My family just arrived home last night after a couple very long days in Mississippi and New Orleans. The entrance to the Mississippi was closed after the shipping accident on Saturday, February 21... so we were sent to a small port in Mississippi and were to be bused to New Orleans. After docking there in the early morning, we were told it would take a little while to clear things with customs. Minutes turned to hours and passengers began to realize flights would be missed in New Orleans. Still no word on the reason for the hold-up other than customs problems. When we finally were allowed to leave the ship everything was in disarray. The cruise director made a vague announcement about leaving the ship only if you had a confirmed paper airline ticket, which probably 90% of us did... and all hell broke loose. No airlines tickets were checked and we were on our own. Not so much as one custom's inspector was in sight. No customs paper work was collected and we still wonder what had held us up. During the 2.5 hours bus trip no one bit of info was passed on to the passengers. Finally at the airport in New Orleans we did not see one Carnival representative in sight and no announcements were made to help with the enormous flight problems. We waited nearly 4 hours in line to find we would be delayed 2 days before a flight into Buffalo could be confirmed.
Has anyone heard if Carnival is compensating passengers in any way or what the cause of the delay on ship was all about?
Carnival does not owe anyone any compensation for a commercial shipping accident/sinking that blocked the Mississippi river causing the Conquest to unexpectedly divert to Gulfport. Once in Gulfport the ship could not disembark until cleared by customs. Also unexpected by customs. Whether or not you saw any custom agent or not makes no difference the ship still had to be cleared which most probally took extra long because customs was not prepared for this emergency.
I too was saddened by the great loss of life suffered this past week, and as my father just recently died unexpectantly and am still grieving with the loss. I am sure that Carnival did make their passengers aware of this, as every cruise I have been on have always informed its passengers of what is going on. I am so sorry to hear that you were put out, but accidents do indeed happen. Try to think how the families feel that lost love ones. I am sure they would have rathered that everything had gone smoothy that day also!
I live in New Orleans and am a veteran cruiser of over 25 years. What you experienced from your perspective on the ship as disorganization, was in fact a super human effort on the part of many parties (the cruise lines, both ports, coast guard, bus companies, airlines, city officials) to deal with a very tragic and unexpected event that involved the loss of life. Because you were on the ship you were not aware of how large and unexpected an irregular operation this was but rest assure everyone did everything they could. And remember this was Mardi Gras on top of everything else, so perhaps when you get home and can look back at the circumstances around the ending of your cruise with some distance, you might not be so harsh. and think, you received an extra two days of vacation in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, recognizing that was an expense you hadn't plan on, but I'm sure it will be incorporated into your future cruise stories. It was no one's fault and remember several people died. Hope the rest of your cruise was fine and that you'll come back to New Orleans and cruise again. Suggest you go on the internet to www.wwltv.com, and read about the incident which will give you a better perspective. It had to be frustrating to you but considering what had happen, understanding will go along way. and besides Buffalo in the winter (I went to school there), or 2 extra days at Mardi Gras..priceless
Actually I'm not sure if you know but the Grandeur of the Seas by RCL didn't get to leave the dock in New Orleans as of Wednesday - I'm pretty sure they are still there - not much of a caribbean holiday. Also the Mardi Gras cruise on the Rhapsody ended up in Cozumel I believe. You were lucky to get home and be able to enjoy the cruise.
Glad you made it home ok and I do know from experience (although not as bad as yours) how frustrating it can be when all you want is to get home. I'm sorry - hope all is well. Debbie
Amen to Venice, and Grandeur of the Seas went on a 2 day cruise to Nowhere, with the cruise line giving the guest their money back, and even letting them take the cruise to nowhere as a bonus.
