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In a surprise development, Carnival Cruise Line announced Wednesday evening that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has chartered the Carnival Fascination for three months beginning October 15th. This of course means that anyone booked on the ship between now and February, when she is expected to return to normal service, will be receiving notification from the cruise line and/or their travel agent that their cruise has been cancelled!
Carnival Fascination Is On A New Mission
“Earlier this week,” the line announced on their website, “we communicated that we were ready to resume our operation from San Juan on Carnival Fascination, with our first cruise departing this Sunday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has since asked us to support the relief and rebuilding effort and Carnival Fascination has been chartered to provide housing for relief workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
The item went on to say, “This means the ship’s departures from October 15, 2017 through January 28th, 2018, will be cancelled. Carnival Fascination will return to year-round service from San Juan beginning February 18, 2018. We recognize how important vacations are, and we sincerely apologize for the disruption this late change in plans has caused our guests and travel partners. We value your trust in us and hope you understand that this decision was made after careful consideration of the great need to support the recovery efforts in the region.”
Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador John Heald told his Facebook followers, “I know how much you were looking forward to your cruise vacation and all the fun. This along with the short notice we are giving some of your means I want to apologize, sincerely apologize, for the disappointment we have caused you.”
Heald added that refunds would “be automatically processed” within three weeks and that Carnival had reached out to their airline partners “to request their cooperation in waiving change fees, and will also be working with our guests on non-refundable airline change fees.”
As to the lateness of the notice, Heald went on to explain that Carnival had sent a team to San Juan last weekend and “decided to confirm sailings on Monday” only to have FEMA reach out soon after. As to the crew, he said that “the captain and senior management are working on informing” them. “Some will be assigned to other ships, many will stay and work here to serve and assist the relief workers, and some will be excited to be offered early vacation before returning to another ship or indeed back here to the Carnival Fascination.”
Heald concluded by hoping that “all of your who have had your cruise cancelled… will use your refund and future cruise credit and book another cruise with us soon. And I hope that your disappointment will be tempered just a bit by the knowledge that Carnival and FEMA will be helping the people of the Caribbean get back on their feet.”