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Tampa News Column Re: Inspiration in Wilma's wake


OhioJeff

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Although you can make an argument that Carnival should have probably stepped up and simply canceled the trip, do not the passengers, too, share a certain responsibility for what happened to them?

 

Really now, you don't need to be meteorologist Steve Jerve to figure out that embarking on an ocean cruise while a Category 5 hurricane is turning the Gulf of Mexico into a Waring Blender is not exactly going to be like a scenic, blissful tour down the Seine.

 

Sorta puts a whole new spin on Carnival's slogan, "Fun Ships." Well sure, if it's the SS Poseidon.

This had to be the best part of the article.
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I am very frustrated by the way Carnival handled the Hurricane cruises.

 

My ship was supposed to go out on the day Wilma hit Miami and yes out of the Port of Miami.

 

Common sense told us we wouldnt be going .. but Carnival waited until Sunday to finally let us know of the changes.

 

Royal Caribbean had done so a full day ahead on Saturday.

 

I felt we were being held hostage in a way.

If we cancel before they do .. you get nothing .. if you get on a ship with a Hurricane swirling around you , well you are just NUTS. They eventually let us know that the 4 day cruise would be a 3 day one.

 

They wound up pushing it back yet another day while we were stuck in the Atlanta airport trying to get down to Miami.

 

Our 4 day cruise was now going to be a 2 day cruise but by this time our luggage had been taken to the baggage jail and they would not release it to us, and there were no available seats to the Miami airport to get us there anyway.

 

Although I know that Carnival cant control the weather .. they can use common sense and not put their customers in harms way by making them wait til the last minute.

God forbid you decide that for safety sakes its best not to continue because then you forfeit your money.

Lets not forget that cruising is a TAD more expensive then the few days at a nice hotel , its hard to just hand over that kind of money because the cruise line is worried about their bottom line.

 

I dont live in FL .. I live in PA .. but I get the same Weather Channel they do right ???

 

The whole country saw nothing BUT Hurricane Wilma coverage on there for a solid week.

The Port of Miami had begun announcing the Ports would be closing 2 days before Carnival made their descision.

Yes they had changed the actual time it would happen a few times ... but the writing on the wall was very clear that the next weeks cruises out of there were not going to happen.

 

If you are in the cruise business you have to accept that every year Hurricanes stand a good chance of hurting your profit margin.

Sure they got hammered this year but that comes with the territory.

 

As a first time customer of Carnival I too have learned a lesson , well many actually.

The most important one being , NEVER book a cruise in Hurricane season.

This rookie has learned.

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I have to agree with your statement not to book a cruise during hurricane season. My husband and I got married in Sept. of 2003, and just as we were about to get married my sister asked me if we were going near the Bahamas because Hurricane Irene was approaching. Fortunately we were headed on a seven day Western Carribbean cruise and the hurricane was not near us. We were actually watching landfall of that hurricane while we were in Grand Cayman, the storm hit the east coast of the US. The thought of us not being able to go went through my head many times and we were thankful that we weren't involved in that storm. We had a wonderful cruise. We are planning another cruise for April 2006, and will probably do the Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Elation this time. I'm sorry about your ordeal, it has been a terrible hurricane season. We loved Cozumel and the pictures of the cruise docks are awful.

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I hate to say this but there are so many things that could happen that to me it doesn't matter what time of year I book my cruise. I had Conquest in September and okay, I was prepared for the possibility of weather related changes, they came and I dealt with them BUT...I also have a cruise scheduled in December. Well out of hurricane season, right? Well, sure, but the fact is that the damage caused by a hurricane can far outlast hurricane season.

 

New Orleans is another case in point. Both of my cruises were supposed to go out of NOLA originally (Conquest and Sensation) but Sensation was canned and Elation was arranged. What's the old saying? The best laid plans of mice and men? Wellll...By December we may well be tendering into Coz, but damage from the hurricane they had earlier this year was still plainly evident in September. I can only imagine what it will look like when/if I get there. Don't get me wrong, I still plan to go and make the best of it, but it wasn't what I had in mind for sure. Between driving from here through the areas that Rita damaged and into Galveston, then to cruise on into Coz where Wilma shredded everything, it'll be like a "Storm Damage International" tour!

