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How should cruise lines communicate last-minute itinerary changes?

How should cruise lines communicate last-minute itinerary changes?  

342 members have voted

  1. 1. How should cruise lines communicate last-minute itinerary changes?

    • Have an automated recording go out to all passengers at home
      18
    • Request multiple phone numbers at time of booking, and have real humans call all those numbers
      25
    • Send out e-mail notifications
      27
    • Post updates on company Web sites
      14
    • All of the above!
      246
    • Something else (which I'll post)
      12


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When NCL's Norwegian Sky departed Miami early to avoid a tropical storm, some passengers were stranded at the port. Click here for our coverage: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=2737

 

Could NCL have done a better job communicating the itinerary changes to its passengers? How should all cruise lines handle last-minute correspondence? We want your opinion, so please weigh in on our poll.

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When NCL's Norwegian Sky departed Miami early to avoid a tropical storm, some passengers were stranded at the port. Click here for our coverage: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=2737

 

Could NCL have done a better job communicating the itinerary changes to its passengers? How should all cruise lines handle last-minute correspondence? We want your opinion, so please weigh in on our poll.

The only problem with the first one is you don't always get the home phone or the spouse gets the call and says what cruise and with whom?

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I voted for All of the above but I would change having a person calling all of those numbers. It would be faster and easier for the cruiseline to have a prerecorded message for the notification calls.

Save the live help for answering incoming phone calls from people who need additional information or help with changes.

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When NCL's Norwegian Sky departed Miami early to avoid a tropical storm, some passengers were stranded at the port. Click here for our coverage: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=2737

 

Could NCL have done a better job communicating the itinerary changes to its passengers? How should all cruise lines handle last-minute correspondence? We want your opinion, so please weigh in on our poll.

 

When did NCL decide to leave early? I suspect it was too late to notify most passengers.

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They do all those things anyway. The problem comes when passengers are unavailable or are already in transit.

 

It is ALWAYS the passengers responsibility to keep track of schedule changes; cruise ships or airlines.

 

It is not the companies responsibility to KNOW where you are at all times and whether you are available to receive messages.

 

Pick up the phone and call. It's FREE.

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The only problem with the first one is you don't always get the home phone or the spouse gets the call and says what cruise and with whom?

 

or..a lot of people don't leave their homes the day of the cruise anymore. Many stay in pre-cruise hotels for one to several days.

 

In a case like a tropical system, there has to be some common sense on the part of the passenger also.

 

I voted for all..as long as people register their cell phones, not home phones. Although, the live person idea may not be possible.

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What difference does it make if it is a last minute change or even 8 hours before leaving?

 

What difference will it make to you?

 

I would rather not know, since maybe it would upset me and there would nothing I could do anyway.

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How about asking at the time of booking how the passenger wants to be notified? e-mail, phone ect... and also make sure that the passenger knows that the departure time is subject to change without notice. It is probably in the contract, but I was surprised to hear that they left earlier than scheduled departure--I thought maybe they would delay departure and just sit out the storm; never occured to me that they would leave early!

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They do all those things anyway. The problem comes when passengers are unavailable or are already in transit.

 

It is ALWAYS the passengers responsibility to keep track of schedule changes; cruise ships or airlines.

 

It is not the companies responsibility to KNOW where you are at all times and whether you are available to receive messages.

 

Pick up the phone and call. It's FREE.

 

I am going the same time on RCI in a few weeks and you gotta be on top of it with backuip plans. Wonder if RCI Magesty left early too!!!

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I am going the same time on RCI in a few weeks and you gotta be on top of it with backuip plans. Wonder if RCI Magesty left early too!!!

 

Neither Carnival nor RCCL left early.

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I cannot even imagine how much it would add to each cruise fare to hire enough phone reps to call every passenger on every cruise potentially affected by schedule changes (late arrivals by an hour, missed ports due to weather or mechanical problems), etc.

 

The vast majority of pax on the Sky clearly got the message -- reports are that 12 people missed the ship's early sailing. Whatever the cruise line is doing appears to have been adequate notice in nearly every case -- to have done a "better job" notifying passengers NCL would have had to be perfect in reaching everyone. As others on this thread have said, that's almost impossible. People are in transit, changed cell providers, only gave home numbers when they aren't home, etc..

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To Verbally notify people of something is invalid if they 'miss the boat". How many times have you tried to get a customer service rep to keep their word only to find out it doesn't matter if it's not in writing in the contract. These folks have doc's that state their departure time and if the cruise leaves early these folks are due any out of pocket expenses and a full refund because the cruise broke the contract.

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refund yes(you should read the NCL boards some saying no refund is due)...consequential damages not required but good pr. This time its only 12 people not that many. the consequential damages(getting them home) aren't that much....

 

 

I wonder if they have insurance and what it covers.....

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shame on those 12 for not flying in a day early...part of the booking process should be to leave the name of the hotel that you're staying at pre-cruise. Calling home won't work, the passenger has already left. I don't have a cell phone and how am I supposed to check email when I don't carry a laptop in transit. Best bet is to call the pre-cruise hotel I'm staying at.

