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  #1  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:31 AM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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Default Cruise Assigned Airfare: We're definitely missing the ship

Hello everyone, I've got some serious air drama and am looking for ANY pointers/tips/feedback from all you experienced and knowledgeable posters and cruisers;

We are booked on the Carnival Glory departing out of Miami on March, 7th. We reserved the trip through Orbitz.com and stupidly opted into Carnival's Fly Aweigh program. Had I been actively reading these message boards I would have never made that mistake!

It turns out Carnival has us flying on Jet Blue out of Rochester, NY the morning of the 7th, connecting in JFK, and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale at 1pm! The ship departs from the Port of Miami at 4pm. We have also purchased airport to port transfers. Considering IF everything on the airline's end runs 100% on time (which is HIGHLY unlikely), we are able to get our baggage almost immediately after deplaning AND we run into NO traffic whatsoever on the 45 min drive from Fort Lauderdale aiport to the port of Miami we'll still only make it to the port, at the very earliest, 1.5 hours before the ship departs.

The sheer number of variables involved in this scenario have forced my partner and I to resign ourselves to the fact that there is a 99% chance of us missing the ship's departure and the first day of our cruise vacation. We have tried to book a pre-night with Carnival but there are none available and when an Orbitz representative called yesterday to check on air deviation possbilies, the fee + fare increase would cost an extra $297 a passenger. We are not willing to pay this considering that if we miss the ship, from what I understand, Carnival is liable to fly us to our next port of call (which is Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday, March 9th). Still, I don't want to spend the first 2 days of my vacation in airports,airport hotels and on overbooked flights!

So now that you are all up to speed on our situation, here is my question; given that we will MOST likely miss the ship, what can I do ahead of time to make sure we don't epxerience any further delays once that happens? How can I be the best prepared for this situation? Who should I contact first and when? is it better to deal with the airline (loook into other airline's routes to Cozumel etc) or with the cruise line (everytime I call they tell me I need to contact Orbitz and have them contact Carnival for me)? Are we totally at the whim of seat availability and phone qeue hold times?

Please, any advice or past experiences with a similar situation would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks much!
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  #2  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:51 AM
PennyAgain PennyAgain is offline
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First of all Carnival is NOT liable to fly you out to join your ship. Not at all! You will have to pay for those tickets and at the worst possible price as a 'walk up'.

Carnival will tell you to make a claim on your travel insurance, if you have bought any.

Almost every day someone is posting a similar story of this either about to happen to them or they have already missed their ship. Read those posts.

You need to get proactive with this and head off the disaster of missing your ship. I depended on HAL to fly me to Florida for a ship departure and missed the ship. Lesson learned! Never again! I book my own air arrangements. I lost plenty of money on that deal. Much more than the $297 you are talking about.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:00 AM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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Hi PennyAgain,

Thanks for the quick response! I just checked out the "Fly Aweigh" section on the Carnival website and found this information:

" Carnival's Fly Aweigh® program arranges convenient flights to and from all our ports of embarkation. Our trained in-house team monitors flight operations for any delays or interruptions to ensure the coordination of your arrival to the ship. Should you experience a flight problem or delay, Carnival will be responsible for getting you to your next destination by securing flights, hotels and meals, if applicable, at no cost to you."

Am I missing something here?

By "being procative" are you suggesting we go ahead and change our airfare now while we still can and absorb any/all associated fees? That $297 figure is PER PERSON... I cringe at the thought!

Thanks again!
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  #4  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:13 AM
PennyAgain PennyAgain is offline
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Based on my own experience (HAL is owned by Carnival) what you posted is not what happens in real life. People are felt behind by cruise ships all the time.

Start by telephoning Carnival and laying it all out. They have given you an awful set of arrangments. "Monitoring the situation" does not mean they will hold the ship for you.

Your comfort level is up to you. How much risk can you stand?
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  #5  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Personally, if it were me, I would be doing one of two things:

-Cancelling the cruise line air with refund and purchasing my own air leaving the day before the cruise;

-Taking the loss and ditching the cruise line air and purchasing my own air leaving the day before the cruise.

I do not consider actually taking those flights as a valid option, and would be throwing a fit with Orbitz/Carnival for having assigned me such an absurd flight.
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  #6  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:39 AM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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PennyAgain,

Everytime I have called Carnival to address these issues I'm told by the representative that becuase I booked through Orbitz.com she is unable to discuss any of our flight information.

I feel completely backed into a corner here; we haven't purchased travel insurance because we booked airfare with the cruise line. It feels like that by assigning us these air arrangments, and possibly not covering the costs associated with the more than likely event of those arrangements not working out, they are forcing us into vacation disaster.

My choices are to stress about it for the next 2 weeks, shell out another $600 plus hotel accomodations to change the airfare, or take my chances with the assigned airfare and risk having to pay out of pocket to get ourselves to the next port of call.

