I'd like to preface this thread with the fact that I do NOT expect or want any compensation for my next two cruises in November at Thanksgiving and December at Christmas, but...
This is my simple gripe:
I think it is only fair to let people know upfront which ports they will actually be visiting. It has been some time since the disfunctional family of Hurricaines hit the Caribbean. It seems to me that, by now, they should have a pretty good idea which ports will be closed to cruise ships in the coming weeks, as well as what substitutions are to be made.
Wouldn't it make for good P.R. to write, E-mail, or otherwise communicate with pending passengers, any updates that are reasonably accurate as to itinerary so that the cruisers don't lose money on privately booked excursions. These cruisers, including myself, don't want something for nothing, but do want to know with some level of certainty just where they will and won't be going, in order to better plan their dream vacations.
Gee Chuck don't you know that those of us who book our own excursions are taking our lives in our hands, missing the opportunity to ride a bus for hours and not enjoying the fantastic experiences that the cruise tours have to offer. The cruise lines don't give a darn about us. If you book your excursions through them you will get a refund. If you book on your own you need to be punished.
End of sarcasm.
I totally agree with you. The cruise lines know by now what ports that will be eliminated and this information should be communicated. It has been communicated by government of Grand Cayman that they won't be taking on any ships until mid November but that will be in a limited capacity. The date of full capacity is still not known. I wouldn't even think of booking an excursion there until after the first of the year.
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I agree with you, I don't think at this point in time its asking too much for the cruiselines, to at least inform the travel agents and they can let their customers know of the missed ports and changes, etc.
And I'm really surprised the cruiselines aren't communicating the changes. Maybe they've forgotten just what "PR" stands for!
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AAA's Going Places magazine for Nov./Dec. 2004 has an article on page 22 entitled "Getting Back to Normal". It's a Caribbean island-by-island assessment of storm-related matters. I got the impression from this article that everything is hunky-dory. Not one of the reports indicates any major problems affecting cruisers. Not one!
The closest any islands come to a negative comment are 1) the Cayman Islands, which says, "The Cayman Utility Company (CUC) is continually restoring power with the priority to Government Buildings, including the Emergency Operations Center and hospital. Airport open."; and 2) Grenada, which says, "All the major roads in Grenada are again open to traffic. Banks and shops are now open as well. Airport is open for daily operations to both regional and international flights."
[Please note: neither says a word about the cruise ports.]
Of the 25 sites reporting, 13 say "Not affected". Several of the others say "Everything up and running". The Bahamas reports "Nassau cruise port has reopened." [nothing about Freeport]. Jamaica says, "Ports are operational and accepting ships." Puerto rico reports, "San Juan cruise port operation is back to normal." USVI says, "All airports, seaports and government offices are open." St. Vincent & the Grenadines reports, "There was no damage to the cruise port."
For the latest news, AAA recommends that you visit aaa.com/gocaribbean. Sorry, but the article made no reference to Mexican or Central American ports.
I certainly understand that short term weather changes can cause interruptions in a cruise.
That said, these Hurricaines are over and the damage has been assessed. The plans of the cruise line should be communicated to the customer as quickly as a changed itinerary is known, not as the customer is going up the escalator to board the ship.