The Honeymoon from Hell

OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration. It wasn’t 100% bad, just maybe around 81%. I want to start with a disclaimer. I do not blame the weather on Carnival. In fact, I don’t even blame the closed ports on Carnival. What I (and apparently, 2800 guests according to their Facebook, which may be an exaggeration) am upset about, is the fact that our captain decided to stick with the original itinerary, despite evidence that five other Carnival cruise ships changed theirs to reflect the weather threats of Matthew and Nicole. In fact, some changed routes the day before Nicole hit Jamaica. So congrats to you, lucky cruisers! You missed out on all the crazy adventure.

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Things started out great. We boarded the ship bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, looking forward to a week of relaxation. Buh-bye stress! (Ha, yeah right!)

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We immediately got the special of the day (which, as you may know, is pricey like all the drinks. Being a first time cruiser I thought alcohol would at least be reasonable. Boy, was I wrong!) and made it to the top deck. Caribbean here we come!

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Wait, what? What is this? Oh, this is Montego Bay, the port that supposedly was closed days before we even made it there. Well, that’s what the peeps were saying on the ship; I can’t find any articles online. Rumors were flying like crazy, and the Captain chose not to inform us of all the details. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am GLAD we didn’t land in these ports. The weather was horrible. We had limited updates via our TV in the cabin, and we stayed mostly around 8-12′ swells, and even got as close to 20′ waves pounding the ship. Winds were upwards of 40 mph. Seasick bags were all over the ship, and people were stumbling all over the place. The pools were losing water left and right (literally!) The ship was a-rockin’, but not in a good way. So, staff scrambled to whip up another fun day at sea (this would make day #4). I’m sorry, but there are only so many days I can withstand trivia games and bean bag tosses. We managed to entertain ourselves, but guys, I am not exaggerating when I say the sea was kickin’. I was terrified, making myself take long naps so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

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Fast forward to Thursday. We make it to Grand Cayman, but it was way too rough for the tender boats to offload us from the ship. In fact, that port had been closed for days prior, a fact confirmed by our cruise director. So why even show up to tease us? We just watched land sail by again.

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Wait, what is this? Is that LAND I see?! Why, yes! We FINALLY made port in Cozumel on Friday. That’s 6 long days in wretched seas, my friends. We managed to make the best of it, getting about 8 hours in port. We packed in all our shopping, stopped by a local beach to swim (it even had free wifi, sweet!) and ate some seriously tasty food.

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This is where things get hairy. Yes, we made it to Cozumel. Unfortunately, the Carnival Valor was docked as well. Sounds like their Captain was a genius! Instead of sailing straight for a crazy almost-tropical storm, terrifying all your cruise patrons, he took them to alternate routes such as Belize and Honduras. Why, what a great idea, smart captain man! We were LIVID when we found all this out. And then I got home to read that not only the Valor re-routed, the Triumph, Liberty, Freedom, Inspiration and Elation ALSO rerouted! Grrrrrrr!

So yes, people, I understand that as a first-time cruiser, I made a mistake and booked during the end of hurricane season. Being a land-lubber all my life, I never realized I had to take that into consideration. My only concern was that it left the day after the wedding. BAD MOVE, SAND DOLLAR!

What gets me, is that:

1) Why sail directly for a port you KNOW is closed, or will be closed? Obviously the captain has access to superior weather equipment. So he knew it was coming, and instead of doing like the other ships, and avoiding it, he ran straight into it. And trust me guys, it was major scary. The boat rocked and shuddered and creaked like nobody’s business. People ran into walls, railings, and each other unpredictably. Tons got seasick, and I would have hated to be a child on that boat.

2) If other ships in your cruise line are rerouting, why not join the club? Yes, missing ports sucks. A “Fun Day at Sea” is really not all that fun. You have a few games to choose from, but the spa is outrageously expensive ($200 for a 1-hr massage, which was more than the excursion cost for BOTH of us), and repeating games eight times gets old fast. We played Pictionary and bean-bag toss twice each, then it was tired. Dance shows were canceled, as was the magic show, because we couldn’t pick up the musician at the first two ports. I’m mega pissed that the captain made such a horrible decision. Why not start the trip backward, starting in Cozumel, and see how the seas shape up? I’m sure people would have been much happier to have 3 days on land, whether it was in the same place or not. And from what I heard from the other lucky cruisers, Belize and Honduras was awesome. What’s your excuse for bypassing those and putting us through hell?

