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Disney Magic stuck in Bahamas!


chicklogical

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The only mod I know of is that they are skipping St. Maartin and refunding port fees that stop.

 

I don't know what port they're skipping but passengers were offered a day at Epcot, night at Disney resort and 20% off current cruise...Don't know if Epcot and hotel room was offered to those who provided their own transportation.

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I was on the ship that was stuck and we just got home. We had to leave Grand Cayman early due to weather and everyone was wondering why we didn't leave Castaway Cay early as well. The crew stated they knew the bad weather was coming but that they didn't think it was so fast. The ship tried to leave twice in the evening and we kept being blown into the bay. We even hit the wooden pole marking the channel (about 10 feet from the rocks). We tried to leave at 2:30 am and twice around noon the next day. Finally made it out around 4:30 pm on Saturday. We were eating in AP and it felt like eating in a massage chair the entire restaurant was shaking.

 

Disney offered free phone calls but not internet (3rd party vendor). People were waiting in line for up to 9 hours and there were a ton of chairs on the third floor. However, they were terrific in getting together another day planned (i.e. activities, kids club open). They also offered 20% off to people when booking another cruise whether they were on the ship still or not.

 

We met some people at Hertz (during our wait for our previous day reservation) who were going onto the ship and we were told Disney offered a night at a hotel, a park hopper ticket, $20 credit card for meals, 20% of their cruise and $100 cabin ship credit. Someone also said that the buffet that was promised this morning was just coffee, muffins and whole fruit.

 

All in all I would say it was better to be stuck longer than go less and as hard as I looked, I would not use my 20% on the new 8 day cruise itinerary.

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If one of the other ships from RCCL or CCL were not in port, then the Magic probably would have used that terminal. Now what would happen if by some fluke, 2 RCCL ships were in port along with a CCL ship (No DCL ships)? Would one of the RCCL ships use the Disney terminal? Has a ship from another cruise line ever had to use the Disney terminal for docking? Just curious, since the Disney terminal is unique to Disney.

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I was on the ship that was stuck and we just got home. We had to leave Grand Cayman early due to weather and everyone was wondering why we didn't leave Castaway Cay early as well. The crew stated they knew the bad weather was coming but that they didn't think it was so fast. The ship tried to leave twice in the evening and we kept being blown into the bay. We even hit the wooden pole marking the channel (about 10 feet from the rocks). We tried to leave at 2:30 am and twice around noon the next day. Finally made it out around 4:30 pm on Saturday. We were eating in AP and it felt like eating in a massage chair the entire restaurant was shaking.

 

Disney offered free phone calls but not internet (3rd party vendor). People were waiting in line for up to 9 hours and there were a ton of chairs on the third floor. However, they were terrific in getting together another day planned (i.e. activities, kids club open). They also offered 20% off to people when booking another cruise whether they were on the ship still or not.

 

This is a long post, but then it's been a long couple of days...

 

We were on the Magic as well in party of seven, including three young children. The Disney reputation for organization and, for want of a better term, crowd control, suffered greatly IMO during this episode, especially the disembarkation "process."

 

First, as you point out the weather was clearly problematic. "Captain John" blamed the third-party tender providers for requiring everyone to return to the ship at Grand Cayman no later than 2:00 p.m. He said they had spoken to them "to no avail" (or similar words) and implied that he would have remained in port had it been his decision. Considering what happened at Castaway Cay, that seems significant.

 

Second, there was much talk of the weather as we arrived at the somewhat aptly named Castaway Cay, both from the captain and Peter, the cruise director... we were very fortunate the weather was so wonderful, it was an "envelope," it might get worse later in the day but it would be beautiful for much of our stay, etc. We were actually quite surprised to step out on deck and find that it was quite cloudy - still, no complaints about the weather while we were there.

 

Yes, there was a lot of talk about the weather, but it was the captain and his fellow "cast members" who apparently didn't do anything about it (please pardon the sarcasm but it's been a grueling trip back to the West Coast where I'm writing this).

 

As anyone who has visited either Castaway Cay or HAL's similar Half Moon Key knows, it's a very controlled environment. Unlike a regular port, the passengers are readily available and could have been loaded back on the ship early. That was a judgment call, and IMO the Captain and Disney made a mistake in judgment that cost us, for example, several hundred dollars in airline change fees and a lot of aggravation.

 

Fellow passengers standing in line at the airport said that the ship usually "backed in" to its dock. Perhaps other posters can confirm or deny if that is the practice. We docked bow first, so the challenge the captain faced was to back out with strong wave action and gale-force winds, causing him to hit the pole, as a fellow passenger told us he had captured on video. It would seem there would have been greater control and power had we been able to leave the deck and head out bow first. It's not all that reassuring to be a on ship trying to back out and repeatedly failing in weather conditions that are obviously extremely challenging. The captain had talked about trying to get Bahamian tugs at one point but they apparently didn't want to venture out in this weather.

