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The cruise that wasn't: My Carnival Panorama adventure, June 18-25


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This was supposed to be my triumphant return to Carnival after almost 2 1/2 years away and several false starts. This would prove to be another false start, but I'm getting ahead of the story.

 

I booked this cruise back in March, when I saw an exceptional price on an OV cabin. I watched the days count by, including protocols being modified several times, until the day was close.

 

I did the Abbott proctored test thing for the fifth time. And for the fifth time my proctor and I agreed that I tested NEGATIVE. The only hiccup with this test is that I had to apply for an account with eMed before testing. I previously did not have to do that.

 

I checked in for the cruise as much as I could. No issues were found.

 

Finally it was cruise day! I got up at the crack of dawn and headed to Detroit, my nearest big airport. There wasn't much traffic or construction to dodge, and I made it to Metro in record time. 

I went through security and waited for my flight to LAX through Las Vegas. The flight left and arrived on time. Thank you Southwest.

 

That's when the problems started.

 

I got to Las Vegas and checked my connecting flight. It had a 1 1/2 hour delay. This was a critical 1 1/2 hours, turning my arrival at the terminal from being late to being TOO LATE.

 

I searched around for contact numbers. It seemed that I had to call general customer service. It took about a minute to be connected to a rep, which I was thankful for. I told her my tale of woe and she decided to call the resolutions department to see what could be done.

The call lasted in total about 34 minutes. I estimate that about 30 of it was with me on hold and my rep talking with or waiting for a response from the resolutions department.

 

Finally I got an answer. Resolutions decided that it was too unlikely that I would get to the terminal on time, therefore they were canceling my cruise and asked me not to bother coming.

They would refund my excursion for Mazatlan that I prepaid. I expected this.

They would refund my port fees, which was a bit unexpected.

 

And because I was Platinum (it must have been important, since my customer service rep mentioned it twice), they will give me a future cruise credit (FCC) for the amount I paid for the cruise . This was very unexpected and a pleasant surprise for me. I would have fun looking at future cruises that would make up for this one.

 

All right. Now that I had no cruise anymore, what did I want to do? Staying in Las Vegas was definitely an option, since I have enjoyed visiting in the past. However, it I decided to head to LA and take a flight the next morning back home. Spirit made it relatively easy for me to change. It only cost about $90 to switch - which I thought was a bargain for a last minute change.

 

My overnight stay was at the Courtyard across from LAX. It had a free shuttle that ran there 24 hours a day. It moved slowly in both directions. The room was OK. It cost about $222 for the night, which was painful.

 

The shuttle picked me up in the morning after a short wait. Getting through to the gate was a bit chaotic and slow, but I had lots of free time, so it wasn't that big of a deal. I had a lot of room when I arrived, but a lot less when we finally boarded.

 

I had been previously warned by email that this flight was looking for people to be bumped to a later flight. I wasn't interested at the price they were likely to offer. They didn't make any announcements about this at the gate, which means they must have resolved their capacity problem some other way.

 

The time came to board and there were no more issues, other than the fact that I got one of those Spirit flights with unusually tight legroom. I had been lucky on past Spirit flights to get seats with more normal room. It wasn't a big deal, as I'm only of average height.

 

The flight eventually landed at Metro and I headed home for the rest of my vacation.

 

Lessons learned:

 

* Flying is much more unreliable than normal these days. Plan accordingly.

 

* Status has its advantages which sometimes shows in the unlikeliest of places

 

* If my surname were Duffy, Arison, or Heald, I bet they would have held the ship for me. That they did not tells you who I am not.

 

* This is the second time in a year I've had to cancel a sailing on the Panorama. I think it's a sign for me to choose something a little closer to home next time.

 

* I haven't chosen where to go on my next Carnival cruise yet

 

* I have nothing bad to say about anyone I dealt with on this trip, human or corporation. I take full responsibility for everything that seemed to go wrong.

 

Thank you for reading. I hope it was entertaining. Maybe you learned a thing or two from my misadventures, which is even better. I'm hoping my next trip report will feature more cruising.

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Having an uneventful flight is about as rare as finding a dog that does long division these days.

 

I hear too many stories of busted trips that has a connecting flight. They blame everyone except the Easter Bunny for the extreme delays and cancelled flights. In 60 years of flying I have never seen such poorly managed airlines. They have to know of the problems, but want to hold onto your money as long as possible.

 

If I cannot get a nonstop flight on a Boeing, I ain't going. 

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Sorry this happened. It’s always been a good idea to fly in at least one day prior to the cruise departure. Now it seems that 2-3 days is needed. 

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Glad they gave you a good credit for this situation. Luckily, we can drive to all the ports in Florida and NO. Up to 8 hours, but still.

 

One thing I would never do is try and fly (or drive) in the day of the cruise. I wouldn’t have done that prepandemic and wouldn’t do it now. The stress alone would get me. 

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Thanks for sharing your story.  I enjoyed reading it, especially the lessons learned part.