April 13, 2003 Carnival Conquest
November 2, 2003 Norwegian Dream
February 26, 2004 Carnival Miracle
June 4, 20004 American Queen
November 20, 2004RCCL Grandeur/Seas
January 29, 2005 Carnival Sensation
September 11, 2006 Carnival Holiday
Very well said, Venice. Kudos to all the cruise lines for handling this situation as well as they did. It was a bad situation all around but sometimes life throws an unexpected curve and we just have to make the best what we are dealt. I'm sure the cruise lines suffered a huge loss with all the transporting of passangers and luggage. I can't even imagine the chaos on Sunday morning getting all those people who were disembarking to New Orleans and then the ones embarking from New Orleans to Gulfport. I wonder how the cruise lines will be compensated for the spectacular job they did? God Bless the families in the loss of their loved ones.
MY SHIP HAS SAILED
Carnival Conquest 10/26/03
It does not sound like those of you who are responding to the Archimedes' post were affected by the accident, except for those you were on the Grandeur of the Seas. We were on the Conquest cruise that was supposed to leave on Sunday, February 22nd. Because of the accident and closure of the Mississippi River, we departed from Gulport on Monday, February 23rd. I can tell you from my own experience this past week, Carnival needs to work on their communication between the home office, the terminal employees and the cruise ship staff. Yes, part of the problem was beyond their control. However, the lack of communication exercebated the situation even more. We did not find out that we would not be going to Jamaica until we were on the ship in Gulfport. We were originally told by the home office on Sunday that we would be going to Jamaica but we would have one less day at sea. So, we set off on a six day cruise that was supposed to go to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. On Thursday morning, as we were going to get our tender tickets, we were informed (about 8:00 a.m. in the morning) that the tenders were not being allowed out of port. So, we had a six day cruise to Cozumel. Carnival did credit each person $75.00 but that is not enough to compensate us for reason we went on the ship. This was our yearly family vacation. We specifically chose this ship because it was going to Jamaica and Grand Cayman.
Archimedes, I would suggest you contact Carnival' s main office. That is what many of the passengers on the cruise we went on plan to do. While the accident was unexpected, I cannot believe that no one in a large corporation never thought of the possibility that the Mississippi could be blocked. In addition, Carnival has been docking in New Orleans for a number of years now and should know how big Mardi Gras is. They should have contingency plans in case something happens in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
Cajun.. I suggest you have your agent get in touch with Carnival. It is my understanding that beside the onboard credit, Carnival is offering their guests on your sailing a refund for 1 day (since the ship didn't sail until Monday), and a 50% discount off their next Carnival cruise (and that would be 50% off the best price you can find).
Grand Cayman is not a predictable port. Because the ships have to tender passengers into GC. if the sea conditions do not permit a safe transfer they have to abort the stop. This is a decision that generally can't be made until arrival at the port.
Many Grand Cayman stops are affected by these conditions on a fairly regular basis.
rcajun 90 makes an excellent point about the cruise companies having a contingency plan in case of this type of situation but it brings up an even bigger point in regards to homeland security (it was not an accident that the head of homeland security was in town this past week looking at the situation)..I suspect that NCL saw the competitive advantage of having a smaller ship serving the port that was able to use the alternate water route and I suspect Carnival and RCL are having long board room discussions about placing Mega size ships in ports that you have to go thru a channel to get to the sea. Also Mardi Gras may be the largest (in terms of numbers) event in New Orleans yearly but there is also jazzfest,essence,bayou classic, super bowls etc, that would present the same type(but smaller) logistical nightmares. It's one thing to deal with 1600 passengers, quite another to deal wiith 3100+. I'm sure Carnival will "do the right thing" for it's customers if only from a marketing perspective because they have not exactly received positive press the last few months when it diverted to Gulfport. And remember no airline had a contingency plan in place to deal with the situation of 9/11 but I bet they all do now and I bet the cruise companies are looking at every "homeland port" that you have to go thru a channel and coming up with several contingency plans. If they are smart, they will turn this negative situation into a positive one and don't think that Gulfport officials are not gearing up to capture the business on a permanent basis