 

Even if I had postponed everything till March or May of 2006 I still wouldn't be sailing from the port I originally intended to leave from. All because of a hurricane. :rolleyes:

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no matter what trip you take, you are taking a chance that something could go wrong, so, get your insurance for your trip and try not to travel during hurricane season.

 

i always tell people try to have a plan b, because plan a is subject to change.

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Book during hurricane season, with a departing port in the Gulf, you are NOT the sharpest pencil in the box, ok? And then WHINE your "cruise was ruined"????? Pitch it elsewhere...thats what insurance is for...and ask yourself HOW many LIVES have been ruined by the hurricanes that ruined your ill-advised trip...:cool:

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Out of the literally hundreds of good days, you only had a few bad. I will take those odds any day. Of course I would book during hurricane season, that is what cruise insurance is for. You can't just hide and I did like the article, customers need to be responsible as well, if they offer a chance to cancel, you should probably take it! If you booked airfare on your own and did not get insurance, you lose, life is not a series of sure things.

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Book during hurricane season, with a departing port in the Gulf, you are NOT the sharpest pencil in the box, ok? And then WHINE your "cruise was ruined"????? Pitch it elsewhere...thats what insurance is for...and ask yourself HOW many LIVES have been ruined by the hurricanes that ruined your ill-advised trip...:cool:

 

I took responsibility for booking during Hurricane Season, and YES I did buy cruise insurance.

 

The ill advice or lack of was in my opinion Carnivals responsibility and my post was addressing that issue.

Reading back over it I never personally insulted another poster, but rather was contributing to the topic that this thread was about, perhaps you should do the same.

 

This is the Cruise Critic message board is it not ???

I would take that to mean both positive and negative critiques are fair to post here.

 

I love when posters like you try turn a post into something its not and then try to shame other posters.

 

Enjoy your next cruise ;)

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Book during hurricane season, with a departing port in the Gulf, you are NOT the sharpest pencil in the box, ok? And then WHINE your "cruise was ruined"????? Pitch it elsewhere...thats what insurance is for...and ask yourself HOW many LIVES have been ruined by the hurricanes that ruined your ill-advised trip...:cool:

 

Uhhh...That reaction was pretty strong...What exactly are you hoping to accomplish by making this statement? And who exactly were you referring to??

 

Hurricane season lasts half of the year and, as my earlier post pointed out, even if you don't book during the season your cruise can still be affected by them.

 

I find the manner you responded to be quite insulting! We're all adults here. Do we have to trade insults? Some of us can't travel during those "optimal times." Lets face it, ports are ALL in coastal areas because that's where the ships can get to. Where do you cruise to that isn't affected by hurricanes? Personally I have no interest in anything but a cruise that goes south of here and that's just part of the package. Kahhli's cruise was out of Miami. That's not exactly a Gulf port, is it?? Anyway, Atlantic ports are no less affected by hurricanes either! I guess you must be frustrated by the fact that someone is venting...but if it's that offensive to you, maybe you ought to not be reading the thread :confused:

 

And I'm not even touching your comment about lives ruined by the hurricanes. That's something I can't go a day without having it made evident to me just by virtue of where I live. This board is to talk about cruising. Not to figure out ways to feel guilty and shame each other about how we get to have cruises when others can't.

 

I hope you have a better day than what you've been having today. You're evidently kind of angry...

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I have never bought trip insurance. We deal with what comes to us weather or other wise. We where building our house during hurricane season last year.. We also had to cancel a trip we had planned in the middle of summer time, plus with building our house. We had a trip out to Washington for 5 days, we end up cancelling everything and coming home. Then worried if our "newly" put up roof would live through the hurricane. We just dealt with it.

 

Kim

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I took responsibility for booking during Hurricane Season, and YES I did buy cruise insurance.

