Pregnant woman turned away while trying to board cruise ship - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Pregnant woman turned away while trying to board cruise ship

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Michelle Ligori had only known she was pregnant for a few days and said the Royal Caribbean counter attendant turned her away because she didn't have a medical note. (Source: Global TV Toronto/CBS) Michelle Ligori had only known she was pregnant for a few days and said the Royal Caribbean counter attendant turned her away because she didn't have a medical note. (Source: Global TV Toronto/CBS)

TORONTO (Global TV Toronto/CBS) - A pregnant mother of two and her family were denied passage on a cruise ship departing Florida at the last minute.

Michelle Ligori and her husband had saved up to take a seven-day vacation aboard one of the world's largest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.

But when the time came for the Hamilton, Ontario, couple and their two young sons to board the ship, excitement turned to shock.

"The girl at the counter said, ‘Any chance you're pregnant?'" Ligori said. "And I was taken off guard and said, ‘Yes, I found out a few days before we left,' and she said, ‘Do you have a note?' She told us you cannot get on without a note."

Royal Caribbean did not return emails and phone calls from Global News to discuss the Ligori case.

The company, which also operates Celebrity Cruises, discusses pregnancy on its website: "Royal Caribbean International cannot accept guests who will have entered their 24th week of pregnancy by the beginning of, or at any time during the cruise or cruise tour. A physician's ‘Fit to Travel' note is required prior to sailing, stating how far along (in weeks) your pregnancy will be at the beginning of the cruise and confirming that you are in good health and not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy."

Ligori had shown positive on a home pregnancy test but had not yet been to her family doctor. She and her husband did not want to say anything to family members or their two young sons because the pregnancy was at the very early stages.

"We were treated like parasites," Ligori said of Royal Caribbean, which refused to accept a hastily-written medical letter from a doctor arranged in Ontario. The note read that there was no reason Ligori could not travel.

With time ticking away before the cruise ship left, Ligori said she asked Royal Caribbean if the ship's doctor could see her. She said representatives refused, and the family missed the departure.

She said she subsequently saw a doctor at a Florida hospital who issued the note without even conducting a pregnancy test.

"My husband, my two children and I were stuck," said Ligori, adding the family had to stay at a hotel, take taxi rides and then board a flight to the Bahamas at their own expense to catch up with the cruise ship.

The family missed two days of the vacation and has not received compensation from Royal Caribbean, except for a $250 goodwill credit towards a future cruise.

On seven previous cruises, Ligori said no one ever posed the question. This was her first voyage with Royal Caribbean.

"I believe other cruise lines would have handled it better," Ligori said.

Copyright 2014 Global TV Toronto via CBS. All rights reserved.

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