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Handling Hurricane Dennis---Inspiration 7/9


deac

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With Hurricane Dennis, getting to the ship and out to sea was half the battle! So that’s what I thought I’d share. (I tried to post this once already, but appear to have failed, so I apologize if this ends up posted twice!)

 

 

My friend Robin and I were headed to the Inspiration in Tampa. We drove from NC along with a friend who was going to stay in Tampa while we cruised. We started calling Carnival on Friday to see if we were still on schedule, and were usually told to call back later. The message finally changed in the evening. We’d be boarding on time, but might have itinerary changes. We started driving Friday with the intention of staying overnight in Valdosta, but got a late start and ended up ready to quit driving before then. Of course we knew Dennis was coming and we started to realize that Southern Georgia is awfully close to the Florida panhandle. So even as we drove, we began calling hotels in Ashburn, GA and the first two we called were completely booked. The third one was the charm, but at the full flat rate, no discounts, and as long as we only needed to stay the one night. The weekend was already completely booked! By the time we checked in, the poor hassled looking desk clerk said we were lucky to have called when we did because he only had two smoking rooms remaining for the night. We gratefully moved into our room, cranked up the AC and called it a night.

 

 

On Saturday morning we got moving again and had no problems til we were about 100 miles from tampa, at which point I’m guessing we hit the first of our outer bands of Dennis. Serious (!) rainfall and wind. I was driving and just gripped the steering wheel, slowed the heck down, and drove on. I remember thinking, I cannot take 100 miles of this. Fortunately, it only lasted for what felt like 20 minutes. We hit another band as we came into tampa, but knowing how close we were, we didn’t really mind. We finally made it to the terminal and loved the fact that we got to drive up under this huge overhang without getting wet at all. (First cruise for me, everything I knew to expect I learned on this board.) Our friend took the car and into the terminal we went.

 

 

Check-in was orderly. They accepted my birth certificate without any problems. The sail and sign computers were broken down for a bit, so people had to wait a little while, but nothing serious or frustrating. I think we arrived around 1:30 and were on the ship by 2:30 at the latest, probably sooner.

 

 

The muster drill was apparently abbreviated. We went to our area and put on life jackets. They said how we’d move orderly to the life boats in an emergency and that yes, women and children would still get on the boats first. (I thought that was kind of interesting.) But then they dismissed us. I’m guessing the off and on rain outside meant that they decided not to have us go out to our boat areas.

 

 

The announcements began shortly thereafter I believe. We heard that we’d be spending the night on the ship in tampa, with hopes of leaving in the morning. This plan was fine with me, because I’d rather be on the ship than just staying at a hotel in tampa and figuring out how to get my trip insurance to cover it. At our 8pm dinner seating we started out with two table mates at our window table, a mother and daughter who were not happy. The hurricane was apparently headed near the mom’s house (tropical storm warning for her area) and she really wanted to be there in case anything happened, but carnival wouldn’t let her off the boat (I guess without keeping her money). We enjoyed talking with them, but Robin and I both noted later that we really hoped their mood would improve. We wanted to have fun! The other two women at the table were quiet, but seemed nice. That night we checked out the karaoke lounge, which was hosted by a hilarious British woman named Chloe. I loved it, because the whole thing was a bit like watching American Idol.

 

 

I might be off on times here, but in the morning, they began announcing again that we might leave by 11. We ran into the daughter from our dinner table, who said they’d tried to get off the ship again that morning and had been denied. The captain added a new port, costa maya, instead of grand cayman. The time came and went, they announced again, that it would be the early evening. Then costa maya was canceled. Around this time they gave us a CCL offer: We could choose to disembark and get a full refund. We could choose to stay. We’d go to cozumel only, get a $50pp credit, and a 40% discount on a future cruise (taken by Dec 2006). We chose to stay. We asked many different crew members about how many left and the estimates were always between 400-700 people (including all of our table mates.) The crew understandably were bummed about the loss of income, and repeatedly thanked us for choosing to stay for the remainder of the cruise.