 

The ill advice or lack of was in my opinion Carnivals responsibility and my post was addressing that issue.

Reading back over it I never personally insulted another poster, but rather was contributing to the topic that this thread was about, perhaps you should do the same.

 

This is the Cruise Critic message board is it not ???

I would take that to mean both positive and negative critiques are fair to post here.

 

I love when posters like you try turn a post into something its not and then try to shame other posters.

 

Enjoy you next cruise ;)

 

Well said - I've taken numerous cruises during Hurricane season - the fares are lower - less kids on board etc.

 

Everyone needs to remember that this is a record breaking year for storms. It isn't the norm.

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Book during hurricane season, with a departing port in the Gulf, you are NOT the sharpest pencil in the box, ok? And then WHINE your "cruise was ruined"????? Pitch it elsewhere...thats what insurance is for...and ask yourself HOW many LIVES have been ruined by the hurricanes that ruined your ill-advised trip...:cool:

 

 

 

Where the flock do you get off chastizing ANYONE on here? Old Yeller backs up and lifts a leg

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Hunh? Since when are there lower fares and less in kids in the middle, or any time during, the summer? :confused:

Hurricane season: JUNE 1 - NOV 30.

 

Prices and the number of kids not in school go down a WHOLE lot in parts of August and September. Especially around Sept. 11th. Check it out!

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Prices and the number of kids not in school go down a WHOLE lot in parts of August and September. Especially around Sept. 11th. Check it out!

 

I have to agree hear: we booked a 9/5/05 cruise - simply because fares were at the cheapest rate we could find! No kids + hurricane season = cheaper prices!

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Prices and the number of kids not in school go down a WHOLE lot in parts of August and September. Especially around Sept. 11th. Check it out!

 

LOL Cheshyrkat Sept 11th was the exact day I booked my cruise .

 

Since this would have been my first cruise I had no idea about the prices or how the might fluctuate and didnt really take Hurricanes into account either.

 

The selling point for us was the fact that we had a sister in law volunteer to take a weeks vacation time from her job to come down to our house and stay with the kids.

 

The week of October 24th was the week she was able to do so.

 

Apparantly there are many factors that go into when people choose/can cruise.

 

Kahhli

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First, I'd like to say this is my first cruise. The cruise was nice and the staff was EXCELLENT! The workers work their tails off for little money and put in 10+ hours a day. Anyway, Carnival outright lied to it's passengers. I'm being blunt because this is the truth. I am NOT a complainer, but I want to warn new cruisers, that they may not get what they are told.

 

Let me start out by saying that I live in a part of the country that has been hit by numerous hurricanes this past year. My house was struck by Ivan, so I know about lives being ruined, but this doesn't give a company an excuse to mislead it's passengers just because they are afraid people will cancel their trips.

 

