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  #1 (permalink)  
Old November 25th, 2003, 02:54 PM
Debbie Kupperberg
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Default throw up before you check in!!!

My whole family is supposed to be in the Caribbean this week! Supposed to.

On Saturday night, we all went out to eat at Blimpie's. My husband had a pastrami sandwich which, by Sunday morning, made him sick. He had a stomachache and felt nauseous. But we got on the plane to catch our ship (I won't mention the cruise line) in Fort Lauderdale. We were going on a 7-day cruise which my mom and dad paid for (it was my mom and dad, me, my husband and my kids all going together). All the way down on the plane my husband did not feel well.

When we got to the cruise ship terminal, my mom and dad checked in, and then it was our turn. My husband said, "here, you take care of it, I'm not feeling well." I was at the check-in, and had all the documents out, and the woman behind the counter said, "Where is your husband?" I turned around and he was throwing up into a garbage receptacle. So the woman says "come with me," and takes us all off the line, and has the ship's doctor come down and see my husband. My husband explains about the pastrami sandwich and the doctor says, "Everybody thinks it's food poisoning when 99% of the time it's a virus. And with the viruses on the cruise ships these days, I cannot allow you to board the ship. He didn't even examine my husband. Not only that, but all 6 of us, including my parents, were denied boarding, because we were all traveling together!

They told my mom they'd refund all her money ($8,000), got our luggage off the ship, made plane reservations, sent us cabs back to the airport, and sent us home. We got home at 12:30 in the morning and had to take an illegal taxi home that charged my husband $60.

I am not angry at the cruise line. I feel the doctor should have at least examined my husband who, by the way, woke up the next day feeling absolutely fine!

We were so sad and depressed ... and still are!

I know the cruise ship was doing what they felt was right, but what do the rest of you think?

Also, this message teaches a lesson to any of you who don't feel so hot when boarding -- go to the bathroom and throw up before you check in!
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Old November 25th, 2003, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Hi Debbie,
So sorry to hear you all missed this cruise. I do understand the cruiseline's reasoning for doing that, plus what if something was really wrong with your husband and needed more medical attention than they could provide onboard. I think they were looking at the "whole" situation where recently there have been lots of cases of virus's onboard ships and rather than have it spread, they chose not to have you cruise at this time. What ever was wrong with your husband could of been something more serious, I'm just glad he is OK. You are also fortunate that they did refund the cost of the cruise, so go ahead and re-plan it and have fun! At least the family is healthy.

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Old November 25th, 2003, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Your husband may or may not have been suffering from the effects of his pastrami sandwich, nevertheless, there is the possibility that he was ill because of a virus. Intestinal ailments (a la the Norwalk-like viruses that have been in the news) can spread mighty fast on a ship (or any other close, self-contained environment). Therefore, the cruiseline took the better-safe-than-sorry route in denying your family permission to board.
We sailed during the SARS scare, and had to fill out a questionnaire prior to boarding asking passengers if they had been coughing, running a fever, or had visited Toronto or China recently, among other things. During our cruise, we heard a rumor that someone had, in fact, been denied boarding on the basis of that questionnaire.
If you read your cruise contract carefully, you will see the cruiseline has discretion with respect to allowing or disallowing passngers to board for a variety of reasons.
I'm sure it was a huge disappointment for your family. Fortunately, the cruiseline did handle the situation well, in light of the fact that they paid for and arranged your trip home. Imagine how much worse it would have been otherwise, since they really were under no obligation to help you out.
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Old November 25th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Debbie... no question this was a case of TERRIBLE timing. However, to be honest, it sounds like the cruise line handled the situation extremely well.... at least handling your travel arrangements home, and giving a complete refund.

The season the cruise line endured last year with Norwalk Virus, and the SARS worries surely led them to be cautious. Just last week 100 passengers were sick with a "Noro - Virus on Carnival Legend.

Difficult to accuse them of being too careful.

Hopefully your entire family will be able to rebook quickly and enjoy a great family vacation.

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Old November 26th, 2003, 08:11 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

oh I would have been pissed!
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Old November 26th, 2003, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Debbie, I'm glad you are not angry at the cruiseline and are reasonable about their decision. Yes, you got the raw end of the deal but it's nice to see you are capable of recognizing the position the cruiseline had to take.

Thankfully your mom's money was refunded and you are not financially out anything. You were inconvenienced to be sure, but go ahead and book that cruise again and ask the TA or cruiseline if they would be willing to give you an upgrade or cabin credit for the inconvenience of your last episode.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old November 26th, 2003, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Debbie, first off glad to hear that everyone is feeling fine. I think you are handling this situation very well. You are very fortunate that the cruise line refunded your money, and paid for your flight home. I would re-book as soon as you can and don't eat any pastrami sandwiches the night before your cruise!
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Old November 26th, 2003, 12:52 PM
christine fischer
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I don't know if what the cruise line did was right or not....

