Monthly Archives: February 2013
I have held my tongue about the Carnival Cruise debacle for days now, and the media frenzy continues. I can no longer keep my thoughts to myself. Here is my take on the Carnival Triumph cruise mess (it was not a disaster, no matter how you slice it).
First, this is a wonderful case for why everyone should be required to have passports when they embark on a cruise. The requirement right now is if the cruise originates and returns to an American port, you can get by with a birth certificate and a photo government issued ID. The fact that people onboard the Triumph did not have passports is why they could not dock in Mexico and fly everyone home.
So, in my opinion, the people who were too lazy, too cheap, or unable (!) to procure a passport were the real reason everyone had to suffer. A passport should be a requirement for cruise travel in the future because people will balk at getting one if they have the option not to make the effort.
Second, the ship is 14 years old. Now that’s not old, old by industry standards, but it’s old to me. A more modern ship would have back-up generators and other features that would have prevented the recent incident. As a cruise consultant, it’s my job to think about this older ship making a trek across the open Gulf of Mexico. As a cruiser, most people generally don’t think about any such details. They board the ship and that’s it. If that older ship was hopping down the east coast, jumping around the Bahamas, or even headed to the Caribbean, it wouldn’t give me pause. There would be a convenient port not too far away. But I wouldn’t put a client on an older ship doing a trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific voyage either. I’m just a worrier, I guess.
Third, cruising is an amazingly safe form of travel and a cost-efficient one at that. To focus on this one “unfortunate incident” is a disservice to the entire cruise industry.
Thanks for listening!
I held my monthly Meetup for Cruise and Travel Lovers of North Palm Beach, Florida, yesterday and was asked a question I had never heard before. Someone looking for cruise deals and bargains asked me if there was a “waiting list” for cruises.
I responded that any cruise that was sold out should usually has a waiting list of people wanting to get a cabin should some other traveler cancel. These waiting- list- travelers are usually required to ante up a $50 per person refundable deposit, just so everyone knows they are serious about taking the trip.
My member said, “No, I mean can I go to the port and wait and see if there is an empty cabin and buy it right there and then and get a deal on the price? Why would the cruise lines sail with empty cabins if someone is willing to pay to sail?”
That was a new question for me! The answer is, “No. You can not sail “stand by” like you can fly “stand by” on an airline.” (Even flying stand-by requires you to have a ticket beforehand.) While you can go to the airport ticket counter, you cannot go to the cruise line ticket counter because there isn’t one.
In fact, you cannot even enter the port without having documentation that you are going on a cruise or have some other business there. Homeland security also needs to have your papers reviewed at least three days before departure. If you aren’t on the manifest, you aren’t going to sail.
If you are looking for last-minute cruise deals and bargains like this woman, please contact me or any other travel agent. We continually receive notices of unsold cabin space. If you can travel at the last minute, especially out of “season,” there are deals to be had and we get the first notices about them. If we know what you are looking for ahead of time, so much the better.This time of year, though, any cruises to warmer weather destinations are likely fully booked and would require you to get on a waiting list, which I am certainly happy to arrange for you.