RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) – It should be a cruise to relax, study, and connect with fellow nurses from across the country. Instead, it became a frustrating ordeal for some triangle nurses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You’ve had my money all along and I haven’t received any service at all,” said Nurse Jennifer Perkins.

The cruise planned for spring 2020 was called NurseCon at Sea. It was billed as the ultimate care conference and hosted by Sister Blake, a famous social media influencer. However, the inaugural cruise never set sail due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perkins and three other friends paid for the cruise in full and were disappointed when she was delayed and asked for a refund. “I have a lot of bills. I’m the only source of income for a family of four so it’s undeniable that it helps now,” Perkins said.

Julie Walker, a nurse from the Raleigh emergency room, is also out of money. “For me, they have had my money since 2019 and with no services rendered,” said Walker.

Instead of refunds, the cruise has been postponed to spring 2021. Now, however, the NurseCon cruise in 2021 has been delayed again due to the pandemic and postponed to April 2022.

“A lot of us have asked for a refund and absolutely nothing has been told to us. There is no refund we can sail in 2022,” Walker said.

In addition to the frustrations of these nurses, the cruise line is offering refunds to customers who have booked directly through them. However, these frontline staff booked through a third-party NurseCon website rather than the cruise line directly. NurseCon’s policy does not provide for a refund.

“The most disheartening thing is that Nurse Blake is a nurse,” Perkins said. “2020 was the year of the nurse and one of us refuses to acknowledge that this is a pandemic. We don’t know when it will end and continue to keep our money without doing any kind of service.”

More than 63 complaints related to cancellations have been filed with the Florida Attorney General.

NurseCon said, in part, “NurseCon at Sea is a small business founded by a registered nurse to bring nurses together and celebrate our front line health care professionals. Like so many small businesses, our company has been made from the unprecedented and unforeseen effects hugely impacted this global pandemic. “

They added that their event was directly related to the cruise line’s sailing ability. Unfortunately, they had no choice but to postpone the conference again. The company added, “It’s important to know that our refund policy has always been clearly explained on our website and during the registration process, and needs to be confirmed by the participant at the time of purchase. Participants who don’t want to sail next year may have a full one Credit applied for, and we have also waived the fee for attendees wishing to transfer their registration to someone else. As nurses and small businesses, we are like everyone else, we’re just trying to survive this global health crisis, please stay grateful for the support, which we continue to receive from our care colleagues.

These are options that neither Walker nor Perkins consider fair.

“I really just want my money back because we don’t know,” said Perkins. “There’s just no way to say, ‘ok, we’re going to go in April 2022’. Well, that was the plan this year and the falls were going down and now we’re in the middle of another surge, so who should say with the vaccine that there won’t be any further increase. It’s just so unpredictable. “

Take away troubleshooting:
This is a good reminder if in the future you are going to book any type of trip, read the fine print. If you use a third party company instead of booking directly with the cruise line, airline or hotel, you know that the refund and cancellation policies are sometimes different. It is also a smart idea to look into travel insurance and make sure it covers the COVID-19 pandemic.

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