Pasco teacher questions cruise voucher she can’t accept because of quarantine rules

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Ellen Marques, a first-grade teacher in Pasco County, is beginning to think her dream cruise is cursed.

She was originally supposed to set sail in March 2019, but her cruise was canceled two days before her departure because the boat was hit by a crane.

Marques says her trip was postponed a year, until her next spring break, then more bad news. This year, it was canceled again, because of the pandemic.

She says she has been offered a voucher to cruise again from Royal Caribbean, and was excited to finally be able to take a much-needed vacation. But the terms of that voucher, she claims, are unattainable for teachers such as herself.

She says the cruise line wants her to book her cruise by the end of this year and take the cruise by the end of next March, something she is unable to do because of mandatory quarantine rules through the school district.

“Teachers can’t leave the country,” she said. “You have to self-quarantine for 14 days. I need my job.”

Marques says she can’t get enough time to take the trip under those circumstances. She says she has left messages for a supervisor to call her. She’s written a letter. She says she was told someone would get back with her, but she received no response.

The hard-hit cruise industry has struggled during this pandemic.

Royal Caribbean is set to sail again in November and has reported demand is up. That’s all the more reason, Marques says, that the cruise company can afford to work with her.

Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken reached out to Royal Caribbean. A spokesperson said they will look into this issue.

Better Call Behnken will stay on this story until the cruise line addresses the issue.

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