Weather delay angers cruise passengers at Texas port

They may call today’s cruise ships “floating hotels” but there are some big differences between land-based vacations and a cruise ship heading out to sea.

Sometimes they can’t.

Such was the case last weekend and into Monday at the Port of Galveston where ships of all shapes and sizes were kept at sea when heavy fog made sailing dangerous. While the situation was obviously out of the control of cruise lines, guests that should have been on board ship sailing out to sea were less than understanding.

“This is my first cruise ever. I’ve been in hotels for the past three nights. I’ve had to buy my own food. Carnival has not treated us good. The refund is not acceptable. More needs to be done for everyone on that Ecstasy ship,” a passenger told Click2Houston.

Always choosing safety first, maritime authorities closed the port when fog made successful navigation impossible. While a weather delay often angers cruise passengers, there is only so much cruise lines can do.

The Royal Caribbean Blog notes that Voyager of the Seas return to Galveston was delayed by several hours and that passengers were able to board on Sunday evening but the ship wasn’t ready to leave until Monday.

Carnival Cruise Lines issued the following statement:

“The ship has been delayed due to severe fog and near zero visibility at the Port of Galveston. The ship was not able to enter the Port of Galveston from its previous cruise until yesterday afternoon, approximately one day later than scheduled because of the severe fog. It has been waiting for the fog to clear to depart on its next voyage. 

Because of its delayed arrival and subsequent delayed departure, Carnival Ecstasy will now sail on a modified three-day cruise that will return on Thursday, Feb. 24 (originally, the ship was scheduled to sail on a five-day cruise to Cozumel and Progreso operating Saturday to Thursday).

Guests have the option of canceling and receiving a full refund, a 25 percent discount off a future two- to five-day voyage and a $45 per person meal allowance. Guests who opt to sail on the modified three-day cruise will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare, a 50 percent discount on a future two- to five-day cruise, and $45 per person meal allowance in the form of a shipboard credit.

Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for this disruption in their vacation plans.”  

On the other hand, guests held on those ships waiting for the fog to clear enjoyed an extended vacation. Complementary phone calls and Internet usage made rebooking flights and rearranging travel plans much less of a burden.

Flickr image: USACEpublicaffairs