Winston Bateman is confident that Scenic Cruises owes him a refund after canceling his Danube cruise vacation. But after months of waiting, is there more to it than that?


My wife and I have been trying to get a refund from Scenic Cruises for over eight months. We paid $ 14,910 for a Danube cruise from Bucharest to Budapest scheduled for May 2020. That included airfare and an upgrade. We also have travel insurance.

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Scenic River Cruises canceled the cruise in early May 2020 and I was assuming we would receive a refund. We received an option for cruise credit or a refund via email from Member Travel Privileges, our travel agent. We have this email.

In a follow-up email, our travel agent informed us that we would receive a $ 13,338 refund for the cruise and an additional $ 1,572 travel credit. However, they also indicated that the refund could take up to 90 days.

After 90 days, we filed a claim with our insurance company. Our claim was denied. The reason for the rejection was because COVID-19 was not a covered reason for the cancellation.

We have since gone back and forth with Scenic Cruises for a refund. We get interrupted every time we call. In one of the emails from Scenic Cruises they wrote that we would have to work with the booking agent to get our money back. We want to receive the promised refund. Can you help us? – Winston Bateman, Roseville, Minn.


So much went wrong with your cruise that it is hard to know where to start. But maybe we should start here: if your travel agent promised you a refund, you should get one. Period.

But there were other unfortunate circumstances and I’m not just talking about COVID. You have booked a trip with a renowned cruise company and have taken out travel insurance. When a travel company cancels a tour, cruise – anything – they should either offer a full refund or credit.

Your travel agent who booked the Scenic Cruises trip said you could get a credit or a refund. You chose the refund. But when the money didn’t come, you applied for travel insurance.

I would have contacted your travel insurance company as soon as your cruise line canceled your trip. Ask if you are covered at this point. You probably aren’t as most travel insurances assume you will get a full refund if your cruise line is canceled. But it’s worth asking. You can learn more about how travel insurance works in my guide to buying and using it.

You left a great paper trail between you, your travel agent, and Scenic River Cruises. You could also have escalated your complaint to a company director. You can find the names, numbers and email addresses of the Scenic River Cruises executives in our company contact database.

Finally: Your refund from Scenic River Cruises

I contacted Scenic River Cruises on your behalf. It said its post-pandemic policy was to offer a loan, not a refund. “It appears your agency has given incorrect information about refunds,” a Scenic River Cruises spokesperson told me. “If the agency offered a refund, it is up to the agency to issue such a refund.”

I’ve checked your case. “We sent you a note asking if you would prefer a cash refund or future cruise credit for your canceled booking only to find out later that Scenic can only offer future cruise credit to its passengers,” your agency said in a letter to you.

Your agency has agreed to provide a full refund of $ 14,910. This is the sum of the refund and credit offered to you in the follow-up email.

Looking for more articles on cruising before you go? cash our cruise fiasco library here.