(CNN) – When the Pacific Princess cruise ship returned home weeks after being stranded at sea, a San Francisco-based writer and coach, CJ Hayden immediately submitted a refund request.
According to him, he and his partner Dave Herninko owed about $ 37,500.
“They wouldn’t charge us for the days we spent swimming around the Indian Ocean,” Hayden told CNN.
The Pacific Princess set off in January for a reduced 111-day world tour in mid-March, when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the cruise industry.
The passengers of Hayden and the Pacific Princess have said that they are said to be able to get 100% of their repayments in cash, and that they can apply for a loan that corresponds to future travel credit (Future Cruise Credit (FCC)) against future trips. Alternatively, 250% credit was offered against future trips.
Hayden opted for the old option. He and Herninko also say they owe money for back home tickets, excess baggage fees, pre-paid land trips and port taxes and fees.
Hayden said he had followed the cruise line three weeks after the request for a refund, as he hadn’t heard anything and later told that Princess Cruises should wait 30 days.
A month later, Hayden had not heard anything else. He checked in again and was told 60 days.
Scroll fast until the end of June and Hayden says 99 days have passed and increased. He got his loan, but his money was nowhere to be seen.
Long delays in the processing of refunds
The painting is illustrated by CJ Hayden, the Pacific Princess ship.
Courtesy of CJ Hayden
And he is not the only one affected.
While trapped in the sea, Hayden and Herninko formed close ties with stranded passengers. Upon returning home, his old shipmates remained in touch, and these other Pacific Princess passengers said they were waiting for Hayden to receive a refund.
Browsing online cruise message boards and social media, Hayden noticed the issue that went beyond the Pacific Princess. Passengers from other Princess Cruises and other cruise companies were also vocalized about long waits.
Frustratingly, while waiting for reimbursements, they watched the passenger operators watch the ad for new trips. Some of these trips were later canceled after the industry organization Cruise Lines International Association extended the “no sail” until September 15.
Hayden told the California attorney general that he complained to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Maritime Commission.
Princess Cruises public relations manager Negin Kamali told CNN that guests were updated via social media and email during the reimbursement process.
CJ Hayden and partner Dave Herninko are on the Pacific Princess cruise ship.
Courtesy of CJ Hayden
“Since we respect the money and time of our guest, the processing of returns has remained one of our top priorities since our company paused transactions.”
Princess Cruises said it should “increase our system capacity” to address the volume and complexity of refunds.
The cruise line said that approximately 60% of reimbursements were completed and reimbursements and loans were handled separately.
“It is therefore normal to take one at a different time than the other. In many cases, the full amount of your Future Cruise Credit will consist of two or three separate FCCs. ”
The cruise refund stated that cash returns can also be received on a number of payments.
Kamali told CNN that Hayden’s refund was processed on June 19 and should be received within five to seven business days.
A common problem with delayed refunds
Other cruise passengers talking to CNN also said that they faced long waiting times without money. Others have received some, not all, debtor or cash debt.
David Hidding, who canceled Alaska’s family Princess Cruises trip in March, received a refund last week.
He says he was disappointed with the handling of the situation.
“In over 90 days, I explained that we received zero communication from anyone who was a Princess – this was unacceptable,” says Hidding to CNN. “No excuse, but [a Princess Cruises advisor] They said they arranged a refund. “
Judy Schmitz, a retired business analyst from Iowa, was also on the Pacific Princess. He chose to get back 100% of his repayment in cash and the loaned amount.
He got the loan, says Schmitz, but is still waiting for the cashback, which he calculated at about $ 33,500.
When he returned home from being stranded at sea, Schmitz was busy looking after his sick father, who later died.
“I can’t breathe until all the money is returned to me,” he says.
Christina Golston is on a sightseeing trip with her family last fall.
Courtesy of Christina Golston
Waiting for a refund from Iowa-based nurse Carnival Cruise Line, Christina Golston created a Facebook page to link passengers awaiting a refund from Carnival Corporation, the owner of Princess Cruises, along with the Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America and Costa Cruises.
“There are a lot of people who like to travel like me, but now we need money for bills because of lost work or reduced hours worked,” said Golston.
Carnival Cruise Line representative Vance Gulliksen told CNN that the “large amount” of reimbursements at the start of the service pause caused delays.
“However, we continued to automate and streamline the process and collaborated with our bank processor to work more efficiently.” “For the most part, we worked on the accumulation list, and now we think we can process and make refunds much more timely. We definitely appreciate the patience of our guests in this unprecedented breakdown of our business.”
‘Much higher volume of refund requests than usual’
New York government official Julie Huang said he expects a refund from a Norwegian Cruise Line for a trip he has never been to.
Huang requested $ 9,100 in March on behalf of himself and a few family members. He received an automated response saying that he should allow 90 days for the request to be processed.
Day 90 arrived and passed in the penultimate week of June, but Huang had not received any updates. After he couldn’t reach the phone, he tweeted Norwegian.
Judy Schmitz, passenger
“There are 90 days of missed opportunities to proactively let me know they need more time,” Huang says. “I am fine, I believe our money will come back in the end. But if they give such an answer now, I will lose some faith and not appreciate it.”
“I was hung more than money about their answer,” he adds.
The Norwegian Cruise Line told CNN that the cruise line was “much higher than normal reimbursement requests to be processed” due to the unprecedented situation.
“Refunds are based on the departure date and the date on which the refunds were originally requested. Our team is working tirelessly to revert these refunds back to their original form of payment as soon as possible,” CNN told a statement.
“Unfortunately, we experience delays with our ability to deliver within the 90-day time frame originally transmitted, and we want to set appropriate expectations with our ability to deliver. We thank our guests for their understanding and patience.”
The Pacific Princess is the last port in Los Angeles in April, after most passengers landed in Australia.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
Still, while many cruisers were disappointed, some travelers like Robert Sohns did not give up their experience of being stranded or waiting for money at sea.
Sohns was also in the Pacific Princess, but unlike Hayden and Schmitz, she chose to receive a full refund against future travel.
He had to wait 90 days, but roughly $ 36,500 credit is now in the Princess Cruises account and a $ 36,500 credit wife’s account.
“We were just hoping they didn’t go bankrupt,” says Sohns. “We made a new decision for our time, knowing that they would eventually reach us.”
Sohns and his wife lent towards the 2020 Pacific Princess world trip and aimed to repeat the 2020 journey it should have been.
“We’ve probably been on nearly 100 trips in the past 50 years, and half of them were in Princess, and we always know there’s potential for what’s happening on board, but it’s very atypical.”