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Old 09-07-2005, 04:53 PM
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My family and I, along with others in a group of about 80 people, were scheduled to go on a Carnival cruise leaving Sept. 5 out of the Galveston port. This cruise has been paid for for months, and the group on the cruise is comprised of average citizens, who made monthly payments for about 8 months to pay for their annual vacation.

We were abruptly told Saturday (Sept. 3) by Carnival that our cruise was cancelled and that our money would be refunded. However, no indication was given as to when we would be rebooked. Many of the travelers had to fly from other cities and had already arrived in Houston. They also had already set up their vacation times at work. Of course, we didnít mind helping the evacuees find homes Ė everyone is very sympathetic to their plight.

Yesterday, Carnival told us that they would not honor the rate that we paid. If we rebook, it would be at a higher rate, and there would be no compensation whatsoever for people who flew to Houston for their cruise, so theyíve essentially lost their airfare. In my opinion, this callous decision by Carnival is not only bad business, it would probably be cause for legal action. On top of that, they didnít consult with the evacuees at all and, since then, the evacuees have indicated that they donít want to live on the cruise ships. Iím sure Carnival is being paid at least double the cabin rate by FEMA, so they donít seem to be concerned about sticking it to the little guy. Iím not sure what happens now regarding FEMA and donít know the details of the contract, but it should be made public since government funds are being used. For example, I donít know if Carnival is still being paid, regardless of whether or not the ships are used to house the evacuees. Itís another example of bad judgment by FEMA Ė contracting for cruise ships for evacuees without consulting them first, assuming that their lives could be turned around simply because they are now homeless.
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-07-2005, 04:53 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Houston, TX
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My family and I, along with others in a group of about 80 people, were scheduled to go on a Carnival cruise leaving Sept. 5 out of the Galveston port. This cruise has been paid for for months, and the group on the cruise is comprised of average citizens, who made monthly payments for about 8 months to pay for their annual vacation.

We were abruptly told Saturday (Sept. 3) by Carnival that our cruise was cancelled and that our money would be refunded. However, no indication was given as to when we would be rebooked. Many of the travelers had to fly from other cities and had already arrived in Houston. They also had already set up their vacation times at work. Of course, we didnít mind helping the evacuees find homes Ė everyone is very sympathetic to their plight.

Yesterday, Carnival told us that they would not honor the rate that we paid. If we rebook, it would be at a higher rate, and there would be no compensation whatsoever for people who flew to Houston for their cruise, so theyíve essentially lost their airfare. In my opinion, this callous decision by Carnival is not only bad business, it would probably be cause for legal action. On top of that, they didnít consult with the evacuees at all and, since then, the evacuees have indicated that they donít want to live on the cruise ships. Iím sure Carnival is being paid at least double the cabin rate by FEMA, so they donít seem to be concerned about sticking it to the little guy. Iím not sure what happens now regarding FEMA and donít know the details of the contract, but it should be made public since government funds are being used. For example, I donít know if Carnival is still being paid, regardless of whether or not the ships are used to house the evacuees. Itís another example of bad judgment by FEMA Ė contracting for cruise ships for evacuees without consulting them first, assuming that their lives could be turned around simply because they are now homeless.
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Old 09-07-2005, 05:18 PM
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Im sure you will get some people on here telling you that you should feel bad for griping when so many people are homeless. I, for one, sympathize with you, and you are 100% right. I read on here or another board where the evacuees didnt want to get on the ships, so that they could find their loved ones easier. Personally, i dont think this was the answer. We had to buy 500 bucks worth of plane tickets to fly to Houston (we could have driven to N.O.), so i know where you are coming from. I am sailing on 9/11 and got a 50 dollar per person credit. The least they could have done is give us free transfers from the airport.

All i can say is to keep at them. It may do no good, and you will most definitely get flamed (probably in a few minutes, after THIS post) on here for your views, but this is cruise chat, not "we should cancel our cruise that we spent hard earned money on because of the terrible hurricane" chat.

