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Here at Cruise Radio, we get a lot of questions and comments from readers. Given that without you, we’d just be sitting here talking to ourselves, it seemed only right that we answer some of your questions! So let’s kick off our first session by responding to an email from someone wanting a cruise refund.
The Cruiser Writes
“We just returned from our honeymoon cruise aboard a Carnival ship. A couple hours before we were supposed to drop anchor in Grand Cayman, the captain came on the loudspeaker and said the weather was too rough to operate the tenders and that we would spend the day at sea instead. I booked this cruise because my now-husband is an avid diver and wanted to dive Devil’s Grotto. But no…. we were forced to stay on the ship, my husband missed his dive and it ruined our honeymoon. The cruise line should have known about this weather before we left, and we would not have taken the cruise if they’d informed us. We want a cruise refund!”
Not So Fast…
This is both tough and easy. Tough, because a part of us wants to say that if one missed stop on an itinerary ruined your honeymoon, someone’s not doing something right! But easy because every cruise line knows that job No. 1 at all times is to put the safety of the passengers first. This might sometimes upset or even anger folks when ports are skipped or itineraries are changed, but the alternative is people potentially being injured or even dying if the wrong decision is made. That’s why every cruise contract stipulates that, at their discretion and without warning, itineraries might be skipped. Since the writer mentioned they were on a Carnival cruise, let’s look at what that lines contract specifically says:
According to Carnival Cruise Line’s ticket contract:
“The Guest acknowledges that the cruise may be booked in a location that is susceptible to severe weather systems, including but not limited to, hurricanes, tropical storms and depressions, and that Carnival reserves the right to alter the ship’s course, ports of call, itinerary, activity and shore excursions to avoid such weather systems and insure the comfort and safety of the Guest and crew.”
In the specific case mentioned in the letter, the ship opted against using tenders to transport guests to the private island. For those who might not know, tendering is the process by which a small boat is used to ferry passengers back and forth from a port which does not have a pier at which they can dock. The reason inclement weather sometimes impacts these plans is pretty simple: If there are big waves at play, the ship could quite easily wind up colliding with the smaller tendering vessel. Likewise, a wave could cause the ramps which are generally used to shepherd guests from the larger ship to the smaller boat to become dislodged.
As for the cruise line’s ability to predict the weather, anyone who’s ever found themselves caught in an unexpected storm without an umbrella knows that Mother Nature is not always entirely forthcoming with her plans.
Generally speaking, when lines cancel itineraries, any charges associated with the stop — such as shore excursions — are returned. Sometimes, the line will also opt to offer guests on-board credit or something else in return for the inconvenience, but this is done at their discretion.
Got a question or concern you’d like us to address? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.