On April 9th we board a Carnival ship. Should we be worried?



This is the Carnival Liberty, the ship  on which we'll embark on April 9th.
With the influx of news regarding the horrifying nightmare for over 4000 passengers on the Carnival Triumph, we watched intently, wondering what we should do.

The likelihood of another such incident on the two back to back Carnival Liberty Cruises we've booked is unlikely.  We'll be staying in the same cabin on both cruises, sailing from April 9, 2013 until April 20, 2013.  Upon disembarking the Liberty around 10:00 am, we'll change ships at the same pier, on the same day, to board the Norwegian Epic at 4:00 PM to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Barcelona on our first transatlantic cruise.

For the heck of it, we contacted our cruise guy, Joaquin at Vacations to Go inquiring as to what options are available, if and only if, a passenger wants to "jump ship" to another cruise line.  (Keeping in mind we're cruising as a means of transportation as much as possible. Plus we love it as opposed to flying). 

Not to our surprise, Carnival is not offering refunds for future cruise passengers on other ships.  This would bankrupt them.  Based on the fact that we can't get a full refund within 90 days of a cruise departure, diminishing on a scale the closer it gets as taken directly from our Cruise Confirmation documents.

Cancellation Charges If you cancel, the following charges will be assessed by the cruise line (per guest):
Cruise LengthDays Prior To SailingCancellation Charge
2, 3, 4 & 5 nights 61 days or more

60 to 46 days
45 to 30 days
29 to 15 days
14 days or less
None (except for Early Saver, Easy Saver* and
Super Saver fares**)
Entire deposit
50% of total fare or deposit, whichever is greater
75% of total fare or deposit, whichever is greater
100% of total fare
6 nights and longer (including Alaska & Hawaii) 76 days or more

75 to 56 days
55 to 30 days
29 to 15 days
14 days or less
None (except for Early Saver, Easy Saver*
and Super Saver fares**)
Entire deposit
50% of total fare or deposit, whichever is greater
75% of total fare or deposit, whichever is greater
100% of total fare
Europe, Panama Canal and Transpacific sailings 7, 9 & 12, 14 and 17 nights in length 91 days or more

90 to 56 days
55 to 30 days
29 to 15 days
14 days or less
None (except for Early Saver, Easy Saver*
and Super Saver fares**)
Entire deposit
50% of total fare or deposit, whichever is greater
75% of total fare or deposit, whichever is greater
100% of total fare
All cruises purchased under the Instant Saver Fare Any time after booking 100% of total fare
Timetables and rates are subject to change, and exceptions may apply for holiday sailings. *Early Saver & Easy Saver fares: The deposit on bookings made using the Early Saver & Easy Saver Fares program is non-refundable/non-transferable. No name changes will be permitted. There is a $50 service fee per person applicable on ship and/or sail date changes outside standard penalties.**Super Saver fares: The deposit is non-refundable.

With 51 days until we sail, we'd lose our deposits, in these cases, over $1000.  Thus, the question posed:  Are we willing to lose $1000 in deposits to cancel these cruises?  Secondly, there are no specific dates that coincide with our planned dates of departure which would result in losing money leaving here early and paying for hotels and meals on the other end.  it makes no sense monetarily.

Does it make sense emotionally?  Not really.  When we decided to travel the world we knew there would be risks and bumps along the way.  Here we are, almost five months since leaving Minnesota and without a doubt, we've already had a few bumps.

1.  Our luggage going on the wrong van when we arrived in Belize City on January 29, 2013, to be recovered an hour later, after a lot of foot stomping after we had specifically stated several times that they ensure the luggage goes on the tender boat with us, not ahead of us.
2.  The ineptness of guest services on the Celebrity Equinox when they only arranged a one week visa for our stay in Belize when we needed 30 days (to be renewed soon when we have to go by boat to immigration in Mango Creek).  It was straightened out but again, only with observation of the error and persistence in getting it resolved.  Had I not checked our passports when the on board immigration officer handed them back to us, we'd have been forced to go to Mango Creek while we were living in that unsanitary water-free zone only 12 days ago.
3.  The water-free house down the road, Little Cottage, with an occasional dribble of cold running water, cold dribbling showers and a mostly non flushable toilet resulting in a horrible unsanitary situation.  Hot water and soap is a great sanitizer.  We had soap but no hot water.  We boiled it as often as we could accumulate it at a dribble's pace in a huge pot on the dangerous gas smelling stove.  (Oh, listen to me go on!).

