A Longford couple have been left $54,000 out of pocket after a cruise they had spent years saving for was cancelled - and they are still waiting for a refund more than three months later.
Ken and Lynn Bacon had booked a cabin on the Sun Princess, which was supposed to set sail from Sydney on a 77-day around-the-world cruise on April 15.
But the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Princess Cruises to cancel the voyage, leaving Mr and Mrs Bacon, and other prospective passengers, in need of refunds.
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"You wake up at 1 o'clock in the morning and that's all that's on your head and you can't get back to sleep," Mr Bacon, who suffers from chronic pancreatitis and diabetes, said. "So your health starts to be attacked a little bit and that's not good."
A former Labor MHA and minister, Mr Bacon said he applied for a refund for the cruise on March 13.
The Bacons were informed that the refund would be transferred to them within 30 days of Princess Cruises receiving the claim.
But that timeframe was then revised, with the company telling Mr Bacon that the refund wouldn't be issued until May 29. That date passed and the couple are still waiting to see the money.
Mr Bacon, who doesn't receive a parliamentary pension, said that the stress of not knowing when he'd get his money back had significantly aggravated his health issues in recent months.
"We could lose all our money on the stock market," he said. "And that $54,000 would come in handy if s--- hits the fan in America."
He said getting the refund would be like having "a thousand bricks lifted off me".
"If we've got the $54,000, we're a little bit more financially secure," Mr Bacon said.
Princess Cruises has been the subject of widespread media coverage this year, after a coronavirus outbreak on its Ruby Princess ship.
In a statement, a Princess Cruises spokesperson said that the Bacons' refund was now about to be issued.
We could lose all our money on the stock market. And that $54,000 would come in handy if s--- hits the fan in America.Ken Bacon, former MP
"We understand payment of the refund to the guest is imminent via the travel partners," the spokesperson said.
"We have apologised to guests for any delays in the refund process given the sheer volume of refunds."
After an inquiry from The Examiner, Mr and Mrs Bacon's travel agents, Travel Associates, contacted them to say that the cheque from Princess Cruises had arrived from the United States on Thursday and that it would likely be transferred to the couple's bank account by early next week.
"The Bacons' travel advisers have been very active in trying to advocate for the return of the payment as they are well aware of the distress that this has caused Mr and Mrs Bacon," Travel Associates general manager brand and marketing Anna Burgdorf said.
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