 

We learned to fly in one day early after our very first cruise in 2005.  We didn't find out our flight to the cruise port was cancelled until we arrived at the airport.  The airline managed to get us on a different flight and we made our cruise but just barely.  Since then we always fly in a day early.

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50 minutes ago, Moviela said:

Having an uneventful flight is about as rare as finding a dog that does long division these days.

First of all, thanks to everyone for sharing.  Your comments are noted and appreciated. 👍

 

Second, I just want to say that I recently (February-March) had a flying adventure where I had four or five flights and EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. was delayed by at least an hour.  Fortunately, it didn't affect my cruises in between.

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Sorry to read your cruise was canceled Honolulu Blue.

From news reports looks like delays and cancellations are getting worse at all airports for all airlines.

While certainly flying the day before is sage advice, cruisers going over the next 2-3 months might want to consider 2 days before and then getting tested at destination.  😒

 

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Did I misread this? Were you flying in the day of the cruise. I guess I'm confused as unless it was a flight carnival arranged, I didnt know anyone would risk flying in the day of the cruise. Maybe I'm confused about the timing. 

 

Well at least you are in Las Vegas, it could be worse. Sounds like a fun place to be stuck. 

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My take away?

1. Don't fly to port same day.

2. Doesn't matter how much money you save by flying a buget airline, if it can't get you where you want to go on time, you saved nothing. Pay a little more and fly non stop whenever possible.

3. Always try to maintain status with hotels, cruise lines, and airlines.

4. Go with the flow, sometimes things happen.

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15 minutes ago, klfrodo said:

My take away?

1. Don't fly to port same day.

2. Doesn't matter how much money you save by flying a buget airline, if it can't get you where you want to go on time, you saved nothing. Pay a little more and fly non stop whenever possible.

3. Always try to maintain status with hotels, cruise lines, and airlines.

4. Go with the flow, sometimes things happen.


It doesn’t matter which airline you travel with in the current environment — they’re all experiencing operational difficulties.  I’ve traveled on hundreds of flights with Spirit over the past 20+ years, and beyond a small window where they had operational difficulties several years ago, nearly every single flight had been uneventful.


BTW - had the delay been 2 hours, the OP could’ve told Spirit his/her trip was in vain, shown the agent his/her cruise itinerary for proof, and Spirit would’ve flown him/her home and refunded the ticket.

 

 

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We sailed the Panorama at the end of May.  I insisted on flying out the day before as I wanted to be there and relaxed.  My father disagreed at the time as he didn't want to spend the money on a hotel and we were only coming in from Phoenix.  Later, he agreed that we made the right decision as flights were being cancelled all over the country.

 

We sail on Mardi Gras next Saturday and are flying out to Florida on Tuesday to do some sightseeing beforehand.

 

Sorry your cruise was cancelled.  The Panorama is a wonderful ship.  I'd give it another shot.

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Thanks for your report.  We are avoiding air travel at this time.

 

Everyone likes to say fly one or two days ahead.  Well, that seems to add one more burden to cruising.  Extra days of travel.  If you are one of the many that only get a few days of vacation a year and live more than a drive from port, maybe that means you don't pick cruising as your vacation??  Also adding hotel/meal costs in a city you may not really be interested in around a vacation can be an issue. Just pointing out that it is not as simple as what some make out.   I don't think the cruise lines that offer 7 day cruises want everyone to think that means traveling for 9 or 10 days??  Our air delay was on the return flight, that happens too.

 

Not sure what the answer is, but just pointing out that taking a longer vacation may not be a good answer.

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2 hours ago, firefly333 said:

Did I misread this? Were you flying in the day of the cruise. I guess I'm confused as unless it was a flight carnival arranged, I didnt know anyone would risk flying in the day of the cruise. Maybe I'm confused about the timing. 

 

Well at least you are in Las Vegas, it could be worse. Sounds like a fun place to be stuck. 

 

A lot of people do it. I'm surprised you haven't heard about it. Carnival actually sells transfers from the airport. I have only done it once. Last year I had to work a Friday before a Saturday cruise. My options were to get into LAX around midnight or to fly in first thing on embarkation day. I opted for a good night of sleep and an embarkation day flight. I booked direct. Connecting flights would only increase the risk. My flight left at 8am and with the time change I was in LAX by 9am...And I was at the port by 10am.

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9 hours ago, Honolulu Blue said:

Flying is much more unreliable than normal these days. Plan accordingly.

 

Wow, thank you for sharing your experience, it will definitely make me more cautious.  And I totally agree, airfare has just not returned to normal since the pandemic.  We've have had a connecting flight cancelled and our luggage lost (on our way to the cruies).  About 50% of our flights have been up to 4 hours late (fortunately mostly on the way home). 

Coincidentally we are flying into LAX morning of embarkation for Panorama in a couple months (but it's a fairly short direct flight) so crossing my fingers we don't have an experience similar to yours!

