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I was stranded at sea on a cruise ship. Now I owe $ 37,000



I was stranded at sea on a cruise ship. Now I owe $ 37,000

(CNN) – When he returned home after weeks stranded at sea on the Putri Pacific cruise ship, passenger CJ Hayden, a writer and business coach based in San Francisco, immediately submitted a refund request.

According to his calculations, he and his partner Dave Herninko have a debt of around $ 37,500.

“They will not burden us for the days we spend around the Indian Ocean aimlessly,” Hayden told CNN.

Pacific Princess sailed back in January for a 111-day world tour that was restricted in mid-March when the Covid-19 pandemic closed the shipping industry.

Hayden and fellow Pacific Princess passengers said they were told they could apply for 100% cash back, plus an appropriate amount in credit for future travel – known as Future Cruise Credit (FCC). Or, they are offered 250% credit for future travel.

Hayden chose the previous option. He and Herninko said they also owed return airline tickets, excess baggage fees, money for prepaid overland trips that never happened and port taxes and fees.

Hayden said he pursued the cruise line three weeks after requesting a refund because he had not heard anything and was later told by Princess Cruises that he had to wait 30 days.

A month later, Hayden heard nothing more. He checked in again and was told 60 days.

Fast forward to the end of June, and Hayden said it had been 99 days and counting. He received his credit, but the cash was nowhere to be seen.

A long delay in processing refunds

CJ Hayden, pictured, by the cruise ship Princess Pacific.

Thanks to CJ Hayden

And he is not the only one affected.

While trapped in the sea, Hayden and Herninko formed a close bond with fellow travelers who were stranded. Back home, the former boat friends kept in touch and other Princess Pacific passengers told Hayden that they were also waiting to receive a refund.

Exploring online message boards and social media, Hayden realized the problem was expanding beyond the Pacific Princess. Other Princess Cruises passengers and passengers from other shipping companies are also vocal about the long wait.

Frustrated, while awaiting a refund, they had witnessed a cruise ship operator advertise a new visit. Some of the trips were later canceled after the International Cruise Industry Association Cruise industry extended a “sailing ban” until September 15.

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Hayden said he had complained to the California attorney general, the US Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Maritime Commission.

Princess Cruises’s director of public relations, Negin Kamali, told CNN that guests had been updated about the refund process via social media and email.

Pacific_Princess_Cruise_Refund (2)

CJ Hayden with partner Dave Herninko on the Putri Pacific cruise ship.

Thanks to CJ Hayden

“Because we respect the money and time of our guests, processing refunds remains one of our top priorities since our company has ceased operations,” the statement said.

Princess Cruises said it must “enhance the capabilities of our system” to handle the volume and complexity of refunds.

The shipping line says that nearly 60% of the refund has been completed and that the replacement and credit are handled separately.

“Therefore, it is normal to receive one at a different time from another. In many circumstances, the full amount of your Future Cruise Credit will consist of two or three separate FCCs,” the statement said.

Cash refunds can also be made in a series of payments, added shipping lines.

Kamali told CNN that Hayden’s refund was processed on June 19 and he would receive it within five to seven business days.

Extensive problem with delayed refund

Other cruise passengers who spoke with CNN said they also face long waiting times with no sign of money. Others have received some, but not all, of their cash or credit debt.

David Hidding, who canceled the Princess Cruises family trip to Alaska in March, received a refund last week.

He said he was frustrated with how the situation was handled.

“I explained that for more than 90 days, we had received zero communication from anyone with Putri – which was unacceptable,” Hidding told CNN. “There are no apologies, but [a Princess Cruises advisor] reiterating that they have been inundated with issuing refunds. “

Retired business analyst Judy Schmitz, from Iowa, also joined Princess Pacific. He chose to receive 100% cash refund, plus the appropriate amount in the credit.

He received credit, Schmitz said, but he was still waiting for a refund, which he calculated to be around $ 33,500.

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When he returned home stranded at sea, Schmitz was busy caring for his ailing father, who later died.

“Until all the money is returned to me, I will not be able to exhale,” he said.

Christina-Golston family

Christina Golston, with her family on a cruise ship last fall.

Courtesy of Christina Golston

Iowa-based nurse Christina Golston, who is waiting for a refund from the Carnival Cruise Line, created a Facebook page to connect passengers waiting for a refund from Carnival Corporation, which owns Princess Cruises – with Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America and Costa Cruises.

“There are many people like me who like to sail but we need money for bills now, because of lost work or reduced working hours,” Golston said.

Carnival Cruise Line representative Vance Gulliksen told CNN that at the start of the service break, “mere volume” of refunds had caused delays.

“But we continue to automate and streamline processes and work with our bank processors to work more efficiently,” Gulliksen added. “For the most part, we have worked through stacks and feel that we can now process and issue refunds in a much more timely manner. We certainly appreciate the patience of our guests in the unprecedented disruption of our business.”

‘Volume is much higher than usual for refund requests’

New York civil servant Julie Huang said she was waiting for a refund from the Norwegian Cruise Line.

Huang submitted a refund request in March – a claim of $ 9,100 in the name of himself and several family members. He receives an automatic response informing him that he must allow 90 days for requests to be processed.

Day 90 came and went in the penultimate week of June, but Huang did not receive any updates. After failing over the phone, he tweeted Norwegian.

He said he was not satisfied with response which mentions the high number of refund requests handled.
“Until all the money is returned to me, I will not be able to exhale”

Judy Schmitz, cruise ship passenger

“There is a missed opportunity for 90 days for them to proactively tell me that they need more time,” Huang said. “I’m happy with that, I’m sure our money will come back eventually. But I’ll lose a little trust now, if they respond like that, and I don’t appreciate it.”

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“I hung up more about their responses than about money,” he added.

Norwegian Cruise Line told CNN that the shipping lane had “a request for a much higher than normal volume of return for processing” due to an unprecedented situation.

“Refunds are being handled by the date of departure of the cruise and according to the date the refund was originally requested. Our team worked tirelessly to complete this refund back to the original form of payment as soon as possible,” reads a statement given to CNN.

“Unfortunately, we are experiencing delays with our ability to deliver within the 90-day time frame that was originally communicated and want to set the right expectations with our ability to give. We greatly appreciate our guests for their understanding and patience.”

‘Atypical’ experience

Pacific Princess in Los Angeles in April, the last port of call after most passengers alighted in Australia.

Pacific Princess in Los Angeles in April, the last port of call after most passengers alighted in Australia.

Pictures of Mario Tama / Getty

However, while many cruisers are frustrated, some travelers, like Robert Sohns, have never been delayed by the experience of being stranded at sea or waiting for money.

Sohns was also above the Pacific Princess, but unlike Hayden and Schmitz, she chose to get a full refund in credit for future shipping.

He had to wait 90 days, but the credit of around $ 36,500 is now in the Princess Cruises account, and a further $ 36,500 credit is in his wife’s account.

“We just hope they don’t go bankrupt,” Sohns said. “We have just been buying time, knowing that they will eventually reach us.”

Sohns and his wife have put an award on Princess’s 2022 world voyage, which aims to emulate the 2020 journey that it should.

“We have probably been on almost 100 cruise ships in the last 50 years, and half of them are on Princess and we always know that there is potential for things to happen on the ship, but this is very unusual.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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