Home >> Cruise Fiascos >> Did Norwegian Cruise Line really cancel this family’s cruise over a $112 transfer?

Did Norwegian Cruise Line really cancel this family’s cruise over a $112 transfer?

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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Consumer reporter and ombudsman

Norwegian Cruise Line recently gave Evangelia Koumanidis some awful news about her family’s much-anticipated sailing aboard Prima, its brand-new ship. In a baffling email, NCL canceled their fully paid $4,657 cruise – citing nonpayment. 

Confident that this cancellation was a simple clerical mistake that Norwegian could quickly correct, Koumanidis called the cruise line. 

That’s when an NCL agent informed a stunned Koumanidis that there was no mistake. The cruise line had canceled the family’s trip 21 days before departure over an unpaid balance. 

But there was worse news on the horizon. That same NCL agent coldly explained that the cruise line will not refund a passenger in this situation.

Now an incredulous Koumanidis is hoping Consumer Rescue can convince the cruise line to reconsider its decision. She’s certain that she paid for her cruise in full and that NCL has made a $5,000 mistake.

But what is really going on here? 

Sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line on a brand-new ship: Prima

In January, Koumanidis and her husband were looking for a break from the cold, blustery weather of upstate New York. They decided that a Caribbean cruise would be the perfect answer to their winter blues.


Looking through the Norwegian Cruise Line website, the couple soon agreed that the February 19 sailing of Prima — the cruise line’s brand-new ship — from Port Canaveral, Florida, fit their schedule and budget

The Caribbean itinerary of Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship: Prima.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Prima would take the family from Port Canaveral to Mexico, Cayman Islands, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Or would it?

Because it was a spur-of-the-moment getaway, Koumanidis liked that she could pay for the cruise over time by using Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Book now and Pay later” feature via Uplift

I filled out a few questions and was soon approved for Uplift. I had to pay $548 on my Visa, which was for port fees. Then the balance of the cruise, $4,109, was financed. I also made the first payment via Uplift that same day. I soon received an email from NCL with our cruise contract that indicated the trip was paid in full.

Uplift also sent her a confirmation of the first payment. Each month for the next 11 months, Uplift would deduct $402 from her bank account. The total cost of the winter getaway with interest charges was $4,895. 

With all the payment details taken care of, Koumanidis downloaded NCL’s mobile app. There she could see the itinerary for their sailing of Prima and browse activities, excursions, and restaurants, among other things.

“It was very exciting,” Koumanidis recalled. “Seeing all the fun things to do and plan. We were really looking forward to the cruise.”

That excitement lasted just a little over a week before something went terribly wrong. 

Surprise! NCL has canceled your fully paid for cruise for nonpayment

Twenty-one days before embarkation, Koumanidis says she was scrolling through NCL’s mobile app.

I was looking at shore excursions and other things we could do on our vacation. Suddenly a pop-up on the screen said we could book ground transfers from Orlando for around $100. That sounded like a good idea, but I wanted to look at my options more closely. But [I got distracted by something] and put my phone down. One hour later, I received three emails from Norwegian Cruise Line confirming our cruise was canceled! I was shocked and had no idea what was going on.

Koumanidis says she frantically called NCL and asked what was going on. The first agent wasn’t sure, but he could see that NCL had canceled the cruise for nonpayment. 

Subsequent cruise line agents dug a little deeper, and soon Koumanidis had what seemed like an entirely nonsensical answer.

Norwegian Cruise Line: You didn’t pay the $112 for the ground transfers

They [the NCL agents] told me that I hadn’t paid the $112 for the transfers from Orlando to the ship. But I never added those transfers to my contract. I was just looking because of the pop-up. 

Immediately I called and asked to be reinstated, and NCL told me the cruise was sold out. I asked them to show me proof because when I looked online, there were many cabins left. This was all immediately on the same night as the pop-up – as soon as I received the cancellation email.

I called again and another agent told me that because I was within 150 days before the cruise, I automatically lost all my money and couldn’t be reinstated!

After many calls to Norwegian Cruise Line, a tired and frustrated Koumanidis reluctantly gave up for the night. 

Just hours before, she had been enjoying perusing all the fun things to do on her winter getaway. Now, something had gone wrong with that NCL app and caused her cruise to be canceled. 

She found the turn of events of the evening hard to believe.

Pleading with Norwegian for reconsideration of the cancellation

For several weeks after the cruise line suddenly canceled her family’s cruise, Koumanidis made daily pleas to NCL asking for reconsideration. Even as the embarkation date drew closer and closer, she still had hope that her family would be onboard Prima when it set sail from Port Canaveral on February 19. 

But each day, that hope dwindled as new NCL agents reiterated that Norwegian would not reinstate the family’s cruise. 

Then came February 19, and when Prima set sail without the family, Koumanidis abandoned any further attempts to reason with NCL. 

She decided to pursue a different angle. If NCL wouldn’t help, maybe Uplift would. 

