Failure to assess health correctly on Caribbean Cruise resulting in holiday loss

My husband booked a surprise cruise with [NAME OF CRUISE LINE] to celebrate my 60th birthday through [NAME OF TRAVEL AGENCY] in [LOCATION]. The cruise was booked to depart on 21st March 2009 for 14 nights, returning Saturday 4th April 2009. On Saturday 21st March we arrived at Gatwick airport to catch flight [NUMBER] to Barbados, which was due to depart at 09:45. While queuing to be checked in, we were approached by a member of the check in staff representing [NAME OF CRUISE LINE]. He asked my husband “have you had any vomiting, upset stomach or diarrhoea? To which he answered he’d had a touch of diarrhoea that morning due to being extremely nervous about flying. The other questions asked about viral stomach complaints were met with a very firm no. The representative went away to speak to someone at [NAME OF CRUISE LINE]. When he returned which didn’t seem long enough for him to have telephoned anyone or get in depth clarification, he handed my husband a refusal of boarding notice. At no point were we given an explanation nor were we given the chance to see a doctor or any other senior representative of [NAME OF CRUISE LINE]. The person dealing with us was very dismissive and quite frankly we were left to our own devices with only a mumbled comment – “he could see we were a little upset, go and have a cup of tea and the taxis are that way”. Different from what it said in the letter he gave us. “Our Airport Representative will be happy to assist you with any travel arrangements that you need to make”. If my husband was ill and had any viral stomach complaints he would have never got to the airport as it took us 45 mins to get there from my daughters in [LOCATION] and he certainly didn’t go dashing off to the toilet but stood taking to the other people who were waiting. The fact that [NAME OF CRUISE LINE] could allow one person who had no medical knowledge to make such important decisions, which ruined a very expensive holiday, let alone the celebration of a person’s 60th birthday beggars belief.  We phoned the number given on the refusal of boarding on Monday as it wasn’t open on the Saturday and was told to go through our holiday insurance. This was not acceptable as it also said in the refusal letter “We look forward to hearing from you later so that we may help to re-arrange your holiday for as soon as possible”  I sent a letter stating what had happened to [NAME OF CRUISE LINE]   on 26th March, because I was so devastated and upset by the events, to [NAME], Passenger Relations Executive, to see how the situation could be resolved.  A reply from [NAME] was sent to us on 2nd April stating protocols about United States Public Health Service and UK Port Health Authority, and in the circumstances we have to make a claim through our travel insurers. It was also stated that if the insurers declined our claim [NAME OF CRUISE LINE] would look at it again.  We filled in the forms that [DETAILS OF INSURANCE COMPANY] sent to us – Claim Ref No. [NUMBER] – sent the Original Booking Form, Original Cancellation Invoice, Cruise and Flight Tickets, Insurance Certificate, the refusal of boarding notice and a letter stating why we had been refused.  A letter was sent back on 15th April stating “I confirm I have fully reviewed your claim. Unfortunately I am unable to accept your claim as a policy exclusion applies to your particular circumstances”. The cancellation states “If you cancel the trip due to bodily injury or illness you must provide a medical certificate from a medical practitioner stating that this is necessarily and reasonably prevented from travelling” – “I note that you did not seek medical attention and therefore I am unable to consider your claim for cancellation”. We did not cancel the trip, a medical practitioner was not offered, so how can they refuse to our claim.  A letter was sent to [NAME OF CRUISE LINE] on 28th April stating that the insurance company had refused us and what were they going to do about it, but the response back in the letter dated 1st May was to go back again to the insurance company ,because [NAME OF CRUISE LINE] are not going to help  We wrote again to [NAME OF INSURANCE COMPANY] hoping they would be able to resolve our situation with a refund, asking them to accept responsibility for the actions that took place on Saturday 21st March 209, and to review the claim one final time. I stress that the rejection reason is wrong. WE DID NOT CANCEL OUR CRUISE. It was cancelled by a company representative of [NAME OF CRUISE LINE], who I state had no medical training, and at no point where we given the chance to see a doctor or any other senior representative of [NAME OF CRUISE LINE]. The company sent back that the claim was still rejected.  My husband and I have looked at the ping pong way [NAME OF CRUISE LINE and [NAME OF INSURANCE COMPANY] have conducted this grievance and feel that there is no solution in sight.

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