Make us your home page

Carnival Cruise Lines offers money-back guarantee

After a tough year, Carnival Cruise Lines is fighting back with a money-back guarantee that will give unhappy passengers a 110 percent refund, free transportation home and more. But that's only if they ask for the refund within the first 24 hours of a voyage.

Some travel agents are certain the offer will boost Carnival's bookings. They said passengers have already benefited from lower rates on that line and others since Carnival's ill-fated Triumph cruise out of Galveston, Texas, in February.

"The whole idea is to entice first-time cruisers," Carnival president and chief executive officer Gerry Cahill said. "It's always a hurdle to get someone to cruise the first time. We'll do something like this to get people over that hurdle."

The Miami-based cruise line said the new Great Vacation Guarantee allows guests to end their voyage early for any reason and receive 110 percent of their money back.

Carnival will pay for the guests' return air transportation from the next port of call — including ground transportation and hotel accommodations, if necessary. Government taxes and fees will also be refunded, Cahill said. Each passenger will also receive a $100 shipboard credit for a future cruise.

The initiative comes after a series of Carnival problems, including the debacle of the Carnival Triumph seven months ago. After an engine fire knocked out power, the cruise turned into five days adrift. The more than 4,200 passengers endured overflowing toilets and food shortages before being towed into Mobile, Ala., with the ship running on limited generator power.

Cahill noted that the company sails 1,500 cruises a year and the stranded Triumph was one incident.

Those passengers were refunded their cruise fees and were given a free future cruise and $500.

"There was an impact," Cahill said of the Triumph. "It did impact people who never took a Carnival cruise. We think we're on the road to recovery now."

Uf Tukel, co-president and founder of, said Carnival's rates have dropped 25 percent since the Triumph's problems. Other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean cut their rates for last-minute bookings to as low as $549 for a seven-day cruise that previously ran $999, Tukel said.

Facebook followers of John Heald, Carnival's senior cruise director, had a mixed reaction to the promotion. Some praised it, but others worried that it will be abused by those looking for a free cruise.

As for possibility that some will abuse the program, Cahill said, "We have confidence that very few will take us up on it."

Carnival Cruise Lines offers money-back guarantee 09/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 13, 2013 8:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  2. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]