As a Travel Agent I’ve gotten the calls from those who missed the ship before the first day and had to get flights for them to catch up with the ship on the first island. I’ve also gotten the call from an island hospital for clients in need of transportation home. Recently though, I got to learn first hand what they do with those who enjoy Senior Frogs just a little longer than they should and forget that ship time and island time are not always the same thing.
We were just back onboard a Carnival Cruise ship after a lovely day in Cozumel. I spent my time touring a resort, my husband spent his diving, and my grown children spent theirs sampling tequila in town and enjoying local food and shops. It was time to sail and we got our first red flag that someone was missing as my daughter and her fiance’s name were piped over the ship speakers to all cabins. Are you kidding me? No sooner did I walk into the hall to see if they were in their cabin, that security was racing to their room. They quickly pulled us into the room and opened the safe, all the while explaining that the kids were not onboard and the ship couldn’t wait much longer. Their immediate goal was to see if the passports and credit cards were in the safe because if they were stuck on the island they would need them and they could take them down to the dock to security there to give them when they arrived. No passports in the safe, now what? Communication was flowing between the security with us and the security on the dock when we heard the dreaded 2 long blasts of the ships horn. We were leaving without them. This is a parent’s nightmare. Our child has cruised at least 15 times, she knows the drill and is now old enough to get herself back on time. She’s 22 and too responsible to miss a ship, isn’t she? Do we have them call hospitals, do we try to get off ourselves in case they need help?
What happened in the next hour and remaining days was truly amazing to me as both a parent and a Travel Agent. Carnival did sail without them, they had to. What they didn’t have to do was keep looking for them and when they finally arrived an hour late they made sure we knew immediately. Lucky for them, Carnival had another ship in port that hadn’t left yet. They took the kids onboard, gave them a survival bag with t shirts, toothbrushes, etc. and a cabin similar to what they had on our ship at no extra charge. They also gave them, and us, unlimited calling for the remainder of the trip after they connected us for the first time. We only had 2 days at sea left on our cruise but during those 2 days security, cabin staff, the front desk, and crew members from the other ship, called constantly to see if we needed help with anything and to assure us the kids were in good hands. They set up an account for them on the new ship and made sure that they got them transfers to the airport on their new arrival port. We were now sailing for Miami and they were headed to New Orleans. We were able to have someone from home work on airline tickets but if we hadn’t , Carnival would have helped with that as well. During this whole fiasco, which was clearly the kid’s fault, Carnival never once made them feel like they were anything less than respected guests. Even going to dinner in the same swim suit with a coverup and flip flops each night wasn’t frowned upon, just sympathized with.
What could have been a disaster was an adventure to retell and tease about many times in the years to come, all thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines and the experienced staff. I know this happens more often than we think and it may have been routine to them in some ways. To us it was anything but and we say “Kudos Carnival”, you’ll be seeing us again (probably without the grown kids next time!).
P.S. My daughter is still wondering if 2 boarding passes in one week means she is one cruise closer to that Platinum status.
Brenda Elliott is a cruise specialist. If you have questions or need help booking a cruise please feel free to contact her at 717-732-5749, or submit an email request using the button below!