Uplift: You paid for your cruise in full, but we can’t refund your payment

Koumanidis sent her refund request to Uplift and hoped someone there would be the voice of reason. 

Norwegian canceled my cruise and will not give me my money back. Who can I talk to? What can I do? I have contacted Norwegian every day and nothing has been accomplished. Can you please help me?!

Koumanidis to Uplift

Unfortunately, Koumanidis quickly discovered that Uplift would not be able to help get her money back for the canceled cruise. Although Uplift is a “trusted partner of Norwegian Cruise Line,” it’s just a billing agent. 

The Uplift agent was polite but clear that any refunds would need to come directly from the cruise line. 

I am so sorry for the trouble you’ve had working with Norwegian Cruise Line! All refund and cancellation requests are processed through the travel provider. Uplift is solely the method of payment for the booking, we do not have the ability to contact a merchant and request they issue the funds back from your purchase. 

If Norwegian Cruise Line is unable to process a refund back for cancellation, then the loan with Uplift will continue as normal until the remaining balance is paid off.

Uplift agent to Koumanidis

The agent went on to recommend that she continue to reach out to NCL and ask for a future cruise credit.

And to add insult to injury, the next day, as Prima sailed to Cozumel filled with happy cruisers, Uplift deducted the second payment of $402 from Koumanidis’s bank account for the cruise NCL had prevented her family from taking.

“Only 10 more payments to go!” read the cheerful alert. 

Asking Consumer Rescue to investigate this canceled cruise

One evening, as Koumanidis was deciding whether she should try to sue Norwegian Cruise Line for her lost vacation, she came across one of my recent articles that painted the cruise line in a very nice light. 

In that column, I wrote about a couple who was unaware of cruising restrictions for pregnant women. Those first-time cruisers were denied boarding Norwegian’s Getaway after the wife revealed that she was 24 weeks along. 

And even though NCL didn’t owe the couple anything, the cruise line granted them a full future cruise credit to use after the baby is born. 

Koumanidis hoped that my team and I might be able to do the same for her and her family.

I hoped so too. So I asked her for proof that her cruise had been paid in full – and we immediately had a big problem. 

Koumanidis had no paper trail – not even a cruise contract. When I asked how that could be possible, she started to tell me a strange tale.

And my shenanigans detector began to go off. 

Can NCL delete emails after they’re sent?

I can’t open any of the emails that NCL sent me about the cancellation. They also deleted all records of my cruise from the app. So I don’t have any documentation at all. I asked AOL why I can’t open any of the emails NCL sent me and they [AOL agent] told me that NCL must have recalled them.

Koumanidis to Michelle

When Koumanidis told me this, I admittedly found that hard to believe. And why would NCL do that?

But then I started going through what Koumanidis did have, and it began to seem plausible.

In fact, the more I stared at her limited evidence, the more it appeared that the cruise line might be responsible for whatever shenanigans was going on here.

Although Koumanidis could not open the cancellation notifications from NCL, the imprint of the three emails were still visible. Each of these emails had an attachment, presumably the contract. And those attachments were labeled “Miami.” 


But Prima was embarking from Port Canaveral – and it wouldn’t be visiting Miami at any time on the February 19 sailing.*

But there was more.

Uplift identified the date of embarkation of Koumanidis’s cruise as 2/23/23. Prima was sailing on 2/19/23.

Uplift shows the wrong embarkation date for this NCL cruise.
The information in this NCL customer’s Uplift account shows that she’s paying for a cruise that embarked on February 23. Her confirmed Norwegian cruise on Prima departed four days prior.

I now believed that NCL had somehow mixed up Koumanidis’s cruise with someone else’s cruise.

It was time to ask NCL’s executive resolution team to have a closer look at the facts of this strange case. (Note: The media/executive contacts I have available to me are not available to consumers.)

Was this NCL passenger’s cruise record switched with another?

So I sent over all my findings to the same NCL team who was so helpful to the expecting husband and wife two weeks ago. 

Hi ****

Evangelia Koumanidis was booked on the February 19 sailing on Prima from Port Canaveral. She financed the cruise via Uplift.  For some reason, NCL canceled her cruise on January 29 due to “nonpayment.”  Based on the details I have here, I believe that her reservation may have been switched with another passenger’s reservation because the cancellation email has a PDF attached that says “Miami” as the embarkation point.  

When I look at her account in Uplift, it says her cruise was scheduled for Feb 23. 

Uplift shows that her cruise was charged to her account and she is still making regular monthly payments.  I’m wondering if Uplift mistakenly applied her payments to someone else’s cruise — someone who sailed on the Feb 23* sailing of Encore from Miami?

Evangelia has asked NCL to provide some explanation about the nonpayment, but all she received was a notification/reiteration that her cruise on Feb 19 on Prima was canceled due to nonpayment and no refund is owed to her. So now she has a loan from Uplift for nearly $5,000 and she didn’t get a cruise. I can see her account is in good standing with Uplift so she didn’t default on any payment. 

