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Cruise lines take a hard line on refunds

Tragedy struck just as Ira Birnbaum and his wife prepared to set sail to Alaska on Norwegian Cruise Line. His mother died. The cruise line didn't care. At all.

A missing vacation refund mystery — and a troubling resolution

If you thought that reading the terms and conditions on your next travel purchase is enough to keep you out of trouble, meet Thomas Hanko. The veteran cruiser had booked an air-inclusive cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Holland America Line for himself, his wife, their daughter and son-in-law to celebrate the Hankos’ 50th wedding anniversary. But several months before the trip, Hanko’s wife died.

This is a sick way to spend your vacation

What’s worse than being stricken with stomach flu on vacation? Maybe it’s being quarantined on a cruise ship with hundreds of other passengers suffering from the same illness.

What to do when your river cruise turns into a bus tour

It was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime for Pat and James Frost — a river cruise in France on the Viking Europe, from Avignon to Chalon-sur-Saône. The retired couple from Concord, Ohio, even added three days in Paris to round off their bucket-list getaway. But when they arrived at the port, a cruise line representative informed them of a change in plans. Flooding along the Rhône and Saône rivers had made the waterways impassable, and their cruise tour had turned into a bus tour.
By |September 26th, 2013|Columns|7 Comments|

Caribbean cruises: US citizens should get a passport!

Are you a US citizen thinking about taking a Caribbean cruise without having a US Passport as identification and proof of citizenship? Ned Levi suggests that would be a mistake, and that you should get a passport, even for a short WHTI country exclusive cruise.
By |September 2nd, 2013|Columns|3 Comments|

Will a new law force cruise lines to better report onboard crime?

The remarkable thing about the proposed Cruise Passenger Protection Act is that on its face, it looks entirely unremarkable. The law would require cruise lines to publicly report all alleged crimes on a ship and to disclose their passenger contracts in plain English. But dive into the bill, and it delivers a little shock to both passengers and the cruise industry.

Here are a few insider tips for finding what you lost this summer

Don't lose it this summer. At least not the way Jennifer and Pat Mangold did when they stayed in the Florida Keys last August.

Cruise ship muster drills need improvement

In the last year, Cruise Lines International Association member ships have instituted substantial changes in their muster drill procedures, which have significantly improved passenger safety. Now that they have accomplished those changes it's time to maximize muster drill effectiveness to improve cruise ship safety even more.
By |June 10th, 2013|Columns|13 Comments|

Have cruises really become more dangerous?

Carnival Cruise Lines hasn't had a great month with the Triumph famously stuck at sea for days, another cruise canceled midway with a generator problem and two delayed with propulsion pod issues. In reality, are these big problems or just part of the normal vacation experience.
By |March 19th, 2013|Today|15 Comments|