 

The facts speak for themselves. We've been on ships in the middle of the Atlantic in far worse conditions. The mistake was in not leaving Castaway Cay early, a mistake the tender providers at Grand Cayman did NOT make.

 

Yes, the crew was excellent in throwing together a program for the day. Our grandkids were very happy in the Kids Club and the six-year-old almost had to be pried out after dinner. The dinner was a repeat, so-so but certainly ample. A couple of the adults attended the evening's show, which the comedian and juggler made much of having thrown together. They did their best but we left after the first half hour and I'll say no more.

 

Yes, the lines for the phone were extremely long and we heard a rumor of people waiting up to six hours, similar to what you heard. Two of us had brought laptops and we called the front desk, who confirmed we could use the Internet for travel arrangements and would not be charged. We confirmed that by phone afterwards and also via the final bill. There were NO Internet charges. We also used communicated with a relative ashore by text message on our cell phone to make some travel changes for rental cars and hotels. We "bit the bullet" and called our airline on our wireless while still docked at Castaway Cay and subject to the Bahamian provider. With AT & T we're guessing it will be about two dollars a minute, worth it to snag a later flight out Sunday.

 

Now to the debacle. Instructions were that we were to completely vacate our staterooms as soon as we went to breakfast, as early as 6:30 a.m., i.e. "take your day packs with you and make yourselves comfortable in the common areas." We had tipped our cabin attendants generously, and tipped them for the extra day as well. One employee had mentioned that they often lost out in these situations because most passengers naturally didn't tip them for the extra day aboard and the next load of passengers were angry at missing a day of their cruise and consequently tipped a lot less.

 

So we stayed in our staterooms until about 8:30 a.m. We then saw the Disney Theatre was virtually deserted and sat in there with a few dozen other passengers. We mentioned to some employees making preparations for the opening night show on the next cruise that it wouldn't cost Disney a lot to run some cartoons on the big screens for kids and, amazingly, they started doing that a few minutes later, albeit without sound.

 

Throughout this time we heard further profuse apologies from Peter that they couldn't get enough CBP staff to work the ship, because of all of the other ships in the main port. We were also told that we wouldn't be docking at the main terminal because it was full, but we weren't told (or at least we didn't hear) the specific location of our terminal, which turned out to be Terminal 3. Had we known how important this information would be, we would have asked the Front Desk.

 

At around 9:00 a.m. an employee entered and made an announcements to people sitting behind us (we were halfway down) and then left. People started to exit and we asked what he'd said. Apparently he'd said we could now leave the ship, a bizarre way to inform people, sort of a word-of-mouth pass-the-rumor along approach.

 

The stairways were crammed with people all the way down to Deck One. We walked to the aft. Again, the stairways were packed, an extremely unsafe situation after all of the emphasis on safety throughout. We managed to catch an elevator and fall in with the crowd heading for the gangway. By now, Disney had apparently given up and just wanted us all off the ship. For the first time for us two grandparents in upwards of 200 days of cruising on a variety of lines (Princess, Celebrity, HAL, RCCL, Oceania, Cunard), we walked off without a swipe of the key card in a stream of humanity.

 

We proceed with the rest of the line toward the small building where our luggage was stored. Terminal 3 is used for small ships (gambling ships?) and the employees confirmed it was completely inadequate for a ship of this size. We eventually managed to get our luggage, but we feel for the people who absolutely needed porter assistance. They were few and far between and the room was so crowded it was very difficult for the few porters available to make their way back in. The "smart" passengers were leaving the room, getting a porter, and bringing him back in. Others waited patiently in the room with their hands up.

 

In our case, the four adults could just barely manage the luggage, car seats, and three young children. We then rejoined the line to leave. NO passport check, but a cheerful CBP officer removed our Customs declaration (nothing to declare, thank goodness) from my pocket, as my hands were full. "Welcome to Ellis Island," I said, and he grinned and said "Oh yeah."

 

We then emerged into the 45 degree breezy day (as the ship warned us). Now there was yet another huge lineup for people to cross a street into a parking lot where buses were waiting to take people either to the airport or the parking lot. Where were the loud hailers to direct passengers or at least tell him the situation? There were employees and they were no doubt doing their best. One told us "don't yell at me. I'm doing my best" before we'd said a word to her so there's little doubt they were bearing the brunt of passenger dissatisfaction.

