Cruise line charges man $853 ‘rebooking fee’ when wife dies before cruise

Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 17:27:59-04

LOVELAND, Colo. -- A Colorado man who had just lost his wife of 45 years was dealt another painful blow when he received an $853 charge from Viking River Cruises because his wife wasn't going on the prepaid trip.

Tom's wife, Marilyn, died in December after a brief battle with cancer. She was 66.

"It helps when you talk about her. I still talk about her like she's here," Ast told KDVR.

On her deathbed, Marilyn told Tom to go on the cruise without her. Initially he was hesitant, but he decided to go on the trip with family and friends who could share in remembering Marilyn.

Tom contacted the cruise company to tell them Marilyn had passed away and he was planning to go on the trip alone. That's when things got even worse for Tom.

"I want the same excursions, the same room. The same everything," Ast said.

A few days later, he received an email that felt like a punch in the gut -- an $853 bill for "rebooking fees."

"They said it was a rebooking because her name was taken off. That was their policy," Ast said.

At one point, he was told if he didn't pay the rebooking fee, he would lose the money he already paid for the $11,000 cruise.

After getting nowhere with the cruise line, Tom Ast contacted KDVR. The TV station contacted the cruise line and Tom received an email a week later that stated they will be refunding the $853 rebooking fee.

Ast said he is now able to look forward to the cruise after putting this incident behind him.