Joan and Reggie Thompson have taken their family on several cruises.
They know to leave hours of extra time for their flight to the port city. But this time, even five hours of padding wasn’t enough, when their early morning flight was delayed until early afternoon.
By the time they got to the cruise, they were 4 hours late, and the Carnival Magic was already preparing to depart on its 8-day cruise.
“I called when we landed,” Joan Thompson said,” and I said, ‘We’ve landed, we can make it there.’ They said, ‘Sorry.'”
While their cruise ship was still in port, the gangway had already closed.
“They shut the doors,” Thompson said. And if you are not there when a ship shuts its doors, you are not getting on board.
Last year, I spoke with two women in a similar situation. Queen Jones and Sheila Smoot booked a $700 Caribbean cruise on the Magic, but bad weather canceled their flight entirely.
When we contacted Carnival, a spokeswoman apologized for their hardship, but explained that they had not purchased Carnival’s trip protection insurance , so could not get a refund.
However, Carnival did agree to give Jones and Smoot a partial credit toward a future cruise, out of goodwill.
How to protect yourself
And it is not just delayed flights you need to worry about, according to travel agents.
If you get sick on a cruise, on a Caribbean island, or in Europe, will your health insurance cover the medical bill? Will they cover an emergency flight home to the U.S.? Chances are the answer is “no.”
So don’t let this happen to you.
Travel agent Katie Kreiger of Expedia Cruise Ship Centers told us several crucial things every cruise or foreign traveler should do:
- If you are cruising, consider flying the day before your cruise, and enjoying the beach (or port city, such as Seattle or Boston) for an afternoon. It may cost you $250, but you won’t miss your cruise.
- Make sure you purchase premium insurance that covers flight delays (basic insurance often excludes flight problems). If you are flying to a cruise the same day as the cruise, it is really essential to have that coverage. A travel agent can help you find a policy to fit your needs.
- Consider the insurance provided by the cruise line (Carnival in this case), which may cover this exact scenario, since so many flights are delayed.
- Consider travel medical insurance If you are traveling in Europe or another country. Choose a medical insurance plan that covers hospital stays and includes medical evacuation, in case you need to be flown home to a US hospital. If you are on Medicare, assume they will not cover you in another country , according to the AARP.
If taking a Carnival cruise, consider Carnival’s vacation insurance.
That way you are covered for emergencies, and you don’t waste your money.
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