 

We were well off the ship and announcements were being made to those on board. The only announcements we'd heard were a combination of repeated calls by name for non-Americans to report for Immigration inspection on board and repeated apologies for the lack of CBP officials and "it's completely out of our control." Yes, it was out of control.

 

We had a private prepaid shuttle and gathered it was fair to jump the line if we weren't waiting for a bus. By now the little children were quite cold as the sweaters we'd pulled out for them weren't meant for staying outside for any length of time in this weather.

 

We ended up waiting nearly 40 minutes for our shuttle, which isn't specifically Disney's fault. We repeatedly told the dispatcher where we were and it wasn't until the third call that it eventually seemed to dawn on them that the Disney Magic was not docked in its usual spot.

 

We may well request compensation, probably a futile gesture, for our airline change fees. Could we make suggestions? Yes, we most certainly could, but they're the experts, aren't they? Better communications on board, better communications at "Port Canaveral" so shuttle drivers know where to go, employees with loud hailers, some kind of order rather than word-of-mouth for disembarking passenggers, etc.

 

We still have nothing against the Disney Cruise Line, and we've had problems disembarking a couple of other times, including a lengthy delay in September on Jewel of The Seas in Boston. At that time, however, it was Grandma and Grandpa on their own. A shipload of children, including our own precious ones, adds a new dynamic and the passengers were not well served yesterday. We can only hope Disney learns from the experience and does a lot better next time.

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If you booked your own flights; what compensation is Carnival or the airline , giving you to fly home?

Is this costing you more money?

It appears to me they are treating their passengers on the 6 day itinerary better than they are treating the people who got stranded.

Thanks for sharing.

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If you booked your own flights; what compensation is Carnival or the airline , giving you to fly home?

Is this costing you more money?

It appears to me they are treating their passengers on the 6 day itinerary better than they are treating the people who got stranded.

Thanks for sharing.

 

There would ordinarily be no compensation if you make your own flight arrangements, as we do. That's the chance you take when you make arrangements independent of the cruise line.

 

We think this circumstance was not "beyond Disney's control" due to weather, but rather was caused by one or more errors in judgment. Once we'd reboarded at Castaway Cay, the captain announced what a nice day it had been and something along the lines of "the weather hasn't been as bad as we thought it was going to be."

 

Once we actually got away from the dock, the sea itself wasn't all that bad. We've been in far worse. In any case, we're leaving again tomorrow for a cruise on Oceania out of Buenos Aires and quite happy to be flying in there three days early, although our one-day late arrival is stretching us and it's time to shut down the computer for awhile.

 

We'll still be interested to hear from experienced Disney cruisers whether the ships ordinarily dock at Castaway Cay bow first or stern first.

 

Happy Cruising!

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There would ordinarily be no compensation if you make your own flight arrangements, as we do. That's the chance you take when you make arrangements independent of the cruise line.

 

I understand that however many people make their own flight arrangements at a reasonable time after the cruise is suppose to dock so I think there should be some compensation from the cruise line; otherwise very expensive to get a flight home; last minute, one way.

Hope some of the people that were in this position will take time and let us know how they made out.

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We'll still be interested to hear from experienced Disney cruisers whether the ships ordinarily dock at Castaway Cay bow first or stern first.

Happy Cruising!

In December I was on the Disney Wonder and they attempted to dock at Castaway Cay at two different times the day (both failed). In both cases the Captain was attempting to back into the dock and called off the attempt after failing to hold position against the wind before even starting to back up. The winds that day were approaching 50 mph and the Captain said that even if they had made it to the dock the winds pushing the ship against the dock could have damaged the ship. So, in my experience, the ships normally back in.

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There would ordinarily be no compensation if you make your own flight arrangements, as we do. That's the chance you take when you make arrangements independent of the cruise line.

 

I understand that however many people make their own flight arrangements at a reasonable time after the cruise is suppose to dock so I think there should be some compensation from the cruise line; otherwise very expensive to get a flight home; last minute, one way.

Hope some of the people that were in this position will take time and let us know how they made out.

 

In December I was on the Disney Wonder and they attempted to dock at Castaway Cay at two different times the day (both failed). In both cases the Captain was attempting to back into the dock and called off the attempt after failing to hold position against the wind before even starting to back up. The winds that day were approaching 50 mph and the Captain said that even if they had made it to the dock the winds pushing the ship against the dock could have damaged the ship. So, in my experience, the ships normally back in.

 

99.98% of the time, the ships back in. Everyonce in a while theyll come in bow first for 1 reason or another, but that is few and far in between.

