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Coronavirus concerns stop Parker's couple trip to Asia, say cruise line refuses to issue refund

Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 01:00:00-05

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PARKER, Colo. -- Michelle and Ray Downing love to travel and they thought their upcoming cruise through Asia was going to be one to remember, but plans changed as the coronavirus spread.

“It’s just been scary. I spent a good portion of yesterday crying about this. I’m pretty heartbroken. This is a trip that signifies our marriage and my 50th birthday. It’s hard, it’s really hard,” Michelle Downing said of her recent experience with Royal Caribbean.

The plan was to spend half of February on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Asia. The cruise is set to start in Singapore, then onto Thailand and Vietnam before finishing up in China — all countries with documented cases of coronavirus.

On Monday, the CDC issued a Level 3 travel advisory to China, telling travelers to avoid the country unless absolutely necessary.

“I’d be afraid to get off on some of these ports and I didn’t want to spend two weeks in Asia wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer to the point where our hands are raw,” Downing said.

Even before the Level 3 advisory, the Downings said they tried to cancel their trip, asking for a credit. The Downings say Royal Caribbean representatives declined their request.

“If Royal Caribbean would allow us to transfer our funds to a different cruise maybe this is something we do a year from now or even six months from now,” Downing said.

The Downings, who paid for trip insurance, then asked for a refund, but were told the circumstances didn't qualify and if they canceled, they'd get just 25% back of their $4,000 trip, which is stated on their Royal Caribbean receipt.

Royal Caribbean has canceled two trips with a home port in China. One was supposed to leave on January 27, the other on January 31.

The cruise line company did get back to us saying they would look into the Downing’s trip, but we have not heard from them since Tuesday afternoon.


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