Travel Agent Sails Away on Carnival Cruise Ship While 50 Clients Left at Dock in Miami!

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a cruise ship in the water under a bridge

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This week I just had a back and forth with a reader, who has never been on a cruise, and was asking about if they should or should not use a travel agent. I said, as an NCL Frequent Floater, I tend to book with the Casinos at Sea department at NCL mainly for the automatic 20% off the cruise fare plus as the same perks / sales offered at the time due to my Diamond status that I hold as a match from Wyndham (I plan a more detailed post on this later btw). My fellow Frequent Floaters author MJ has for many many years used the same travel agent and loves the service.

Some like travel agencies because they can, at times, offer even sweeter deals than what the cruise lines offer. Take for example a service I know many readers use, that is, Costco Travel because they can get the same sale the cruise line has up at whatever time and get cash back or cash back to use at Costco (they view this as good as cash as they always shop at Costco).

a large cruise ship in the water
The Now Scrapped Carnival Sensation departing Miami Florida

But there can be real negatives with using a travel agent. Like what? While not an exhaustive list here are a few of the things that could go wrong.

  • You are inserting a “middle man” between you and the cruise line that you must deal with most times vs. directly interacting with the line. This means many unfortunate things could happen like payment issues of the 3rd party not getting what you sent in to them to the cruise line.
  • Room issues, that is, what you think you are assigned and what you ultimately get and that can really make a HUGE difference to the cruise experience.
  • Missed upgrade chances. With a bunch of cruise lines, in the months before your cruise, you may have a chance to bid on a simply amazing room upgrade to a suite because rather than notifying you about the chance to bid they send it to the travel agent and you never find out about the opportunity (or it is never sent out at all because the travel agent is in the loop).
  • Cancellation issues. With cruise lines booked like almost never before in the history of cruising we are seeing more and more reports of cruise lines overbooking sailings. How bad can things get?

Take a look below at this short video from Fox 9 in Minneapolis to see what happened to two women who were in Miami to board a Carnival cruise:

 

Yikes!

Can you imagine your travel agent, who do sometimes cruise with you because if they sell enough cabins they get a free cruise as a perk, at the cruise terminal with you and then “snaking” away onto the ship without a word?

Again Yikes!

In case for some reason you did not choose to watch the video the bones of the issue was that a month ago Carnival apparently notified the travel agent that the ship was over sold and that a number of their clients would not be sailing but they never passed the information along to the guests and so they flew down to Miami only to be then told “sorry you are not sailing with us today and you are on your own“. It got worse because the travel agent used yet another third party payment processor so folks were not immediately refunded and now are stuck waiting for their money on top of a missed cruise.

There are some things that the guests should have proactively done to avoid this. For example they should have, weeks before they flew down, checked in online with Carnival and that would have alerted them to the problem before they flew all the way to Miami. They should have also downloaded the Carnival cruise app and that too, once they put in their information, would have alerted them there was an issue. I personally would have also confirmed with my travel agent before departure everything was set and my cabin number etc. but my guess is they were in a “guaranteed” room not a specific set one and that too could have been part of the problem.

a long river with boats and buildings in the background
The entrance to the cruise port in Miami Florida

What an absolute nightmare situation for these poor folks and especially so after all they had to endure over the past year. Yes, they are getting their money back and a free future cruise but they are still out considerable expense at this point and had their spring break vacation ruined. It just goes to show that if you do ever choose to use a third party service of any kind to book your cruise you had better be proactive and not just trust everything is all set, because you used a travel agent, before you fly to that port city to join your ship! – René

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. The only reason you get cheap rooms through the casino dept. of any cruise line is because you gamble so much and lose a lot of money onboard. They know they will make more money off of you in the casino that if you paid for the cruise and stayed out of it. [personal attack redacted]

    • @Cindy W – Welcome to the blog and no I don’t gamble one penny at all. If you take the time to look around the blog you will see you can get, not only huge discounts from holding free matched Casino status, but even free cruise offers!

  2. Costco Travel is the best place for Carnival Cruise. Bottom feeder travel services for the ultra-cheap cruise.

    Always use an agent if you are in the premium to luxury cruise sector.

  3. Not all travel agents are bad!!!! Many, like me, are reputable and would have never allowed something like this to not be communicated or not taken care of!!!

  4. I am a travel agent and if it were me dealing with an issue of this magnitude I would have never gotten on that ship and left my client out there to fend for them self. That was very unprofessional of her to do that. But more importantly there is more to this story of carnival cancelled the bookings on feb and you tried to book them back the next day to find out that the ship was sold out what make you think you will get them on board the day of the cruise that would never happened. She should have been honest once that cruise was cancelled and refund those People there money back. I question my self why did the clients did not check in to there cruise on the website. There are to many unanswered questions here. I am just flabbergasted by this news I feel horrible for those people left behind.

  5. I am an agent and I ALWAYS put my client’s email address where it’s supposed to go when booking. I’m trying to figure out how that even happened because I give directions on setting up the cruise lines’ apps, dining menus, and all kinds of stuff. How can they purchase excursions or specialty dining or beverage packages or internet without having the app or logging into their accounts? None of this makes sense to me.

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