It Shouldn't Take Three Years To Book A Carnival Cruise

Leslie and her husband haven’t been able to cruise with Carnival since Hurricane Katrina rained all over their original itinerary back in 2005. Carnival promised they would be able to cruise on a “space available” basis, except Carnival won’t confirm if space is available until three days before departure, making it nearly impossible for Leslie and her husband to buy affordable plane tickets or arrange care for their sixteen-month-old daughter.

Leslie cc’d us on her letter to Carnival:

This letter is in reference to booking number 6K80R9. My name is Leslie. My husband, Stacey, and I have been trying to sail with Carnival for close to 3 years now. On our first attempt in October 2005, our port was obliterated by Hurricane Katrina. On our second attempt in September 2006, I had an emergent medical condition upon arriving to the airport related to my complicated pregnancy, thus I was unable to board the plane. I am very happy to say I did give birth in March 2007, and with a recent newborn, we have been unable to attempt to cruise until this year. We have been given the opportunity to take a space available cruise until September 2008.

My husband and I have tried on 2 separate occasions to sail according to the space available rules. Unfortunately on both occasions, Carnival was unable to confirm our cabins. We were previously informed that we would know, 2 weeks at the latest, prior to the sailing whether or not we will be confirmed. On both occasions (in February and June), they were unable to tell us “yes or no” until about 3 days before the sailing, making it EXTREMELY difficult and stressful for us. On both occasions, the answer was “no”.

Here is my difficulty with attempting to cruise with this restriction. My husband and I are both hard working, full time employees. We now have a 16 month old child. We also live in the Midwest (Chicago, IL), where we are in no way close to any ports. We originally chose Carnival because it was highly recommended by friends and family and also due to the fact that it was very affordable for us. Of course we did not know we would not be able to make the departure based on my medical status at the time of our initial cruise. Unfortunately for us, we do not have the liberty of taking vacation at a 1-2 week or less notice. Our jobs require us to give ample notice prior to vacationing. This also entails finding childcare for our daughter, finding flights and possible hotels close to port the night prior to sailing. I don’t know if you have ever tried to make arrangements this close to vacation time, but the costs are ridiculous without a 21 day advance notice. We have no family near us; therefore a relative from out of state must also make arrangements to watch our child in Chicago. This involves a lot of planning, time and energy, all of which we cannot afford. We are not retired and do not have the luxury of leaving for vacation on a moment’s notice. Also as mentioned, we must fly to any port you sail out of because we are landlocked from the ocean in the Midwest. Taking all this into consideration, the cost of making last minute travel arrangements alone will greatly exceed the cost of what he have already paid for the cruise, thus now making it unaffordable for us.

I hope that you can understand our predicament. With the restrictions set forth for the space available cruise, it does not seem likely that we would ever be able to take this cruise, especially not by September of this year. Because we work very hard and now have a family to support, we do not want to lose the money we have paid either.

I am hoping that your company can help us out with this matter. I would like to again request a refund for our fully paid trip. If this is not possible, I urge you to please consider giving us a credit of the full amount that of our cruise that does not expire. We would like to request a credit $518 (we have already been refunded the $83.16 for taxes/fees). We also paid a $25 one-way transfer fee from Port Canaveral to Orlando airport which we obviously never used ($50 total for my husband and I). If given a credit that does not expire, this will allow us to rebook a cruise with ample time, and for us to make the appropriate flight and travel arrangements, and also to arrange for time off of work and childcare issues. In short, it will allow us to appropriately PLAN for a vacation. It has really been a struggle to utilize this vacation that we have already paid for. And on both attempts, where multiple arrangements were made in hopes of you having space for us, you were unable to confirm us. I don’t feel that I am asking too much, as this is money that WE have already paid for.

I do understand the policies with missing cruises. It saddened us that we were not able to make that trip back in September 2006 however, such is life, where unexpected things occur. I really hope that we shouldn’t have to be penalized for it (losing all the money for our vacation) simply due to an unexpected medical condition. Please reconsider this. I have spoken to multiple supervisors and company representatives over the past several years, but it does not seem that anyone can understand our difficulties.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.



Three years is a long time to wait for a vacation. A usable credit that doesn’t expire isn’t too much to ask.

(Photo: FredoAlvarez)