Clearly my first mistake was ever trusting Carnival to book us reasonably timed flights; is there nothing else I can do?
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  #7  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennyAgain View Post
People are left behind by cruise ships all the time.
They are? I don't think so. I think it is an extremely small number.

That being said, you are always in control if you set your flights to arrive a safe and appropriate time in advance.

Last edited by CruiserBruce; February 23rd, 2010 at 10:40 AM.
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  #8  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:40 AM
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Cruise lines purchase your airfare for you, the air portion is not part of the cruise process and although the cruise line picks the flights, they have no control over the flights arriving on time. I do hope you have insurance, as I would not be counting on Carnival to fly you to the first port of call to catch up with the ship if you don't. It doesn't matter what is posted on their website, unless you have insurance to cover this I would honestly doubt it would happen.

Although the extra $297 for a different flight sounds steep, it depends on if you want to make your cruise or not.

I haven't been on many flights lately that have actuallay arrived 'on time'. Since you cruise very soon, I would have been doing something about these flight times long ago.

Good luck, I hope you find a way to make it to the ship on time, but I too have my doubts on this one, especially going from Fort Lauderdale to Miami after arrival.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:50 AM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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Twickenham- I wonder what fees are associated with the cancellation of my assigned airfare. I'll have to refer to the fine print. Anyone have any experience with this?

Toto2Kansas- I've been trying to get this worked out through Orbitz for about a month now. They've repeatedly assured me that we should be FINE and not to bother with the hassle and fees of changing our flights. They also tried to sell me their $200 insurance plan each time I called (in hindsight, I probably should have taken them up on that). In the meantime as I've browsed these message boards I've uncovered horror story after horror story and am now wishing I had just booked the pre-night when we made the initial reservation.

It seems insane to me that Carnival would coordinate this kind of situation; It's so obviously doomed!
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  #10  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:33 AM
PennyAgain PennyAgain is offline
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You have never said a few key things about your cruise:

How long is it?

What you paid for it?

What the ports of call are?

Do you have a passport?

If it is a 3 or 4 day cruise, you are looking at missing a good part of it.

If it is an expensive cruise, you have to figure your own level of risk/reward.

Depending on the ports of call, the ship may not actually go to all of them (weather issues etc) so you may not be able to catch up. If you do not have a valid passport, you may not be able to fly into the next port of call.

You have some thinking to do!

At the least, travel carry on only and RUN to the Carnival report who is meeting you after your flight.
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  #11  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:40 AM
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Have you tried contacting JetBlue? It's not really their issue, but there's an outside chance you'll hit a sympathetic agent...

Otherwise, I'd be escalating things with Carnival. The key is to be polite, but insistant. Orbitz is obviously not willing to go to bat for you, so you must get them to discuss the situation directly with you.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:50 AM
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If you don't chagne your flights, please buy insurance (www.tripinsurancestore.com is a good one) AND pack everything in a carry-on only so you don't have to wait for your luggage. (http://www.***********.com/savvyguid...malist_packing)

Find all possible flights in advance to your first port, so you are well-armed should you have to fly to meet the ship. (And as noted above, you have passports, right?)

LBNL, call Carnival and pretend you are thinking of booking a new cruise, and tell them you are confused about their Flyaweigh policy. One page of the website says they will get you to your destination, yet the contract says they are not responsible. Which is it? Escalate the conversation to a supervisor and see if you can get something in writing which says they will fly you to the first port. Generally Carnival will take care of getting you to the ship if you purchase both FlyAweigh AND their insurance, but you did not get both. It is worth a try.
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  #13  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:57 AM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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PennyAgain- It is a 7-night Western Caribbean with ports of call in Cozumel, Belize City, Isla Roatan and Grand Cayman. We have snorkel equipment; I think travelling with only carry-on luggage might be impossible. Both my partner and I are travelling with US Passoports and we paid a chunk of change for this little vacation. After cruise faire, air fare, pre-paid gratuities, transfers, taxes and fees we'd be devastated if we lost 100% of our vacation cost because of this absurd flight arrangement. Then there's the separate issue of how much money I should have with me in case we have to front airfare, hotel accomodations, food etc if we do miss the ship's departure.

Twickenham- I like your first suggestion. The people at JetBlue have been generally pleasant to work with. The first flight to JFK out of Rochester departs for 6am and arrives at 730. There is a flight that departs JFK for Fort Lauderdale at 755 and arrives around 11am. Still, that's a pretty tight layover in New York and the Orbitz rep I talked to yesterday said that if I pursure alternate arrangements with the airline I lose any benefits (what those are I'm not even sure) of my Fly Aweigh accomodations. I should ask JetBlue about possibly flying out the night before though... maybe that will be cheaper that pursuing an air devation with Carnival? As far as dealing with Carnival directly, I'm highly suspect at this point although desperate enough to give it a shot!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:04 PM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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Great Links! thanks so much.