Originally, I was to cruise from Mobile. This is my 20th wedding anniversary and I've planned this for years. Katrina hit the coast and the Holiday (ship we were to take) is now being used by the homeless. Sure, I was a little sad, but I figured I could drive (8 hours) to Tampa and hopefully cruise from there. That situation was completely out of everyone's hands. Then came Wilma. This too was out of everyone's hands. OK, so we knew we wouldn't go to Cozumel....but we hoped for the Caymans. We couldn't afford to fly to Tampa, so we were driving there to catch our ship. Gas isn't cheap either. :) For those that can afford to take numerous cruises, fly around the world and buy travel insurance...it's easy for you to say the things that you do. There are some people that can't afford these luxuries and save for these special trips for a long time. My anniversary happens to fall during hurricane season. Let me get back to my story ....anyway, we didn't know if the cruise was to be cancelled or not....so, we took the chance and started driving Sunday to Tampa. 3 hours into our drive my daughter called and said that a message was left at our house that the cruise was to be shortened to a 4 day cruise and we would go to Grand Cayman. I was happy. I figured 4 days is better than no days...and I had reservations in the Grand Caymans to go snorkeling with the Sting Rays. Which I had already changed due to not going on the Holiday. Now, I would have to call again and change the day again. No, problem. I usually just roll with the flow and things don't bother me. I called Carnival to confirm what my daughter had said. She's 14 (no she wasn't left alone) and sometimes she gets things mixed up. Carnival told me that the cruise was changed to a 4 day cruise and we would be leaving out of Tampa a day later. Again...no problem...even though I had to pay for 2 nights in a hotel. That's not an easy thing to do when hotels are booked due to evacuations. Yep, the ol' Days Inn (independently owned and operated) tried to gouge me. They tried to double my rate the second day due to the hurricane. I was still ok, because I was going to the Grand Caymans! Woo hoo. I called Carnival 3 times and confirmed this. I called the Grand Cayman to change the day of my excursion and told them the circumstances. Everything was set up. Nope, I didn't go through the cruise line for my "excursion" because they double the prices. Ok, so we hang out in Tampa for 2 rainy days. No, problem. I'm used to hurricanes by now. It's a way of life where I live. Now, the day of the trip. We get to Carnival at 10am. Everything was going smoothly. We were still told we were going to Grand Cayman. Then....they told us folks that arrived early to go get something to eat and look around. Well, we get back to the port and they hand me a piece of paper that said we were NOT going to Grand Cayman. This is where the deceit came in. They knew this 3 days prior. The Caymans were not hit hard by Wilma. Not at all. They already knew we weren't going, but told everyone they were. Yep, at that point it was too late for me to cancel. Some of you say you go for the cruise and not the ports of calls. Well, I was going for the cruise AND the ports of call. I can't afford to fly and stay at a hotel in Cozumel or the Caymans. I thank God that I didn't fly to Cozumel. What about those tourists that were stranded there? Anyway...my complaint and everyone else's on that ship was the fact that we were blatantly lied to by the cruise line. No one deserves that....whether they have "travel insurance" or not. They told us we were going to Progresso, instead. Yep, I know it's in the "contract" they can change the itinerary whenever they want even if it's under false pretenses. Well, Progresso literally STANK. The odor was horrible. They were cutting chickens up on the streets and half dead dogs were running around. Did I mention the rotting sharks? Sorry, to be so blunt...but...if any of you are going to Progresso you definitely need to find an excursion out of the town. Well, unless you like to get drunk. You can find plenty of alcohol and people pushing their goods. I felt so sorry for those folks living there in town. I didn't book an excursion through Carnival, because there wasn't anything that I wanted to do (of all 5 offered) and I wasn't going to pay $150 to do something that didn't appeal to me. There were no snorkeling excursions...and if there were, they would have to take me far out in the ocean for me to do that....because the beach was nasty and the water really did stink. Maybe the beach problem was due to Wilma. (Progresso was hit harder than Grand Cayman, go figure) This is Cruise Critic right? :) I'm just saying these things about Progresso, so the people that ARE going for the ports of call will have a head's up. We took a double decker bus around town. Walked to the beach and then headed back to the ship in 1 hour. I thought we'd be the only ones doing this....but there were lines and lines of people leaving to go back to the ship. The people in Progresso seemed very friendly and I felt very sorry for them.

 

Please tip the workers on the ship. I am not sure this is true....but the I was told the stewards make $700 a month. Sure, they have a place to sleep, but they work many, many hours. Our cabin steward said he works 16 hours a day sometimes. I have never seen people work so hard. Honestly, I don't know how they keep the ship so clean. Have you ever noticed there aren't many trash cans on the different decks of ships? This shows me just how hard the workers work. They are constanlty cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. :D

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I agree totally with you.Carnival LIED to it's passengers!

