Cruise line accused of being unfair after death of would-be traveller
Lynda Steele and Sandra Hermiston , CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:51PM PDT
A Vancouver man is accusing Princess Cruises of being unfair and insensitive after the sudden death of his partner.
Gus Fosarolli was looking forward to a spring cruise with his longtime partner Russ Benger. But one week before the ship was set to sail, disaster struck. Benger was hospitalized with liver failure and the cruise had to be cancelled.
"All I was asking for was a simple credit to use at another time. Plain and simple. We knew that he would get better. We were hoping that he would get better," said Fosarolli.
Sadly, Benger passed away two months later.
Princess Cruises offered his grieving partner a $1,500 credit to be used toward a future cruise that would expire in March of 2015.
So Fosarolli invited his close friend Marc Smith to go on a spring cruise in honour of his lost partner. He was going to pay the full cost as thanks for Smith’s support during a rough time. But Princess Cruises wouldn't let Fosarolli use the full credit to book a new, more expensive cruise vacation for two.
"It was only for me specifically. I couldn't transfer it to anybody else. They couldn't even do an onboard credit," he said.
The new cruise trip is costing the friends $1,100 each. Fosarolli's credit will cover his ticket, but Princess Cruises won't let him apply the remaining $400 credit to his friend’s ticket.
"Gus has already paid $1,500 to Princess Cruises. He just wants to spend that $1,500," said Smith
An official with Princess Cruises wrote Fosarolli to express the company’s condolences but said, "Princess Cruises is not generally able to refund or transfer to another booking, those payments that are subject to cancellation fees."
Princess Cruises is not alone in its strict cancellation policies. The cruise industry is notoriously inflexible and rarely forgiving when it comes to handling travellers who didn't buy vacation insurance.
Fosarolli wants to warn other would-be cruisers to do their homework before signing on the bottom line because as he has unfortunately learned, tragedy can strike anyone, at any time.