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1 hour ago, Saint Greg said:

 

A lot of people do it. I'm surprised you haven't heard about it. Carnival actually sells transfers from the airport. I have only done it once. Last year I had to work a Friday before a Saturday cruise. My options were to get into LAX around midnight or to fly in first thing on embarkation day. I opted for a good night of sleep and an embarkation day flight. I booked direct. Connecting flights would only increase the risk. My flight left at 8am and with the time change I was in LAX by 9am...And I was at the port by 10am.

I said unless carnival arranged the flight. I think you didnt read what I said. Of course I've heard of it. The cruiselines do it but it's not always the best idea. And of course I know cruiselines have transfers. Where in the world did you come up with I'm not aware of transfers. I didn't even mention them.

 

A girl at my Mdr table flew in from seattle in march .. her luggage didnt make it but at least she did.

 

I dont even drive the day of much less arrange PRIVATE flights the day of. 

 

I think you skimmed and made up what you think I was thinking.. makes no sense to me. You knew better that I knew of transfers and some fly in the day of. I'm saying with the news today i sure wouldnt. The part about transfers .. no clue where that came from. 

 

I'm flying next spring but my flight home leaves too early to do a cruiseline transfer. I've flown to calif, seattle and more times than I can count to Florida.  Never once the day of. So usually i do round trip shuttles but have taken from the cruiseline once. It took a extra long time! Went to every terminal at the miami airport. Once was enough. .. though again not even sure why we are discussing shuttles. Odd reply. You usually are more on top of things. 

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11 minutes ago, firefly333 said:

I said unless carnival arranged the flight. I think you didnt read what I said. Of course I've heard of it. The cruiselines do it but it's


Of course I read what you said. I think you didn’t read all what OP posted since you thought they were in Vegas when they actually said they flew to LAX.

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2 hours ago, happy cruzer said:

Thanks for your report.  We are avoiding air travel at this time.

 

Everyone likes to say fly one or two days ahead.  Well, that seems to add one more burden to cruising.  Extra days of travel.  If you are one of the many that only get a few days of vacation a year and live more than a drive from port, maybe that means you don't pick cruising as your vacation??  Also adding hotel/meal costs in a city you may not really be interested in around a vacation can be an issue. Just pointing out that it is not as simple as what some make out.   I don't think the cruise lines that offer 7 day cruises want everyone to think that means traveling for 9 or 10 days??  Our air delay was on the return flight, that happens too.

 

Not sure what the answer is, but just pointing out that taking a longer vacation may not be a good answer.

This is us. Husband has 8 vacation days left for this year and we have an 8 night cruise coming up. Getting in 1 day earlier will use up 6 vacation days, getting in 2 days early will used up 7 vacation days plus hotel costs, meals, car rental if we want to explore.

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5 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:


Of course I read what you said. I think you didn’t read all what OP posted since you thought they were in Vegas when they actually said they flew to LAX.

Ok I see they went on to lax. And stayed the night there. 

 

Still not sure why you say I never heard of transfers and all that. Agree they spent the night in a different city which isn't what you posted back to me.

 

I'm still surprised anyone would try and fly in the day of a cruise. Maybe I just see more of the news on flights... seems surprising to me. 

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2 hours ago, happy cruzer said:

Thanks for your report.  We are avoiding air travel at this time.

 

Everyone likes to say fly one or two days ahead.  Well, that seems to add one more burden to cruising.  Extra days of travel.  If you are one of the many that only get a few days of vacation a year and live more than a drive from port, maybe that means you don't pick cruising as your vacation??  Also adding hotel/meal costs in a city you may not really be interested in around a vacation can be an issue. Just pointing out that it is not as simple as what some make out.   I don't think the cruise lines that offer 7 day cruises want everyone to think that means traveling for 9 or 10 days??  Our air delay was on the return flight, that happens too.

 

Not sure what the answer is, but just pointing out that taking a longer vacation may not be a good answer.

 

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2 hours ago, happy cruzer said:

Thanks for your report.  We are avoiding air travel at this time.

 

Everyone likes to say fly one or two days ahead.  Well, that seems to add one more burden to cruising.  Extra days of travel.  If you are one of the many that only get a few days of vacation a year and live more than a drive from port, maybe that means you don't pick cruising as your vacation??  Also adding hotel/meal costs in a city you may not really be interested in around a vacation can be an issue. Just pointing out that it is not as simple as what some make out.   I don't think the cruise lines that offer 7 day cruises want everyone to think that means traveling for 9 or 10 days??  Our air delay was on the return flight, that happens too.

 

Not sure what the answer is, but just pointing out that taking a longer vacation may not be a good answer.

Carnival had almost free cruisefare for alaska and it was sure tempting, but I passed because flying is so iffy these days. I loved alaska, did it on miracle last time. Carnival had a awesome alaska cruise but flying is like gambling. I said this on rcl boards flying to me right now is risky and someone made fun of me for having the wrong cc name. 

 

Heck I'm worried they will get it together by next spring already bought my fare to miami.

 

I passed on alaska. Imo carnival wouldnt be offering such low fares if there werent others like me worried about flights getting cancelled. I was already attacked on rcl boards, but I think flying now is a risk. Carnival sure had some awesome alaska fares. 

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