Tag-Archive for » Cruise cancelations «

Turkey Ports A Victim Of Fear

We’ve never been on a cruise ship that stopped in Turkey. Now, chances are we never will. Such is the cruise climate in this volatile part of the world, even though Istanbul and Kusadesi aren’t in the same area code as places bordering on Syria, where there are daily fears of terrorist attacks.

On the weekend, Crystal Cruises announced Turkey was persona non grata. The Crystal Symphony was scheduled to call at the two popular Turkish ports in late April and early May, but not now. The itineraries have been revised due to the “safety and peace of mind Espritof our guests” and the Symphony will make two more stops in Greece instead. The same goes for Crystal Esprit, a future ship (above) with itineraries that were going to include Turkey. The same goes for Disney cruises that once included Istanbul.

If there’s any irony in this, it’s that avoiding Turkey isn’t exactly the antidote for safety. It’s true that a suicide bomber killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this month, an act that was obviously the trigger for Crystal’s decision. It’s also true that tourists have either been murdered or in danger of being murdered in Tunisia, and in Paris.

Tourists feel danger everywhere, because murderous attacks strike fear in the hearts and minds of the free world’s population. But it’s all about playing the odds, isn’t it? And in a country that’s geographically close to the troubled Middle East, the odds of being a victim seem higher.

Such is life in today’s world.

In the news…

• Sea trials completed for Holland America Koningsdam
• More Australians than ever booking cruises on P&O ships

Today at portsandbows.comTwo ships coming for Emerald Waterways

Star Princess
7 nights
May 14, 2016
Vancouver (return): Sitka, Glacier Bay, Juneau, Ketchikan
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99

Family, cruise line: heart-wrenching story

News item: The Colucci family books a cruise. A dozen days before departure, 5-year-old Nicolas Colucci is found to have liver cancer and needs surgery. Family did not sign up for travel insurance and asks the cruise line (Norwegian) about re-scheduling the cruise. Norwegian says no.

This is a tough one. This is also extremely polarizing. And it’s all over the Internet.

One faction of the public, upon hearing this story, condemns the cruise line for being insensitive, for lacking compassion and for not bending its rules.

One faction of the public is just as adamant that when you don’t buy travel insurance, this is what can happen. Tomorrow is a gift. How does a cruise line separate exceptions?

As a result of the online controversy, Norwegian contacted the family, assigned a personal contact to stay in touch with the family and revealed that “one of our travel partners” offered to make sure the family went on its cruise, without divulging any details. Norwegian also contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which specializes in granting wishes for hundreds of children.

As a result of the online controversy, another cruise line — rumored to be Celebrity — offered the Coluccis a free cruise. Would Celebrity have circumvented its own travel insurance policy if this had happened to a family on a Celebrity cruise? No one knows.

In the end, there are no winners here.

Norwegian is between a rock and a hard place. It’s not about the money…it’s about the precedent being set by covering a cruise not covered by insurance, and about being fair to all the passengers who do buy insurance.

The family may lose its cruise but, far more importantly, is faced with helping a five-year-old recover from cancer. The hope of rescheduling the cruise was going to be part of inspiring little Nicolas in his recovery.

Sometimes life isn’t fair…for anybody.

What do you think?

Today at portsandbows.com: Princess for chocoholics

Carnival Fascination
5 nights
August 25, 2014
Jacksonville (return): NassauCocoCay
Inside: $199
Cost per day: $39

Norwegian Charters Mean Changes

There was a story on Cruise Critic yesterday that puts all those feel-good testimonials and events that cruise lines shower on their passengers into proper perspective.

"Passengers, you're the best…unless we get a better deal."

The story is about canceling cruises to accommodate private charters on two Norwegian ships and if you choose to think that's all about money, well, go right ahead. 

Norwegian is moving the Jade from the Mediterranean to Russia next February and if you're wondering why anybody would want to go to Russia in February, then you don't follow the drumbeat of the Olympic Winter Games, which will be in Sochi. The Jade will be a floating hotel in the Russian seaport during the two weeks of Olympics.

