You may remember our story from TJ and Sherry, Stuck in Budapest. A quick recap: TJ tested positive for Covid shortly before he was to board a Viking river cruise in Budapest. His only symptoms: sniffles and a slight cough. Nonetheless, because of the positive test result, TJ and Sherry watched the ship leave without them. Sherry flew home, while TJ quarantined for more than a week before he produced a negative test and was allowed to fly home.
Though disappointed that he didn’t get to sail, TJ said he was satisfied with Viking’s response:
Viking gave us a full cruise credit for the complete value of all monies paid including the pre-cruise extension that we actually did (which included a few days in Prague). I thought that was fair. But, I’m still on the hook for the extra days in Budapest and the extra flights to get my wife home, not to mention the airfare to/from Europe for a vacation that didn’t happen. I do have outside travel insurance and I have filed a claim. We’ll see what they cover.
Turns out, the story has a happy ending. TJ wrote us last week to follow up.
I carry an annual Allianz AllTrips Premier plan with $15,000 of cancellation/interruption coverage. My total expenses for my interrupted trip were approximately $17,700. That was comprised of $9,100 directly related to the interruption of my trip to include my quarantine hotel and my wife’s flights/hotels/car for her early trip home. I also had $8,600 worth of round trip Business Class airfare for two, that while used, was certainly not for the trip expected.
I am very pleased to report that Allianz has reimbursed me for the entire $15,000 of coverage I had purchased. Essentially they covered the complete $9,100 of my quarantine and extra travel related expenses, and $6,000 of my $8,600 airfare. That leaves me on the hook for only $2,600. I could not be happier with this outcome. I have also just filed a claim with AIG via American Express for the $2,600 since I had purchased the tickets (results to follow).
We’re glad to hear that both Viking and Allianz made good with TJ and Sherry. There’s an obvious lesson in all of this: Don’t leave home without travel insurance unless you’re prepared to shoulder the financial burden of the unexpected.
Did this sour TJ and Sherry toward future travel? Not at all. We’ll end this piece with an email TJ sent to me earlier this week.
We still have lots of travel planned. I have a ski trip to Canada next month, another ski trip to Iceland in April, and our next cruise is Silversea to Europe in May. I would say the way it is affecting me is I am a little more cautious. For example, for the May cruise I am planning everything through Silversea – air, pre-hotel, and cruise. That way if there is an issue, I have Silversea to help. Since I had not planned my air with Viking on that cruise, I was left on my own to get back home. Fortunately, it all worked out,
I am also a little more cautious about where I go right now. My COVID case was in Budapest and I was at the InterContinental. What if I had tested positive five days down the river in middle of nowhere Romania? That could have made for a much less enjoyable 10 days.
We are going to have to live with this, probably for longer than we all want to. My advice to people who are afraid to travel, is to stay with a quality company that will help when you have a problem. I have looked at Silversea’s COVID policy and I am comfortable with what they will do. And as I wrote in my original note to you, have a plan if something goes wrong. Life it too short to spend too many years not doing what you love to do.