Widower Charged $853 ‘Rebooking’ Fee To Remove Name Of Wife After She Dies Before $11,000 Cruise

Viking River Cruises charged widower Tom Ast an astonishing $853 to remove the name of his late wife of 45 years Marilyn from their cruise booking. Tom and Marilyn booked an $11,000 cruise that the couple planned to share, as Marilyn was diagnosed with cancer. However, Tom’s wife of 45 years would pass away before the pair were able to make the journey together.

Tom claims that Marilyn told him on her deathbed to take the cruise and enjoy it, so he decided not to cancel the much-anticipated voyage. However, when he called Viking River Cruises to let them know that Marilyn had passed away and could no longer join him on the cruise, the company charged Ast $853 as a “rebooking” fee for removing his late wife’s name from the itinerary.

The Daily Mail reports that a widower, Tom Ast, from Loveland, Colorado, was shocked when he was charged an $853 rebooking fee by Viking River Cruises for removing his late wife’s name from the cruise itinerary. Ast says that he had planned the $11,000 cruise with his wife, but she sadly passed away in December of 2015 before the pair would have a chance to take the cruise together. His wife, Marilyn, passed away from cancer but on her death bed informed her husband of 45 years that she wanted him to go on the cruise without her.

Ast says that he was initially hesitant about taking the cruise alone but ultimately decided that they had planned it together and he would just go. However, he wanted to keep all the same excursions and the same room they had booked to keep his promise to his late wife. As a result, when Ast called the Viking River Cruises to inform them of Marilyn’s unfortunate passing, he did not receive the response he expected. Instead of just removing Marilyn’s name from the itinerary marking his voyage as a solo trip, the company sent him an invoice for $853 as a rebooking fee.

Ast tells KDVR that the company’s policy is that any changes to the passenger list result in a rebooking, according to company policy. However, Tom says it felt like someone kicking him while he was already down.

“They considered that rebooking because her name was taken off. That was their policy. It’s like kicking somebody when they’re down on the ground. You’re at the lowest point in your life and they’re trying to take advantage of it.”

Tom was told he must pay the rebooking fee or risk losing all $11,000 the couple had put down on the cruise. Therefore, he paid the fee. However, Tom wasn’t going down without a fight. The widower contacted the Fox 31 Problem Solvers, who investigate consumer issues such as this one for help. The reporters contacted Viking River Cruises for comment about the fee, and the company ultimately decided to refund Ast the $853 fee which was charged for removing Marilyn’s name from the booking.

Thanks to the refund, Tom Ast says he is now looking forward to going on the cruise that he had planned with his late wife and that he plans to do all of the same excursions the couple was looking forward to partaking in together.

“I still wish Marilyn could have gone with me on it, but I’m looking forward to it now.”

What do you think about cruise lines charging fees to remove names of guests that die before embarking on the cruise? Should company policy take into consideration untimely deaths of passengers and the financial toll a rebooking fee can place on a grieving loved one?

[Image via Northfoto/Shutterstock]

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