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Kidney transplant celebration cut short by COVID-19

Posted at 6:40 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 09:40:45-04

PHOENIX — It was a trip planned more than a year in advance - a way to celebrate a successful kidney transplant. However, with the spread of the coronavirus, those plans quickly changed leaving one family unsure of what's next.

"My husband was on dialysis for 12 to 13 hours a day. We could not travel. We couldn't really even take a day trip," said Cathy Marpersert.

Cathy's husband Joe got life changing news when Joe's friend Eddie tested positive as a match.

The surgery and recovery going as planned, but how were Joe and Cathy to say thank you for such a sacrifice?

"We had all talked and decided we should get together to celebrate this," said Cathy.

They settled on a Norwegian Cruise Line trip with stops in Spain and Italy - That was until COVID-19.

"I talked to our doctor. They said absolutely not. Your husband is quarantined from travel," said Cathy.

Cathy's husband is still on immuno-suppressants to make sure he doesn't reject his new kidney; making him susceptible not only to the coronavirus, but any illness.

Cathy decided to be proactive. She saw the coronavirus affecting cruises, so she contacted Norwegian at the end of February well before their May cruise date. She says she called repeatedly, even emailing the Vice President of Guest Relations.

Cathy says she got a response the first week of March. Since she canceled just a few days before the company launched their "Piece of Mind Policy," she fell under the old rules.

"Their main thing was, you should have bought insurance," said Cathy. "There was no empathy- no care, no concern."

She got back 60% of what she paid. That's it.

The Let Joe Know Team sent multiple emails asking for answers from Norwegian Cruise Lines, finally getting a surprising response almost two weeks later.

Norwegian saying again that Cathy needed travel protection, something she thought she had through her credit card provided, but didn't.

But then this:

Norwegian says under their Piece of Mind Policy, passengers would not lose money on cancellations. It would go towards a future cruise. However, since Cathy canceled early, it didn't apply. She's out $1,500.

In other words, Cathy would be covered if she waited just one week.

Cathy says other cruise ships were already under quarantine when she decided to cancel. Saying she did the right thing.

We're finding canceling too soon could cost you!

Cancellation policies seem to change weekly, so if you are traveling a few months out you may want to wait.