 

Thanks to all for these responses. Hmmm... We're very experienced travelers and realize that "stuff happens" but we'll be looking into this further when time permits as a matter of principle. Again, the Magic docked bow first without any apparent problems, the captain and cruise director made repeated comments about the favorable weather envelope before and after our time ashore, but we landlubbers ourselves noticed the clouds scudding fairly rapidly across the skies and the breezy conditions throughout our stay. In fact, IIRC Captain John announced after we returned that it was "better weather than I'd expected," or words to that effect.

 

We're fortunate that the rest of our family is visiting the Disney properties this week, so all they lost was one day, and we were able to change our 9:30 a.m. flight out of MCO yesterday to a 2:30 p.m. flight, which we made comfortably, albeit after paying a few hundred bucks in change fees. No way were we going to take a chance on flying same-day standby for free in this situation.

 

Again, we have lots of positive things to say about our first Disney Cruise (the second for the five family members we accompanied) but IMO Disney dropped the ball in a couple of areas as I've already pointed out at somewhat verbose length.

 

Happy Cruising!

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We'll still be interested to hear from experienced Disney cruisers whether the ships ordinarily dock at Castaway Cay bow first or stern first.

 

I wasn't there, I sure don't have all the details and this comment is made based on two factors

 

1. I was a ship driver ... considered a pretty good one I think, commanded a couple of CG Cutters including one of our largest and sailed winters in the Bearing Sea; I won a CG "top CONN" award .... CONN is the guy who's driving..... the CONNing Officer

 

2. On a DCL cruise we were unable to make it into CC and after the missed docking I had the opportunity to discuss the evolution with the ships's Master .... ship driver to ship driver ... and no I'll not share which one that was (I've no idea if the same person is involved)

 

The DCL ships normally back into CC because they are more maneuverable going forward then they are backing. This is a common trait for ships. In our missed day at CC the Master tried many times to back in but while he could hold the ship aqainst the wind and current while stationary just outside the channel, as soon as he transitioned to a backing motion the side thrust lost just enuf that the ship drifted at sufficient speed to make it known they would be out of the channel before they were safe (a simplification but accurate). After several tries at back a little stop and crawl sideways ... back a little stop and crawl sideways the docking was abandoned and the Master knew he had a shipload of disappointed folks (despite the fact it would have been cold , windy and raining at CC and the day at sea he sought out a spot of sunshine....) He KNEW he could safely get to the dock bow first and also knew that if the conditions didn't improve significantly he could NOT get out.

 

If in this case the ship pulled into CC bow first on a day with questionable weather I'm VERY surprised. I can easily see how they could not safely back clear of the pier and breakwater. In my opinion a major tactical error...there was probably a reason he chose to do that but WHOOPS. On the plus side...no one was hurt so we consider it a hard landing but one everyone walked away from.

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I am sure things could have been handled better . . . or worse. I get frustrated when people try do blame Disney (or any other vacation provider) for weather related problems. Anytime you travel you take the risk of weather fouling the plans. And at sea, even with all the modern technology, squalls and storms can increase or descrease in an instant. Humans attempt to predict the weather. If the weatherman is lucky he gets is right about half the time. Disney is magical but really they are subject to the whims of mother nature just like the rest of us.

 

They tried to make the best of a bad situation and it backfired. How many people would have been complaining because they missed Casaway Cay? It was not a great day at sea. It happens.

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How many people would have been complaining because they missed Casaway Cay? It was not a great day at sea.

 

I can tell ya from a one on one conversation with a DCL Master that this is a MAJOR concern. Every cruise line takes those comment cards very very seriously.

 

Wanna guess what DCL's say if they miss CC?

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[if in this case the ship pulled into CC bow first on a day with questionable weather I'm VERY surprised. I can easily see how they could not safely back clear of the pier and breakwater. In my opinion a major tactical error...there was probably a reason he chose to do that but WHOOPS. On the plus side...no one was hurt so we consider it a hard landing but one everyone walked away from.

 

Thanks for a very knowledgable and thorough reply, Captain! If it was a tactical error as we (and you) suspect the cruise line certainly paid for it, along with passengers such as ourselves. In closing, it does seem very strange that they went in bow first when they announced even to passengers in advance that the weather was going to worsen as the day progressed. The only rumor we heard (I've often said that cruise ships are like junior high schools for rumors) was that they docked bow first as a "trial" to see how it worked. If so, they certainly found out, didn't they?

 

Disney will undoubtedly learn from the chaotic disembarkation as well. As with other travel forums we visit, e.g. FlyerTalk, there are always what FTers call the "company apologists" hanging out in a given forum and defending the airline or hotel chain or, in this case, cruise ship company against anything less than glowing reports, so my husband and I have particularly appreciated the thoughtful responses to our post here.

