Posted September 10th, 2017, 08:33 PM
We will not be cancelling. We are on the Circle the Caribbean and a partial transit in January. Wherever the ship goes we will too
For all those looking for answers about your upcoming cruise, you will not be able to get an accurate answer UNTIL the authorities can get to the ports and advise of re-opening dates. Depending on the damage, that answer could come within a week or two or it could be a couple of months with projected opening dates well into the spring.
I understand that this causes frustration for many and just hope that those of you who were dead set on a particular route either have not made final payment, or if you did, choose cancel for any reason insurance. This is very much a buyer be ware circumstance and I can predict with almost 100% certainty in the weeks and months to come we will see COUNTLESS posts on how horrible Carnival is for changing the itinerary and refusing to give people a refund. But that is the contract you agreed to and the way to protect yourself was insurance.
I am fortunate enough to have cruised to most all the places I really wanted to see, but do have a few upcoming - Progresso in December and and island hopper (with new ports of St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Barbados) in March. We may or may not make either St. Thomas or St. Martin on the island hopper, and as I have been to both, would be thrilled with Dominica or another substitution; we had planned to snorkel in both St. Thomas and St, Martin and neither will have good snorkeling in many areas for years to come depending on storm surge and the beating the reefs took.
But I also recognize that we still have A LOT hurricane season to weather (excuse the pun) - for those of you not aware, it runs THROUGH NOVEMBER 30! Storms peak in September and into early October. Any of the above ports that I have yet to visit could also be targeted by mother nature. A cruise encompasses the risk that your detestation may or may not be accessible come cruise time, and the closer you are to hurricane season, the higher your chance you might miss your port. If you want to see a particular Caribbean location, a cruise is not the best way to do that; instead, plan a land vacation far outside of hurricane season.
And in the meantime, for all those concerned about their vacation, please try to approach cruising, Carnival and any line for that matter with your eyes open, a great attitude and most importantly, flexibilty.
We are on the Dec 9th Crown sailing. Final payment is due 9/25. The itinerary includes 3 totally devastated ports and one very badly damaged port. We are also booked on the Jan 13th Circle Caribbean on the Caribbean which also includes 2 devastated and one very badly damaged port.We are currently booked on two upcoming Princess cruises.
The following islands have been totally devastated:
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; St. Martin; St. John; St. Thomas; St. Barts; Barbuda
The following islands have significant damage but not total devastation:
Antigua - bad, but not as bad as Barbuda; but being used as a relief/recovery staging location for Barbuda so not exactly an attractive vacation spot; St. Kitts/Nevis; Puerto Rico
Princess HAS to make some decisions soon because many people like us have final payment dates approaching and would like to know what we'd be paying for, ie., what ports will be on the itinerary. I spoke with Princess Customer Relations (on their direct number) yesterday and again today. I was told:
1) They are not extending final payment dates.
2) They may or may not change itineraries (this is nonsense -- they absolutely have to for many of these islands).
3) If they do change itineraries, no decisions have been made as to where.
I asked them, as I also posit here, in what other situation in life would you toss a few thousand dollars over to someone and not know what you're going to get in return for that money? I doubt there would be any such situations where any of you would be willing to do that. It is ridiculous for Princess to hold hard and fast to non-refundable final payments without advising people where they will be going. It is also disingenuous on the part of those of you who see no problem with it.
In my opinion, it is not acceptable to be put on a Western Caribbean itinerary for the same money as a Lesser Antilles itinerary. I don't necessarily want to cancel; I’d just like to know where I'd be going BEFORE I pay for it. If they say, for instance, Barbados, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, etc. as replacement ports for our itineraries with St. Kitts, St. Martin, Antigua, Turks and Caicos and St. Thomas, that'd be fine. Montego Bay, Cozumel and Costa Maya, wouldn’t. At least not at the current fares we’re paying for the cruises.
For those of you who are saying that we have to go to these islands to spend money to support them, I ask simply: how? Spend money on what? And where would you spend it? There won't be any stores in which to spend money. There won't be any restaurants in which to eat or bars at which to drink. It is a nice sentiment to want to support them, but not realistic.
These islands have been totally wiped out, not just damaged. Most of them will not be re-built within THIS Caribbean season and some maybe not for a season beyond that. Certainly St. Martin, St. John, Barbuda, and Grand Turk will not be “open for business” this year. These ports don't have, and won't have for a long time to come, any electricity, running water or working sewers. The airports and hospitals were wiped out. All the materials they need to rebuild have to be shipped in and the shipping lanes may need to be re-dredged.
And, I'm sorry to say this, but it is already the case that widespread desperation is setting in for the residents of these islands, and violence is already breaking out. It may very well not be safe for well-intentioned, but vulnerable, tourists.
We live in Southeast Florida, the original anticipated target of Irma’s wrath. So, unlike most of the country, we've had nothing but wall to wall 24/7 coverage of the hurricane on every station (even on PBS) for over a week. All we watched as we shuttered up our homes and did the final prep of our hurricane kits was what was coming our way and what it did to these islands. If we were aware of what took place in these islands, so was Princess.
Oct 26th 10 day repo from NY to FLLBooked on that one too...Gonna predict Antigua, St. Kitts and Bonaire. Just a good a guess as anyone's...
Antigua, St Maarten, and Bonaire.
Should be interesting to see where we end up.
Looking forward to our Nov 5th cruise, even though we may or may not miss a couple of ports. Whatever Princess decides is fine with me. I am more than happy to do my share to pump some money into the economy down there.I've been watching the video of the devastation in the US Virgin Islands. It's stunning. I saw an interview with an American couple who were able to get off St. Maartin, their story is harrowing. The people there are desperate, it looks worse than a war zone. There will be nothing to pump travel money into - just about everything is destroyed. Projections are it is going to take years to recover. Anyone thinking of going on a cruise there needs to look at the news videos. This is not a place you would want to take a vacation to.