Don’t Waste Your Money: Cruises during the pandemic

Don't Waste Your Money

(WHTM) — Cruise ships are sailing again this New Year. But, just because the cruise is going, and you’ve been vaccinated, your trip can still turn into a nightmare, which happened to one couple.

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Kelly and Luis Cotto decided to take a 25th wedding anniversary trip aboard the Norweigan Gem before Christmas. But, their celebration ended suddenly on day two with a call and a letter ordering them to quarantine in their cabin.

“Went to one of their shows, and when we got back we got the call that we were quarantined because we came in contact with someone who was sick,” Kelly Cotto said.

They were stunned because they were both vaccinated and passed two COVID-19 tests. “The rapid test came back negative, and so did the PCR test.”

But, for the next four days, the Cottos say they became house prisoners. “The hard part was when we docked in Bermuda, because we knew we weren’t getting off,” she said.

So can a cruise line force you to stay in a tiny cabin and bathroom for days, even though you don’t have COVID? Turns out cruise ships on the open sea can make their own laws.

“Basically you give up a lot of rights when you get on a cruise ship. The Captain has the final say on everything,” Michelle Couch Friedman, executive director of the consumer group Elliott Advocacy, said.

Friedman is trying to get the Cottos a refund. We reached out to Norwegian for comment, but have not yet heard back.

A spokesperson did however tell Elliot Advocacy, “Due to Bermuda’s policies, all guests identified as a close contact with an individual with COVID-19 must be quarantined until the end of the voyage.”

So, what should travelers do? Friedman, like the CDC, says people might want to wait a few months to take that cruise. “Right now, with all the variants, the CDC says you shouldn’t be cruising right now,” Friedman added.

Kelly and Luis now want others to know the risk of having your trip ruined so you don’t waste your money.

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