Would your team be able to have a look at this one? If this was just a mix-up she would be over the moon to be able to either get a refund or a future cruise credit so she could take a cruise after all. Thank you!🚢😊

Michelle to the executive resolution team at Norwegian Cruise Line

I was pretty confident Norwegian Cruise Line would quickly resolve this case in Koumanidis’s favor. 

To my surprise, it didn’t. In fact, things soon got a little weirder.  

Would NCL really cancel a nearly $5,000 cruise over a $112 transfer? (Hint: Yes)

First, I received an email from our contact at NCL, but before I could open it, an additional message arrived that the executive wished to recall it. 

Norwegian Cruise Line executive asks to recall an email.
NCL “would like to recall a message” that it already sent. Why?

So now the strange tale that Koumanidis had told me about her suspicions that NCL had recalled all those emails didn’t seem so strange at all. 

Next, the NCL executive resolution team sent me a message confirming that Koumanidis’s cruise was fully paid for on January 21. But on January 29, when she added the $112 ground transfer to her shopping cart on the NCL app, her entire cruise was canceled for nonpayment. 

Hello Michelle,

Our team has looked into this case and found that the guest paid for their cruise by the final payment date. 

Later on, and within the final payment window, Ms. Koumanidis added ground transfers to her reservation. As such, payments for those transfers were due at the time of reservation. As payment was not received at time of booking, the reservation was canceled. You can find our cancellation policy here. In addition, I’ve included the bullet point related to this situation below.

·       Reservations that are not paid in full by the final payment due date are subject to cancellation and in the event a reservation is canceled, a cancellation fee will apply.

In addition, we can confirm that she was reserved on the 7-day Caribbean sailing roundtrip from Orlando Beaches Port Canaveral, as shown in the confirmation document you sent us (see attached).

NCL executive team explaining the situation to Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer Rescue

NCL: Thank you for understanding 

In addition to the message to me, Norwegian Cruise Line sent a follow-up to Koumanidis making it crystal clear that it had canceled her cruise because of the $112 ground transfers left in her online cart on January 29.

NCL thanked her for understanding and incredulously hoped she would consider using the cruise line in the future.

NCL explains that it canceled the passenger's cruise over an unpaid $112 ground transfer.
NCL confirms it canceled the cruise after its passenger added the ground transfers to the fully paid for vacation.

The response from NCL didn’t sit right with me. After all, Koumanidis didn’t even agree that she had tried to add transfers to her contract. She says she was just reading through the pop-up information and got distracted by kitchen duties. When she came back to her computer, NCL had canceled her cruise.

In fact, when I asked for a copy of the cancellation confirmation from NCL, it showed that the cruise line canceled her cruise immediately on the evening of January 29.

I tried again to reason with NCL, I asked why the cruise line wouldn’t have just canceled the $112 ground transfers. I also asked why she hadn’t received a request for payment if this was really why NCL had canceled this family’s cruise. 

But similar to another case in which it seemed that the cruise line had made some mistakes (See: Norwegian Cruise Line made us stay in our cabin for four days! Is this legal?), NCL responded to me with silence.

The final answer from Norwegian Cruise Line

The final answer from NCL: It’s keeping this family’s $4,657 cruise fare because of the nonpayment of the $112 ground transfers – and it can because of the terms and conditions Koumanidis agreed to. 

It is likely we will never know exactly what happened here. But Koumanidis remains firm that she didn’t put those transfers in her online shopping cart, and she certainly would have paid for them if she had any idea what was on the line. 

Koumanidis intends to consult with an attorney about what’s happened here and report this to the attorney general in New York (Here’s how to find the contact information for the attorney general in your state). But she wants you to hear about her experience so that you can protect yourself from falling prey to what she calls “some type of scam!”

How to make sure a cruise line doesn’t cancel your cruise over nonpayment

Unless you don’t pay your bills, your cruise line will not be likely to cancel your cruise. But mistakes happen, even by popular cruise lines like NCL. 

Of course, Norwegian Cruise Line hasn’t conceded to making any mistakes in this case, but here are some ways to protect yourself from a similar experience. 

Read the terms and conditions of the cruise line

In this case, Norwegian Cruise Line forwarded a clause that showed why they could legally retain this family’s cruise fare.

But that doesn’t mean it’s nice or fair.

It’s critical that all passengers carefully read through the entire contract so that they don’t somehow run afoul of something that looks a lot like a “gotcha clause.”

Keep a paper trail of all emails and other transactions

Koumanidis’s problem became much more confusing because she had virtually no paper trail that supported her case. She didn’t even have a copy of her original contract. All of the evidence she needed to prove her case was virtual and somehow became inaccessible to her after NCL canceled her cruise. 

It’s imperative that you make copies of your contract and any correspondence with the cruise line – before any troubles arise. You can take screenshots from your phone or computer and store them in a folder on your device. 

