A Colorado man was charged $853 to remove his recently deceased wife from a cruise itinerary.
Tom Ast lost his wife, Marilyn, in Dec. 2015 after a battle with cancer.
"It helps when you talk about her. I still talk about her like she's here," he told KDVR.
On her deathbed, Marilyn asked her husband to proceed with plans to take a cruise that they'd planned to take together. Though he was at first hesitant, he decided to go on the cruise with family members and friends who could share in the trip as a way to remember his partner of 45 years.
"I just got to think about it and I thought, 'We had this all planned, I'll just go,'" he said.
When he contacted Viking River Cruises to ask if he could remove his wife from the itinerary for the trip across the Mediterranean Sea, he told them he wanted everything he booked to remain intact.
"I want the same excursions, the same room. The same everything," he said.
When he got an email confirmation a few days later of the change to his itinerary, however, Ast received an $853 "rebooking" charge.
"They said it was a rebooking because her name was taken off. That was their policy," he said.
The company told them that if he didn't pay the rebooking fee, he wouldn't be allowed to take the cruise and wouldn't be refunded the $11,000 he already paid for the trip, WGN TV reported via Daily Mail.
Ast contacted KDVR, who reached out to Viking River Cruises about the fee after Ast made several attempts to get the charge removed to no avail.
The next day, the news station's persistence forced the company to refund the $853 charge. Now, Ast said he's preparing to take the trip all by himself in honor of his wife.
"I still wish Marilyn could have gone with me on it," he told KDVR, "but I'm looking forward to it now."