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Cruise itineraries: Buyer beware

Unless you're traveling on one of Royal Caribbean's 220,000 ton behemoths with ice skating rinks and amusement park rides, chances are when you book a cruise you're doing so at least in part because of the itinerary.

But because of a number of factors -- weather, port problems and literally anything else -- these itineraries change. Here's a look at recent problem from a couple who booked an Asia cruise only to have the itinerary changed twice and their refund offer pulled by Norwegian later on in the process.

Bottom line: Passengers on cruise ships have the same kind of rights airline passengers have, and that's not much.

Change of itinerary creates headaches for couple (from the Chicago Tribune)

My wife and I recently took an 11-day Southeast Asia cruise on board the Norwegian Star departing from Singapore. Shortly before our vacation, we were advised that the cruise itinerary had changed due to a technical issue with the ship. This was an extreme disappointment, since we had made plans for my wife's 50th birthday in Thailand as the main part of our vacation.

Since our new itinerary allowed us an extra two days in Singapore, we planned our time carefully. We made arrangements for activities on the days that had been added to our itinerary and confirmed to us by Norwegian. We also changed extra currency to Singapore dollars on the evening prior to embarking on the ship in order to cover the cost of our extra time in Singapore.

When we embarked, we were informed that there was another change to our itinerary and that we would not be spending the extra time in Singapore as previously advised by Norwegian. Instead, we were setting sail on that day. This was a complete surprise to us, although other passengers had been informed of this change in itinerary.

Read what happened here.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›