Let the flaming begin!! LOL
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Old 09-07-2005, 05:52 PM
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I can definitely understand where you are coming from. I just got back from a cruise (Elation from Galveston) with four kids and I would have been in a complete mess if I had had to reschedule, etc. Airfare alone was 1700 bucks for me. I am at a loss as to why CCL did this- I mean, it seems frivolous, callous, heartless, and downright cold to even express any feelings of frustration, but if I were you I would be flipping out right now. This isn't the Carpathia picking up lifeboats- this is three ships being chartered on no notice for 6 months.

I mentioned on another thread that this would be totally isolating for these people. If I were stranded alone with just the clothes on my back, not knowing where 20 family members were, along with hundreds of friends, do you think I would want to be on a ship? To do what? Pace the decks, wander around in circles, go out of my mind?

I think it is insane that there is no plan for housing 200,000 homeless people. In all of the planning since 9/11 no one every considered that? There is absolutely NO PLAN? What if there is an earthquake? Do we have a plan to house 20,000?

Kudos to CCL for stepping up to the plate. I am not mad at them, only at FEMA and GWB. But if I were you I would be fit to be tied right now. And there is no excuse for not refunding at least a portion of the airfare!
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:05 PM
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grichardson,

while I can understand that Carnival is not able to accommodate the tens of thousands of passengers that had their cruises cancelled at the rate they paid, I think they should offer some good will by at least refunding the airfare of those customers who were booked on the first one or two cancelled cruises in order to reduce those people's frustration and expenses. It's too bad that members of your group were affected by this.

As far as using or not using the ships is concerned, it's the FEMA that has to decide, not Carnival. In my humble opinion, cruise ships or not well suited as temporary homes for Hurricane victims, as there should be plenty of possible land-based options. I know we're talking about hundreds of thousands of people, but the U.S. isn't tht small, after all.

However, I do think cruise ships could play an important part if they were used as floating hotels for construction workers. Just image how many workers are needed to rebuild New Orleans only. Those people have to live somewhere. It would be ideal to base these ships at the Port of New Orleans (as soon as reconstruction can begin) where they could really be of help.

Just a thought of mine.

As far as Carnival being paid by FEMA is concerned, they get approx. the same amount per berth per day that one has to pay for a standard outside cabin berth if the released numbers are correct. But then, Carnival heavily relies on onboard revenue (like virtually all North American mass market lines).

Please keep us informed.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 09-07-2005, 06:06 PM
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You should read my posting (Help, Carnival>&gt. Same Thing, boy did I get bent over. This is all about Carnival making a profit. Per the new, goverment, and CNN, they are getting full reimbersement for there ship, as well as, for there staff. In the meantime, they took better class ships (mine was one) and used them to make a dominoe effect. I cancel cruise A for $500, relist the same cruise with a newer ship for $200-$500 more. All of those poor saps who purchased there cruise, they can just for over the new cost, what choice do they have?
I am making an honest effort to let Carnival know how many customers they have lost.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 09-07-2005, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for everyone's comments. We intend to pursue this until we get a response from Carnival which is reasonable and fair.

To Raoul, with all due respect, unless you are privy to the contract between Carnival and FEMA, you have no way of knowing how much Carnival is being paid. They probably have a sole source contract with the government, which means that they are being paid way above market rates. We booked our cruise in November and got a good price -- I'm sure they're getting the rate that was posted closer to the date of the cruise. The government usually pays through the nose in a crisis situation; hence, the $300 hammers the Defense Department was paying!

I'll keep folks posted.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:35 PM
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There is an article in the Miami Herald today that tells you how much Carnival is getting for this whole ordeal. Believe me, they will not go broke. I had it posted earlier this morning and Raoul pulled the plug on it. He said it was a "registered" web site and that I wasn't allowed to copy the article from there and post it here? So, go to google and click on Carnival, then find the link for the Miami Herald report.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for the referral to the Miami Herald web site. I found the article and, since Carnival is not disclosing its profits, we can be sure they are substantial. They are assured cabin fees for the entire ship for six months when, on average, there are many vacancies, particularly during the slow months. One doesn't have to be a mathematician to figure this one out.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:53 PM
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Correction. Its in the business section of the Miami Herald today.
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