Passengers booked on the Jade in the Mediterranean will be compensated, of course, and the cruise line's right to disrupt travel plans like that is somewhere down in the fine print, isn't it?

The other ship is the Getaway, which isn't even a ship yet. Scheduled to make its inaugural Transatlantic crossing from Rotterdam to Fort Lauderdale in January. Then, and there, the Getaway was to become Miami's ship…but now it's going to be New York's ship for a week, even though its sister ship, the Breakaway, has already been proclaimed "New York's ship."

The reason?

Private event. Translation: a better deal.

This change in plans is a disruption to passengers who booked the Transatlantic voyage expecting to step on the ship in Rotterdam (it's now leaving from Southampton) and to step off the ship in Florida. And the charter in New York also means the Getaway's inaugural cruise to the Caribbean won't leave on February 1 as scheduled, but a week later on February 8.

So the next time you hear cruise-line officials falling all over their passengers, reach for the salt shaker and take a few grains.

Carnival Freedom
6 nights
September 15, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Key WestGrand CaymanOcho Rios
Inside: $279
Cost per day: $46

A Fishing Xpedition in Galapagos

Multiple choice time.

Which of these reasons do you think would be responsible for canceling a cruise?

a) Fire in engine room
b) Whale hits the bow
c) Lobster tails
d) Captain sleeps in

The answer is c.

Yesterday, the Celebrity Xpedition was supposed to leave on its regular, year-round weekly tour of the Galapagos Islands. The cruise was canceled by lobster tails and the one slated to leave next Sunday may be canceled, too.

According to CruiseCritic, Galapagos National Park has revoked Celebrity's license over "12 kilograms of frozen lobster tails that the ship was transporting out of season." Celebrity says the lobsters were purchased according to Park regulations. The Park agrees. The lobsters, however, were apparently not eaten according to regulations.

A new Park regulation stipulates that all tails must be consumed within five days of the end of lobster season. Celebrity was cited for the infraction on March 11. The new regulation was published on April 22. The license was revoked, and Celebrity was fined $2,000, at the end of May.

The passengers?

They're being compensated for the cruise cancelation: full credit, future credit for Galapagos cruise and partial or full refund for air fare.

The whole thing lends itself to a number of questions, real or silly. Did the Park go on a lobster tail hunt? Why would a regulation be published a week after it went into effect? If the lobsters are "frozen" why does it matter when they are served on a plate? Given that the most attractive rooms, inside (cheaper) and balcony (for obvious reasons) are sold out in perpetuity — or as far as cruise listings go for the Xpedition — could this be more about money than morals…or environmental concerns?

Any way you cut it, who could have imagined that any cruise would have a lobster by the tail?

Carnival Glory
7 nights
September 14, 2013
New York (return): Boston, Portland, Saint John, Halifax
Inside: $349
Cost per day: $49

Grand Turk Terminal Trouble

We had an email last week from a sommelier we met on a cruise ship. He is from the Philippines and, in our exchanges over a few days, five words from his email were perhaps most meaningful.

"Without you is without us."

He wasn't referring to "us" in particular, but to all cruise passengers. He was recognizing how dependent people working cruise ships are on people who become passengers. No passengers, no job. Fewer passengers, fewer jobs.

The same applies on shore.

In Grand Turk, the capital island of Turks and Caicos, they discovered what a fine line that can be. More than a month ago, there was an outbreak of "something" — illness which included some cases of norovirus. Health officials are still doing some epidemiological profiling, whatever that is.

The cruise terminal was closed for three weeks.

It opened this week, but three weeks of the prime tourist season provided by cruise ships was gone. Besides the economic impact of $75,000 a day for head tax, there's the incalculatable loss of income to vendors and cab drivers and restaurant workers.

In this week's edition of the Turks & Caicos Weekly News, there is also a story about a Canadian family of six, beaten and robbed at their rental villa, just hours after arriving in the islands. 

At the risk of sounding philosophical, when economically deprived people lose their paychecks, this can be one of the by-products.

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
May 5, 2013
Bayonne (return): King's Wharf
Inside: $559
Cost per day: $79

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