3) A 20% discount on a future cruise is laughable. Guys, we sat next to a bride sobbing because she had planned to get married in Jamaica. So we overheard her plans to reschedule to the Grand Caymans. I can only imagine how much worse she felt when that was canceled too. :( The customer service reps were unhelpful, and I guess I understand why the ship crew was. Yet when I filed a complaint online, I got no response. Not a “thank you for your feedback”, nothing. The phone rep basically told me I was SOL ($#!@ Outta Luck) because of the Itinerary Change Clause we agreed to when we booked. Yes, the captain has a right to change plans due to weather conditions and safety reasons. I just wish he was mentally capable of making those decisions beforehand so we could still enjoy our experience.

Final decision: I will never cruise Carnival again. I don’t care if the weather wasn’t their fault, the captain’s decisions were. I totally wish we were on the Valor. Or any of the other boats who rerouted. The silver lining was that the Mister and I got to spend a lot of good snuggle time in bed, and watched a ton of movies. Reality Check: We could have done this for way cheaper at home, and hanky-panky was left at a minimum because of how horrible we both felt from the waves. And just so you know, we really hold Honeymoon Hanky-Panky in high regard, so that should be a testament of how cruddy conditions were. I’ve never been so glad to get home from a vacation in my life!

Anybody else have a less-than-stellar honeymoon? Any suggestions on where our Honeymoon Do-Over should be?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Sand Dollar

Location:
Houston
Wedding Date:
September 2010
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comments

  1. Member
    jaguar 6199 posts, Bee Keeper @ 4:22 am

    Oh my, Mrs SD, I’m so sorry to hear about the honeymoon – I can’t believe that out of all of those ships that re-routed, yours didn’t. What on earth was the company thinking??

    I hope you guys can have a get away again to celebrate, even somewhere more local, so that you can enjoy a second honeymoon with a little less miserable weather!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    cupcake, Guest @ 9:48 am

    yeah that sucks… but also, ports have a limited number of slots available including those ships that were already set to going to those ports. Carnival isnt the only ship thats sailing the carribean right now, so chances are, it was not the captains fault, it was there were no more alternatives to take, and you just got bad luck.

    This could’ve happened on RCCL, Celebrity, any line. And there are TONS of them.

    20% off a future cruise is actually a pretty sweet deal considering they didn’t have to give you anything, you signed a contract and they upheld it……They kept you safe.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    cupcake, Guest @ 9:51 am

    Oh, and for those that are comparing celebrity with carnival.. NO COMPARISON. You’re talking Target to Barney’s here…

  4. Member
    Miss Peach Tree 339 posts, Helper bee @ 10:03 am

    What a downer! I’m sorry your trip was ruined. Great ideas for a make up honeymoon:
    Paris at any time but august. There are always deals to be had because there are so many flights there and it even is charming in the rain.
    Hawaii! I saw a travel deal there for 6 nights for $900! what a steal!

    Good luck on a new trip and I’m sorry Carnival rained on your already rainy parade.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    K, Guest @ 11:01 am

    sounds like @kandaceandjason works for Carnival.

  6. Member
    sand dollar 1334 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:19 am

    @K: She did know the Captain’s name, so I’d think that may be true. And the name of the ship I was on, which I also didn’t mention. But, there are good points in her argument. It was just a bad situation all around, but that’s ok. We’ll have to try cruising again with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    kandaceandjason, Guest @ 11:23 am

    @K:

    Nope, there is no Carnival office in Texas that I know of. How cool would that be though? I’d be tickled.

    I absolutely understand how much SD’s honeymoon sucked. But my honeymoon was on the Conquest as well, three years ago, and we loved it so much that we took her sister ship Ecstasy last year and will be back on Conquest in 37 days. I’ve also been on the Victory and enjoyed all of my cruises immensely.

    I’m just trying to offer a differing opinion as I know that a lot of what the bees say gets held in very high regard. I would just hope that readers understand a multi-missed port cruise in terrible weather is not the norm. And I think it’s unfair to say that Carnival sucks. One sailing on one ship of an entire fleet is not enough to make such a sweeping generalization.

