After the cruise line (Royal Caribbean owns Azamara) left Dodge and his wife, Jill, in a non-English speaking hospital in Turkey, the Melkonians turned to their travel agent, Elite Travel agency owner Tammy Levent, for assistance.
Travel agent Levent contacted ABC Action News which reached out to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who worked with the U.S. Embassy.
Now, the Melkonians are back in the U.S. where Dodge immediately went to the hospital.
Mr. Melkonian needs weeks of therapy and their bills are mounting, but there is still no clear answers from Royal Caribbean.
Ms. Melkonian said she wasn’t getting the help she needed from the cruise line and they bought the cruise insurance. She told ABC Action News that, despite having insurance, the cruise line wanted them to pay out of pocket first and then file a claim.
The cruise line, which succumbed to bad press and eventually made an initial down payment on the Turkish hospital bill, claims that it is assisting the Melkoniians. In a statement, Royal Caribbean said "our focus continues to be on Mr. & Mrs. Melkonian’s well-being and we continue to work closely with them to provide the assistance they need."
But Ms. Melkonians isn’t so sure about that, saying "the rest of the hospital bill is still not decided. So there’s a lot if confusion."
The incident comes at a time when Congress is watching the cruise lines with a skeptical eye.
"I just hope they change some of the policies," Ms. Melkonian said.
The Melkonian’s travel agent, Tammy Levent, said that she has received calls from Washington to discuss the issues surrounding the Melkonian’s case.
Story Credit: WFTS ABC Action News / Photo Credit: CBS News