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Old August 28th, 2000, 06:00 AM
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Default Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

Well, I was on the Carnival Triumph during the week of August the 20th and Debbie completely screwed up the itinerary. As most of you know, the 7-day eastern Caribbean cruises stop in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Croix. On the second day of our trip, the captain announced that we would not be able to make it to St. Thomas and St. Croix, the two stops I was anxiously awaiting. Instead, we were going to continue heading towards San Juan and sail back to make stops in Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas. Obviously, I was extremely disappointed but figured I could deal with two days in the Bahamas, which I've never visited.

Originally, we were to arrive in San Juan at 6pm and leave at 2am. Due to Debbie, plans changed. We arrived at 4pm and were instructed to be back aboard by 9pm. Five hours of useless time as the city was preparing for the hurricane and was practically deserted. People were busy boarding up windows and collecting supplies.

On Tuesday, the Captain announced that Debbie was heading for the Bahamas and Miami; therefore we would be changing our itinerary once again. Ocho Rios, Jamaica is where we would be going to supplement St. Thomas and St. Croix. Having been to this port already and being utterly disappointed, I was extremely upset. Comparing the Virgin Islands to Jamaica is the same as comparing a Mercedes S500 with a broken Ford Pinto. Just to elaborate on how horrible Ocho Rios is, we were off the ship for one hour before coming to the conclusion (again), that this port of call is horrid and returned.

Hurricanes cannot be predicted, but I have a few questions about this. First of all, why did we continue heading towards San Juan even though it was almost certain the hurricane would hit it? We had been heading towards the area for only 12 hours before it was decided that we would miss our Virgin Island stops. WHY would you continue heading TOWARDS the hurricane? The Paradise left one day after us and was scheduled for the eastern Caribbean but alternated to the western before even leaving. For some odd reason, we did not alternate.

I'm extremely disappointed, as you can imagine. Its not often I can take a vacation of this sort. All the services provided on the ship itself were great, but the reason I chose this specific cruise was for the ports of call, which we missed. All Carnival did was promise 15% off a future cruise and refund $30 + the $20 port fee for having one less stop. This seems completely unacceptable to me. Although act of nature prevented us from visiting St. Thomas and St. Croix, the itinerary could have been more properly adjusted to visit the nicer western ports (Cozumel and Grand Caymen).

Anyone have any ideas on what I can do to get some real compensation here? Upset is a complete understatement for how I feel.

- Mike
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 28th, 2000, 06:43 AM
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

Mike,
If you used a travel agent which I hope you did :-) Have them call Carnival. Some times agents can do things that seem impossible. Just ask some of my clients. Good Luck!Mike wrote:
>
> Well, I was on the Carnival Triumph during the week of August
> the 20th and Debbie completely screwed up the itinerary. As
> most of you know, the 7-day eastern Caribbean cruises stop in
> San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Croix. On the second day of our
> trip, the captain announced that we would not be able to make
> it to St. Thomas and St. Croix, the two stops I was anxiously
> awaiting. Instead, we were going to continue heading towards
> San Juan and sail back to make stops in Nassau and Freeport,
> Bahamas. Obviously, I was extremely disappointed but figured I
> could deal with two days in the Bahamas, which I've never
> visited.
>
> Originally, we were to arrive in San Juan at 6pm and leave at
> 2am. Due to Debbie, plans changed. We arrived at 4pm and were
> instructed to be back aboard by 9pm. Five hours of useless
> time as the city was preparing for the hurricane and was
> practically deserted. People were busy boarding up windows and
> collecting supplies.
>
> On Tuesday, the Captain announced that Debbie was heading for
> the Bahamas and Miami; therefore we would be changing our
> itinerary once again. Ocho Rios, Jamaica is where we would be
> going to supplement St. Thomas and St. Croix. Having been to
> this port already and being utterly disappointed, I was
> extremely upset. Comparing the Virgin Islands to Jamaica is
> the same as comparing a Mercedes S500 with a broken Ford
> Pinto. Just to elaborate on how horrible Ocho Rios is, we were
> off the ship for one hour before coming to the conclusion
> (again), that this port of call is horrid and returned.
>
> Hurricanes cannot be predicted, but I have a few questions
> about this. First of all, why did we continue heading towards
> San Juan even though it was almost certain the hurricane would
> hit it? We had been heading towards the area for only 12 hours
> before it was decided that we would miss our Virgin Island
> stops. WHY would you continue heading TOWARDS the hurricane?
> The Paradise left one day after us and was scheduled for the
> eastern Caribbean but alternated to the western before even
> leaving. For some odd reason, we did not alternate.
>
> I'm extremely disappointed, as you can imagine. Its not often
> I can take a vacation of this sort. All the services provided
> on the ship itself were great, but the reason I chose this
> specific cruise was for the ports of call, which we missed.
> All Carnival did was promise 15% off a future cruise and refund
> $30 + the $20 port fee for having one less stop. This seems
> completely unacceptable to me. Although act of nature
> prevented us from visiting St. Thomas and St. Croix, the
> itinerary could have been more properly adjusted to visit the
> nicer western ports (Cozumel and Grand Caymen).
>
> Anyone have any ideas on what I can do to get some real
> compensation here? Upset is a complete understatement for how
> I feel.
>
> - Mike
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old August 28th, 2000, 09:29 AM
Tim Rubacky
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

Mike,

In all fairness, 15% off a future cruise, to compensate something that was *completely* beyond Carnival's control is extremely generous. It's called a gesture of goodwill.

