Cruise ship sailing away, What happens if you miss your cruise?

Surprise! You just missed your cruise ship home. Now what?

What happens when you miss your cruise ship home? Kevin Rohrer knows the answer to that question: many costly and unpleasant things.

During a Norwegian cruise aboard the Sky, Rohrer and his girlfriend missed the deadline for reboarding the ship by two hours. The boat sailed home without the couple, and they suddenly found themselves stranded on the island.

Rohrer says NCL changed the cruise’s departure time with no prior warning, abandoning them in Cuba to fend for themselves. He wants Norwegian Cruise Line to refund the cruise and pay all of the couple’s costs to return home. But is that a reasonable request?

This case highlights the importance of understanding the fluid nature of cruise itineraries. All cruise lines can and do change departure times and even ports of call in some circumstances. Anytime you step off your ship for a shore excursion, it’s imperative to reconfirm the reboarding time. Or you, too, could miss your cruise home.

Editors note: I originally reported on Rohrer’s case and published this article on July 3, 2018. Despite the cautionary warning that this story offers, our team continues to receive similar requests for help from cruise ship passengers in 2023 and the guidance remains relevant. (This column has been updated and checked for accuracy and republished on Feb. 2, 2023.)

Empty gate area after missed flight connection, missed connecting flight, sitting at the gate alone.

What happens if you miss your flight connection (and it’s your fault)?

What’s the correct thing to do if you miss your flight connection? The answer depends on why you failed to board your connecting flight. But it’s a question that Alla Machavariane is asking.

She has an unusual tale to tell. Alla says she and her husband missed their flight connection in Chicago while sitting at the gate in full view of the aircraft and crew members.

The duo is unsure why they never heard any announcements or noticed all the passengers around them boarding the plane. But they believe Spirit Airlines is somehow responsible for their missed flight connection and want the airline to reimburse them $2,200. That’s the cost of the new tickets they were forced to buy to get home.

But what caused the couple to miss their flight connection? 

That is the $2,200 question.

car rental might not have unlimited miles, car rental mistakes

Warning: Your rental car may not come with unlimited miles

Richard Wallerstein and his wife made an expensive car rental mistake when they assumed their reservation included unlimited miles. It didn’t. Unfortunately, they discovered the zero mileage allotment on their rented SUV only after they completed a 1,150-mile road trip.

If you’re like the Wallersteins, you may be unaware that not every rental car comes with unlimited miles. Their tale is a reminder that when making your own reservations, it’s important to pay careful attention to all details. The information this couple needed was in plain sight — if only they had looked — before they took their lengthy road trip.

cruise ship sailing, Do Not Sail list, NCL

Surprise! Your favorite cruise line put you on the Do Not Sail list. Now what?

Could your favorite cruise line put you on its Do Not Sail list and not tell you why?

Christie Cook says it happened to her. Soon after her family’s Alaskan cruise aboard NCL’s Bliss, the cruise line informed her that she had earned a spot on its Do Not Sail list. But she says no one will explain why she’s banned from cruising on NCL — and its affiliated lines.

Christie wants our advocacy team to ask NCL to remove the ban and allow her to cruise again.

This cautionary tale illustrates what can happen if you run afoul of a megacorporation. All major cruise lines can and do reject passengers they believe to be problematic. Unfortunately, if you land on your favorite cruise line’s Do Not Sail list, the only remedy may be to find a new favorite.

Mexico's blue water, ocean, honeymoon destination

Here’s a honeymoon horror story that could have been avoided. This is how

Lauren Weichman missed her honeymoon and she wants you to hear her horror story.

After their wedding, she and her new spouse boarded a Frontier flight for their much-anticipated honeymoon to Cancun. Upon landing, the giddy couple made their way to the immigration window and handed over their passports. But when Mexican authorities asked Lauren’s husband for his required visa, the couple’s honeymoon came to a premature halt. He didn’t have a visa — and the border agents rejected his entry to Mexico. 

Now Lauren wants our advocacy team to find out who is to blame for this honeymoon horror story. And who will refund her missed honeymoon?

A Lufthansa aircraft on a runway, Lufthansa flight delay causing problems

After a Lufthansa flight delay, I canceled the trip. Where’s my $5,459 refund?

How did an extensive flight delay cause a Lufthansa passenger to lose $5,459? 

That’s what Sruthi Samraj wants to know after her bizarre experience with Lufthansa. She recently boarded a last-minute flight planning to make a connection in Frankfurt to Bangalore to attend her grandmother’s funeral. But after an extensive delay, during which the passengers deplaned, it was clear Sruthi would miss her connecting Lufthansa flight.

So she canceled the trip and went home. 

But the disappointment of missing her grandmother’s funeral was soon exacerbated by the airline’s response to her refund request. Lufthansa intended to keep her entire $5,459, calling her a no-show on the delayed flight.

Oregon coast, road trip down the Oregon coast, ocean and flowers to see on a road trip in a rental car.

Budget charged me twice for the same car rental! Can you help?

Eileen Wendorf says a Budget mistake caused her to pay twice for the same car rental. She wants her money back. But there’s a big problem with her discovery — it occurred nearly seven months after she returned the vehicle.

Now she’s asking our advocacy team to convince Budget of its expensive billing mistake and retrieve her $426. Can we do it?

This is why a dirty cruise cabin and balcony will not lead to Costa Cruises sending you a refund.

Our cruise cabin was dirty so we left. Will Costa refund us?

If the balcony of your cabin is super dirty — covered in soot, should you be able to leave the cruise ship and get a refund?

Rafael Rottiers and his wife believe so. They insist the heavy black soot on the railings and floor of the balcony of their cabin aboard Costa’s neoRiviera endangered their health. So they left the cruise ship days before the scheduled journey ended.

Now that the couple is back home, they want Costa to send a refund for the cruise they abandoned. But what exactly was that document the two signed before they left the ship?

If you hate your cruise, don't expect a credit card dispute to fix the situation. Don't leave the cruise early, even if you dislike the trip.

Hate your cruise? This is why you shouldn’t jump ship too soon

Should you receive a refund if you hate your cruise so much that you get off the ship early? What if you leave the cruise before it even sets sail?

Lori Rutt and her husband maintain that if intolerable conditions push you to leave a cruise ship, a refund is owed. She says only hours after they boarded their first cruise ever, they chose to disembark — never to return.