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I have thought this over for a day.........I'm just not sure there is anything that LOGICALLY can be done to notify (in some cases very soon 5,000 passengers) all the passengers. Some don't have cell phones or leave them at home on vacation, some come in the day before or two days before..........some arrive the day of.........1,000 are scattered over area hotels.........

 

It is rare that it happens.........I just don't think there really is anything that can be done.

 

How they react to it, if passengers are left behind........will strengthen or weaken them from a PR standpoint.

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Isn't this a situation where, if the passengers had purchased insurance - - it would have been taken care of?

 

I cannot imagine someone cruising during hurricane season without insurance.

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Get to the ship earlier than 2 hours before scheduled leaving. Why get there so late.

 

Not me I am there early - they will never ever leave without me.

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Apparently, these 12 passengers decided to gamble. Arriving at the last minute for a cruise out of southern Florida, especially during "hurricane season" is no different from going to Vegas or AC and placing a bet at the roulette table. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don't.

 

In particular, from what I can tell, Monday morning, there were no appreciable flight delays from NY area airports to Miami. So, for example, if the NYC passengers who missed the sailing, would have taken a 7:00am or 8:00am flight, they wouldn't have missed the sailing. In fact, if they would have taken a flight which would have landed at noon, they wouldn't have missed the sailing.

 

I know cruisers who boast they never arrive at the cruise terminal until just an hour or so before the ship’s scheduled departure. Personally, I think that’s crazy.

 

Airline flights can be delayed, and often are. Traffic to the terminal from the airport can be tied up. An accident driving to the cruise terminal can occur.

 

My rule of thumb is to arrive at the port of embarkation for a domestic cruise at least one day, and preferably two days early. For a cruise departing from an international port of departure, I recommend arriving three days prior to embarkation. That has the added benefit of giving cruisers a chance to explore the port city as well as ensure they will be on board when their ship sails.

 

People have been badmouthing what NCL did for these passengers, on boards across the Internet. While for marketing sake, NCL could have offered more compensation, NCL had no obligation to offer any refund or reimbursement whatsoever. My take is that these cruisers could have lost much more than just the cost of a useless round trip flight between their homes and Miami without the goodwill of NCL. Along with arriving at least a little early to ensure one makes their sailing, their story makes clear the need for cruise passengers to purchase travel insurance covering their cruises.

 

Travel insurance would have covered their cruise fare losses, but it can help more. I’ve been on longer cruises where passengers who missed the sailing flew on to the next port to complete the cruise. These cruisers’ travel insurance covered the prohibitive cost of the airfare for their “last minute” flight to the next port, and the cost of their overnight hotel stay.

 

As to the ship leaving early, the captain had to take into account the safety of the passengers and the ship. I'd rather the captain err on the side of safety, were I on the cruise, than worry about passengers who were cutting it too close. Look at the stats here, 99.4% of the passengers made the sailing. The ship altered more than just the time of sailing. Due to Fay's size and heading, the captain had to alter the ship's itinerary too, and clearly by leaving two hours early, the itinerary change was facilitated.

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My hubby and I have been on over 40 cruises throughout the world. The solution is to ARRIVE A DAY BEFORE your cruise and get on the ship when embarkation begins (about noon to 1PM). Free Lido lunch is served.

 

Why people would show up at the "last minute" confounds me. The cruise ship airline package booking usually arrives on the same day. We try to book our airfare separately (usings frequent flyer points when we can).

 

We enjoy spending the "extra" night in the debarkation city. In fact, we usually meet some CC folks for dinner the night before the cruise. Another opportunity to "meet and greet".

 

I have no sympathy for those folks who "missed the boat", nor do I blame the cruise line for leaving early. Passenger safety should be their number one concern when bad weather is forecast.

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Get to the ship earlier than 2 hours before scheduled leaving. Why get there so late.

 

Not me I am there early - they will never ever leave without me.

 

Exactly.

 

The only way I would miss the ship, would be if the previous week's cruise didn't come in.

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I voted for all of the above. However, I know a lot of people rely on the cell phones today and have text messaging. So I would also send a text to the cell phone IF a cell phone number is given.

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I voted for all of the above. However, I know a lot of people rely on the cell phones today and have text messaging. So I would also send a text to the cell phone IF a cell phone number is given.

you don't know if a number is a cell phone number anymore. and I think the anti spam act doesn't allow broadcast text messages to cell phones without a separate agreement(because there is a charge for text messages)...Cell phone companies can do it because they do it for free. Also many older cell phones don't have text message capability and many people haven't figuired out how to use them anyway....(you know the joke about the light blinking 12:00 on the VCR)

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I wish they would have an 800 number with a recording that lists the departure status for each cruise/port for the day. When you are traveling to the port, it would be easier for you to reach them than for NCL to reach you.

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My hubby and I have been on over 40 cruises throughout the world. The solution is to ARRIVE A DAY BEFORE your cruise and get on the ship when embarkation begins (about noon to 1PM). Free Lido lunch is served.

 

Why people would show up at the "last minute" confounds me. The cruise ship airline package booking usually arrives on the same day. We try to book our airfare separately (usings frequent flyer points when we can).