We arrived in Tampa on the 22nd, called Carnival several times prior,and checked their web site for updates and were told nothing has changed.Finally on saturday afternoon we learned that the cruise would depart on tuesday and go to Grand Cayman on the 27th instead.We were fine with that.We had friends that were flying in from England sunday to join us on our cruise.We kept them posted as much as we could by text messaging.We continued calling Carnival,and checking the web site for further updates but NO changes! We arrived at the Terminal about 12:30 and waited to check in.We did NOT know of any port changes made,even after calling Carnival right up to arrival time.As we were about ready to be the next in line for check in,they made an announcement that we would not be going to Cayman,but to Progresso instead! We were simply in a state of shock to say the least! At that point we could not even cancel,where would we go at the last minute,especially after our friends just flew half way around the world to go.We knew nothing about Progresso.We questioned the check in person about all this and to say the least,she was VERY RUDE.After making up several excuses, such as the Caymans were hit too hard to go there,and even telling us we should NEVER cruise during hurricane season,which is the prime vacation months for many people! She finally admitted Carnival could not dock there,no reservations made to the Cayman Port Authority for this ship to dock there that particular day! We did check the Cayman Port Authority web site earlier that day and did NOT see Inspiration listed to dock on the 27th,but figured that it may not have been updated yet.Progresso was a JOKE.NO shopping,No beach area to enjoy,and just a dirty city with alot of poverty! We paid $35 each to do a shopping tour to Merida City, it was basically a history tour.We stopped at one shopping area that was terrible.And they let us venture around the town square on our own for about 30 minutes,but there was nothing there! We feel that Carnival LIED to it's passengers by not telling them in advance,they waited until boarding time,by then who would cancel,unless you lived in Tampa,they also knew they were going to Progresso on Monday the 24th,as we found out from the Mexican Tour Guide we had,he told us he was told on the 24th that we were coming! Carnival just wanted to get as many people checked in as they could before they broke the news! That way not as many people would cancel.If they just would have posted that info on the 24th, we could have changed plans,flew someplace else for vacation.We didn't have much choice but to go since our friends flew thousands of miles to join us.Just have to say that was our first and LAST time ever cruising with Carnival!!!!!!!!!!!!!:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

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JSN...

 

We're not the only ones that feel this way. :( It's one thing to have a port change, but to be outright lied to is completely unacceptable.

 

Do you remember the raffle they had at the port of Tampa? Remember how they were pushing people to buy tickets? I did. I never heard anything else about that either. I'd ask the workers on the ship and they didn't know what I was talking about. Everyone would say go to the purser's desk. I did and they didn't have a clue what I was talking about either. My husband said they probably used the raffle ticket money to give us all our $50 onboard credit! LOL :)

 

I'd like to write to someone at Carnival and express my feelings. Do you know an address or who to write to?

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Carla64,

My husband recently spoke with someone at Carnival thru their toll free number,but nothing was accomplished.{Which we knew would be the case}.They were quite rude as well to him!

We just wanted an explanation as to why they would wait so long to change the port,since the tour company in Progresso knew on Monday the 24 that we were coming! I just don't think we were treated very nice by Carnival.We are still waiting on them to credit our cancelled Cayman excursions back on our card as we were promised by two different staff members on the ship.They seemed to have credited the wrong cabin's card instead of ours,and told him he would have to contact them himself for the refund,have you ever heard of anything such as that one!!!!:confused:

 

I didn't see any raffle tickets being sold,we were outside only a short time,but waited indoors in line for a couple hours. I think your husband is right!! That's why they offered us a $50 credit,selling raffles to make the money!!!!!

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jsn--Grand Cayman is a tender port--ships never DOCK there.

Maybe the water was just too rough for tendering. CCL cant control the weather.

 

I do agree with you about Progresso--not a pretty port at all.

 

Sorry you didnt make the Caymans.

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Sometimes the only way a consumer can really show dissatisfaction with the service a company provides is to not use that company again.

 

I for one have opted to cruise again, but this time with a different cruise line.

 

Kahhli

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We were on the Miracle leaving Tampa on 10/23. Our group also bought raffle tickets. They said that they would announce the winning ticket on board, but we never heard it.

 

I have to agree with Kahhli, Carnival should have informed its customers about schedule changes as soon as possible. We all understand that cruising during hurricane season is a gamble, however, Carnival was asking its customers to place their bets without showing any of their cards.

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