My friend took a disney cruise last spring. Her tummy always gets upset when she travels, most likely due to rich food. She forgot to pack anything for it and went to the ship store for immodium. When she couldn't locate any asked the clerk for help, she wound up in quarrantine for the emainder of the cruise. She was travelling with her 75 year old mother and two and four year old sons. None of them were quarantined (their tummies were ok). However, if the kids wanted to do anything, (eat, swim, port, etc) her elderly mother had to take them. Lesson to me: pack your own tummy medicine (I always need mylanta myself).

But I have heard that the norwalk virus is second most common illness in our population (second to common cold). When folks contract it at home, they take a day or two off work but when they have it on a cruise, they don't want to miss out and go out and expose others....

It's hard to be selfless for the greater good. But it's also no fun when there is no need for the selflessness (e.g., the person isn't really contagious). On route to my last cruise my two year old threw up on the plane. If the cruise line had known would we have been denied embarkation? I know she threw up because we woke her at the crack of dawn, fed her mcdonald's for breakfast and then bribed her with candy on the plane. She was fine afterward and for the duration of the cruise.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 01:19 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

after re-reading your post, i am asking myself are the cruise lines suffering from Norwalkafobia?? what is going to happen to the person who gets seasick, or booze-sick? are they going to be quarrantined for the duration of the cruise or worse-yet have to leave the ship at the next port? The cruise lines need find a happy medium somewhere.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

There is no happy medium for the cruise line. You may know yourself that you are sick because of something you had for breakfast, dinner, etc. but to the cruise line you are a stranger and there may be a small chance that you have something that might affect hundreds of other passengers. They have to make a decision on the spot. Whichever they make, they will be criticized. I'm sure they know that. But it's better to err on the side of caution.
Think back a few months---remember the many posts about suing the cruise lines because of getting sick with the "virus"? Now put yourself in their place---do they try to prevent people from boarding that appear to be sick with something unknown to them, or let it pass and hope for the best--what to do? If an outbreak should occur, how many will scream lawsuit-- the cruise line should have known, didn't take steps, etc.etc.

It's a bad break for Debbie and her family and she is to be commended for handling this the way she has. I truly hope they can get on another cruise asap and I would urge her to try for an upgrade or something for her troubles. Good luck to her.
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Old November 27th, 2003, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I agree with Ron. Hindsight is 20/20. But we cannot look in the future. So it is better to err on the side of caution.

Just curious - for those of you who think the cruise line overreacted. What do you think of letting these people on the ship, but escorted directly to their cabins and quarantined for 72 hours? Would that have been a better solution? How upset would the poster and her family have been with that solution? I think in hindsight this was the best solution...all money refunded and hopefully they can arrange another trip together very soon.

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Old November 28th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Suppose you were a passenger on this ship and the sick passenger was allowed to board because he told the cruiseline he just had an upset stomach, yet he didn't know he actually had Norwalk. He infected you and your entire family, who's vacation was ruined, because the cruiseline allowed this sick passenger on board. Would you be mad at the cruiseline? Of course you would.

I think the cruiseline did the right thing and I think the affected passengers should be compensated with an upgrade or cabin credit on their next cruise.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old November 28th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I agree with Thomas, the cruise line did the right thing. The unfortunate part is that you didn't see it coming and even though you are are convinced it was just food poisoning the cruise line couldn't be sure.

For the cruise lines, they're d***ed if they do and d***ed if they don't. They erred on the side of caution. But I also agree with Thomas that if the cruise lines are going to choose not to board passengers they must take responsibility for that choice and compensate the denied passengers to the best of their abilities - which in this case it seems they did.

I am really sorry to hear these stories of people getting quarantined during their vacations. But the upside is that if word gets around that the cruise lines will enforce quarantines then people will be more likely to self-quarantine if they get sick on a cruise (simply to avoid the mandated quaratine) -- which will help alleviate some of the spread of viruses.

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Old November 28th, 2003, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

While I certainly applaud the cruise line's dedication to the proposition that "no sick person will be permitted to board", I have to consider LisaK's point about what happens in the case of the sick passenger who isn't symptomatic until the vessel is underway.


We're one day out when Joe Blow suddenly is racked with stomach pains and vomiting while enjoying his dinner in the main dining room! It's clearly too late to tell Joe and his ten family members that they're not welcome on board. Did Joe get sick from something he ate or drank on the ship? Or was it the choppy seas? Or was he already sick at the time of boarding?

