As the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global economy, the travel industry is among the sectors of the economy that has been most affected. As the industry was forced to cancel dozens of itineraries, cruise companies often gave passengers the option to either reschedule and receive up to a 125% credit toward a future cruise, or to receive a refund. Though many of these cancellations occurred up to two or more months ago, thousands of passengers are still waiting on their refunds.
A recent CruiseRadio.net report covered Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain, who addressed the refund backlog saying that the company was not prepared to handle the avalanche of refund requests. “We simply weren’t prepared for it,” Fain said, noting that the refund issue has had a trickle-down effect. The refund requests have put additional strain on the credit card issuers, Fain said, who also then had difficulties processing the refund requests The delays resulted in increased customer inquiries.
As people wait for their refunds, they can become worried or anxious, prompting them to call Royal Caribbean for information.“We start to get more calls, and people are on hold longer,” Fain said. The company is also receiving emails. The report says that Fain reads every one of the emails that he receives.
The report also profiles cruise giant Carnival, which says it is processing refunds as quickly as it can. As the company deals with a reported one million interrupted voyages, Carnival acknowledges that the refunds are taking longer than the company would like.