BALTIMORE — While cruises are starting to sail again, customers with credits from cancelled trips are on the fence about traveling.
Kathy Noseworthy, Lacey Noseworthy’s mom, was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2019. She beat it then booked a cruise to celebrate.
“She went through the treatment, the chemo, the radiation, surgery, she was in remission for a few months and she’s like now I want to go on a trip. I deserve this, this is what I want to do,” said Lacey Noseworthy.
But as time went by, and the pandemic delayed the October 2020 cruise, her mom’s cancer came back.
“And then she was diagnosed again with now stage 4 colon cancer and it spread to her lungs,” Noseworthy said.
The travel agent who booked the trip reached out to Royal Caribbean to request a refund of the $500 deposit and provided a note from the oncologist.
“They said it wasn’t valid enough, which extremely blew my mind and it was frustrating at that point,” Noseworthy said.
Noseworthy contacted WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii. Sofastaii then contacted Royal Caribbean.
“The woman who reached out to me after I was in contact with you, she just apologized for everything. She didn’t really state why it happened, but she told me that she had cancer in her family and she lost loved ones to it and she understood what we were going through,” said Noseworthy.
The representative also told her the refund would be expedited.
“You know, anyone who has cancer knows how expensive it is," said Noseworthy. It was definitely a financial burden on our family, so that $500 it changes a lot for us, it really does.”
Even without a medical emergency, many people have become hesitant about traveling.
Steven Benna, the marketing manager with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, said they’ve seen a spike in interest in policies.
“A lot more younger travelers are buying now,” Benna said.
But not every policy allows you to cancel for a full refund.
“Trip cancellation, you need to meet the covered reasons for the policy, so the most common one would be an illness, injury, or death of traveler, traveler companion, or non-traveling family member. For things like if you feel uncomfortable traveling and just didn’t want to take your trip anymore, the cancel for any reason policy would provide the most flexibility for travelers,” Benna said.
That added protection comes at a cost. A comprehensive policy that includes emergency medical, medical evacuation, travel delays, missed connections, baggage delays, and more, but no trip cancellation costs around $82.
A policy with trip cancellation goes for around $301.
And adding “cancel for any reason” increases the policy by 40 percent and costs on average $498.
“Travel insurance, in general, you can buy up until the day you leave. With benefits like ‘cancel for any reason,’ it’s time sensitive so you would need to purchase that between 10 and 21 days after your initial trip deposit,” said Benna.
Other factors that impact cost include the total trip cost, age of travelers, and length of trip.
Also, certain countries and cruise lines now require travelers have medical insurance. Benna recommends $100,000 coverage for emergency medical and up to $250,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation. And if you think you’re covered by your health insurance, many insurers don’t cover policy holders while their outside of the United States.