Now change the people in this scenario to Debbie, her sick husband and family. Oops! What would the cruise line do in that case? Would they insist that the man see the ship's doctor? Supposing the doctor was unable to arrive at a diagnosis...what then? In the actual case at hand, the anonymous cruise line took the easy (and perhaps the best) way out. But what if...?

I too congratulate Debbie and her family for accepting the company's decision gracefully. That showed a touch of class and judgment that is frequently not seen. Let's hope that when someone becomes ill during our next cruise, the line makes the tough decisions quickly and correctly. I don't envy the guy who ultimately has to make those decisions.

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Old November 28th, 2003, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I like what Jack said...Debbie handled the situation with class. But I KNOW you must be devastated. Have you planned your next cruise? Glad to hear the cruiselines did right by you and gave you another cruise.

Better luck next time!

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Old November 29th, 2003, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

As someone who has to deal with situations like this every day, it is very difficult to make a diagnosis on the spot. Symptoms of food poisoning and stomach flu (Norwalk Virus) are virtually identical at the outset. Only time and follow up by medical personnel can determine the difference between the two. While treatment is similar, the possibility of food poisoning spreading is NIL, compared to Norwalk virus.

Jack - in the scenario you described, some people were confined to their staterooms with only room service for meals for up to 72 hours (and these pax were NOT happy) until symptoms subsided or the possibility of spreading the infection, no matter how innocently, was over. The cruise lines are in a no-win situation.

I dread what this flu (influenza - not the stomach flu/Norwalk virus) season is going to bring....all indications are that it is going to be a doozy......and cruise ships are prime infecting grounds (as is any place where a large number of people gather in an enclosed space.)



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Old November 29th, 2003, 10:08 AM
Debbie Kupperberg
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I just wanted to say thank you for your comments. You are all correct!

My mom phoned the cruise line -- they said there will be a check in the mail in 4-6 weeks. In the mean time, she is looking into other cruises for us to go on, including with the same line.

I didn't mention that we are not novice cruisers -- this would have been my parents' 21st cruise, my 13th, my husband's 12th, my 9-year-old's 7th and my 5-year-old's 6th. I suppose some bad luck had to come eventually.

I still believe the doctor acted like a jerk -- showing his fake "public relations" smile all the while. I feel the pursur who accompanied the doctor was truly sorry for us, and she went out of her way to make us comfortable, providing us with drinks and bags of chips while we were stuck in the terminal, as well as bringing my kids backpacks filled with goodies from the onboard kids' program.

We had a fun Thanksgiving, though. My parents came over for turkey and we all played "cruise ship." My kids put on a CD with "Hot, Hot, Hot," served "room service" with a plastic tea set, made towel animals, put chocolates on the pillows, and put on life vests to play "lifeboat drill." I joined in by hosting an "art auction." Then the kids sang "All That Jazz" (how many times have we heard that one in the showroom?) and selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, and we did ice sculptures with an ice cube. I also wrote a song about our experience and sang it in our "talent show."

So, we'll just see what happens next ....

Love and cruises,
Debbie
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Old November 29th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

That's what is called "putting a good spin on a bad experience", Debbie. Obviously this was not the first time your family had faced real disappointment, and you handled it with poise and a touch of humor. Good girl! While it does sound like the good doctor was perhaps posturing a bit, based on the fact that no diagnostic work was attempted, it does your family justice that you took his "bad medicine" with a shrug and went on with your lives. Let's hope that your substitute cruise is the best you've ever experienced, and that hubby lays off the pastrami this time.

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Old November 29th, 2003, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Debbie -wow! What a great attitude! And I hope it all works out for you on the next cruise.

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Old November 29th, 2003, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Well, you just had a valuable learning experience. There are 2 ways to handle that situation depending on whether you're the sick person or someone who may come in contact with the sick person. As someone who might come in contact with a sick person, you did the right thing in bringing attention to an ill person. If, however, you are the sick person and feel that you don't need a doctor's attention, then you did the wrong thing. The cruiseline or airline is not going to give you a medical checkup before boarding. They will simply deny you entry, as they did. They will always act on the side of caution to protect their other customers. They taught us in the military, never tell anything that you think your superiors would not want to hear. That also applies here. If you had a big night before boarding and have a hangover, put on your best face and keep it to yourself. If you have the sniffles, act like you're as fit as a fiddle and keep it to yourself. If you have a stomach ache, put on your best smile and keep it to yourself. Well, you get the idea. Unfortunately, honesty is not always the best policy in the real world, hence, the little white lie. Sometimes, when people have different agendas, honesty can be held against you. If there's a next time, put on your best face and don't volunteer anything that you don't think they would want to hear. (But if I'm traveling with you, tell me so I can tell them you're sick.) Okay!
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