A family reunion cruise on the Carnival Pride in November is apparently off. Not the end of the world, not even close, but the response of the Carnival Cruise Line company is a little upsetting.
My wife and I love cruising, we have made four previous Carnival cruises, one to the Western Caribbean, one to the Eastern Caribbean, one to Alaska and one to Hawaii. They have all been great fun.
Over the years I have recommended Carnival to many folks and still could depending on how this all turns out. We booked this thing early to take advantage of great rates and a week that allowed six members of our family to all cruise at the same time.
Last night our travel agent and Carnival sent us an e-mail telling us that the ship was being sent to dry dock in early November and that our cruise was cancelled. It even rated a story in USA Today. As part of that, the cruise line was going to give us a $50 on board credit (that about covers my wife and stepdaughter's one day Mojito bill) and would find us another cruise, but could no longer guarantee our cruise price or cabin location.
Further, they would not make up the difference in the travel costs to a new port. So the trip is off. No huge deal for Joan and me, we're retired and can reschedule another time. But for the other four members of our party it's not so easy. They still work and vacations are not so easy to schedule.
My suspicion is that the dry dock dates were swapped with the originally planned January schedule because our cruise was under booked and January is a much more lucrative time to fill a cruise to the Bahamas. All that is understandable. What is not understandable is the lack of concern by Carnival as to making and taking care of other arrangements.
For members of our party who have already booked airline tickets, Carnival is offering up to $200 in an on board credit to repay any airline cancellation charges. How about paying those folks back in cash? That is, after all, what they paid.
If you ever sail on Carnival they keep emphasizing that they "want to exceed your expectations." In this case, not even close. As I said, this is not the end of the world and there are many people with much more important problems and issues than this, but it always amazes me when I see how tone deaf some corporations are when they disrupt people's plans.