceled vacations during the pandemic

Scott Hatfield and his wife had a Caribbean cruise on the itinerary in 2020, but COVID-19 has canceled their trip. Hatfield said he used cruise credits to rebook. The next two cruises he planned to take also did not set sail.

“The continued closures and reservation changes and the cancellations of new reservations are starting to get very daunting,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield said he was unable to get his deposit refunded from the cruise line, initiated a chargeback with his credit card and filed a claim with his travel insurance. Both are on hold.

Hatfield has also written to the Federal Maritime Commission, which oversees cruise lines, and other agencies about his attempts to recover money from his travel deposit.

“There has to be some sort of overarching umbrella as to how the traveling public will be treated and what rights they have to either enter the port or go to the airport,” Hatfield said. .

The feds take note

The Federal Maritime Commission said it spent the last year reviewing the rules for reimbursement of cruise lines.

“It was difficult for us to understand,” said Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis Sola.

“Even when the lines were in the same group, they would have completely different refund policies within that group,” Sola continued.

Now the commission is to propose new cruise reimbursement rules, inspired by federal airline rules. The proposal includes “uniform procedures” for “how and when passengers can request a refund”.

When a cruise is canceled or delayed for 24 hours or more, the proposal would require full refunds from passengers within 60 days of the passenger’s request for a refund.

If a cruise is canceled or delayed for 24 hours or more due to government orders to stop shipping, cruise lines would have 180 days to refund passengers’ money.

NBC 5 Responds has asked the Cruise Line International Association for their opinion on the proposed rules.

It did not come back to us. In an email to our colleagues at NBC Bay Area Responds, the association said it would provide feedback directly to the Federal Maritime Commission case.

NBC 5 Responds has also contacted Royal Caribbean regarding Scott Hatfield’s refund request.

Since our broadcast date, we have had no response.

On his website, Royal Caribbean announced new summer crossings in August and wrote that customers on canceled crossings can request refunds, including non-refundable down payments.

According to his to place, travelers who already have credits can request reimbursement for certain trips. We haven’t seen Hatfield’s list.

Although Hatfield has said he would prefer a refund, his travel deposit remains a credit.

“You canceled the trip,” Hatfield said. “The repair is on your side, not on my side. “

How you can influence the proposed rules

The Federal Maritime Commission is expected to vote on this proposal later this year and is take comments of the public before voting.

You can add your voice until October 25 by sending an email to: [email protected]

In the subject line, write “File # 20-15, Comments on Developing PVO Financial Responsibility Rules.”

The committee asks you to attach comments to the email as a Microsoft Word document or searchable PDF.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to investigating your concerns and getting your money back. Our goal is to provide you with answers and, if possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or complete our Customer Complaint Form.


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