 

 

Things that were holding us up now that the storm was passing to the north included… the coast guard needing to check all the markers in the channel, our gas tanker needing to get in to the port to top us off fuel wise, and other poor ships who were shut outside the port (including the miracle, whom our CD told us had endured 20 foot swells :eek: while we stayed in port) who needed to get in. And apparently parts of the channel are only wide enough for one ship at a time. So around 6 pm we finally got to move away from the port and then hung out at a side area to let other ships in. We finally got moving while Robin and I were watching one of the vegas style shows. As the show ended I went outside, just in time to see us passing under the skyway bridge, lit up beautifully at night… and off we went to sea! :D

 

 

Does anyone have any experience with using a Carnival issued discount like the one we all get? Do they mail us something? What did other hurricane effected cruisers get?

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Hi Guys!

We were also offered a discount when we sailed on the Pride in Oct. 2003 and were rerouted. Did they give you any paperwork that showed your new itinerary and listed the stateroom credit/discount? If so, KEEP IT! We were told by the pursers desk (and later by our T/A) to keep this and give it to our T/A when booking the next cruise.......we didn't end up using our discount before the expiration date:( but we are still going on 5/21/06!!!!

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I have no idea if Robin kept the letter. I don't think I have it. They put so many notes under our door, I know I tossed one or two of them. Sounds like we may have made a first timers mistake. (I don't recall seeing anything that said keep this paper, but who knows.) Even if one of us has it, we'd only have one copy for two people. Anyone used a promised discount without that piece of paper?

 

And war eagle--- I just read your review and hey, We were on the Tulum trip as well! I'd always wanted to see some Mayan ruins. Getting soaked by the flash rain storm was a nice bonus!! :) wic, wick, wickety wick!

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We were on the same cruise and had a great time.

 

I've booked already with the discount, 12/3 on the Triumph. Call Carnival and tell them you have the discount, with your booking number they pull it up and you are good to go.

 

Can't wait now till 12/3. And yes Chloe was "wicked".

 

We went to Tulum as well. Bus #1. Hope all are well.

 

M.

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Thanks for the information about using the discount! glad to hear I don't have to worry about the paper.

Although, I admit I'm jealous :) that you've already rebooked. Not sure when I'll come up with a plan to use mine, but certainly hope to.

And I'm guessing we saw each other, because I too was on bus 1! Small cruise ship eh?

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That is the most positive attitude I think I have ever run into! You really did take your lemons and made lemonade. Thanks for sharing it with us. You are the kind of people we like to cruise with. Hope you get that discount cruise. Think I would go ahead and get my TA to verify the discount with Carnival now. And to the other positve posters who were on that same ship..way to go! Hope your next sailing is a smooth one!

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I have no idea if Robin kept the letter. I don't think I have it. They put so many notes under our door, I know I tossed one or two of them. Sounds like we may have made a first timers mistake. (I don't recall seeing anything that said keep this paper, but who knows.) Even if one of us has it, we'd only have one copy for two people.
I'm sure the other poster on this thread can send you a copy of the letter - I am assuming that it was a form type letter. Make a copy for yourself and your friend. The letter alone isn't enough - but it gives you something in writing to back up your claim later - they can check by your booking number and know you were on the ship. I'm sure it also has an expiration date. Be sure to use it.
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I have no idea if Robin kept the letter. I don't think I have it. They put so many notes under our door, I know I tossed one or two of them. Sounds like we may have made a first timers mistake. (I don't recall seeing anything that said keep this paper, but who knows.) Even if one of us has it, we'd only have one copy for two people. Anyone used a promised discount without that piece of paper?

 

And war eagle--- I just read your review and hey, We were on the Tulum trip as well! I'd always wanted to see some Mayan ruins. Getting soaked by the flash rain storm was a nice bonus!! :) wic, wick, wickety wick!

 

Call Customer service ASAP and see if they can replace the letter. Good Luck!

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  • 5 years later...

I was on the cruise right before you and WarEagle1990. Been on 6 cruises with Carnival, and that one in 2005 was the best because of Chloe. Just got back from another aslo on the Inspiration, and it wasn't nearly as fun in Karaoke without her. Kal was OK, but that's all.

 

Does anyone know if she's still hosting Karaoke for any cruise line? I see she's been on the Legend in early '05, and I think I saw another ship in late '05.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Bob

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Wow this thread heading really screwed me up. Hurricane Dennis that was 5 years ago., Since the letter D is up next I thought I must have slept through something.
After the 2005 hurricane, they retired the name Dennis. I remember the storm well - we were aboard Conquest and couldn't get back to NOLA on time, so we rode out the storm in the Gulf. I've never seen so many "do not disturb" signs on cabin doors!
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