Sun City couple hoping to receive $4,623 credit for future cruise

Husband mistakenly brought expired U.S. passport and denied boarding
The husband mistakenly brought an expired U.S. passport and was denied boarding. Now, the travel insurance company won't refund them the cost of the policy.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:45 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:27 PM MST
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SUN CITY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Eli Reeves married his best friend Diana in November, and he couldn’t be happier. “Oh, wonderful memories,” he told On Your Side as he showed his wedding photos. “As you can see, we were both smiling really great.” He remembers telling his wife, “We’re both in our 70s, and I said, we’re not getting any younger. So, I said will you marry me and she said, “Yes!!”

After their marriage, the couple booked a 15-day cruise to Hawaii with Princess Cruises. The cost was just over $4,623.76. “We were very excited. We were going to spend some time on the boat and go to four different islands,” he said.

Eli and Diana drove to Los Angeles, where the Crown Princess was set to sail. However, the two senior citizens never boarded the ship because of a small oversight. “You made a little bit of a mistake, didn’t you?” On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. Eli replied, “Yeah, I picked up the wrong passport. The old one.”

Unfortunately, Eli had mistakenly brought his expired U.S. passport instead of his new one. As a result, Princess said Eli was unable to board. Eli’s photo of the ship was as close as he got. He and his wife never even saw the inside. “Well, the ship was right there. I mean literally. Right there. I mean, it was like 25 feet from where we were,” he said.

The good news is that Eli had travel insurance through AON Travel. The bad news is that the insurance company refused to refund his $4,623.76. In a letter, AON Travel states, “... your cancellation was due to insufficient travel documents. Your reason for cancellation is not among the specified reasons listed in the program that would make one eligible for a cash refund...”

Eli turned to Princess Cruises, hoping they would issue him a $4,623.76 credit for a future cruise. But for nine long months, he hasn’t received an answer. So, he turned to On Your Side. “I said, who can help me, who can help me? And then I was watching one of your On Your Side stories one day, and I said, Ah!! That’s it!!!” he said.

On Your Side got a hold of Princess Cruises, who agreed to investigate the issue. According to Eli, one sticking point is that his Princess online account says, “1 Total Cruise Sailed,” implying that he took the 15-day cruise to Hawaii. On the other hand, his wife’s account says “Zero Cruises Sailed,” meaning she didn’t.

Eli believes that’s causing a lot of confusion when it comes to issuing his credits. “If they would just look at their logs, there was nobody in our stateroom. There was nobody in there for that entire time,” he explained.

Princess Cruises is still looking into the matter. When it finally reaches a decision on whether to issue a credit for a future cruise, we’ll let you know in a follow-up news report.

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