 

Happy Cruising to all as we wend our way to Buenos Aires and Oceania's Insignia on our crazy back-to-back schedule!

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How many people would have been complaining because they missed Casaway Cay? It was not a great day at sea.

 

I can tell ya from a one on one conversation with a DCL Master that this is a MAJOR concern. Every cruise line takes those comment cards very very seriously.

 

Wanna guess what DCL's say if they miss CC?

 

To correct the assumption you're replying to, it wasn't a bad day at sea at all. As the hours went by it did become a bad day to leave the dock and to thread the proverbial needle stern first.

 

Yes, people grumble about everything and remind me how happy I am never to have been involved professionally in the travel industry. People would have grumbled on this cruise in particular since the stop at Grand Cayman had already been cut short by several hours. I saw a woman virtually throw a tantrum a couple of years ago on HAL when they ran out of vanilla ice cream at one of the eateries.

 

People grumbled on our Oceania Baltic cruise last year when we had to sail around the Kiel Canal due to a fire and miss a port stop. People grumbled a bit on HAL's Rotterdam in 2001 when the closest we could stop to Monte Carlo was Villefranche Sur Mer and they had to ride there by bus. We couldn't stop in the Bahamas after sailing 30 hours through a hurricane on another Oceania transatlantic in 2008. In that case, we actually heard no grumbling at all.

 

In our pre-retirement careers, my husband had to make decisions sometimes that weren't met with unanimous approval. That's life. In fairness, I should point that Disney provided buses to get people back to their original parking lot in the original terminal area, and seemed to be providing free buses to the airport as well. It wasn't that they weren't making efforts. They were definitely trying. In this instance, however, the results speak for themselves and I hope that Disney learns from their mistakes.

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absolutely

 

when the ships miss CC the day at sea is usually a much better experience .... the Master will chase the sun

 

BUT

 

that is a hard thing to sell to one who's heart pains for CC . . .

 

ditto for missing Grand Cayman ... when the seas are ruff and boarding a tender is an "E ticket ride" people also ask why the ship allowed that to happen

 

ahhhhhh .... I miss the life!

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I was on RC Monarch of the Seas which docked back in port canaveral this morning, and heard about this nightamare.

Just FYI I didnt read all the pages in this post but put my 2cents in anyway. We left port canaveral on Friday morning headed to nassau, Friday the seas were horrible. It was me and hubby's first cruise and I thought about 2am we were going to die. that ship was rockin so bad I was having a serious anxiety attack. Luckily by morning it was better but the winds in nassau were strong and cold. Luckily by sat the seas were much calmer.

I truly feel horrible for those disney passengers, hopefully it didnt ruin your trip.

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Not to fuel the rumor mill, but I've heard that the ship docked forward in CC due to a problem with one of the gangway doors. It does typically back in. As far as compensation for flight change fees, that would be covered by your trip insurance, assuming you had purchased any.

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Capt BJ. We were on that cruise. I too wondered about the impact of having gone in bow first. I wondered which direction was more controlable. While it would normally seem that bow first is better I thought that the fact that the azipods could develop far more thrust then the bow thrusters could might make departing stern first a better option. What are your thoughts.

 

Also we agree with the other posts that Disney did a poor job responding to the situation. I can not believe that this is the first time that anything like this. They showed a total lack of coordination. Where it comes to phone calls to change airline plans they shoud have assigned one phone to each airline and gotten the airline to have one person stay on the line to change everyone's plans. Most of the delays were waiting for each airline to answer the phone.

We docked at CT3 but since no one would or could pay for additional customs agents we had to wait until they cleared another ship first. They should have known that this would be the case and not insist that every one eat at 0630 and leave their rooms. They failed to organize the departure from the ship. They seem to have a good method when they tender but completely lost it for this departure. Bottom line is they need to develope contingency plans on how to deal with a variety of issues. Having said all of this I do think that Disney's normal level of customer service is outstanding they don't react well to anomalys. Bruce and CJ

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We were on the Magic the previous week and got to Castaway Cay on Friday Feb 5th. Although it was a windy day, the captain docked the ship bow-first, very very slowly. We heard there was a storm brewing for later that afternoon but it didn't appear. We left the dock with no problems.

 

But you would have thought, with an afternoon storm brewing, they would have docked stern-first for a clean get-away.

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I thought that the fact that the azipods could develop far more thrust then the bow thrusters could might make departing stern first a better option. What are your thoughts.

 

I didn't realize the Disney ships had azipods, I thought they were a prop and rudder system. At least thats what the models I have seen of them show, but they could be wrong.

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