Our Family Cruise, Part 1 {the drama}

As you know, we went on our first cruise as a family of three last week.

What you don’t know is that it almost didn’t happen.

We were scheduled to board the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore around noon on Sunday for a leisurely 7 night cruise down to the Bahamas and back. Our itinerary included 2 days at sea, full day’s at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport, then 1 more day at sea to come home.

This is not what happened.

Instead, I got an email on Saturday saying that there was an issue affecting the ship’s propulsion system that made it necessary to reduce the cruising speed on the current voyage (the cruise before ours). Due to the delayed arrival, we wouldn’t be able to board until later on Sunday night and our itinerary would be changed to replace our Grand Turk stop with a visit to Nassau. For the inconvenience, they would provide us with a $25 per person on board credit (to cover the meal that would have been eaten on the ship) and a 20% discount on a future cruise.

Hmm… well, that’s kind of annoying. We were really looking forward to Grand Turk, but I guess Nassau would be okay. They said that they would send another update the following morning with final information on when we should board.

On Sunday, we received three more updates. Each worse than the last.

When all was said and done, they ended up having to further modify the itinerary because the ship’s maximum speed was limited. They cancelled our stop at Half Moon Cay and also reduced our stop at Nassau.

Our new schedule looked like this:
new schedule

So basically out of a 7 night cruise, we would have ONE beach day.

At this point, I wanted to cry. I booked this cruise back in October and we had been looking forward to it for months. For the past few weeks, we even had a ‘cruise countdown’ calendar on our fridge that Jack would mark off at the end of each day.

I even got this fortune on Thursday night:


The bright side was that Carnival offered us a couple options:

Option 1: We could totally cancel our trip and get all our money back.

Option 2: If we choose to continue with the vacation they would give us a 50% refund off the cruise fare, a 50% discount on a future cruise and $25 per person on board credit to offset meal expenses.

Is it pretty clear at this point that my stress levels were off the charts?

Travis and I talked about it. I mean, what if there were further changes and we have NO stops? What if something happened while we were cruising and our safety was at risk? Is it even worth it to go on a 7 day trip with just one beach day?

We considered cancelling the trip and just going to work for the next week. However, if we cancelled we didn’t really ‘get’ anything out of the inconvenience except our original money back. If we go forward with the trip, we basically get a FREE cruise (50% off this one back and 50% off our next one).

We were already packed.
We already arranged to be away from our jobs for a week.
We were already excited about it.

We decided to just go into it with a positive outlook and have a great time. Even if we were on the boat for the entire time.

{Part Two coming soon}

What would you have done?

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17 thoughts on “Our Family Cruise, Part 1 {the drama}”

  1. Oh my goodness that is SO stressful! I can’t imagine having your plans changed liked that! I think I would’ve done the same thing though!!

  2. I also would have gone on the cruise because you essentially will get another one for free later. If that weren’t a potential offer, I probably would have cancelled and cried. I can’t wait to hear Part 2! 🙂

  3. Been on that cruise. 2 beach days from the looks of your into intinery.Never had that many cancellations. Feel bad for youOn the other hand it’s your first cruise so there is tons to do on the ship! And a discount on another one is great! We are Canadian and love to cruise from Baltimore because we drive to the port. We have never in 3 cruises got our all ports but that’s cruising. Never had that many cancellations. We always had a great time! Hope you had a great time!

    1. We have actually been on a bunch of cruises before, but this was our first one with our son. The Baltimore port is certainly easy to get to for us! =)

  4. From what I have read so far it sounds like you all looked at it in the best way possible…it is sorta like getting a free cruise. I would have been freaking out too because I way overplan and over think things. 🙂

  5. What a way to start your vacation!

    We went on a cruise in March and if that happened to me, I would first be annoyed that it happened but then I would be happy that we get to go on another (free) cruise. I’m sure you enjoyed your time on the ship, sometimes that is the best part of the trip!

  6. Bummer of a start, but a great deal for the inconvenience! I’m sure the ship amenities were nice and you found a way to enjoy all of that on board time. I have to say though, the fortunate did not say you were “going” on a vacation, but rather, “goning,” maybe that is Chinese for, “going but not as you planned!!”

  7. It’s really good that you were given 2 different choices–it sounds like the company at least tried to to the right thing in the face of major technological problems–but yeah, it’s really stressful to have all that happening when you’ve been looking forward to a trip for so long!

  8. For me it all would have depended on whether or not I could get the vacation time again in the near future. Canceling the cruise would not have been out of the question for me.

  9. We’re so happy it all worked out for you. It’s amazing how positive you stayed through this situation. The fortune cookie was a good sign!

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