The passport issue is covered, yes. I'll keep any eye of fares/routes to cozumel out of MIA and FLL.

At this point I'm clueless as to what the benefits are of booking cruise airfaire... if I have to buy separate insurance in order to be taken care of in the very likely event of touble, why not just roll that into the price of the air program up front? Seems shady to me.
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  #15  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:42 PM
PennyAgain PennyAgain is offline
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Now you are beginning to learn how this all works.

Still work on the carry on only idea. Many people do it and do it successfully.

If you have an iPhone, (or similar) get apps to track flights and send you notifications. I use WorldMate gold which has served me very well, but there are others. I'm not selling apps!

Good luck!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 01:16 PM
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I can see Air Tran ROC-ATL-MIA on the evening of the 6th for $198 per person. I'd phone Orbitz and ask them if you can swap for those flights, maybe paying a change fee. Or worst case, turn your return portion into a one-way (Orbitz will need to do this - not showing up for the outbound legs will cancel the remainder of the ticket) and purchase the $198 Air Tran flights to get there. Chalk it up to experience.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I can see Air Tran ROC-ATL-MIA on the evening of the 6th for $198 per person. I'd phone Orbitz and ask them if you can swap for those flights, maybe paying a change fee. Or worst case, turn your return portion into a one-way (Orbitz will need to do this - not showing up for the outbound legs will cancel the remainder of the ticket) and purchase the $198 Air Tran flights to get there. Chalk it up to experience.
I am not sure how this would work. Orbitz will charge their change fee. Jet Blue will charge you $100 per ticket to cancel. The remaining balance of your ticket value will be given to you on a JetBlue air credit, which must be used within one year of the date of issuance.

Have you considered standing by? Here are the rules:

Standby Travel
In order to travel standby, you must have already purchased a seat on JetBlue.
Cities with Multiple Flights a Day
  • You may list standby at the Airport within 24 hours of your original flight.
  • You are allowed to travel on the flight prior to your original flight only, regardless of whether it is a non-stop or connecting flight.
  • You must travel between the same city pairs (specifically, the origin and final destination BlueCity).
  • This option is free of charge.
  • If you are booked on the first flight of the day you cannot fly standby on the last flight the day before. However, you may jet standby one flight after your scheduled flight.
Cities with One Flight a Day
  • You may list standby at the Airport as early as the day prior to your original flight.
  • You are allowed to travel one day prior to your original flight only.
  • You must travel between the same city pairs.
  • This option is free of charge.
Standby travel is based on seat availability and is not guaranteed.

Last edited by 6rugrats; February 23rd, 2010 at 01:40 PM.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 01:45 PM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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Gardyloo- Good idea! I haven't had time to get on the phone with Carnival to see how changing my outbound portion of the flight would affect my return trip- especially if I am able to swing it through JetBlue. If I pay the fare difference and change fees on JetBlue for a flight departing the night before I wonder if we would we still be eligible to fly back on the return flight Carnival has booked us.

Maybe I should consider just ditching the Cruise Airfare altogether? If it's going to cost me $297 to change the flight I can't imagine what it will cost me to cancel it....

I'm trying to cut out the middle man here; everytime I call Orbitz they put me on hold and call Carnival anyways.

What a headache!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrOhara1213 View Post
Gardyloo- Good idea! I haven't had time to get on the phone with Carnival to see how changing my outbound portion of the flight would affect my return trip- especially if I am able to swing it through JetBlue. If I pay the fare difference and change fees on JetBlue for a flight departing the night before I wonder if we would we still be eligible to fly back on the return flight Carnival has booked us.

Maybe I should consider just ditching the Cruise Airfare altogether? If it's going to cost me $297 to change the flight I can't imagine what it will cost me to cancel it....

I'm trying to cut out the middle man here; everytime I call Orbitz they put me on hold and call Carnival anyways.

What a headache!
You can't cut out the middleman because you used Orbitz, who is now your TA. The cruiseline will only speak with them.

To cancel your flights, as already posted, will cost you $100 per ticket, and you will receive the remaining balance in flight vouchers. Don't just "ditch it". If you choose not to take these flights, call and cancel so you can retain the credit you have left, after paying the penalties.

This is how you will be affected if you miss your outbound flight; your return flight will be cancelled, and you won't be able to use it.

If you can change your outbound flight with JetBlue, pay the penalties and fare difference, you can keep your return flight. You should be calling JetBlue directly about this, shouldn't you?

Last edited by 6rugrats; February 23rd, 2010 at 01:53 PM.
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  #20  
Old February 23rd, 2010, 02:40 PM
FrOhara1213 FrOhara1213 is offline
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6rugrats- as soon as I can wait on hold for 30+ min. I'll be calling JetBlue!

If I change our outbound flight directly through the airline without dealing with Carnival or Orbitz I wonder if we are we still subject to the air deviation fee from Carnival.

anyone have experience with changing one leg of cruise assigned airfare directly through an airline?
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