What you don’t want is to be at the mercy of the cruise line to help you create your paper trail after something has already gone wrong.

NEVER add additional products to your cruise contract

After you’ve confirmed your cruise and paid the bill, refrain from adding anything further. As my colleague, Dwayne Coward, explained to me, if you add anything else, you will usually need to cancel and rebuild your cruise contract – just like with an airline ticket. 

If you decide you need transportation to the pier after you’ve paid for and confirmed your cruise, have a look at Uber, Lyft, or a local taxi. In fact, these modes of transfer are often cheaper than the official transportation offered by the cruise line. 

WARNING: After we published this article, I heard from travel advisors. They informed me that NCL has enabled “auto-cancel” on its website. It’s something they’ve been warning their clients about for some time. If you add something to your cruise contract within 120 days of sailing and do not immediately pay for it (or your payment is declined), auto-cancel can happen to you too. Norwegian can retain your entire cruise fare.

Use a professional travel advisor

Using a professional travel advisor to book your cruise and provide ongoing guidance before, during, and after your trip can give you almost impenetrable protection against many of the cruise fiascos you read about here at Consumer Rescue. 

Your agent wants to ensure that your vacation goes off without a hitch and will be there to help you if things go wrong. 

A word of caution: Not all people who call themselves travel agents are qualified. Unfortunately, there are currently no laws that prevent anyone from using the term “travel agent.” So unless you want to risk ending up with someone who doesn’t even know basic geography as your travel guide (See: Is this the world’s worst travel agent?), ask a friend for a recommendation or visit ASTA to find a professional travel advisor.

The bottom line

Make sure that you understand and agree to all details in your cruise contract. These are legally binding documents. Be certain to read every part of them so you don’t end up caught in your own costly cruise fiasco

But if you do find yourself in a frustrating struggle with a company, Consumer Rescue is always here, ready to lend a hand and do our best to fix your problem.

March 24, 2023 update: The Court of Public Opinion weighs in

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t give up easily. So even after publishing this story last week, I wasn’t willing to throw in the towel.

Of course, Koumanidis wasn’t ready to give up either.

The many outraged and encouraging emails I received about the treatment of this family by NCL continued to propel my efforts to pursue other avenues to positively resolve this case.

First, I contacted Tony at La Lido Loca. He (and his wife Jenny) runs a super popular YouTube channel all about cruising and has a giant following of enthusiastic cruisers (make sure to subscribe to his channel if you love cruising). He dedicated Wednesday’s show this week to the plight of Koumanidis — and his viewers were appalled. Many called for a boycott of the cruise line until it reversed course in this case.

You can watch the episode here:

Tony of La Lido Loca tells his viewers about how Norwegian Cruise Line canceled this family’s cruise over the $112 ground transfers.

Next, I reached out to our executive contact at Uplift. I told her the sad tale of what had happened to this family. Her team did a little digging to see if they could nudge this case in the right direction with Norwegian.

Readers shared this article across many Facebook pages and groups. Although some faithful NCL customers refused to believe this story to be true (A few even insinuating that I had fabricated the story and attachments), most people who read Koumanidis’s cruise fiasco were outraged and demanded that NCL make this right. Some readers suggested it would be great if a competing cruise line gifted the family with a voyage.

Finally, Don at Don’s Family Vacations, who hosts another popular YouTube channel, told his viewers about what happened to this family. He was really mad, and he didn’t hold back. His legion of followers was outraged as well (His channel is another to follow if you love to cruise).

Don of Don’s Family Vacations tells his viewers what he really thinks about NCL canceling this family’s fully paid-for cruise over the unpaid ground transfers.

Good News: Norwegian Cruise Line reverses course

Today a representative of the executive resolution team at Norwegian Cruise Line reached out to give Koumanidis good news. NCL is granting the family a full future cruise credit. That FCC, combined with the cash refund of the port fees and taxes, makes the family whole.

Uplift also contacted me to confirm:

Hello, Michelle,

Delighted to say NCL has been in touch with Ms. Koumanidis and spoke directly to her today and provided a future cruise credit for the penalized amount on her reservation.

We appreciate you reaching out, thanks again. Have a nice weekend.

Uplift executive contact

Of course, it would have been nice if NCL had provided more of a goodwill gesture to make up for this terrible fiasco. But Koumanidis and her husband are thrilled with this victory.

Thank you, Michelle I owe you so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Evangelia

And I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who nudged Norwegian Cruise Line to do the right thing here. This was a real group effort!

Thank you! 🥰Thank you! 🚢Thank you! 🥰🚢 

PS. I made sure Evangelia got this offer from NCL in writing and made a copy of it!

(Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer Rescue)

Before you go: What’s going on with Vantage Deluxe World Travel and why is it canceling its upcoming cruises?