    SD, I hope you try cruising again, even if it’s on another line. The combination of value and opportunity can’t be rivaled on any other type of vacation.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Danielle, Guest @ 12:25 pm

    OMG! As a destination bride getting married in Jamaica, my heart sank when I read about that poor bride! That would be AWFUL! :(

  9. Member
    eloquence08 120 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:03 pm

    So sorry sand dollar, Carnival’s customer service is the WORST! Maybe sometime in the near future, when finances are back on track you can do a make-up honeymoon:-)

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Corey Ann, Guest @ 10:39 am

    Ohhh man I feel your pain! I took a cruise w/ Carnival in 2000. We left 2 days late due to a hurricane, traveled through a tropical storm or two and docked during one. Even 10 years go though they steered around the TS as much as they could. The waves were still horrid but at least they didn’t go straight through it.

    Even back then they did what they could for us. They were going to hit Key West instead but a plane crashed at sea so they were clearing the area. We missed Grand Cayman but they ended up giving us 18 hours at Cozumel instead of the 8. The good thing was we got to enjoy it for longer than we expected. The bad thing was so many people drank for those 18 hours that we left 2 hours late due to people that kept falling off the pier when trying to board the ship! LOL. We also went to New Orleans on that trip.

    Carnival was awful at keeping us up to date on what was going on. It was beyond unbelievable. I get that the weather was bad, but I am still shocked they didn’t have a backup plan as this happens EVERY year. 10 years later and I’m still irritated at that.

    Yeah, it’s not their fault but they could have handled it so much better. The maps were out for days for those storms and I can’t imagine that there were no alternatives they could have used that would have kept you out of the waters.

    Have you checked out Cruise Critic? You may find some great info there about what people are doing about getting $$ back for that cruise.

  11. Member
    stephmd 16 posts, Newbee @ 10:46 am

    We went to Montego Bay for our honeymoon, we arrived (in rain) on september 27th and were there through October 3rd… RAINED, no that is an understatement, STORMED, the whole time we were there!

    We stayed at an all inclusive resort which would have been nice, but since noone could leave their room and everyone ordered room service, there was no food…. I think they’re exact words were “we can send up a bacon and cheese sandwich or tuna sandwich with tomato.”

    Yummmm right? Thousands of dollars for a tuna sandwich. The rain was so bad and streets were so flooded that the delivery trucks couldnt make it to the resort to bring in the food!!!!

    A few days of not having to do my own dishes or laundry, and lots of alcohol later, I got over the whole “no sunshine” thing and was just glad to spend time alone with my new husband:)

    In a perfect world we would try to have a honey-moon do over, but neither of us have time (or money) to do it anytime soon!

    I share your pain hahaha you weren’t the only one with a sorry honeymoon! Congrats on your new marriage!!! Everyone keeps telling me that since it started out poorly, it will only get better!!!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Watercooler | Weddingbee, Guest @ 12:30 pm

    [...] The Honeymoon From Hell by Mrs. Sand Dollar [...]

  13. Member
    mssmiley 349 posts, Helper bee @ 8:53 pm

    honeymoon-do-over should be on DRY LAND!!!!

  14. Member
    msbuttons 5014 posts, Bee Keeper @ 9:29 pm

    Oh goodness, what a terrible sounding week! :( I’ve been on a bunch of cruises in the past, and I Carnival was not my favorite one…I definitely recommend Royal Caribbean if you want to go on a cruise again!

    It totally sucks about the weather…hurricane season is totally tricky. Either you have absolutely no problems, or its stormy weather for a week. I hope that you and Mr. SD will at least have a funny story to tell in the future about the whole ordeal (after the anger dies down in a while)! If it makes you feel better, we had to completely cancel our honeymoon, so we haven’t even been away together on a romantic vacation (storm or no storm) yet, and we’ve been married almost 5 months now… ;)

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    cindy bee, Guest @ 6:22 pm

    my brother was on the same cruise and sent me this link. sorry your honeymoon sucked BUT i myself had a second hineymoon on our 2 year anniv and i can tell you there is a paradise that is worth every penny…CANEEL BAY in St John USVI. go in may thru july, ask for a beachfront room on little caneel and you will not regret it. its heaven on earth and we go every two years, this summer will be our 3rd trip there. have a wonderful life together!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Wedding Snapshot | Killer b. Designs, Guest @ 11:36 am

    [...] our ill-fated Carnival Cruise, which I’ve come to appreciate more [...]

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Snapshot Sundays | Weddingbee, Guest @ 6:15 am

    [...] our ill-fated Carnival Cruise, which I’ve come to appreciate more [...]

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