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Old September 18th, 2008, 10:42 AM
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Default What Should They Have Expected?

As all of you know, Ike caused many problems this last week. Two of those problems had to do with the cruise ships, The Conquest, and the Ecstasy.

I was talking yesterday with passengers on both ships who seemed to think that it was Carnival's responsibility to get them home, since it was not their fault.

Instead of returning to Galveston, they were taken to NO and then were told that if they wanted, they could stay on the ship, and return to Houston's new cruise port this morning.

Some thought that Carnival should have arranged flights, free trips to the airport, and been willing to give them up to date info while en route back to the states from Cozumel. (Not enough information)

I would like to hear your opinions on what a cruise line obligation is to passengers.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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It was not the cruise lines fault either. That is what insurance is for.

Laura
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Old September 18th, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruznut2
It was not the cruise lines fault either. That is what insurance is for.

Laura
Ditto....

They knew the risk and elected to go anyway.
It's all in the fine print. They were treated fairly.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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It doesn't cost a lot to communicate and pass along information, which could be a justified complaint.
However, the previous posters are correct, Carnival fulfilled its obligations. Could they have done more? Probably. Had they done more, would it have satisfied 100% of the passengers? Probably not. So it's a lose, lose, proposition. Anyway you slice it Carnival can't win.

But if you choose to cruise during hurricane season, you need to take ownership for that decision and try to always have a contigency plan. I always try to ask myself...what will I do if we have to return to a distant port, or what if we are a day or two late returning to port. I always try to have some idea of what I will do in that situation. Since we are self employed, if we are contracted to be somwhere, we have to get there, so I try to give us a cushion of a day or two before we go to work.

A lot of folks think "thats what trip insurance is for" and that trip insurance is the solution to all of these problems. Well it isn't. All trip insurance is going to do, is to reimburse you for the expenses incurred to make necessary changes to get you home (a few will pay the cost up front but not many) generally speaking you pay out of pocket and then file a claim for reimbursement. Don't get me wrong I strongly advocate trip insurance, but also make sure you have some extra funds you can get to, if you have to shell out of pocket to get yourself home. Generally airlines will waive change penalties if the situation is weather related. But the key is to be able to communicate with them. If Carnival didn't relay timely information to the passengers, then the were kind of stuck in limbo.

These are floating cities and changes to ports are not made instantly, a lot of planning takes place to coordinate those changes, so it is understandable if Carnival couldn't instantly flip a switch and announce those changes until they had all their ducks in a row. I think it may be time for the CruiseMates Staff to run an article about cruising during Hurricane season from a planning and financial aspect. There are great bargains to be had if you are a gambler. We've had a great time cruising during hurricane season but things don't always go according to plan. You might miss ports, the seas can be VERY rough, you may not return to your planned port. You may return to find your car has been totalled by the hurricane that struck while you were away. It is very understandable that this was a very stressful time for many people on these cruises and tempers ran high.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 12:13 PM
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as far as free flights, etc; forget about it; that isn't Carnival's responsibility; it is a risk we all take when cruising during hurricane season;

as far as "not enough information" - I feel even when there is no information to give the passengers should be kept updated even if the update is that there is no information at this time; to wait longer than an hour makes peeps anxious; even if there is no update to be provided due to communication problems with the area being damaged by a storm or whatever. I was in a situation with a now defunct cruise line where we waited 8 hours BEFORE an update; it seems looking back that waiting for an update is worse than get no new information.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beenie Weenie
A lot of folks think "thats what trip insurance is for" and that trip insurance is the solution to all of these problems. Well it isn't. All trip insurance is going to do, is to reimburse you for the expenses incurred to make necessary changes to get you home (a few will pay the cost up front but not many) generally speaking you pay out of pocket and then file a claim for reimbursement. Don't get me wrong I strongly advocate trip insurance, but also make sure you have some extra funds you can get to, if you have to shell out of pocket to get yourself home. Generally airlines will waive change penalties if the situation is weather related. But the key is to be able to communicate with them. If Carnival didn't relay timely information to the passengers, then the were kind of stuck in limbo.
You are so right Beenie. It's very easy for people to use the quick "that's what trip insurance is for" response and, as you said, it is but it usually doesn't cover those upfront costs. They still have to come from the person's pocket. There are policies that do offer immediate payment but those do cost more and require research on the part of the purchaser.

Because of this people need to have some sort of a reserve or accessible funds available to pay for these things. It's why I never advocate people taking their last free dollars, max out their credit cards or empty the savings account in order to cruise. If you are that close to the edge of financial ruin a cruise is not the vacation for you.

Carnival is under an obligation to provide all the information needed in order for people to make alternate travel plans and reservations. They should also facilitate people and give them the tools to make those plans and reservations. I.E. free phone calls, Internet access, phone numbers of airlines and car rental agencies.

They are under no obligation to actually make or pay for the alternative travel plans. People need to take the responsibility for themselves. Most people booked through a travel agent. If you did then contact them. They can be lifesavers in this situation and another reason to have a good one. BTW: Your PVP probably won't be much use in this situation.

So if you are cruising during hurricane season, or any other time of the year, you need to have to cover your financial rear and learn how to handle possible changes that can occur. It's in your own best interest.

Take care,
Mike
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Old September 18th, 2008, 08:26 PM
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don't forget to arrange for coverage at your job in case due to hurricane you are out to sea an extra day or so and fly an airline into the departure port that has alot of frequency (which these days could be tough)
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Old September 18th, 2008, 10:18 PM
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Please don't forget that its not just weather that causes delays in the ships return. There could be mechanical or medical or other reasons why the ship cannot return to its port on time......insurance is really a good move for ANY reason. The odds of this happening aren't great during non-hurricane season, but I don't have that kind of luck so I tend to purchase the insurance for peace of mind.

Michelle
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Old September 18th, 2008, 10:53 PM
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Unfortunately, everyone here is "preaching to the choir" ! I'd say that most people who book a cruise don't have a clue about hurricane season.

I agree that the best thing that can be done in case of any problem on a cruise is to keep the passengers informed, even if it's to say there's nothing new.

Besides travel insurance, we always have enough cash to get us through at least two days post cruise.

I also agree with Mike-if you have a TA this is the kind of thing they're for! Call them and use them.
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