According to your passage contract, Carnival owes you nothing other than the refunded port charges.

Take the 15% and be happy that Carnival is being so gracious.

Tim Rubacky
Consumer Affairs Editor
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Old August 28th, 2000, 01:07 PM
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

Mike,

It's a shame that Debbie came along and messed up your cruise. However that IS a danger when cruising during hurricane season.
Even the hurricane center wasn't very accurate forecasting where Debbie was going.
A couple of years back we sat in a Miami hotel room waiting out Hurricane Georges and hoping it wouldn't affect our cruise. As I recall some ships were even moved to Tampa for debarkation/embarkation, and passengers were bussed to and from Miami, just to avoid him.
We were cruising on Destiny, and did manage to leave from Miami as Georges passed us by. However, because of damage to the islands, our itinerary changed, and we missed a couple or our ports.
Everyone cruising between July and Nov. should know this is a possiblity. The good thing is that the ships can move quickly enough to change itinerary and get the passengers out of danger that they don't have to cancel long planned vacations all together.
There are also other factors which can come into play when changing itineraries, such as Cayman's limit on # of passengers they allow in port at one time, berths available in other ports, etc.
I'm with Tim on this one! A 15% discount sounds very reasonable.

Regards,
Kuki
Features Editor
CruiseMates.com
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Old August 28th, 2000, 03:19 PM
BillG
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

As Kuki mentioned, hurricane paths are extremely unpredictable, as anyone who has followed Debbie can attest to. Last year my wife was on the West Coast of Florida when a hurricane was scheduled to hit. She drove across the state to our place on the East Coast, only to find that the hurricane, instead of continuing up the West Coast as predicted, also crossed Florida and roared by our place in Vero Beach, knocking out power, causing minor flooding, and generally creating a major mess. Had she stayed where she was on the West Coast, she would have missed all of this. I flew into Orlando in the morning to only slight winds and rain, while less than ninety miles away, the storm was pounding the coast. Face it, the cruiselines do their best to maintain their itineraries but have to divert at times to avoid serious weather. Whenever they divert, some claim they acted too hastily, while others insist they should have acted more quickly. Be grateful that your inconveniences were minor.
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Old August 28th, 2000, 07:55 PM
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

..Ok, I know I'm "beating a dead horse" here, but, take it from a guy who lives in South Florida. There is no such thing (ever so obvious by Debbie) a predicted path of a hurricane. Once I hear the word "disturbance", I'm automatically glued to The Weather Channel. Besides living just a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean, I work outdoors as a Letter Carrier, so outside conditions are very important to me.
...It has once been said that "the safest place to be in a hurricane is on a cruise ship". IMHO, truer words have never been spoken. Any Captain worth his salt, will always steer clear of any major disturbance.
...The fact that your itinerary was changed was in ...your best interest. These decision are not spur of the moment ideas and are well thought out. Now, I hope my October Destiny cruise is going to go as planned!
...Calm Seas and a Gentle Breeze ...Doug
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Old August 30th, 2000, 09:49 PM
Betty Davis
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

We had a similar problem last year in September aboard the Imagination. We could not get into Grand Cayman because of wave conditions. The hurricane at that time had passed the area but we were denied by the port authourity in Grand Cayman. We got 25 percent off our next cruise and also had our port charges refunded. I had to send a letter to Carnival stating that I thought we should get some compensation and how disappointed we were not making Grand Cayman--that is why we took the cruise. You might try that and see if you get anything better than just 15 percent. I think that is too little. Let us know how you do.
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Old September 1st, 2000, 12:21 PM
hdawson
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

Just what did you expect Carnival and the captain to do? Obviously, when they sailed the feeling was that they might be able to get to at least some of the original planned ports. Looks like the captain did the prudent thing for your safety. He could have just sailed to calm waters and had all days at sea. It happens. Yes the other ship changed it's iten, but that was a day later and with more information available. What do you think Carnival's obligation to you is?
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Old September 1st, 2000, 03:54 PM
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Default Easy to talk

It really surprises me when I hear the response "What did you expect them to do, they did the right thing." How often does one get a chance to take a vacation like this, only to have it ruined? Before you sit and lecture about how the proper steps were taken, think about how you would feel if the same thing happened to you.

- Mike
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Old September 3rd, 2000, 08:21 PM
hdawson
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Default RE: Easy to talk

Mike, I understand your disappointment and frustration. But, your problems were not with Carnival. I really think Tim and Kuki said it best. Fifteen percent off your next cruise is more than fair, and they are not really required to do even that. Didn't mean to sound like lecturing. Sorry if it came accross that way but sounded like you thought Carnival owed you some kind of compensation for something they had no control over.
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Old September 6th, 2000, 12:15 AM
Joe Joe is offline
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Default RE: Carnival Triumph - 8/20 Hurricane mess

Well put hdawson..I agree 100%..not carnival's fault.
They do their best to satisfy you. THe hurricane was an uncertainity. THe triumph sailed on a saturday the hurricane was expected to miss puerto rico but then decided to head towards Puerto rico. That was when the captain had to turn away from the storm. Next time sail some other time, hurricane season is unpredictable.
joe
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