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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Michelle Couch-Friedman is the founder and CEO of Consumer Rescue. She is a consumer advocate, ombudsman columnist, mediator, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Michelle is a public speaker, and her expert guidance has been cited in MarketWatch, Consumer Reports, Travel & Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Popular Science, CNN, CNBC, Boston Globe, CBS News, National Geographic, Travel Weekly, Reader's Digest and more. You might even catch Michelle on TV reporting on a situation. :) Michelle is also the travel ombudsman columnist for The Points Guy and is the former executive director of the nonprofit Elliott Advocacy. During her six years in that position, she resolved thousands of cases for troubled travelers and other consumers. You can read hundreds of 5-star reviews Michelle earned during her service to the nonprofit since 2016 here on Great Nonprofits. She is also a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Today, she continues to spend as much time as possible fiercely defending consumers and traveling the world with her family. Contact her at Michelle Couch-Friedman or on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook.
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JVillegirl541

Absolutely no words to describe this but maybe THEFT! I have cruised with NCL and have Many Many cruises on Regent (NCL is parent co). I will keep this entire nonsensical theft of $5000 in mind when I book next. I am also immediately removing PrePaid Drink Pkg and Prepaid Gratuity pkg sitting in my Cruise Cart. Placed there so I would not forget to purchase next month prior to cruising. If some AH thinks they are keeping my $20k over amenities in my Cruise Shopping cart they have another thing comin!

stephen_nyc

If I was being cynical, I’d say that this LW’s problem is paying for the pregnant woman’s future cruise credit. Sorta like balancing the books, so to speak.
Computer-wise, yeah, stuff happens. But it seems as if their computer system is designed to allow this kind of problem to happen. When I shop online, I’ll put things into the cart, and as long as I don’t clear out the cookies, they’ll still be there days later. Sure, the price might have changed, but BJ’s isn’t canceling the cart items. And BJ’s will send follow-up emails and popups on their app saying, ‘hey, Stephen, did you forget something?’

Carol Ann Gill

Wow! Talk about a tone-deaf response from NCL! I’ve vowed to never use them before because of similar stories from other consumer advocates, but never have I seen so much evidence of a mistake – on NCL’s part. I think the facts as laid out in this article are pretty clear – at a minimum they had the wrong cruise referenced all along, which would make them in breach of contract. But to cover it up by recalling messages – that’s the smoking gun. Once again, I vow to never give a dime of my hard-earned money to NCL! I hope they will monitor this blogpost and change their stance, but if not, I hope that this poor family knows that they have performed a community service by outing them for their actions!

jsn55

Preposterous is a word that you seldom see … but it describes this disaster perfectly. What is NCL thinking? Seems as tho an NCL agent made a mistake somewhere and has been popping up everywhere erasing the evidence of that mistake. While that’s probably not true, what else would explain NCL’s horrible behaviour? I hope someone with a brain at NCL finds about about this mess and the preposterous way NCL handled it, even flying in the face of a seasoned advocate like you. NCL knows that you don’t do half a job with your research before getting involved … so to not respond is … well, it’s preposterous.

DChamp56

Wow, I’m with you that they should have just cancelled the transfers, but the cruise was fully paid for! I’m in total shock that they pulled this scam on these customers!
Any chance you can go higher up the chain on this?

Michelle Couch-Friedman

I’ve reached my executive ceiling… but I’m trying a few more things! Stay tuned 🙂

Matlock69

I think this you’d probably be able to find a few local or even national TV stations that would pick this up and give the story some legs. I’m shocked that NCL would gamble with the bad PR on this one. I’m an avid cruiser, and have never sailed with NCL. I’d never had any reason to not want to sail with them at some point, however I assure you I won’t be sailing with them ever.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Yes, that’s what we’re working on 🙂

charmw60

I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing was a scam to begin with starting with the pop-up for the transfers. Why was it automatically added to her bill just because it was in her cart? Plus, another red flag that sticks out is the fact that they delete previous emails. I really don’t think I will be booking any cruise with NCL!

Patricia Lenhart

And this is why you should pay with a credit card!

AJPeabody

I’m not a lawyer but I will play one on the internet today. It appears that the essential records needed for the prosecution of a case against Norwegian were destroyed/deleted by Norwegian. There is a legal principal that if essential evidence is destroyed then the rules of despoliation apply. The main one is that the willful destruction of records allows the assumption that the records were adverse to the despoiler.

In this case, all the important records except for the obligation to pay a particular sum were destroyed. In court, I predict that Norwegian would lose. In real life, the deleted records could probably be found on Norwegian’s backup files, and would back up (sorry for the pun) the OP’s case.

In other words, sue the bastards.

