MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) − A seven-day cruise to Alaska is supposed to be one of the most scenic, domestic vacations you can take. That's exactly what a Mesa couple was in for until the unexpected happened. 

The cruise was pricey, right around $4,000 but they never got around to taking that cruise and the reason wasn't even their fault. As a result, they're out of the cruise and the money.

VaDonna and Richard Stich were surprised with a seven-day Alaskan cruise paid for by their kids and grandchildren.

"We were thrilled," said VaDonna. "We heard so much about going to Alaska. It's supposed to be gorgeous up there!"

The $4,000 trip was purchased through Norwegian Cruise Line and was much deserved. Richard served more than three decades in the Air Force and today he still flies at special events.

"We do a lot of flybys for veterans because the military won't do them anymore," said Richard.

Richard and VaDonna were supposed to set sail from Seattle on Sept. 16. To get there, they were scheduled to fly out of Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. 

However, when they arrived at the airport, they were in for a big shock.

Bomb squad, SWAT, police K9s surrounded Sky Harbor, all because of an unattended car.

[RELATED: Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor Airport reopens after unattended vehicle investigated]

It was a huge news event that shut down the airport.

"It was crazy," said Richard.

Due to the security problem, VaDonna and Richard's flight to Seattle was cancelled and unfortunately, they were unable to make the cruise.

Mallory is their daughter-in-law and had to pick the disappointed couple up from Sky Harbor Airport.

"Picking them up from the airport was terrible," said Mallory. "We had to load their suitcases back into our car and she like cried all the way home.

"It was devastating."

The family immediately called Norwegian Cruise Line to tell them about the airport's security problem and asked if they could reschedule the $4,000 cruise.

When they were told no, and that they have a policy, it was not the answer they were expecting.

The reason was because travel insurance was never purchased and Norwegian Cruise Line wasn't in a sympathetic mood.

So 3 On Your Side got involved and told them about Richard's years of service and the unusual set of circumstances at the airport.

However, Norwegian Cruise Line wasn't having any of it.

They told 3 On Your Side in an email, "Regrettably, we are unable to make an exception..because of the very nature of unexpected situations..we strongly recommend that guests obtain travel protection insurance."

VaDonna and Richard said they can't believe it.

Travel insurance, also known as cruise insurance, is really worth it. The average cost is around $150 or less per person. 

But if you're spending thousands of dollars for a cruise, a couple hundred dollars extra seems to make sense.

Remember, travel insurance covers a number of different items, not just missing the boat.


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

3 On Your Side' Investigative Reporter

Reporter/3 On Your Side Producer

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(3) comments


Their travel agent should have insisted on them getting travel insurance! Especially since they are older! Everybody who goes through something like this has a heartbreaking story. That's why there's insurance. If you make an exception for them where do you draw the line? Hey it sucks but it's really not NCL's fault. If it's anybody fault it might be the travel agent. If they booked online then it's their kids fault.


Unfortunate, but why is it Norweigen"s problem? Do you know how many cruises they would refund if they accepted every excuse to cancel? It is all very clearly spelled out in the travel contract you received. Two words - travel insurance.


One other thing. As sad as this is what if they had gotten hurt on the cruise? I have seen cases where people have run about medical bill that make the cost of a cruise look cheap!!! Always buy travel insurance! ALWAYS!!!!

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