Yes, we are uninjured.  Yes, we are now safe from disease.  We ask ourselves, what have we learned? 
From comments above in order:
1.  Incompetency prevails
2.  Incompetency prevails
3.  Don't rent a marginal house with only two reviews on the website, both of which were outdated and one of which referred to another property the owner rented.  I should have been more suspicious when booking the property.  Lesson learned.  (Bless Tom's heart.  He never blamed me!)

None the less, we are grateful we found LaruBeya by a fluke.   We are grateful to have water and to be in a sanitary environment.  We are grateful that we are able to walk to or be driven to (for only a tip) to a total of five restaurant in our area.  Yes, we are grateful that Estevan picks us up every Wednesday to go to the grocery store for a $10 round trip (plus tip).  In addition, we are grateful that we find food we can eat, although the selection is limited and the fact that its grass fed, free range and organic.

As for the upcoming cruises, we'll continue on as planned on the Carnival Liberty.  If something does go wrong, we have our portable solar charger that is powerful enough to fully charge our phones.  With our phones charged we'll be able to use the Blogger app to continue to keep our readers informed.  As for Internet connection (which was not fully functioning on the Carnival Triumph, we'll have our XCOM Global MiFi with us which works independently of the ship's data when close to land). 

See...there may be a use for all the gadgets we've packed which are consuming space in our bags!

3 comments:

Thomas Lyman said...

Tom here! Hello, everyone.

This is my first time commenting here and I wanted to say I have no fear about cruising not even on Carnival.

Jess won't see this until it shows up later on the blog.

Thanks to everyone for reading our story.
Tom

Anonymous said...

My name is Samira, i am 23 years old and live on Ambergris Caye, San Pedro. Over the weekend i stumbled across your blog and practically read the entire blog. You and your husband are so inspiring. I look forward to following you guys around the world in your travels. it also makes me proud to know you chose my country on your world wide journey.
Im even more excited about you guys coming to my island. I noticed you are on a gluten free diet and i know Placencia's grocery stores dont really have products you need to make your stay a much easier transition. On my island you will find a store name the green house (please note i am in no way advertising on behalf of this grocery store, i shop there myself so i am simply suggesting) im pretty sure you will find gluten free flour and almost every product you were using back home. and Yes! they have fresh mushrooms :)) actually reading your blog has also made me realize just how much sugar my diet consists of and im hoping to start cutting sugar from my diet. my family owns a local bakery on the island so it might be a big challenge. i would like to ask you a question. Since Belize has all natural fruits such as bananas, oranges, watermelon, are these ok to eat when one is on a sugar free diet? Once again it was so inspiring to hear out you and your husband, i wish you both all the best. i will keep following!

Jessica said...


Samira, its wonderful to hear from you! What a delight! May I post this on the blog as a comment? Others would love to see your precious and valuable comments.

As for fruit...the sugar in fruit causes my blood sugar to spike. I am pre-diabetic. If I eat any food with sugar, it goes very high. This may not be the case for you if you're not predisposed to diabetes. You can test it yourself buying a glucometer from the drugstore. Test on empty stomach, eat a large fruit and test it one hour later.

If it stays under 126, fruit must not bother you. I used to eat a large Honeycrisp apple everyday thinking it was good for my health. I tested and my blood sugar an hour after eating one and it was almost 200. Later I discovered that there are 9 teaspoons of sugar in one of those apples. If you read "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis available online at Amazon, you will read exactly what I've described here. I'm not a doctor, nor giving medical advise merely citing what I've read and experienced from reports from Harvard, Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Davis, Jonathan Bailor and more. They are experts in the field of low carb, low sugar, low starch and grain free lifestyle.

Thanks for your tips about Ambergris Caye. Unfortunately, we aren't able to come to Ambergris Caye this trip. When we committed here we needed to lock in two months and will be staying in Placencia until April 9th. If you happen to come here, please let us know so we can meet you. We are so enjoying the people of Belize, their kindness, warmth and hospitality.

Please stay in touch. It means so much to us both that you took the time to read our blog and to write to us.
Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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