DLA

Why would a cancellation from Norwegian Cruise Line for a cruise departing from Port Canaveral be labeled “Miami”? because the company is based in miami. All you have is a lot of questions with zero answers. And a lot of errors. 150 days no. NCL non refundable date is 120 days. And no you cannot retroactively delete an email. if she can no longer open the attachments, her email may have corrupted them or something may be wrong with her PDF reader. She can call NCL to have the email resent., She was also advised to submit a form to get a future cruise credit. sorry. this article you have is just a bunch of questions you are assuming the answers for and along with it incorrect data.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Hi DLA, welcome to Consumer Rescue. I’m not sure if you read the entire article. So just to clarify.
1) The 150 days reference was in a quote by the passenger. That was her recollection of what an NCL phone rep said to her. That number is irrelevant because her cruise was canceled 21 days before embarkation.
2) The attachment labeled Miami supports the cruise line’s confusion because Uplift’s information listed an incorrect embarkation date as well as 2/23/23. (EDIT: Quite a few NCL passengers contacted me since yesterday to say that PDFs from NCL are often labeled “Miami” because of NCL’s US headquarters there. ) The embarkation date remains incorrect in the Uplift account.
3) Uplift is the entity that told this passenger to ask for a cruise credit from NCL. NCL denied that request.
4) I contacted the executive team at NCL which confirmed that this passenger’s cruise was canceled because of the $112 ground transfers which she placed in her cart on Jan. 29. Immediately, her cruise was canceled on Jan. 29.
5) This family is now paying monthly payments on a nearly $5,000 cruise they didn’t get to take, that NCL confirmed in writing it canceled because of ground transfers that may or may not have been placed into an online shopping cart a week after the cruise was fully paid for.

The answers to your questions are contained in the article 🙂 Michelle

DLA

This seems a little fishy. “I was within 150 days before the cruise, I automatically lost all my money and couldn’t be reinstated!” No. It’s 120 days with NCL so she is making it up.

She can’t open the emails? No you can’t retroactively delete emails. Most likely there is an issue with her email app or PDF reader. NCL will resend any email you wish. Just call and ask. I have done so many times. There is no way to “reach” into your computer and alter an attachment. I am a retired computer engineer. Adobe who owns PDF format would never allow it. Email providers would never permit it. And NCL wouldn’t want that legal risk.

From my experience all cruises booked out the US Sales office say Miami on it. That is where the company headquarters is. I have confirmations out of NYC in my history as well as Seattle that all say CONFIRMATION MIAMI.

As far as seeing the cruise in the app. Cancelled cruises are still available if the guest logs into their NCL account on the website.

Your story has a ton of holes and inaccuracies in it. Asking questions you don’t have the answers for and assuming nefarious motives are not good journalism.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

I don’t like to refuse anyone to comment on this site so I will let your comment (insult) stand. But I don’t think you’re actually looking at the facts of this case. Consumer Rescue is here to help consumers — free of charge. I’ve laid out a case that I spent a great deal of time working on and researching. If this happened to you, I guarantee you would have a different perspective.

PS> I think you also missed the critical detail that I received an email that was in fact recalled by NCL Previously I also held your opinion that this wasn’t possible.

doreen

Michelle, an email can absolutely be recalled before the recipient has read it – but once the recipient has opened it , it’s too late to recall it. When I’ve received an email that was recalled, I immediately received a message similar to the one you got , that the sender wants to recall the message- and then the message disappeared altogether. I don’t know what happened to Koumanidis’ emails – but if she opened them the day she received them NCL wouldn’t have been able to recall them – and if NCL recalled them before she opened them, she would have received the message you did.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

I don’t know either. As I’ve said repeatedly about this case, it’s very strange. BUT… I hope to have good news to report later today. Stay tuned… 🙂

joycexyz

Print the emails immediately.

Dan

I don’t think you are correct on any of your points:

No. It’s 120 days with NCL so she is making it up.

Whatever the time frame is, the NCL exec confirms it happened: “Later on, and within the final payment window, Ms. Koumanidis added ground transfers to her reservation.”

She’s not “making it up” if NCL confirms what she’s saying.

She can’t open the emails? No you can’t retroactively delete emails.

Yes you can. Email recalls are a real thing. It’s up to the email server setting to determine if it’s allowed or not.

There is no way to “reach” into your computer and alter an attachment.

No one claimed that.

I am a retired computer engineer.

AKA: My information is outdated.

From my experience all cruises booked out the US Sales office say Miami on it.

I hate to admit you are correct about this one. If you book directly through NCL the confirmation will say MIAMI. I just checked my past emails and that is in fact what I see.

Debby

I have a major problem with this case. The items were merely put into the cart for pricing comparison. She has never said that she initiated the checkout process at any time. Simply putting an item in your cart doesn’t obligate a consumer to purchase it at any time. I have created carts at many online stores for price comparisons and to be able to find out how much shipping would be for all of the products. I would never expect for the store to come after me for the amount due when I had never completed the checkout process. Under normal circumstances she would have been required to agree to the terms of the sale when she completed the purchase. At the time of the placing the items in the cart there are no terms of the contract presented and therefor NCL has in my opinion fraudulently cancelled the cruise.