 

We enjoy spending the "extra" night in the debarkation city. In fact, we usually meet some CC folks for dinner the night before the cruise. Another opportunity to "meet and greet".

 

I have no sympathy for those folks who "missed the boat", nor do I blame the cruise line for leaving early. Passenger safety should be their number one concern when bad weather is forecast.

 

We always arrive a day early............BUT..........if the cruiseline decides to leave at 1pm instead of 5pm, I'm not sure that will help you much unless you get to the pier at 11am......

 

Wasn't it a couple of years ago one of the harbor masters decided to close one of the Florida ports and one of the RC ships had to leave early?

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Personally , I like to arrive the day before for a cruise so that I am not tired the first day of the cruise. having said that, it is really hard for a lot of people to get the day off before a cruise or to be able to afford a hotlel in the Miami, ftl area. for a lot of peolpe they have to save for a long time for a cruise. ( I know I do). secondly, the word went out a couple of days before the cruise, maybe those people could not get there flights changed in such a short time..... the report did not say why they arrived late, so we can only speculate.

 

I think NCL and anyother cruise line should make the calls to the people as wellas to the TA. so that both can notifiy. better to be redundant.

 

I think NCL did what thay thought they needed to do to help out those who where left behind. remember the contract says that the schedule may be changed with out notice.

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Not only "all the above" but sooner. They can nake decisions much sooner than they do. For most people 24 hours is not enough when they are coming in by plane especially. Also, when they do notify them they should also be given the option of cancelling with full refund if they know they cannot make it.

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Wasn't it a couple of years ago one of the harbor masters decided to close one of the Florida ports and one of the RC ships had to leave early?

 

I know it happened to Granduer in Bermuda. She had to leave early due to a tropical storm coming in. RCCL paid for hotel rooms for those left behind, paid for their flights home, and refunded at least part of their cruises.

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I know it happened to Granduer in Bermuda. She had to leave early due to a tropical storm coming in. RCCL paid for hotel rooms for those left behind, paid for their flights home, and refunded at least part of their cruises.

 

Thanks Wrona.........I knew it happened somewhere.......the ol memory isn't what it used to be.:)

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Ok I guess if it would have happened to me I would be quiet upset. I don't blame NCL for this because I read it ahead of time on the cruise critic boards, so I think everyone that is going on a cruise should be registered on cruise critic.:D It is not like they left a day ahead or in the morning. I mean why would someone want to chance missing a cruise by waiting 2 hrs before it is scheduled to leave to get to the port ? I always go a day ahead of time and get there by 10:30am or at least 11:00am. I am just too excited to wait until 2 hrs before leaving the port. If they are flying in then they need to always be scheduled to arrive in the morning. This is only my opinion but I just don't see why people are going to blame NCL or any other cruiseline. Also during hurricane season I would always get insurance. I know cruises are cheaper durung this time, but I don't think I want to book during hurricane season.

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To Verbally notify people of something is invalid if they 'miss the boat". How many times have you tried to get a customer service rep to keep their word only to find out it doesn't matter if it's not in writing in the contract. These folks have doc's that state their departure time and if the cruise leaves early these folks are due any out of pocket expenses and a full refund because the cruise broke the contract.

 

These folks have also, presumably, read the ticket contract and terms of conditions and know that a ships itinerary can be changed at any time, for any reason, without notice. THAT is the contract!!! NCL didn't break it......it's clearly stated that they can do it....

 

It is up to the passenger to keep track if they KNOW there are weather problems.

 

Pick up the phone and call for updates.... It's free. With everyone and their uncle running around with a cell phone attached to their ears, how hard is it to dial a toll-free phone number...... What, suddenly they forgot how to use theirs?

 

In this "nanny" society we seem to be in, nobody ever wants to take responsibility for their own actions.....:cool:

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My head must have been in the sand...I just saw this thread. And most options have been discussed...but long story short when you cruise during hurricane season you have to keep yourself up to date with the frequently changing weather conditions...and I can't even imagine getting to the port so late. :eek:

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Text message to your cell phone with phone number to contact for more complete information or if you have more questions.

 

 

What if someone doesn't have a cell phone or even a computer? What if someone is on a cruise on another cruiseline and then will do a B2B?

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The only problem with the first one is you don't always get the home phone or the spouse gets the call and says what cruise and with whom?

 

 

Best answer on this thread !! :D :) :cool: :cool: :D

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It should be the cruiser's responsibility to call as well as the lines responsibility to post on website and maybe email any changes. To put the burden on the cruise line to have to call all passengers and track them down, especially if it is for reasons of a disaster, is unrealistic.

 

It might be best served, as most companies do, with a pre-recorded "disaster" hotline. The cruise lines could have a dedicated line for each specific ship with the pre-recorded messages and instruction and then the option to be transferred to a live rep if they need additional info or assistance.

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If your leaving on a trip your job is to check the weather. NCL is not wrong and you know to bad

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Ok someone just replied... What if you are on a BTB...If that is the case ...then your ship would be back way before 3:00pm. Sorry I just can't fault NCL

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