SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Sevierville couple is asking why is it taking so long to get their refund for a canceled cruise.
They were scheduled to sail in August of 2020, but the pandemic shut down cruises for months and the couple said they even purchased travelers insurance. They figured paying the extra for insurance was worth it in case something went wrong. Travel protection is coverage that can save you from losses and unexpected events that might occur.
The pandemic was one unexpected event for Alex and Joanne McConnell. When the couple’s cruise was rescheduled, Alex’s doctor said he shouldn’t travel, so they had to cancel and it’s been a hassle ever since, until the last few hours of Wednesday.
The cruise was meant to celebrate the McConnells’ 50th wedding anniversary, they booked the 7-day Alaska Glacier Cruise with Royal Caribbean in April of 2019, a year in advance of their sailing date.
“So we were very excited about the cruise,” said Joanne. “This was going to be a grand trip for us for our 50th.”
After spending over $7,000 on the cruise of their dreams, including travel insurance, the cruise was canceled in mid-March 2020.
“COVID came along and took everybody out, including the cruise ships, we understood that,” Alex said.
“And we are going to have another cruise, the next year which would have been 2021. That cruise did not open up until maybe 6 weeks before it was ready to go, they had still canceled everything, it was touch and go. We did not get to go on that because of my husband’s heart,” said Joanne.
Alex’s cardiologist advised him in January 2021 not to travel on an extended trip like a cruise because it could be detrimental to his health.
“You can travel around here, around the country a little bit. But you can’t go overseas or any distance away from a good medical facility,” said Alex.
Despite having travel insurance to protect their investment, the McConnells have been waiting for their refund since October of 2021. Joanne has been in close contact with her local travel agent who deals with Royal Caribbean trying to learn more about their refund.
“Our travel agent is telling us, it is under review. Then, they tell us, it is pending. And then back again for under review. So, we never know what is going on with it. It is sort of vague,” said Joanne.
WATE reached out to Royal Caribbean. The company said, “We are working with our guest service team, we can confirm the guest was refunded.”
The reason there’s been so much confusion about the refund has to do with where it was first sent. The refund apparently was not sent to the local travel agency here in East Tennessee, but to a third party in California and the money is now on its way according to the local travel agent.
Over the last two months, the local agent was sent text messages from the cruise line saying the couple’s refund was either “pending” or “under review,” and she was passing on that information to the McConnells. The travel agent says Alex and Joanne will have their refund soon.