C Thompson

If NCL doesn’t rectify this, i hope they lose a lot of business. I can’t imagine taking a chance with them after hearing this case.

Disgusting NCL! DO BETTER!

Zipp1

This whole thing seems fishy.
Just placing an item in a shopping cart does not trigger an obligation to purchase said item. If this indeed did happen it would be easily verifiable.

I’ve never seen an email that was sent and then subsequently recalled to the point it was truly unrecoverable. Perhaps a lawyer could comment – NCL being a publicly traded co. must comply with Sarbanes-Oxly which has strict regulations around IT and email archiving.

$5k is peanuts compared to the headache and ill-will such an egregiously bad customer experience would generate. I hope this isn’t the end of this story. We’ve been considering an NCL cruise but for now will refrain from doing so until we learn of a final resolution. No biggie to us, we are loyal RC cruisers. A comment to NCL execs., perhaps it’s meaningless to you but we generally spend far more than $5k on a cruise. Your loss, RC’s gain.

Dan

This is truly insane. I would have assumed the LW wasn’t giving the full story but the exec confirm it so there’s no room for misunderstanding. Michelle, please keep escalating this within NCL. Someone with an ounce of common sense should immediately fix this. It is unconscionable to cancel an entire cruise over nonpayment of an optional add-on. Logic says they would just cancel the unpaid add-on.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Thanks, Dan. I am working on it… I never imagined this would be such a difficult case to resolve 🙁

Kap

That’s nonsense…. Attempting to recall a message only works within an organization and does not strip attachments from an external recipient’s copy of the message. And since when can you add/purchase items on the NCL app/website without completing the checkout process and providing payment info. This sounds more like transfers were added when originally booked and somehow not included in her payment plan.

Dan Ceral

This cancelation is B S…People routinely add excursions,WiFi and drink packages after cruises are booked and paid for. To be canceled same day for non-payment is outrageous. NCL may be legally in the “right” , but to treat a potential long-term customer like this is extremely shortsighted.

Karen B

We are currently dealing with an upsetting situation with NCL also. Not the same magnitude but still unacceptable. We have been sailing with NCL since 2014 and basically things have been ok. Our last cruise was on the Getaway, February 6-18,2023. Everything had to be paid for in advance, including the spa package for me and my husband. When we received our final invoice from the cruise, we were charged again for the two spa packages totaling $638.00. Every phone number for Norwegian leads back to the same place….. you have to file a claim online which we did. You get a form letter from them stating they are looking into the matter and to give it at least 15 days. Well here it is 5 weeks later and no one from Norwegian will speak to us except to say it has been forwarded for review. My charge card was charged immediately and we have no where to turn. This is no way for Norwegian to treat their customers and is very upsetting. That money does not belong to them and it is very clear on their own paperwork. Any suggestions would be more than appreciated.

Aimee

Since it’s on your credit card, I would contact your credit card about doing a chargeback.

Karen B

Thank you, Aimee. I was trying to hold off doing that but I just may have to…..,

Michelle Couch-Friedman

NCL can put you on a Do not Sail List if you dispute a charge on your credit card. Many of the cruise lines and car rental companies as well, will ignore a credit card dispute and then after the consumer wins the dispute, they send the consumer to collections and ban them from using the company again. Credit card disputes aren’t a great way to try to resolve this type of thing. It’s important to fix this type of billing error directly with the cruise line.

https://consumerrescue.org/guides/consumer-guide-credit-card-disputes-chargebacks/

Karen B

Thank you Michelle, I was wondering if something like that might happen….. I went to your helpline and filled out the form. Keeping my fingers crossed that Consumer Rescue can assist. Will await an email. Thanks.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

I sent you a contact and some additional information — it’s coming from [email protected]

joycexyz

They’ll probably cancel the reservation for nonpayment.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

If you submit your request to our helpline, our team would be happy to have a look. Our researcher, Meera can give your the contact information for someone at NCL who can help you fix this (A real person)

Karen B

Thank you, Michelle.
I will find your helpline and submit my request. Very much appreciated. It would be amazing to speak with a person at NCL that can actually help resolve this mistake that they made.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

https://consumerrescue.org/research-valet/ That’s meera’s inbox… she can give you an executive contact at NCL 😊

joycexyz

They don’t deserve your business–or anyone else’s.

steve

CONGRATULATIONS for an excellent result. Having said this I remain concerned that NCL has such an unfair policy that can grab any unsuspecting customers funds in such an underhanded way. NCL needs to change its policy so that the small laundry list of items that can be booked after final payment are not attached to booking. Once again congratulations & thanks.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Thank you, Steve. Unfortunately, many travel advisors have contacted me in the past week to say that this “Auto-cancel”policy is a thing (a written policy) at NCL– when a traveler puts something in their cart and doesn’t pay for it immediately the cruise line allows itself to auto cancel the cruise and keep the fare.

We’ll be keeping our eye on this situation.

joycexyz

Strange interpretation of a shopping cart. Probably the only one on earth where the items are considered bought. Quite a “gotcha!” Shame on NCL. Never, ever, would I cruise that line.

LiLi

This is one of the most insane policies I have ever heard! You’re basically being penalized for considering buying something. I am amazed that is hasn’t caused more issues for people. Thank you for bringing it to light.

I had been considering NCL for a future cruise, but I think I’ll stick with RCCL.

dgatwood

This sort of behavior is completely unacceptable, and the fact that it required a Herculean effort by a large number of people to make that family whole tells me that it is long past time for federal regulators to prosecute NCL.

Treating non-payment of an excursion as cause for trip cancellation is what any reasonable person would considerable an unconscionable contract term, and in a contract of adhesion, that won’t hold up in a million years. But they put stuff like that into their contracts anyway, presumably knowing that a lot of people won’t lose enough money to bother to lawyer up, and NCL can just keep the money (unjustly). And the fact that this probably happens en masse at low levels is where their policies cross the line into what is, IMO, likely criminally actionable territory under RICO statutes.

While we’re at it, those “free excursions” are open-and-shut false/misleading advertising. If you read the fine print, it is actually just $50 off each excursion, and there are approximately zero excursions that cost under $50 (I counted exactly one in all of Alaska, for example), so you’ll almost certainly never get anything free. Their free drinks package isn’t free, either, thanks to the mandatory 20% gratuity. (Hint: It’s not a gratuity if it isn’t given in gratitude. It’s just a hidden fee.)

There are also mandatory daily gratuities that you have to read about in the fine print, and those can add up to a double-digit percentage of the total cost of travel, at least if you’re in one of the cheaper rooms.

Basically, this company bends the law past the breaking point on a regular basis, and grossly misleads consumers at a level that ranks right up there with the sleaziest cable TV companies. When are federal regulators going to actually wake up and notice?

Aimee

This is absolutely outrageous. Failure to pay for a bus transfer should result in the cancellation of the bus transfer not the whole cruise! It’s shameful that this is how NCL does business. I’m glad that they relented in this case and gave this family a FCC but we all know it’s only due to the terrible publicity they brought on themselves. It should not have taken all of this effort to make them do the obviously right thing. I’m sorry that this family did not just get a full cash refund so that they can go on a cruise with a different cruise line.

Debbie

No clue how anyone was able to keep control. I am usually pretty calm but would totally lose it when this happened! Thanks to all who helped this family! It was not nearly enough considering all NCL put them through.

sammy

The power of your work, and your refusal to give up!!! Thanks for everything you do, Michelle!

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Thank you, Sammy! 🙂

Louise

What a disgrace the actions of NCL are! As per the email from NCL – the customer had the transfer ‘in her cart’ and hadn’t even checked out the transfers! Also, NCL ruined a family’s much anticipated holiday and so owe them MUCH MORE than a FCC of the amount they paid. They should refund to the customer the money she paid as well as a handsome compensation for their lost holiday. They should also be sued for the incompetence of their app (which processed an item the customer hadn’t wanted to purchase) and the incompetence of their decision-making and neglect to provide the experience that the customer entered into a contract with them for. What a lousy company. I will never consider cruising with NCL. In fact the shoddy behaviour of a lot of cruise companies puts me off cruising altogether – they behave like thugs and charlatons.

Scott

Nice work. The problem is that you shouldn’t have had to do or go through this with NCL. Even though they did the right thing by these folks – eventually – the arm twisting and pressure that it took for them to act honorably was absurd. I’m voting NCL off the island and will never spend any of my hard earned money with them. I can spend it with an organization that actually values their customers.

jsn55

“… this “Auto-cancel”policy is a thing (a written policy) at NCL– when a traveler puts something in their cart and doesn’t pay for it immediately the cruise line allows itself to auto cancel the cruise and keep the fare.”

I feel like I’m in the twilight zone, Michelle. Reading the original story, I was absolutely convinced that they were hiding the facts; it was such a tall tale. Super-delighted that you got this insanity solved THIS TIME. But if NCL has a policy such as described above, nobody should do business with them. The story just gets odder and odder. We’ve had a couple of NCL cruises that were fine, and a ‘big one’ coming up in October. I have a cracker-jack TA and I will do nothing on my own with NCL ever again, even order a glass of orange juice delivered to my cabin on the first day of the cruise. I will look up this insane policy on NCL’s T&Cs … if it’s indeed there, I’ll never book NCL again. Life is tough enough without doing business with immoral companies. You really knocked this one out of the park; I’m so very pleased for these innocent cruisers. NCL should upgrade them to a luxury suite without charge when they rebook. And deliver a bottle of champagne to them every single morning. Three cheers for Consumer Rescue! You must be incredibly pleased to have pulled this off.

DChamp56

Not giving them some kind of a goodwill gesture above and beyond doing what’s right, says a lot about how little NCL cares about its customers.

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